Tuesday, 7 August 2018

The Good, the Bad and the Very Ugly

Government's Spiteful Behaviour

Maori, particularly Maori educators are continuing to express their disgust and anger at the New Zealand Labour Government shutting down charter schools.  This decision has nothing to do with the quality of education being provided.  It has everything to do with the demands of teacher unions who are incestuously cuddled up to the Labour Government.  There is an old proverb about cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.  The Government is in the process of doing precisely that when it comes to education.
A Murupara-based long-time educator has hit out at the Education Minister's decisions to close partnership schools in favour of special character schools.  Pem Bird, who won the 2018 Matariki Award for contribution to education, said, in his opinion, Chris Hipkins' actions were "profoundly disrespectful".

"It's condemning these children to return to a system where Māori and Pasifika underachievement is chronic, intractable and systemic."  Bird said partnership schools were making a positive difference for Māori and Pasifika students.  "They are thriving in these culturally inclusive and wairua uplifting environments," Bird said.  "In mainstream schools where 95 per cent of Māori are concentrated, they are routinely failed. According to figures issued by this Coalition Government, on an average school day around half of all Māori and Pasifika secondary school pupils are truant.
The Ministry of Education prefers this status quo of failure to continuing with Charter Schools which have achieved some very positive results in the few short years they have existed.  [NZ Herald  Emphasis, ours.]
Dr Lance O'Sullivan, another highly respected voice, has also condemned the Government's oppressive tactics in closing charter schools for no good reason.

Prominent Maori leader Dr Lance O’Sullivan has added his support to the campaign launched by Sir Toby Curtis against the closure of Charter Schools.  Dr O’Sullivan met with Sir Toby this week to pledge his support for the campaign and thank him for the role Sir Toby played in his own education pathway.

“I was a student who failed twice in the traditional education system. It was only when I had the privilege of attending a school where my own culture and language was valued and encouraged that I understood that I had the ability to succeed and create a better life not only for me and my family, but also for others,” Dr O’Sullivan said.  “The traditional state school model works for a large proportion of students, but many Maori and Pacific Island students in particular are under-achieving in this system.  I have been astounded at the huge increase in academic achievement for Maori and Pacifica students that charter schools have achieved, and it is a tragedy that what is working so well for these students has been taken away.”

Dr O’Sullivan said he had talked with many students in charter schools and the common theme was that for the first time in their lives they had experienced the structure, discipline, caring and hope that encouraged them to take a more positive attitude to their education and their future.  “There is absolutely no doubt that charter schools have worked very well for Maori and Pacifica students.   I simply do not understand why the Government has insisted on closing down a model that has worked so well and has forced these schools to become integrated into a state system that failed so many of their students,” he said. 

“I urge the Government to put aside their ideological view that only the State can provide a decent education to New Zealand children.    Charter schools have proven that thousands of young New Zealanders who were previously truant, uninspired and isolated have found  a bright future within the charter school model.  These young New Zealanders deserve encouragement and positive reinforcement for turning their lives around.  I am simply gutted that other young New Zealanders who deserve an education which works for them will no longer have that opportunity,” Dr O’Sullivan said.

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