Hekia Parata

Two Politicians, two very different parties but a common belief in a ‘ Fair go ‘

After the story of the Student teacher hit the headlines I approached three politicians for comment and their responses are below. Two of them have a common belief in a ‘fair go’ for the Student teacher which is heartening to see.

Labour Party’s Spokesperson for Education, Chris Hipkins

Chris Hipkins

Chris Hipkins,Labour Party’s spokesperson for Education.

I don’t comment on specific employment matters.

On the general issue, I would expect all trainee teachers to be given full support to complete their qualifications. They should not be discriminated against based on gender, race, sexuality, past employment, or future employment prospects.

– Chris Hipkins

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Face of the day

Minister of Education Hekia Parata

Minister of Education Hekia Parata

Today’s face of the day spoke at an alternative education conference that I attended 2-3 years ago. I was impressed by her and thought her speech was entertaining and intelligent. She stood out as many of the others were not skilled public speakers and while well-meaning did not hold my attention. I told Cameron when I got home that I liked her and thought that he should tone down what he was writing about her at the time.

When I e-mailed Ms Parata the other day I had high hopes. This I thought, was an opportunity for me to show Cam how wrong he was. A strong statement from Ms Parata regarding the PPTA’s discriminatory actions and the governments full support of its Partnership/Charter Schools would go a long way to changing his opinion of her.

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DIrty Media – NZ Herald manipulates letter from David Seymour

The NZ Herald has been playing dirty media again, this time manipulating a letter from David Seymour challenging their hit piece on Charter Schools.

Seymour is not one to back down and has published an image showing the blatant manipulations by the NZ Herald.

dirty-media-nzherlad Read more »

PPTA will be outraged over this!

The government is spending $298 million on four new schools via a PPP (i.e. a private company is making a profit).

Education Minister Hekia Parata last week signed the $298 million contract with the Future Schools Partners (FSP) consortium to finance, design, construct, and maintain Ormiston Junior College in Auckland, Aranui Community Campus and Rolleston Secondary School in Canterbury and Wakatipu High School in Queenstown.

Eventually this will cover 6000 students and the set up cost equates to $9.83 million per 200 children.

Charter Schools are all charitable and their set-up equates to $1.12 million per 200 children.    Read more »

Scumbag NZEI Union attacks teachers!

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The other day we came across a media release by the Early Childhood Council. Anyone standing up to the intimidation and bullying by scumbag unions deserves a second look

It all started with the Herald’s education writer Kirsty Johnston losing her employer more readers as she swallowed the barbed hook of the NZEI spin winding up parents of young kids.

NZ Educational Institute president Louise Green said: “With corporates, their first priority is to return money to shareholders. In community-based services the first priority is always children.

“I think people can see a lot of money in education. You have to ask yourself why so many people are getting into it.”

Typical union tactic, say it’s all about protecting kids, but really its about attacking businesses.   Read more »

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Reader content: A QUIET review of Special Education

The Ministry of Education has announced a review of the provision of Special Education in New Zealand. Well “announced” is perhaps too stronger word.
Special Education provides support for numerous children in New Zealand with special educational needs. These children have a huge diversity of needs and issues. These issues can range from health issues to blindness to hearing loss to developmental issues to autism to dyslexia – the list goes on.
Provision of Special Education has always been a difficult issue. The range of needs is wide. The support needs are extremely individual. Historically the government has struggled to find a way to meet the range and the individuality.
In recent times organisations advocating in this field have been asking for a review. Minister Parata has obviously listened.
This all sounds well and good… until you try to find out about the review.

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Budget announcements coming thick and fast

Just to take all the heat out of budget day (21st), the “leaking” has started

Four new state schools will be built around the country as a result of a $244 million spend in the education sector in this year’s Budget, the Prime Minister says.

John Key made the announcement in a pre-Budget speech at Wellington’s Te Papa in front of a Business NZ function this afternoon.

While Mr Key didn’t give many details away about next month’s Budget, he did reveal two details about spending which also included an $80M boost to research and development funding for Callaghan Innovation.

As part of the Budget spend in education, Rototuna Senior High School in Hamilton, a primary school near Rolleston in Christchurch and two primary schools in Auckland – one in Kumeu and another at Scott Point, will be created.

The money will also go into three new kura kaupapa Maori schools in Whakatane, Gisborne and Hastings.

It’s the way to try and control some of the news cycle leading up to the budget.  I mean, who can argue with new schools where they are needed?

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Charter School defenders proven wrong

As you may recall,  Te Pumanawa o te Wairua School, in Whangaruru, Northland is a charter school that has been given four weeks to get its act together or face closure.   I’ve criticised Hekia Parata of this mess on two fronts.  One, she should never have allowed this school to come about in the first place – the warning signs were there.  Two, she should have closely managed its success, as the Charter School flagship schools could not be allowed to fail.

The school faced a clear list of shortcomings, but many people, including my own readers, oddly enough, defended Parata and the school blaming the ‘difficult’ kids who had been out of the school system too long.  I found this gob smacking.  That was a known going in.  That was the very issue that needed fixing.

A report was released yesterday that also totally debunks it being the kids’ fault.

Documents released today, including an annotated report written by the ministry’s deputy secretary or sector enablement and support Katrina Casey , identified school management as the cause of the issues – which include truancy, a falling roll and underachievement.

“The on-going issues present at the school are directly attributable to the quality of the leadership and management running the school,” it said.

Next to that comment, Ms Parata had written: “YES”.

The report went on to say the Ng? Parirau M?tauranga Trust, which had the contract to run the school, needed to replace the leadership team with suitable appropriate and experienced personnel. Only in that case could it make a swift recovery.

It said a trust member had taken a part time operational role in the school this year, but it was “not clear they have the required skills to effectively manage the Education Director or the operations of the school”.

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Trouble in coalition land?

We’ve had two terms when the National-led coalition government did a pretty good job at presenting a united front.  With the exception of Peter Dunne, who already went troppo over the last few years (did this coincide with legal highs?), the other partners didn’t openly defy National.

That has changed.  In spite of National being returned with a record-breaking 3rd term majority under MMP, its coalition partners and indeed National itself are now openly fighting in front of the kids.

There won’t be a referendum on national super while John Key is Prime Minister.

He has shot down ACT leader David Seymour’s call for the people to decide how superannuation should be funded.

Mr Seymour told his party’s annual conference on Saturday the current scheme wasn’t viable in the long term and there had to be changes to make it financially sustainable.

He wants an expert group appointed to come up with options for a referendum, and says raising the age from 65 isn’t the only one available.

Mr Key isn’t interested and says Mr Seymour, a government ally, didn’t talk to him before raising the issue.

“I read about it in the newspaper,” he said.

“There won’t be a referendum. The National Party is clear on super – the age should stay at 65 and the entitlement at 66 percent (of the average wage).”

During the 2008 election campaign, which he won, Mr Key pledged that if there was any change to national super under his watch he would resign from parliament.

There you go.  “Don’t broadside me in the media, son”, says Key to minnow David.   “We do these things behind the scenes where I can tell you to stop playing games.”

Says one commenter:

John Key has no problem spending $26 million on flag referendum but unwilling to spend any money on one as important as the future financial security of our country and how to fund superannuation.

But add this to Peter Dunne and the Maori Party being extremely vocal against sending New Zealand troops to Iraq, and in public at least, this coalition government looks far from a cohesive team.

I don’t get a sense this is by design.   Key’s having trouble with his back bench, can’t see eye to eye with Joyce who wants to keep giving money away to SkyCity and Team New Zealand no matter the public opposition, had to pull the plug on Parata’s charter schools, is getting constant static from Bill English over delivering a surplus, and he’s now bickering with coalition partners through the media.

To seasoned observers, these are interesting developments.

– NZN via 3 News

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Government’s confidence takes a knock over charter schools

If they work (and they do), we need to have more of them, but the Government has put a stop to more Charter School applications.

The Education Minister has ruled out any chance of a third round of charter school applications this year.

Hekia Parata’s statement, made to Parliament today, comes amidst concern over a Northland charter school.

Earlier today, it was revealed Parata had signed off on Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru charter school in Northland, despite ministry concerns the school had not outlined a “safe environment” for students.

Parata received a glowing reference for Whangaruru school, near Whangarei, from the authorisation board and after considering both sets of advice she authorised the school to go ahead in September 2013.

The school has since lost a quarter of its roll and has dealt with issues of attendance, bullying, drug use and management infighting.

So Parata has one (rather spectacular) failure, and that’s it?  No more charter schools?   Read more »