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Nats don’t believe their own education policy

Written By: - Date published: 12:26 pm, August 7th, 2012 - 28 comments
Categories: education, john key, national, schools - Tags: ,

Square this circle for me if you can. Hekia Parata:

Focus on quality will raise achievement

Education Minister Hekia Parata today said the National-led Government’s focus on teaching quality will raise achievement and ensure our young people get the skills they need to reach their potential. … “The single most important thing we can do to raise achievement is to improve teaching quality.”

John Key:

Key: Don’t worry about unqualified teachers

Prime Minister John Key says people should not be “hung up” on the fact that teachers without qualifications will be able to teach New Zealand children at charter schools.

Like their inconsistency on the importance of national standards, the Nats want you to believe two different things for them. Even Nat cheerleader John Armstrong is moved to comment:

So you need better teachers in traditional state schools, but not in partnership schools? The logic is hard to suss.

Armstrong also notes Key’s answer to a question regarding his own choices:

John Key gave the wrong answer when asked on Friday whether he would have happily sent his children to a charter school. His instant and firm “yes” when put on the spot was the natural reflex of a politician …

Like Key’s infamous preference for small class sizes for his own children, the school that he has chosen states that “King’s College is committed to employing well qualified staff”. What parent wouldn’t want that for their kids? Only the poor targeted by charter schools, apparently. Tim Watkin at Pundit sums up:

Charter schools & mixed messages — is this an intelligent design?

…The government announced more details this past week — the schools will be called partnership schools (although I don’t seen anyone rushing to use that new moniker) and those employed to teach the kids will be able to be unregistered and unqualified. The schools will be free to innovate, which means able to go right off curriculum. And they’ll be able to be run for profit. This new type of school will appear in 2014.

The government insists none of the obvious concerns that stem from that are anything to worry about because they’ll all be strictly monitored. But that won’t stop the teacher unions pointing out the risks to teaching quality and child safety that comes from letting just any old Tom, Willie or Harriet take over a classroom.

None of those launching this policy did so with any real gusto, however. You see, it’s awkward for all and sundry.

Education minister Hekia Parata flew in from Samoa to be at the announcement, but she was perfunctory in her comments, eager to hand over to her associate minister John Banks.

National is fulfilling its coalition duty here — charter schools was what ACT really, really wanted from Santa after the election — but they seem to be lying back and thinking of England on this one. Just look at how Key stressed any failing charter schools would be quickly closed down. Parata was refusing interviews saying this was just a tiny part of her portfolio covering no more than a handful of schools.

The big tangle for the government is that just a few months ago it was dying in a ditch over teacher quality. That was SO important, it said, that class sizes had to be sacrificed to ensure better trained teachers.

Just weeks later, it’s relaxed about entirely untrained folk teaching our kids. At the same time its spent years fighting for national standards, which compel schools to focus on reading, writing and maths at the expense of art, science and the rest.

Now, all of a sudden, breadth and innovation is a good thing and if some schools want to ignore the curriculum altogether and teach lots of meditation or culture, well that’s just super.

And what about child safety? Back in February Parata was shocked when a convicted sex offender was found to have worked in schools. You might think she’d be feeling the pressure from parents to have a closer eye on who gets to care for kids in schools, not loosening the rules.

You can understand why National’s not exactly singing this from the rafters.

The Nats don’t believe in their own education policy. Although they’re using ACT as an excuse, they have no need to pander to the walking corpse of that party. It can only be about diverting public money to private enterprise. As usual it is the kids who will suffer.


28 comments on “Nats don’t believe their own education policy”

  1. Kotahi Tāne Huna 1

    Just one question: given that Key knew more about it than Banks from the outset, can we drop the pretence that Charter schools are an ACT policy?

    • Phaedrus 1.1

      Yes please. It is known that the plans for charter schools were being developed in 2009 and were certainly well in place when the present Secretary for Education was appointed.

  2. Rodel 2

    Q: Who said, “Under no circumstances will we as a government allow our children to be exposed to unregistered and unqualified teachers in New Zealand schools.” ?
    A: No-one so far.

    Just had a thought…It could be John Banks teaching your kids one day.

  3. Georgy 3

    national in govt do not have an education policy. They have a bungle of haphazard events.

    Charter schools were always nationals hidden agenda – and as an unpalatable policy they used Act to promote them.

    I think we are going to look back on this period of national in govt with amazement at the stupidity of how they have gone about things and disbelief that they could simply implement policy through edict.

    What a farcical lot.

    • Gosman 3.1

      What policy have they implemented simply via edict?

      • North 3.1.1

        The point that’s being made is that National rides into town, declares this, that, and the other thing broken…….implements “reforms”, spinning to the max about the wonderful results which will flow, while publicly denouncing practitioners in the area declared to be broken.

        Nek minnit………cock-up. The criminal legal aid “reforms” are a prime example. We were told that the changes would not only retain experienced lawyers within the criminal legal aid system but (get this) greater numbers of experienced lawyers would be attracted to criminal legal aid practice.

        Actual result……….many, many experienced criminal legal aid lawyers are ceasing legal aid practice. Only an idiot would contemplate joining. The criminal legal aid system is in crisis.

        The reverse of that which was promised is the current reality. In fact, it was so obvious that this would be the outcome I can only conclude that the public were cynically, deliberately lied to. I also wonder how much this own goal crap has cost to implement. I’m guessing it would be massive. To turn a silk purse into a sow’s ear. How clever of them all.

    • Gosman 3.2

      What policy have they implemented simply via edict?

      Interesting double post there. I thought there was code in place to stop that sort of thing happening.

      • mike e 3.2.1

        Gosman it doesn’t work with you you just keep spouting your same mantra and then shoot your self in thge foot aim a little higher and put yourself out of your misery

      • tracey 3.2.2

        can you explain the apparent contradictions of the govt on education as referred to in the opening post?

    • Draco T Bastard 3.3

      national in govt do not have an education policy. They have a bungle of haphazard events.

      That’s true of everything that NACT does and is, IMO, symptomatic of their ideological bias is policy formulation.

  4. Georgy 4

    BTW Banks would not have the intellectual capacity to understand something as complex as education policy. He simply relies on a few easy to remember catchphrases. And repeats them. Repeats them ! ! !

  5. Dr Terry 5

    Banks simply has no intellectual capacity, full stop! Key, as is increasingly common, wants to have things both ways. Charter Schools will employ every kind of crank to indoctrinate kids in fearsome philosophies!
    Let’s face it, the Tories fear an educated and enlightened populace. Consequently, their “policies”are anti educationalists (plus anti the interests of little children).

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 5.1

      re: “anti the interests of little children”

      This from the crimes act 1961:

      Defence against assault
      48Self-defence and defence of another
      Every one is justified in using, in the defence of himself or another, such force as, in the circumstances as he believes them to be, it is reasonable to use.
      Section 48: substituted, on 1 January 1981, by section 2(1) of the Crimes Amendment Act 1980 (1980 No 63).

  6. Sunny 6

    Anyone else see Rupert Murdoch’s fingerprints on this?

  7. captain hook 7

    what I cant fathom is how they can go around telling everyone that they are going to teach the worst kids with the cheapest teachers.
    I wish they would tell us all how they are going to accomplish that.
    and listening to banks on the radio the other day he was going on about charter schools being part of the defence force.
    I would like to hear what the defence department has to say about this too.

  8. captain hook 8

    dont flatter yourself.
    double posts mean you have just got a slippery finger.
    thats all.
    If you want rigid rules and a bit of stiffening then join a fascist party.

  9. I understand this will be rolled out in the South Auckland Schools.

    Already you see John Keys government do not think it necessary to educate South Auckland kids, better to train them to go straight into the army, and who better to train them to look towards the army for a carreer that a heroic VC holder.
    This is very necessary as Americans don’t want their own sent to wars anymore so they have to cast around to find replacements to fight Americas wars for them.

    Remember America must have a war, their economy depends upon making the machines of war, if they don’t use them they can’t continue to make them, if they do not make them there is a whole pool of unemployed people in America.

  10. marsman 10

    Didn’t we have an article by Catherine Isaac in the DomPost very recently claiming loudly that Charter Schools were not ‘for profit’? Merely neoliberal-speak.

  11. Tracey 11

    So in a nutshell, two men who sent their children to schools with low pupil teacher ratios and highly qualified teachers think it’s a great idea for other people’s children to have high class numbers and non qualified teachers?

    So when the nats are speaking in parliament, the opposition benches need to heckle them, particularly on education. Better still call out Perata to a debate on the crucial issue of the direction of NZ education, and then use the opening post in this thread as the basis of stripping down their lies/contradictions/BS. They won’t debate because they are defending the indefensible and actually dont care as much about education as they do about bottom lines.

  12. Tracey 12

    Can someone give me an example of a Tui sign having a go at National or Act? I have a vague recollection of one, but am not sure. I know they have had a go at Len Brown in Auckland from time to time.

    I ask because

    higher class numbers are good for kids Yeah Right never got done

  13. Cnut 13

    ” School reform has generated a marketplace, and a profitable one at that. Michelle Rhee’s standard fee is $50,000 an appearance, plus expenses. In Michigan, Clark Durrant is paid over half a million dollars a year to run five charter schools. Eva Moskowitz, Geoffrey Canada and Deborah Kenney all make between four and five hundred thousand a year running their New York City charter school organizations.”


    • Rodel 13.1

      Cnut..the Washington Post article you cited says it all. Should be read by everyone concerned about proposed changes in our education system.
      a quote from the article…….
      “……Speakers at the conference identified several promising arenas for privatization. Education entrepreneur John Katzman urged investors to look for companies developing software that can replace teachers for segments of the school day, driving down labor costs. How do we use technology so that we require fewer highly qualified teachers?” asked Katzman, who founded the Princeton Review test-prep company and now focuses on online learning…..”

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