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‘That’s what the fuss is all about’

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, May 16th, 2013 - 20 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, hone harawira, mana, Maori Issues, maori party, Public Private Partnerships, same old national, schools - Tags:

Yesterday, in the General Debate in a brilliant speech, Hone Harawira challenged the Maori Party for its support of the Education Amendment Bill currently before the House, that will enable the establishment of charter schools.

In a Press Release a couple of days ago, Harawira delivered the same criticisms of the charter schools being,

direct attack on kura kaupapa Māori, and on public education generally.

Harawira argues that, while past governments have “starved kura kaupapa of funding“, they have been extremely successful. Yet the Maori Party are supporting NActUF in giving, “massive amounts of money on charter schools while kura get bugger all.”  Harawira cites some of the damning evidence exposing the charter school right wing scam:

Massey University Professor of Education, John O’Neill, said that early indications are that charter schools will cost the taxpayer more than twice as much as state schools.

“It’s one thing for the rich white boys to give their mates all the lollies while laughing at the poor little Maori kids getting by on scraps … it’s another thing entirely when their Maori buddy is cheering them on.”

“The Maori Party should be ashamed for turning their backs on everything that kura kaupapa Maori stands for.” “Maori fought long and hard to get kohanga and then kura kaupapa because we knew that a commitment to the language, a commitment to whanau, and a commitment to kaupapa Maori were key elements in educational achievement for Maori students, and kura kaupapa have proven that to be the case time and time again.”

“Charter schools will have no accountability to whanau, no commitment to Maori language, no requirement for kaupapa Maori, no commitment to the Maori or NZ curriculum, no commitment to put registered teachers in front of kids, no accountability or transparency under the Official Information Act or the Ombudsmen Act – and they’re going to get more money than kura kaupapa ever got!”

“And without the oversight of the Auditor-General’s Office, they’re a scam waiting to happen” said Harawira, whose claims were backed up by Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu’s submission on the Education Amendment Bill which said that charter schools were highly susceptible to fraud, waste and abuse.

Other submissions raised the fact that the charter schools model has failed overseas, including that of Dr Bronwyn Hayward, political scientist and senior lecturer at the University of Canterbury. Dr Hayward said that the charter school model was “naive and reckless” and that “our children deserve better.” “Our kids all deserve the very best in education, not failed experiments from overseas.”

A couple of recent blog posts also expose the foreground the evidence against the government’s charter school policy:

Allan Alach, on the Daily Blog, in a post criticising the government’s key standardised test (STAR), ‘Sacrificing the most vulnerable children in our education system to a corporate cover-up?’, says this on the debate in the House on charter schools:

It didn’t take too long for National MPs to pull out this McKinsey & Co. report that I discussed in a previous blog. Bingo. There it is, out in the open, the proof that the education strings of this puppet government are being pulled from overseas.

The contrast between the National and ACT ideologues (noting that the Maori Party who hold the deciding votes, did not speak), and the well researched, well expressed speeches from the opposition parties was extreme. Dianne Khan outlines this very well in her blog ‘Cross party resistance to charter schools.’

Harawira’s above press release ends with this challenge to the Maori Party in anticipation of today’s Budget:

If the Budget does not show at least a 25% increase in funding for kura kaupapa, an extension of the Kotahitanga programme, and a reinstatement of the Manaaki Tauira programme to assist Maori students in tertiary education, then the Maori Party will have failed. And if they have, Peter Sharples should resign as Associate Minister of Education with responsibility for Maori Medium Education for his failure to grow or even protect the success of kura kaupapa Maori while supporting the failed charter school model.”

Harawira’s speech in the General Debate yesterday was a riveting piece of oratory, with the re-iterated theme “That’s what the fuss is all about”: recommended viewing.


20 comments on “‘That’s what the fuss is all about’”

  1. ianmac 1

    Hone is an intelligent man but the Maori Party seems to be limp and ineffectual. Great to hear a stirring speech from an MP. Put that against the spiteful Judith Collins or empty Key.

  2. Tom 2

    Ka pai, Hone !

  3. Populuxe1 3

    While I don’t like the charter system as being far too favourable to corporate interests and profit-making, there really isn’t anything to stop iwis setting up their own charter schools that would meet all of Hone’s criteria. Any community group could set up a school as a co-op.

    • Molly 3.1

      As a home educator, my family and home ed community could benefit from Charter schools as home educators in the States have used them to access funding. However, any research I have done on charter schools shows that they have consistently failed to deliver and have often cost more in the long run.

      Recently I read in Joel Bakan’s “Childhood under Siege” a chapter devoted to private delivery of public education and the consequences of that long term:

      “… America’s schools are far from perfect. The system – or at least many parts of it, and especially those serving poor minority communities – is struggling. There is much to be improved. Reforms are needed. The current reform movement, however, blinded as it is by the lure of the market, conveniently ignores the perilous effects of deep and racialised poverty on teacher’s abilities to teach and students’ to learn. It blames allegedly incompetent teachers and principals and attacks schools for not providing useful and relevant skills to their students, when the real reason many schools struggle is because they operate in conditions profoundly hostile to fulfilling their mandates and missions.

      Market-driven solutions have nothing to say or do about those conditions, and more than that they work to undermine the very values of equal, broad, and liberal education that the public system is designed to embody and serve.”

      While it is an opportunity for some to take (and make) money, that is not an excuse to further increase the inequalities between well-resourced students and schools, which charter schools inevitably have ended up doing in the States. There are many other major disadvantages too, which are available to those who choose to investigate.

      Hone is right. The Maori Party should not support this Bill.

      • ghostrider888 3.1.1

        from the Campbell Live article on the material deprivation experienced by the children of communities up North, Kaikohe way;
        -head-lice and school-sore challenges, for example.
        -unemployment rate- 14%
        -median income- 18K
        -“60% of our children could do with material support”- School Principal

        ESTIMATED COST OF CHILD POVERTY- 3% of GDP; while more children continue to be misplaced by CYFS and “fall through the cracks”.

        Gower, on governments food in schools proposals; “later in the year”; they can can continue to starve for the winter, less, North.

        • tarkwin

          While I agree with some of what you say Kaikohe is not the best place to start. One of the major problems there is the Nawha prison. When it was built the politicians were spouting about the jobs it would create. This did happen and all looked good for a while. The problem was a lot of the prisoners families moved into the area to be closer to their incarserated loved ones. The problem there is most of these people didn’t work and don’t want to work, plenty of them are also gang members. Anybody who had a decent job in the area simply moved to Kerikeri, Okaihau, Rawene or Opononi and left them to it. (white flight if you will)Subsequently Kaikohe has gone down hill at a high speed which is a real shame because it used to be quite a vibrant place. Campbell has set out to misinform the public rather than tell the truth. There are plenty of small towns in Northland that are doing very well and yes, quite a few that aren’t doing well. There is plenty of work in forestry and farming you just have to be drug free and want to work.

          • ghostrider888

            that is a balanced comment; still, it requires a nation to raise these children adequately, regardless of whether the outcomes for their parents are viewed as structurally-based or not.

    • lprent 3.2

      That is the theory. Practice will be different if only because tax payers money is involved. At the very least there will be a slippery pole of governance requirements because the treasury will require it. No problem setting a few barriers to entry on those. Most will require front capital…

      One would be to require confirmed premises to a particular standard available for inspection prior to requesting funding. This increases the upfront capital requirements and ensures that a non-iwi corporate supported organization just go it excluded.

      The devil is always in the details – ask any voluntary group who receives government funding.

  4. Bill 4

    Just another instance where what ‘we’, the poor have, is bad for us because what we have is causing the the books to not balance. And if the books don’t balance, well…lets just say ‘really bad things happen’. And if you can’t see that connection and why it’s crucially important, then you’re simply not seeing things correctly. And once you begin to see things correctly, you will understand that education (alongside housing, welfare entitlements, employment rights etc) ought to be taken away from us in order that we prosper.

    It’s not rocket science. And many media will work tirelessly to promote the correct thinking that we can then adopt as our own.

    Let’s put it another way. The wealthy and privileged create jobs and so forth. So give them more of everything by reappropriating everything from us in order that they (the wealthy and privileged) can get on with creating jobs and a decent society for us. We’ve obviously made a pigs ear of it, otherwise we wouldn’t still be poor or needing access to any of that welfare state stuff. So, time to give somebody else a shot at it.

    It’s not class war, because that would mean lots of people would be angry and doing thngs like protesting and trying to prevent stuff from happening. So, as it’s obviously not class warfare, it can only then be a benign reallignment of resources that will not only balance the books but also allow the poor to prosper under the munificent tutelege of wealthy and privileged personages.

    So maybe now is the time to rally round your local business knights and dames and help them to help you on a quest for some brighter future!

  5. Chooky 5

    Good on Hone and Ngai Tahu for rejecting the pathetic attempts by John Banks and National to undermine New Zealand education and the rights of all New Zealand children to a quality education which is free, state and secular….This is what NZ was founded on in the 1800s by intelligent working class ‘refugees’ from the British class system.

    We had a USA wwoofer stay ,who was educated in a USA charter school of religious character. He was absolutely scathing about his education….unqualified teachers, lack of student respect, no teacher training, religious indoctrination, no education on evolutionary theory. His wealthy Mother forked out good money for his private Charter Education. He dropped out early without qualifications.. He is an intelligent guy with an inquiring mind. He is an atheist now and he was very keen to know what I knew about evolutionary theory and Darwin….I told him what I could, but I thought how much better it would have been for him if he had learned from university trained , teacher qualified biology teachers, with a passion for their field ….Also if he had learned to read and to do research for himself. He is a cabinet maker .

    I thought that this was a very sad reflection on how the National Party and Act are using a suspect model to undermine New Zealand education ……and to what ends I wonder?……Will it promote religious bigotry, sexism, racism, ignorance, illiteracy and the rights of all NZ children to a high quality state education ?

    • ghostrider888 5.1

      for both of you; I spent the morning supporting a Christian (big-C) “growth” (misnomer) group; ironically, the theme was Christ’s (through John) message of love; I raised the topic of child poverty, and, lo and behold, unanimously it was held by all present around me that it was the fault of individuals. Yep, Christ wept all right; So, further to the observation, “if child poverty is not addressed now, before more years of research, then when”, I challenged, if followers and members of the body of Christ (the church) cannot overlook transgressions between themselves and choose to love and forgive, after years of being led in congregations and denominations, then when on earth are they ever going to be able to? *shakes head*

  6. tracey 6

    Banks is polling his electorate and grouping charter schools with a maori initiative…

    If people want to read a little about McKinsey I can recommend the very readable “from good hands to boxing gloves”, a must read for all who are involved in any insurance claim or policy, or wonder what McKinsey does when relied upon…

    “We’ve all seen the name of AIG’s CEO, Edward Liddy, far too often in the last few months. He recently attended a hearing before a congressional committee explaining why he thinks $165 million in federal bailout money from American taxpayers needs to go to AIG employees for bonuses. During Liddy’s introduction, Chairman Kanjorski raised the issue about Liddy’s former role as CEO of Allstate, and that company’s denial of insurance contract claims. Later, one of the representatives asked why we as taxpayers are being forced to pay $165 million in bonuses on the basis that these were contracts. Liddy had no problem denying insurance contract claims which the policyholders made against his former company, Allstate. It might be surprising for the public to realize that Liddy made over $350 million in salary and stock options in his position at Allstate, in large part by implementing a plan to deny and otherwise underpay contract claims to Allstate policyholders. He did this with the assistance, of McKinsey & Co., the same consultants who created the Enron business plan. The public might also be interested to know that while running AIG, Liddy continues to be a major Allstate stockholder. Liddy was the President and CEO of Allstate Insurance Corp. from 1995 to 1999, then the Chairman of the Board until 2007. While at Allstate, he orchestrated across-the-board claim denial and underpayment systems created by McKinsey & Co., which led to David J. Berardinelli’s investigative book From Good Hands to Boxing Gloves: The Dark Side of Insurance. According to this book, by the time he left, Mr. Liddy had already amassed Allstate stock worth over $250 million, with an additional payment at retirement of $50 million, and a retirement package worth over $70 million. You can also find out how, during his leadership at Allstate, Liddy oversaw that company’s rejection of Hurricane Katrina home loss claims, how those costs were passed off on the American taxpayers through the National Flood Insurance Fund, and how Allstate and Liddy profited by passing off the losses to taxpayers. Find out for yourself why insurance claims are being improperly denied, delayed, and defended at trial. Read the story the insurance industry doesn’t want you to know.”

  7. tracey 7

    “Banks recently revealed in a Radio Rhema interview:

    Banks: I believe Bible’s account of how life began
    Associate Education Minister John Banks says he believes the Genesis account of the start of life on Earth.

    According to the Bible, God made the world in six days, with Adam and Eve being his last act of creation.

    John Banks told Radio Rhema that he has no doubts the first chapters of Genesis are true.”

    Um, and he is backing charter schools…

  8. emergency mike 8

    Tau Henare was yelling over Hone’s speech to a ridiculous extent. Robertson complains to the speaker who basically shrugs his shoulders and says “both sides are doing it, moving on.” Pathetic.

  9. Chooky 9

    In a Democracy education is about teaching ‘critical thinking’ whether it be about theories of evolution or religious systems of belief….the student should be taught to think critically for themselves and encouraged to do more of their own research.

    (Under Facism it is all about ‘indoctrination’…this is ” the Truth and Nothing But the Truth!”….and don’t you dare question it!….thinking critically and questioning is a no! no!…Indoctrination serves the ends of bigots , authoritarians, sexists , racists and homophobes….and those opposed to any ideas/research that doesnt fit their own prejudices and core beliefs)

    Teaching ‘critical thinking’ requires highly educated , highly skilled teachers . They don’t come cheap but you get an excellent education system with world class results as they have found in Finland.

    ( In reply to ghostrider: seems like those Christians are not thinking critically about the Christian message and what it means to be a Christian…Maybe they have been indoctrinated?….Maybe they are wolves in sheeps clothing? What do they say about religion; ” the last refuge of fools , scoundrels and thieves”? )

    • ghostrider888 9.1

      interesting, very interesting, yet what I see comes as no surprise to me, just disappointing.

  10. Xtasy 10

    We all know what the fuss is about, and I heard Hone’s speech, and good on him!

    We do hear today, that the Maori Party gave their 3 votes in favour of Bill English’s budget.

    So that tells you something! Pita Sharpless is one major hangers on careerists loving the nice BMs. He is there to be the foot soldier for a corrupt and cronyist government, who have no scruples to allow a supposed “investor” to build a national convention centre in Auckland City, supposedly free of charge for them, but allow them a near 35 year extension of a gambling licence, 230 more pokies and more tables to gamble on, even allowing unrestricted $ 100 or more cash flow cards to be put in.

    So that is so “social” and responsible, is it, dear Pita Sharpless from a line towing Maori Party, only still there because they sit to suppor t a Nat government? Many Maori have gambling problems, same as Asians and Pasifika, more so than their European likes. And then he wants to allow this to go ahead, same as other miserable budget announcements, only because a vague promise is made for a few thousand apprenticeships to be favoured for Maori and Pasifica? What about a real wide scale apprenticeship agenda for all?

    Oh no, Pita is warming his chair and looking after himself and his agenda, not the wider needs of all NZers, including of course unemployed Maori and Pasifica. Shame on you, Pita.

  11. Murray Olsen 11

    What did the Maori Party do with the a they stole from kaupapa?
    I really hope this term is the last we will see of them, but I also shake my head at Labour’s stupidity in letting them form in the first place.

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