Tolley pushes ‘choice’ in private schools over child welfare

Written By: - Date published: 9:45 am, November 2nd, 2010 - 112 comments
Categories: education - Tags: ,

Anne Tolley’s Education Amendment Bill 2, due out of Select Committee next week, ignores the recommendations of the Law Commission to introduce “light-handed” legislation to deal with 100 year old gaps that leave children at private schools in a legal vacuum regarding their welfare.   Instead the Government has replaced them with clauses allowing unspecified amounts of public money to be siphoned into private schools.

In Anne Tolley’s answers to Parliamentary questions, the true number of complaints about private schools has been misrepresented, but in spite of her eventually admitting to there having been a number of complaints, Anne Tolley has no shame in stating that there is “no evidence” of any problems, and that the 33,000 children in New Zealand who attend private schools need no protection whatsoever for their welfare.  Private schools are not even required to inform parents about the vacuum of legislation governing their children’s safety.

All this non-action is supposedly because of choice.  Choice is the mantra, the watchword, the holy-grail.  Whereas other mortals must knuckle down to National Standards and teacher’s must somehow represent failure as something else, or Anne Tolley will get snippy, private schools must exist in an absolutely unregulated state, or there will not be enough choice.

As Heather Roy opined at the Independent Schools of New Zealand Board Chairs’ Seminar on 31st May this year, “Choice allows parents to select an education that suits their child’s needs, interests and talents. It also enables schools to cater for their students in a variety of ways.”  Being able to expel them with no notice or right of appeal for example, without warning parents about that when they sign up.

However, the results of a recent survey into the law governing private schools show clearly that even some teachers at private schools and certainly the vast majority of parents have no idea that their children are unprotected under the Education Act with many thinking that they actually were better protected than their counterparts at State and State-integrated schools.  In spite of this, and the overwhelming evidence thrown up by the survey that parents want these protections in place, Hon Anne Tolley, and her cronies are about to rush through this legislation that does nothing for the children she keeps claiming to “worry about”, and states that “unconditional grants” may be made to private schools at her “discretion” instead.

So what is choice if information is withheld?  Surely it is meaningless.  And what about what parents want?

Heather Roy again, “Parents should not be powerless bystanders in education; they should be active and informed participants, in a position to actively make the best decisions for their children.”

Patrick Walsh Head of the School Principles Association is of the opinion that “any school that is in receipt of Crown money should conform to government objectives and be subject to all the legal obligations in relation to student rights”.  John Hancock or Youthlaw, and Ced Simpson of the Human Rights in Education Trust, agree, and indeed it is hard to justify any alternative view and yet, as Patrick Walsh told me when I interviewed him last month, private schools in New Zealand are apparently exempt from these obligations quite simply because they operate a “High Trust model”.

Doesn’t that sound lovely, all soft and warm, but what does it actually mean?

In real terms it means two things:

1. Either you as parents are playing Russian Roulette with your children’s well-being by sending them to a private school which actually has no obligation to look after them and can expel them at will, with no notice, or right of appeal – case in point, The Titirangi Steiner School which expelled three small children last year because their parents questioned why the policy on bullying was not being followed.
or
2. You as parents have the choice to override your children’s human rights by sending them into a regime that might be overthrown by the Western Allies if it was being run as a country – case in point Westmount School in Keri Keri which operates a regime of extreme religious fundamentalism.

The Employment Relations Authority, in upholding the sacking of Suzette Martin, for giving students an unauthorised version of King Lear, at Westmount School ealier this year, maintained that the school was “outside the general range”, being a private school of special religious character.  Exempt from decency because it’s private.

Of course there are plenty of private schools which operate exemplary pastoral care programmes, but that’s not the point.  Murder law is not there to control people who have no intention of killing anybody, but to deal with those that do.

New Zealand signed up early to Human Rights and Children’s legislation, yet the Private Schools of New Zealand are operating completely outside those principles.  And why?  Just because the schools are private.  Private that is, not independent.  Earlier in 2010 the Government made good on its election promise to bump up the “subsidies” private schools receive, and it did, by a whopping 33 Million dollars.

That is the reason the Law Commission did not take up the notion put forward by Deborah James and the Independent Schools movement to officially term the sector “Independent” – because it clearly isn’t.  In fact, these subsidy increases mean that private schools are now in receipt of 20% of their running costs out of tax-payers money – which obviously includes the pay-packets of teachers at state schools, currently locked in a disagreement about their own pay with Ms Tolley.

The complete deregulation of private schools is a strange form of counter-logic.  Basic welfare protections are simply that, they cannot be said to constitute over-regulation for something advertising itself as a school i.e. a service that will operate “in loco parentis”.

And who does it serve not to legislate for basic standards of care for children at these schools?  Only those schools who aren’t doing it properly, as all the others already presumably are. So why is this sector allowed to operate above the law, or below the radar, regardless of the damage that may be being done to children? What other alternative sector has this dubious privilege?

Let’s say for a moment that there are three basic ways to get educated, firstly by state or state integrated schools, regulated to the max, I’m sure we can all agree.  On the other end of the spectrum there is home-schooling (although this freedom is now under attack in several countries including New Zealand where single parents of a child of five must now seek work). Home-schooling is far from unregulated; parents have to apply for exemption and prove that they are capable of educating their children, can be subject to checks, and the concerns and powers of social services to enter the home are well known.

Then there are private schools, which, although in receipt of a sizeable amount of tax-payers money, are apparently to be allowed to do whatever they want, even hurting children, just because it’s a High Trust model.

What emerges upon any serious examination of the facts is that the use of the word Trust is disingenuous.  There is no trust involved. The first and only thing you will hear from all agencies and the Government itself, if there are problems, is “Buyer beware”.

-Angel Garden

112 comments on “Tolley pushes ‘choice’ in private schools over child welfare”

  1. If kura kaupapa are conveniently lumped in with private schools then i can see why she wouldn’t feel comfortable dictating terms to Maori about choices they should make.

    • prism 1.1

      Of course she could try listening to the experienced practitioners and negotiating with them to achieve mutually positive outcomes. It was sad that St Stephens for Maori boys and was it Victoria for Maori girls ended up closed. This may not have happened if they had to sit down and review their practices and outcomes and make changes to remedy small defects before they became large ones.

      • pollywog 1.1.1

        sad indeed.

        so what was the specifics there and any lessons for kura kaupapa or euro private schools ?

        • prism 1.1.1.1

          don’t know much about why they were closed pollywog. I remember some stories about nastiness at St Stephens from violence. But if there had been a way at looking at their problems with professional help and latest methods already successfully trialled, maybe they would still be with us. Money may have been a major problem. It usually comes up.

  2. ianmac 2

    Since many MPs of all persuasions have children in Private Schools, why would they change anything which might interfere with their operation?
    I would include checks into the quality of educational standards as well.
    Ero should visit, and reports should be published. (Some suspect that given the high level of socio-economic that pupils have on entry, maybe their value added is poor?)
    And since National Standards are so successful at lifting standards, then include those as well.
    If we pay our money we expect value for money.

    • burt 2.1

      Yes, many MP’s have private medical insurance as well. How sick that people who think the rest of us should just put up with a one size fits all monopoly provider don’t eat their own dog food.

    • KINTO 2.2

      Yes, if you measure private schools using a “value added” kind of measurement, they dont come out looking too flash.

    • Crumble 2.3

      I have worked in a private school and value added was very poor for a lot of the students.

    • Swampy 2.4

      MPs are a minority since there are not that many MPs compared to the number of other parents who are sending their children to private schools, perhaps it would be better of you to acknowledge that MPs are bound to represent the views of their constituents which are considerably outnumbering them.

      ERO does visit private schools and reports on them actually.

      I don’t know why National Standards matters when not all State schools are implementing it

  3. Tigger 3

    Awesome photochop.

    And great post. Indeed, if schools are taking public money there needs to be accountability back to the public. And even not, the welfare of children is not something we should be leaving to ‘trust’.

    By the way, you righties, private school educated leftie here…just so you can’t spin the whole ‘envy’ politics bull…

    • burt 3.1

      if schools are taking public money there needs to be accountability back to the public.

      Yes indeed, so why the resistence to national standards?

      There is nothing accountable about the state monopoly model we have today so clearly we need change. Significant change.

      • KINTO 3.1.1

        National Standards are not going to be in private schools though Burt.

        • burt 3.1.1.1

          That’s right lprent – private schools never have tests or exams…. Oh and of course lprent we can all stick our heads up our own ass and pretend there isn’t a over representation of private school kids in international literacy, maths and science awards. Arguably these kids are the only thing holding up our international reputation.

          Your drivel about private schools shows you are seriously envious of people who can afford to fund the state school system for others and pay for their own choices as well. If state schools performed as well as private schools then you could relax that one size fits all – but no not you… you would rather pretend it’s just the rich pricks way of scoffing at people who can’t afford the same choices.

      • lprent 3.1.2

        Burt – do you mean the resistance from private schools to have their students tested? I’d be worried too if I was them – the idiocy level is usually pretty high.

  4. burt 4

    Oh dear, a great longing for one size fits all education that strives to be mediocre appears to be the driver in this guest post….

    FFS parents who send their kids to private schools are paying to provide capacity in the state system which they do not use and for the private education of their own children. You really need to get over this envy thing where you can’t tolerate people having choices that the state can’t provide in a one size fits all model.

    • KJT 4.1

      Actually it strives for excellence and mostly gets there when politicians leave it alone.

      The new curriculum is an amalgam of proven best practice by professionals.

      As for accountability. If you have ever been a teacher you would know there is so much emphasis on accountability for bureaucratic reasons it interferes severely with teaching. Maybe you should address the b–s required from Teachers to satisfy political agendas about accountability.

      The value added for private schools is questionable. The biased education given by some religious schools amounts to child abuse.

      • Swampy 4.1.1

        DO you believe all that c*mm*n!st propaganda that children are the property of the state do you?
        It is a parent’s fundamental right to choose the education their child receives.
        The State education system and what is taught in it are politically biased due to the heavy involvement of the teachers unions intent on pushing their political agenda and ideology. Public education provides a one size fits all approach and is so PC that it does not allow room for people to have any real choice about where they send their children, the zoning restrictions make it very difficult for parents who aren’t able to relocate to the zone of a better State school if that is all they have to choose from.

        • KJT 4.1.1.1

          I love it when RWNJ’s talk about parental choice.

          When, in their ideal world, they mean, they should have choices if their income is enough to live in Epsom or send their kids to private school.

          All others should have a choice of a grossly underfunded and under resourced state school.

          Instead of keeping the State system to a uniform standard of excellence which it manages despite gross political interference and lack of funding.

          • burt 4.1.1.1.1

            I love it when RWNJ’s talk about parental choice.

            When, in their ideal world everybody would have the same choices, therefore having one choice and one choice only achieves that ideal world. Unbelievable.

            When I was in intermediate the education system was going through a cycle of integration of special needs children with the mainstream. We had ‘Barry & Meg’ in our form 2 (year 8 ) class. Barry was fantastic, he never stopped entertaining the class and Meg use to get her tits out all the time which was hilarious. I think she was 16 so to us 12-13 year olds it was just awesome.

            Now tell me again why state schooling and the whim de-jour of the current govt is the way to manage it rather than separation of funding from provision providing a layer of insulation from political interference?

            • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1.1.1

              providing a layer of insulation from political leadership?

              yeah fixed it for you again burt

        • Vicky32 4.1.1.2

          “Public education provides a one size fits all approach and is so PC that it does not allow room for people to have any real choice about where they send their children, the zoning restrictions make it very difficult for parents who aren’t able to relocate to the zone of a better State school if that is all they have to choose from.”
          Bollices, Swampy! Do you actually, or have you ever had kids at school? I have had, and more recently than you have, if like most RWNJs you’re 60+…In fact owing to starting early and finishing late with my breeding, I have had kids at school from 1981-07! Politically correct education my left t1t!

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    Oh dear, a great longing for one size fits all education that strives to be mediocre appears to be the driver in this guest post….

    .

    Meh what you call mediocre has been built over decades into the best education system in the world for the many, not just the few.

    And Tolley wants to upend that in favour of National ‘favour the well off’ ideology and elite bloody mindedness. Thanks for supporting her.

  6. Sanctuary 6

    Here is my solution: Abolish all private schools and include in the charter a requirement schools all seek to as closely match the national demograhic and economic make up as is possible with a 40km radius.

    When Daddies little Remmers princess has to get bussed off to Ed Hillary College he’ll take a lot closer interest in the schools performance, nes pas?

    • KJT 6.1

      Exactly.
      NACT would take a lot more interest in what really makes schools more effective.

    • burt 6.2

      Go figure – you half wits are denigrating private schools yet you fail to acknowledge the status quo way people get to choose which school their kids go to is currently based on the socio-economic status of the parents and what real estate choices they can afford to make. Keep defending the state system because it is not elitist while ignoring the reality that it is but it uses the real estate market as a proxy rather than cash flow.

      • lprent 6.2.1

        The question is about do you correct the problem – state schools that wren ‘t up to spec. Or do you do what Tolley is doing, under-resource them by spinning the money off to subsidize a private school system for the affluent?

        It is pretty obvious that you’re not into correcting problems – you just want to create them. For some reason you regard this pretty self-evident truth as being objectionable. I’d take you seriously whenever I see you suggesting something that benefits people at the bottom of the heap, and I can’t see vouchers or removing zoning going either. They will simply Act as subsidy for the wealthy and affluent

        • burt 6.2.1.1

          lprent

          It is pretty obvious that you’re not into correcting problems – you just want to create them.

          Yes of course lprent, that is why I say status quo isn’t the answer and why I’m pointing out that the current system suffers from the same problems you half wits denigrate the private system for….

          My suggestion to improving the bottom of the heap is to honestly identify it, honestly deal with it and stop this mamby pamby one size fits all BS that works for the unions and fails the disadvantaged kids big time. Look at the failure rate in certain sectors of society, which have not changed much over the last two decades, and honestly tell me that the biggest issue is the very recent changes National are making to a system that Labour said was working just dandy.

          • lprent 6.2.1.1.1

            So put more resources into the areas that need it. Pull it away from private schools and those state schools that are performing ok. Put it into the schools that are performing poorly. Stop using the ERO as a critical device that does f*ckall and get them to put their balls on the line and put experts into the schools to help them improve.

            The improvement in the low rated schools was slowly happening under Labour. Now the NACTs have pulled the the resources away and tossed it into supporting a private school system that doesn’t need it.

    • Swampy 6.3

      Here is my solution: Abolish all state schools and all zoning restrictions etc and give all parents completely free choice to where they send their children to be educated (through vouchers like they have in Sweden).

      • Colonial Viper 6.3.1

        My solution is: make up completely unworkable shite, which will lead to a few select groups benefitting, but most being worse off especially when they realise that ‘completely free choice’ only exists in reality for those families with net worths of over $500,000.

        Oh, you already did that, my bad.

  7. Jeremy Harris 7

    2. You as parents have the choice to override your children’s human rights by sending them into a regime that might be overthrown by the Western Allies if it was being run as a country – case in point Westmount School in Keri Keri which operates a regime of extreme religious fundamentalism.

    So freedom of religion is against Human Rights now..? Curious…

    Meh what you call mediocre has been built over decades into the best education system in the world for the many, not just the few.

    Actually the parents who have sent their kids to private school and therefore paid for their education twice, like my parents, have subsidised the building up of that system… Same as the Health system which they have been subsidising by buying their own health insurance…

    Feel free to thank them anytime (I’m not holding my breath)…

    • lprent 7.1

      Presumably your parents thought that they got some value from both of those – otherwise why would have they done it (apart from being suckers for marketing of course).

      The ‘private’ health system is nothing of the sort. It is extensively backstopped by the public health system for anything serious and urgent. The ‘private’ health insurance just allows you to queue jump on less serious health problems. Your insurance pays for queue-jumping on non-life threatening issues. Your taxes pay for having basic primary health care (like epidemic handling) and for the urgent life-threatening stuff that the private hospitals don’t handle (like keeping you alive after a car crash).

      If your parents choose not use the public school system, then that is strictly their problem. The only thing I’ve ever noticed in people from schools like Kings is a propensity towards being stupid. I tend to regard the private school system as being a expensive fix for the retarded. I haven’t noticed any significant difference in educational outcomes a few years afterwards from people from private schools to those from most public schools apart from those from inherent abilities.

      There is however a inequity in the public school system between those at the lower deciles and those at the higher. That needs addressing because it means that we aren’t giving all of our population equal opportunities – and that costs us all in the long term.

      Your statement is total bullshit.

      • Crumble 7.1.1

        Having worked it both public and private sectors in education I agree with your statement fully about private schools. The private school I worked at boasted a 98% uni entrance rate. What they did not tell you about is how many failed because no one was there to spoon feed them. A good state school, of which there is hundreds, will give and do give as good, if not better education.

        • ianmac 7.1.1.1

          A few years ago Crumble someone kept data on the first year Uni students. The highest failure rate was from private school students, the best success rate was from the kids from co-oed schools, presumably because they were used to interacting amongst mixed gender and were there by their own efforts rather than engineered by close supervision..

    • Pascal's bookie 7.2

      “Actually the parents who have sent their kids to private school and therefore paid for their education twice”

      This is simply nonsense.

      We have a public education system paid for out of general taxation. All of us, those with children, and those without, pay taxes. As a society we have decided that children should be educated and have made doing so compulsary. As a corollary of that we have a eduaction system funded by the state.

      The reason we pay for the a public education system is that it is beneficial to have an educated population. An educated population is what you get from the slice of your taxes that go to the educatiob system. It’s nothing to do with ‘paying for your kids schooling’ and a moments thought would have you realise that.

      • burt 7.2.1

        So that’s the way to look at it then. All them other OECD countries that allow people to claim the cost of private education and health care against their taxes are wrong… We have it right and that is why we slip down the ratings while the others leave us behind……

        • ianmac 7.2.1.1

          Burt. Do you think that since there is a bridge near you but you would like to have a better one for your private use, you should get the other taxpayers to help you pay for it?

        • Irascible 7.2.1.2

          Strange that NZ has remained near the top of the OECD ratings for many years. The myth that the NZ education system does not perform well is just that a myth believed by burt and others to justify their whinge that their decision to opt out of the general economy hasn’t been accepted by the law makers and that they’ve been paid off with subsidies which still requires them to pay taxes.

        • Pascal's bookie 7.2.1.3

          Burt, can you name a country that gives childless people a tax break? How about one that increases taxes for every child you have?

          That’s what you need to do to provide a counter-example. Examples of subsidies-pretending-to-be-tax-cuts are a dime a dozen, and irrelevant.

      • Swampy 7.2.2

        There are a few things wrong with your argument, the fundamental one being that it is necessary to have a State monopoly on publicly funded education. The rest of the argument is not supported by this claim and no evidence is presented in its support.

        As we already have state funded PTEs there is no ideological grounds of any worthwhile note to prevent the funding of private schools by the government assuming they provide the same qualifications such as NCEA.

        • Pascal's bookie 7.2.2.1

          There are a number of things weird about your comment, the fundamental one being that it doesn’t seem to bear any relation to the comment it seems to be in reply to.

          Nowhere did I say that “it is necessary to have a State monopoly on publicly funded education.”

          However, the question is not whether we should prevent the funding of private schools by the state, but rather, is there good reason to do so.

          I’m not at all sure why the only restriction on whether or not a school should get state funding should be if the use NCEA, and you don’t explain why.

          Surely, if the state is funding the school, then the state should get control of it to the extent that they fund it, through whatever contractual arrangements the parties find useful. If private schooling is to mean anything at all, it should mean that it is free from public control. Seeking that freedom while holding your hand out for state funding seems a bit, moocher like.

    • Crumble 7.3

      The old “double-tax” argument! The Catholics used that one! Got their schools, didn’t have the money to run them and the govt had to bail them out.

      • Swampy 7.3.1

        Thanks for reminding me of that, it’s a very worthwhile argument to bring up every time some leftie claims private education is elitist

    • Jeremy Harris 7.4

      Oh weeping, oh gnashing of teeth… So now thank you note then..?

      The simple fact of the matter Crumble is my brother’s education and mine had to be paid somehow, my parent’s paid for it out of their own pocket despite paying taxes…

      The inability of Socialists to understand where taxes come from, how they are generated and how they affect that very generation and what they get spent on is staggering…

      • burt 7.4.1

        Jeremy

        It think in the socialist mind people should not have choices that undermine the glorious state monopoly nor should they have more money to spend on their childrens education than a beneficiary.

        • ianmac 7.4.1.1

          Burt: Your presumption is that Private Schools are better than State Schools. Really? How do you know assuming that you have comparable intakes?

          I did challenge a past Minister of Education on this but of course he went back to promoting what could be a myth.

          • lprent 7.4.1.1.1

            Yeah, I’ve never seen much of differentiation compared to even moderate state schools.

            Of course it could be that the raw recruits to private schools are just thicker than the average.. Thats what it seems like from the output. Usually arrogant and stupid, and the arrogance wears off in the real world over a decade.

            • burt 7.4.1.1.1.1

              Your green eyes are glowing here lprent. Not much time for rich people but even in this thread you crow about how much tax you pay… what a wanker.

              • lprent

                Look who is talking – you’ve been whining about tax and spending on state education throughout this thread (as per normal).

                I don’t have much time for people who are better at whining than they are about doing anything to fix the problems that need fixing..

            • burt 7.4.1.1.1.2

              lprent

              If the uptake into private schools is thicker than average then start thanking the parents that are prepared to recognise where extra help is needed and fund it themselves. Thank them for the fact that while paying their slice to support the public system they are unburdening it from their stupid children. They are also propping up it’s effectiveness in actual results against the school they directly fund and more importantly for politics, they are propping up the public’s perception of the state school.

              Oh and then thank the parents of arrogant children as well. Both the wealthy ones and the ones who go without a lot to put their kids where they are challenged and managed. Once again, unburdening the state system.

          • Swampy 7.4.1.1.2

            Private education is better because it gives people a choice.

      • Colonial Viper 7.4.2

        The inability of Socialists to understand where taxes come from, how they are generated and how they affect that very generation and what they get spent on is staggering…

        The inability of Jeremy Harris to understand the impossibility of generating any decent income, let alone any taxes, in a society which is not well educated through a broad based and fully accessible education system, is what is staggering.

        my parent’s paid for it out of their own pocket despite paying taxes…

        If your parents wanted to opt you out of the benefits of living in a larger civil society where the benefits of having a widely educated populace are the norm, your argument might have some merits.

        By the way, do you remember who paid for the teachers college qualifications and the student allowances of the educators at your private school?

        • Vicky32 7.4.2.1

          Jeremy, I noticed only when CV quoted you but you said “my parent’s ” – well, your private school didn’t do such a crash-hot job if you think that plurals take apostrophes! How old are you now, that you haven’t learned better?
          Deb

          • Jeremy Harris 7.4.2.1.1

            I’m 27, well done you found a typo in my spelling, well your point is surely proven…

        • Swampy 7.4.2.2

          Since when has the government ever paid the full cost of tertiary education in NZ? Get real.

          When I was at school the teachers told us there were no such things as student allowances when they did their training, the majority of tertiary students I have ever known over the years have had to work all their holidays and probably in term time as well to pay the bills. There has never ever been full funding of tertiary education by any government, the Lange-Palmer Labour government introduced $1200 course fees in the same term as they put the student allowances up to the rate of the dole.

          • Vicky32 7.4.2.2.1

            Utter nonsense Swampy! There was full funding of tertiary education before the Rogergnomes, I know – I was at University from 1982-4… There were no fees, so no need for loans (or rather, there was a fees subsidy, so each year I paid $100.00 total for *all* my papers.)
            I got a student allowance, cos everyone did! Then along came the AID (Act In Disguise) government, as my son who suffered his adolescence through the 90s called them.
            As for what your teachers said, the truth of that depends on how old you are. If you’re 60+ as most RWNJs are, it could well be true.
            If you’re 25 then it’s false. Allowances still exist. The only people who can get them are orphans, (me), solo parent kids (my younger son) or kids whose Daddies have really good accountants and really good trusts.

      • lprent 7.4.3

        Don’t be daft. I’ve paid rather large amounts of tax throughout my life because I’m pretty well paid. Probably more than you will ever have an ability to pay. Moreover almost all of it has come from private industry exporting to generate the countries income (you sound more like a parasite)…

        The difference between socialists and you is that you only think of yourself and consider that is your sole universe for decision making. You moan about other people holding you back with crime, too few skilled staff, inadequate infrastructure, etc etc. Usually people like yourself (and burt) are conspicuous mostly because of your continuous whining and apparent lack of interest in doing something to fix the issues effectively.

        Whereas a ‘socialist’ tends to think of the problems of having parts of society dragging the rest down require fixing and will take the multi-generational decisions to do so. The’re simply not such selfish small-minded twerps like yourself.

        • Jeremy Harris 7.4.3.1

          You couldn’t be more wrong lprent, my family gives and raises hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to run a school, dispensary and sponser 300 homeless children thru private school in India every year, The Kiwis for Himalaya Trust, feel free to e-mail me if you’d like to give…

          I disagree with you that socialism is the best way to help others, I think allowing people to be free to be themselves and create, to have a job and charity work better…

          Not sure if you can hear me up there on your high horse though…

          • Colonial Viper 7.4.3.1.1

            So your family sits firmly in the top 10% of wealth holders in this country, and gives and raises hundreds of thousands of dollars to give 300 homeless Indian/Tibetan/Nepalese children a chance? Do I understand this correctly?

            So who is going to give one million NZ children a chance?

            Who is going to raise the money – the BILLIONS required – to send one million NZ children to school, and to make sure funds are there, organised and distributed, to pay for their doctors visits, hearing checks and vaccinations?

            That these children are not been left alone at home unsupervised, that reports of serious family/social problems are followed up and that they make it to school like they should?

            That these children have parks to play in, museums to visit, libraries to get books from?

            All of this is going to come from billionaire philanthropy, is it?

            • Jeremy Harris 7.4.3.1.1.1

              I’m sorry CV are you saying that opening a hospital, dispensary, and taking 300 homeless kids from the street and helping them get an eduaction in the third world is a bad thing..?

              Seriously..?

              • Colonial Viper

                Its a bloody good thing.

                I’d just like you to extend how this philanthropic practice is going to work in NZ for 1 million NZ children, where charity is what is used to fund and organise all our services for them instead of the current Government mandated system of taxes and public service – since you have already stated a belief that a completely free market + charitable donations is far better a solution vs a centrally Government mandated one of taxes, planning and spending.

                (BTW your charitable system is a completely unworkable replacement for a societal Government but I want you to realise that yourself)

                • Jeremy Harris

                  Healthcare and services are things many people will purchase, so immeaditely the numbers we are talking about that charity have to provide for is a fraction of what you claim…

                  Churches, NGOs, volunteer organisations already do massive amounts of work in our community, there are more non paid hours worked in our community than paid, the systems are there but not the money isn’t, many are competing with poorly spent government funds…

                  Let me ask you a question, when you give to charity (if you do), do you call up the IRD and ask their form to pay more taxes (yes this form does exist) or do you give money to a private charity..? I assume you give to the IRD as you claimed you want 50% tax rates as surely you wouldn’t be found not practising what you preach..?

                  If you do give to a private charity instead maybe you should ask yourself why…

                  I have faith in the good nature of most of humanity that if paying very low taxes they would contribute to take care of their fellow man, especially as productivity rises quickly when unemcumbered by taxation, you obviously think of humanity as a bunch of assholes you have to be bent to your (morally superior) will…

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I have faith in the good nature of most of humanity that if paying very low taxes they would contribute to take care of their fellow man

                    I think this good nature definitely exists, but it is being undermined by freemarket self interest and invidualism.

                    After all, where does the financial incentive exist to make a decision which advances the collective instead of making a decision purely for your own selfish financial interests?

                    • Jeremy Harris

                      I think the opposite happens, many people are asked for charity or see a homeless person and say, “not my problem, the State’s, I’ve already pay far too many taxes for this to be my problem”… It’s a sad attitude and very prevelant…

                      As for the financial incentive, my father derives more pleasure from money than most people for the following reason, most people earn money (doing something they don’t like) and then they spend it… Whereas he earns a dollar doing something he likes, he invests it, reinvests it (and the interest), then again and again, deriving pleasure each time and finally he gives it away and the last action is the one that is the most satisfying…

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Ah well. Looks like we are down to differing beliefs then so for now so thats where we will have to leave it.

                      By the way I think your parents are truly exceptional, and unfortunately that they are not representative of most people in a similar position of net wealth.

                    • Jeremy Harris

                      Actually they are representative of most of the people of similar wealth in my life…

                      One of the ladies who gives to the charity owns a chain of ECE kindies, she gives over $1000 – every week, an amazing man who is confined to a wheelchair (and was Indian born) owns a nail factory in Penrose he gives much more than this…

                      A couple of weeks ago I was at a bar/restuarant with an entreprenuer friend of mine and we ran into Dad… Dad and I starting talking about our trip to India at the end of this year and my friend started asking questions about KFH, he pulled $1000 out of his wallet just like that… He trusted us and is charitable, it was really great…

                      Dad regularly holds dinners where “rick pricks” come and give very generously, without expecting anything in return…

                      There are exceptions like my uncle, a very “rich prick” who still has his lunch money from the first grade and will ask to be buried with his money I reckon, but they are in the minority in my experience and quite sad people… I think Dad even managed to get $200 out of him at the last dinner…

                      The point of these stories are that I don’t think your impression of “rich pricks” and the reality is accurate…

              • Descendant Of Smith

                Tell us Mr Jeremy Harris how we are supposed to take you seriously when you so obviously miss the point in the above post.

                This country once made quite clear decisions that out citizens should not have to depend on the whims of the benevolent wealthy – the slum landlords, the factory owners, the peddlers in human misery that abounded in say Victorian times.

                They once decided that workers should get a fair days pay for a fair days work, that the country should stand by some egalitarian principles, that workers should have eight hours to work, eights hours to rest and eight hours to spend with family. They decided that children were important and that they should be educated and that the state should limit it’s funding – and consequently it’s revenue raising – to provide a non-religious education system for all.

                I’ve watched in my lifetime the massive destruction of wealth amongst working people while the rich have got richer – not through hard work but through the establishment of trusts, the ripping off of mum and dad investors, the speculation on property.

                I’ve seen my kids on worse contracts and pay rates than I ever had and an increase in poverty, drug use, gangs, urbanisation and the abandonment of rural communities for the last 30 years.

                I don’t care about your charity work when I see my neighbours and friends and family members lose their jobs, when I see their relationships break up, when I see them lose their houses.

                Explain to me in any way shape or form how selective charity is in any way better than the state creating meaningful employment or having a minimum wage that ensures families can be supported.

                Explain to me why it’s good to help an overseas community while at the same time pulling the rug out from under your own.

                • Jeremy Harris

                  Explain to me why it’s good to help an overseas community while at the same time pulling the rug out from under your own.

                  Explain to me how it’s not good to help people in the third world, who have less, far, far less than all the people you mentioned in the above post and how I personally pull the rug out from under “my own”…

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I reckon if you read DoS’ comment again you will see that he spells the answer out for you pretty clearly.

                    Meanwhile I’m interested in what answers you have for him.

                    • Jeremy Harris

                      To be perfectly honest I’m disgusted by the attitude that helping some of the poorest people in the world is intrepreted as bad…

                      The solutions to the problems he lists are not all best solved by government intervention and force…

                      It’s pathetic to think only the left care about these issues and that the right are responsible for them…

                    • burt

                      Jeremy

                      I’m with you on this one. But forgive them, when you talk about spending that much money they have a lefty reflex reaction and start calling you a rich prick. Once the half thinkers start hearing a person being called a rich prick they just instantly start chanting the same denigrations their parents use to chant about their rich prick boss.

                      Good on you and good on your family, I think you are spending the money where it is most needed.

                      And I’m with you all the way that high taxes and middle class welfare undermine personal charity. People do indeed say to themselves ‘we pay taxes to look after people like you’. Now that might not stop them throwing a few coins, but it certainly makes them think twice about giving their time and real money toward community projects.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      Jeremy you confuse criticism of charity as the main means of helping people versus more universal state support through taxation as a personal attack.

                      No-one here has said what your family do isn’t good or worthy.

                      History shows however that charity is more selective, more individually biased and less certain than more neutral state assistance.

                      Charity should be the icing on the cake – the assistance that comes in over top of providing a basic standard of living. We should all take some collective responsibility for this. If it’s good enough to collectively pay for a basic set of roading networks it is surely good enough to pay for people to also be maintained to a basic standard. People are more important than the roads at the end of the day.

                      Support for people shouldn’t sole depend on personal choice. Why for instance does your family particularly help Tibet. Why not South Auckland, Somalia, Amazonian tribes, Samoa.

                      Why not drug addicts or prostitutes, why not pregnant single women who have been impregnated by male married men.

                    • Jeremy Harris

                      I don’t care about your charity work

                      Explain to me why it’s good to help an overseas community

                      No-one here has said what your family do isn’t good or worthy.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      “I don’t care about your charity work when I see my neighbours…….”

                      You can’t remove the qualification in my sentence and turn it into an absolute then argue that I said the absolute. It’s a question of my priority as to where I think effort should be put.

                      You also do the same with the second quote – you remove the qualification.

                      In answer to your second point however when you propose benevolent charity as a better alternative ( rather than an additional support ) for helping people when history shows it is not a better system – maybe look past recent history and look back to before there were welfare systems and all help depended on charity work and you will see what I mean. Those benevolent factory owners and ship builders had more relative wealth than any of us would ever dream of having) then you are pulling the rug out from under your own communities. That’s an opinion on what you are saying. I disagree with you. Simple as that.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Disappointed to see that Jeremy is using dishonest language tactics. Hey Jeremy, you do know that we can scroll upwards and see what someone actually wrote, yeah?

                    • Jeremy Harris

                      I was taking the piss yes, but DoS implied very clearly that it is wrong to help people in third world countries via private charity when there are people in need in NZ…

                      The two full quotes quite clearly show this belief:

                      I don’t care about your charity work when I see my neighbours and friends and family members lose their jobs, when I see their relationships break up, when I see them lose their houses.

                      Explain to me why it’s good to help an overseas community while at the same time pulling the rug out from under your own.

                      So I’m really not interested in his weasel word drawback from his position as is clearly shown by a expansion of the third quote:

                      Jeremy you confuse criticism of charity as the main means of helping people versus more universal state support through taxation as a personal attack.

                      No-one here has said what your family do isn’t good or worthy.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      Now you resort to name calling. The last bastion of the inarticulate.

                      No I didn’t say it was wrong I said I (me) didn’t care about your (families) charity work in Tibet.

                      I’m not sure I can say that any more simply.

                      I care even less now.

                      I’m simply espousing a selective charity world view where the benevolent pick who they help and the rest be damned. I’ve chosen to help others than Tibetans – sorry guys but it’s my money and that’s the choice I’ve made.

                    • Jeremy Harris

                      I didn’t call you a name… I said you used a weasel word argument, I may be many things but I do have the ability to string a sentence of coherent words together…

                      The work is in India not Tibet…

                      You misrepresent my view, that’s okay you clearly don’t understand it… Here’s what I said previously:

                      Healthcare and Education services are things many people will purchase, so immeaditely the numbers we are talking about that charity have to provide for is a fraction of what you claim…

                      Churches, NGOs, volunteer organisations already do massive amounts of work in our community, there are more non paid hours worked in our community than paid, the systems are there but not the money isn’t, many are competing with poorly spent government funds…

                      Let me ask you a question, when you give to charity (if you do), do you call up the IRD and ask their form to pay more taxes (yes this form does exist) or do you give money to a private charity..? I assume you give to the IRD as you claimed you want 50% tax rates as surely you wouldn’t be found not practising what you preach..?

                      If you do give to a private charity instead maybe you should ask yourself why…

                      I have faith in the good nature of most of humanity that if paying very low taxes they would contribute to take care of their fellow man, especially as productivity rises quickly when unemcumbered by taxation, you obviously think of humanity as a bunch of assholes you have to be bent to your (morally superior) will…

                      In a society where we are unemcumbered to produce for ourselves, there will be a lot more wealth, there would be a fraction of the population who needed help via charity, I have faith in the majority of people to freely give and organise to help their fellow man, 95% of people, noth wealthy and not, are basiclly decent… I don’t believe such a society would be based on the benevolance of the “rich pricks” who you obviously blame for a large amount of the problems in life… I think the government and it’s high tax rates are the problem, I saw it first hand from when my parents arrived in Auckland in 1983 with a baby (me), a Toyota and $150… At every step taxes hindered them in keeping Dad’s company afloat and creating employment and products for others, insuring themselves, privately educating my brother and I and funding my father’s charity (which he started in 1983 too when we had nothing)…

                      My beliefs are driven by faith in humanity, yours are driven by mistrust of humanity…

                  • Colonial Viper

                    My beliefs are driven by faith in humanity, yours are driven by mistrust of humanity…

                    I think that statement represents a deep oversimplication.

                    Rational economic actors are not driven by anything other than considerations of economic utility and minimising costs to themselves Jeremy. They are not going to look after someone elses’ interests, the interests of their community, or of the local lakes and rivers, often unless they are forced to.

                    Hence the role of external regulation and compulsion.

                    95% of people, noth wealthy and not, are basiclly decent

                    Sure, but this does not mean that they can fund, organise and lead themselves sufficiently as a group to replace the very important role Government has in leading and administering civilised society.

                    who you obviously blame for a large amount of the problems in life

                    You are doing an awful lot of your own psychological projecting on to what other people think and believe. Just thought you should know.

                    Just remember that when one in ten NZ’ers takes six slices of the wealth pie for himself, the other nine sitting at the table get to fight between themselves for the remaining four slices.

                    This is the reality when NZ’ers sit down and eat at the dinner table every day, and the inequality is steadily worsening.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    at every step taxes hindered them in keeping Dad’s company afloat and creating employment and products for others

                    You mean the taxes which helped to educate society so that your Dad could hire people who could read and write?

                    You mean the taxes which created the roading system which your Dad used to deliver products on, and which suppliers used to get materials to him?

                    You mean the taxes which created a network of telecommunications so that your Dad could conduct business with people on the other side of town, and on the other side of the country?

                    You mean the taxes which gave you vaccinations and trained the teachers who taught you in your private schools?

                    What, did you want all these things to be given to your Dad’s business and to you by the Government for free, while you took advantage of them to create good lives for yourselves?

                    You should have realised by now that living in a society with good infrastructure and good civil and public institutions costs a lot of tax dollars and that when you work and pay taxes, you do not just work for yourself you also work on behalf of your communities and the country.

                    • Jeremy Harris

                      People are already paying for these things, the government isn’t providing them for free, it is taxing people, then using the money very inefficiently to provide them, in many cases badly, and in many cases it is only subsidising them…

                      You do realise you just wrote a list of things people quite gladly pay for if the government doesn’t provide them, to think they’d disappear from society if government didn’t provide them is laughable…

    • KJT 7.5

      When your parents go to their rest home it will be someone educated at a state school who will be in charge of wiping their butts.
      Whose productive efforts will enable them to live a decent retirement.

      • Jeremy Harris 7.5.1

        How mature…

        Not really sure what this has to do with my statement that people who send their kids to private school pay twice but hope you feel better…

        • KJT 7.5.1.1

          That even if you send your own kids to private school you also benefit from the services provided by those who were publicly educated. You are not paying twice.

          • Jeremy Harris 7.5.1.1.1

            That you derive some benefit from someone else’s kid’s public education doesn’t mean you didn’t help pay for it on top of your own kid’s private education…

            Whether you benefit more than what you spent is a different argument…

            • felix 7.5.1.1.1.1

              Jeremy.

              Do we live in a society or in an economy?

            • burt 7.5.1.1.1.2

              Jeremy

              May I suggest your parents don’t retire in NZ. Clearly the country isn’t mature enough to appreciate their stellar efforts when dip shits get down to this level of denigration.

              Sure we think we live in a society, but when elderly care ass wiping is a paid job then we live in an economy.

              • Colonial Viper

                but when elderly care ass wiping is a barely paid job

                Fixed that for ya

              • Vicky32

                Jeremy said “who still has his lunch money from the first grade ” which to me indicates he’s American, so there’s little or no chance his parents will retire here! Prolly Floriduh… 🙂
                Someone has to wipe donkeys, Burt. My daughter in law does that job, because she loves her “ladies” which is lucky as she gets paid in washers.
                Do you honestly think anyone will wipe your donkey for love, Burt? From my observation, the richer a family is, the likelier they are to put Gran in a home… It’s we working class people who look after our own.

                • Jeremy Harris

                  I’m a 6th generation NZer…

                  Someone, who was it, ah yes you, said not to make assumptions, apparently they make people look like prats…

                  The last part there is completely made up, what a sad, bitter person you are…

      • Swampy 7.5.2

        Is that because people educated at a state school are more likely to have low paid low skilled jobs is it?

    • Swampy 7.6

      Westmount is a private school run for members of a particular church according to their religious beliefs. The teacher introduced an English text to the curriculum without going through the proper channels of getting it approved by the school board. As something similar in policy probably exists in the better run State schools it is hardly surprising she found herself up on a disciplinary matter.

  8. tc 8

    Jeremy Harris step forward…..a job awaits you in the NACT policy department, like you they don’t look comprehensively just take a view that matched their agenda and run with it, damm the logic just run boy.

  9. john 9

    Personally I’m 90% sure that if the ACT-NAT party had their way 100%, Public Education would be completely Privatized and ordinary kiwis would be getting vouchers to purchase education at Private Schools. Obviously poorer kids would gravitate to poorer schools. This bunch,to my mind, are Insane! But good ole kiwis they love John’s smart suits and bland charming ways, they love the brand!

    • burt 9.1

      Obviously poorer kids would gravitate to poorer schools.

      The school zoning system takes care of that pretty well. Look at what happened to the Maori & PI role at Auckland Grammar when zoning was introduced.

      “At Auckland Grammar, for instance, there were a significant number of Maori and Pacific Island students, but now it’s gone right down [the number has dropped to 1.5% Maori and 2% Pacific Island from a high of 8% each, according to head John Morris]. That’s a sad thing. One student who had worked really hard to get into [Wellington College] and missed out on the ballot said all it had taught him was that life is just a lottery.

      see: http://www.listener.co.nz/issue/3430/features/5446/school_wars.html

      The quote is from page 2.

      • Irascible 9.1.1

        If I recall correctly Auckland Boys Grammar doesn’t have a zone – it has a strangely drawn “sphere of influence” that has been designed to exclude the high concentrations of Maori + Pacific Island populations that would otherwise fall into a more accurately drawn zone.

        • burt 9.1.1.1

          It’s not alone in that regard. Wellington College is another fine example. There are people living within 2km of the school who are outside of zone and people 10-15km away who are in.

          I don’t think it is about excluding certain groups as such, it is more about making sure enough kids are required to attend less desirable schools. It’s all about making it easy for the central administration rather than catering for parental choice.

      • Descendant Of Smith 9.1.2

        Ethnic Groups in Auckland Region, 2006 Census

        European male 56.0% female 57.1%
        Māori male 11.0% female 11.2%
        Pacific peoples male 14.3% female 14.3%

        When you add the skew in both Maori and Pacific peoples to a younger population then the school age figures give even higher percentages.

        At Auckland Grammar, for instance, there were an insignificant number of Maori and Pacific Island students, but now it’s gone right down. The number has dropped to 1.5% Maori and 2% Pacific Island from a barely noticeable level of 8% each, according to head John Morris. That’s a sad thing.

        We were making some progress by headhunting the brightest and best from other schools with a few large rugby playing Pacific Islanders to bolster the first XV.

        There has been the odd occasion where we have let in the son of a gang leader. That drug money sure pays for a good education. They do have some socialisation problems however as they don’t have prospects running around looking after them. We might consider re-introducing fagging if we want to continue to capture this market.

        We’d also like to thank the well off old boys for all their support and money. We know there are plenty of low decile schools that don’t have an old boys network or even a PTA to raise money for them so we really appreciate that we don’t have to manage on an ever-decraesing budget like they do.

        We’d also like to thank the national government for adding sons of old boys to the priority list for out of zone schooling here. As most of our old boys are white no doubt our Maori and PI percentage will drop even further.

      • Logie97 9.1.3

        In the 1960’s Auckland Grammar was zoned. They were allowed 10 pcnt out of towners.

        If you were a potential sporting ‘colours badge’ or University Scholarship candidate you would be considered. Tibbs House was/is the hostel for many such people.
        Auckland Normal Intermediate and Remuera Intermediate were not the sole contributing schools then or now.

        Zoning is nothing new.

  10. Hilary 10

    I agree with this post. I spent years on boards in state schools ensuring we had good accountable policies on things like safety of students on school trips, prevention of bullying, pastoral care for students at risk etc. And that teaching standards and curriculum delivery were up to scratch. ERO always checked. Horrified when I found out that the local private schools didn’t need to have any of those things and could be taking students on school trips with unsafe equipment and dodgy adults. Clinicians will tell you that things like self-harming and alcohol and drug abuse are rife in posh private schools yet they don’t need to have any pastoral care. And minimal adherence to curriculum development and delivery is fine too.

    • ianmac 10.1

      Well said Hilary.

    • Swampy 10.2

      Can you explain how it is that you imply that private schools are not subject to the laws of the land, namely Occupational Safety and Health (which applies to all workplaces in NZ, of which schools obviously are)

  11. Ed 11

    Apart from being able to expel without notice, not having to measure and report on proficiency in relation to National Standards, and being able to push religious dogma that is effectively disclosed to parents enrolling children, just what sort of things can happen in relation to children’s welfare at a private school that are presumably subject to sanction at a state school?

    • Vicky32 11.1

      As Hilary has already said “when I found out that the local private schools didn’t need to have any of those things and could be taking students on school trips with unsafe equipment and dodgy adults.”

      • Swampy 11.1.1

        Meaning? Can you prove that private schools are not subject to the Health and Safety in Employment Act, a public piece of legislation that applies to all workplaces, of which schools obviously are.

        • Angel Garden 11.1.1.1

          Private schools are subject to the Health and Safety in Employment Act, but getting the law to work to protect children in any real way is almost impossible. The Ministry of Education publish a report on the MinEd website which states that the Board of a school allowing bullying to go unchecked for example should be liable by virtue of their employees failing to remove forseeable hazards, (a bullying child being the forseeable hazard), ask the Ministry or OSH however, and they will deny this. According to Patrick Walsh, who co-wrote the report, it is “untested”. What that means is that some individual has got to cough up a lot of dough to take a private law-suit to create precedent. This is the ONLY law that currently applies (apart from contract law, Bill of Rights, and other costly private lawsuits). The point I am trying to get over is that private schools are not even required by law to inform parents – yet the mantra of choice keeps getting louder. That law is 100 years old, In “modernising” it, Anne Tolley has chosen to leave it like that. How can ignorant parents (and they are ignorant with most believing that they are cosily protected under the Education Act) be said to be making any kind of a “choice”?

    • Crumble 11.2

      I also think, but I’m not 100% sure, they don’t have to hire registered teachers like State or State integrated schools do.

    • Swampy 11.3

      So they don’t want to do National Standards. Well the teachers unions agree with that, don’t they?

      Are you advocating mass State indoctrination without choice?

      All schools are subject to the law of the land, there are a lot of very good private schools. If some leftie government in the future decides to take away the choice they are just leading us down the path to c*mm*n!sm.

      • Ed 11.3.1

        So why are National giving a choice to private schools regarding National Standards but not giving the same choice to state schools, Swampy? Is that what you mean my mass State indoctrination without choice? Are NACT just being authoritarian for the hell of it?

    • Anything can happen in relation to children’s welfare. National Guidelines don’t apply to private schools unless they want to follow them. Unbelievably, they can honestly do whatever they like, and unless somebody fancies blowing 40K on a civil lawsuit, under National that’s how it’s gonna stay. This short satirical video explains…….www.youtube/safetotell

  12. Logie97 12

    Professor Dolores Umbridge appears in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. If ever there was a caricature of Anne Tolley, this has to be it. Fully recommend watching it.
    For a synopsis of the Professor though you could visit http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Dolores_Umbridge

    Think of the introduction of National Standards while you watch.

    … She taught according to a politically-restricted curriculum which entailed learning strictly the theory of Defence Against the Dark Arts, without any practical applications. She, and the Ministry for that matter, believed that a theoretical knowledge would be more than sufficient to get the students through their examinations and that as long as the students had studied the theory hard enough, there would be no reason why they should not be able to perform the spells…

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