Hekia Parata

How dirty is Bill playing?

You’ve got to admire Bill English. He has managed to achieve a coronation. His team worked hard, but then again they had two months to plan to gazump everyone else.

But there are some concerning anti-democratic tendencies starting to emerge from the fog of war.

By convention whips are supposed to stay out of the fray. Of course, John Carter broke that in rinsing Bill English the first time. However, the whips were very active in backing Bill English, especially Jami-Lee Ross who was running the numbers for Bill English and was the person who leaked to Patrick Gower.

What was astonishing however was the appointment to two other MPs to act as scrutineers in Monday’s vote. Hekia Parata and Chester Borrows were appointed and there were cries of foul deeds. Hekia Parata is well known as a Bill English supporter and so is Chester Borrows. Hekia told caucus that she could be trusted and fair to much sniggering behind people’s hands.

You might think that isn’t too bad, so what, why am I making a big deal?   Read more »

Parata to make “prison cells” inside schools illegal

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Education Minister Hekia Parata is planning to introduce new legislation to make the rooms illegal, saying they are unacceptable and it needs to be clear in the law.

The Ombudsman is investigating the use of such rooms in schools, following complaints about Miramar Central School in Wellington and Ruru Specialist School in Invercargill.

At the Miramar school, one 11-year-old boy, described as autistic and with the mental age of a toddler, was reportedly put in the room 13 times in nine days. Read more »

Next education minister will be too meek to be any use, says Chris Holden

The next Education Minister needs to take on and destroy the teacher unions, but Chris Holden reckons they will be as meek as a mouse.

One could easily be forgiven for thinking Parliament is increasingly becoming a place where MPs are more concerned about their public profile and political ambitions than they are about implementing real change.

In my view Hekia Parata was different.

Why? Because Hekia Parata couldn’t care less what people think of her, no matter how many union busses were parked on the Parliamentary forecourt bearing unionists armed to the teeth with placards and megaphones protesting against her proposed changes.

Appointed as the Minister of Education in 2011, Hekia Parata had one single political ambition: Lift the standard of educational outcomes in New Zealand.

I saw this first hand while I worked in Hekia’s ministerial office on the fifth floor of the Beehive last year.

Looking back, there was no such thing as a too-hard basket in Hekia’s office.

Rather, there was a flying pig hanging from the ceiling over a boardroom-style table, which exists as a symbolic representation of Hekia’s unrivalled dedication to achieve what some might consider the politically impossible.

As the Minister of Education, Hekia had to front-foot hard, controversial and often unpopular decisions.

She had to close schools, defend charter schools (a product of ACT’s confidence and supply agreement with National) and oversee a review of the Education Act.

In my view, Hekia Parata will leave Parliament sometime next year with the firmly held belief the education system is in a better place than when she took over the portfolio from Anne Tolley.

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Teacher unions happy to see the back of tone-deaf Parata

The teacher unions have never been happy with a single Education Minister, ever. It is no surprise they are happy to see the back of Hekia Parata.

During her time Ms Parata clashed with education groups including teacher unions. She told reporters she hoped she would be leaving with a mutually respectful relationship with the unions.

“I have tried to involve the unions early in decision-making processes, I’ve set up forums where they are involved. They’re on every key working group since I’ve been in this role,” she said.

That was her one mistake. You can’t deal honourably or constructively or even respectfully with teacher unions, ever.

And to show that is true the teacher unions have been dancing on her political grave.

The president of early childhood and primary school teacher union Educational Institute, Louise Green, said that inclusiveness was triggered by the government’s failed 2012 attempt to increase class sizes.

“Were they opportunities where we were really listened to? There were times when we felt that our voice was heard and there are other times that we felt that we weren’t.”

PPTA president Angela Roberts said when the minister did listen, things went well, but that did not always happen.

“When she has allowed herself and her ministry to engage sincerely with us, the profession, we’ve been able to see some interesting and good policies come through, such as the resourcing of collaboration between schools. And when she doesn’t, we get disastrous ideas.”

Ms Roberts said the government’s policies under Ms Parata had been a mixed bag.

“The collaboration between schools is at a very very early stage yet, it is the first time anyone has tried to push back against the collaborative model, but it is all going to be undermined by things like the COOLs (online schools) and bulk funding.”

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Parata presents premature porky pre-election promises

Announced on a Sunday morning:

Cambridge High School and Ngaruawahia High School in the Waikato will both undergo major redevelopments, Education Minister Hekia Parata announced today.

“Around $8 million will be invested in Ngaruawahia High School, and around $9 million will be spent redeveloping Cambridge High School,” says Ms Parata.

“Both schools have issues such as leaky buildings or classrooms that are old and in poor condition, so this will be welcome news for their communities.

“At Ngaruawahia, an existing classroom block will be demolished and replaced with a new block that will also function as a marae support space outside of school hours.

“Existing technology and administration blocks will also be refurbished, and seismic strengthening will be carried out on some buildings.

“At Cambridge, a new two-storey block will be built to replace an old 1953 block that’s past its use-by date, and a number of other buildings will be remediated to address weathertightness issues. Read more »

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Pretend token empty symbolism smashed to pieces

This is a great example of Metiria Turei been owned by Hekia Parata.  Turei asked a stilted question in Maori to a Minister who is a fluent speaker, as you can imagine she smashed Turei.

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Online learning will supplement and complement what traditional schools offer

The fear mongering in the press releases from the Green party and the PPTA have been put to rest by Hekia Parata. A recent speech in Parliament made it very clear that online learning will not be replacing traditional schooling. Instead, as I had predicted in my post this week it will complement traditional education. While she did say ” in whole or in part ” that is likely a reference to it replacing the current correspondence school model.

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Schools doing checks to get around crim-protecting NZEI

Education Minister Hekia Parata says there are more checks in place now than when Robert Burrett was able to move from school to school, and the rules for teachers could now be extended to other staff in schools, including caretakers and bus drivers.

Fifteen years ago, Stephen Parry was Board Chair at Te Kuiti’s Pukenui School.

They tried firing Robert Burrett as Deputy Principal after claims of incompetence and drinking on the job.

But the NZEI union defended Burrett, who finally left the school following mediation and a confidential payout.

“The Union perhaps needs to ask itself why — if they knew what they did back in 2001 in terms of his inability or inappropriateness to teach — he was allowed to continue on in that role,” says Mr Parry.

While there was no evidence of inappropriate contact with children, he says the union was left in no doubt that Burrett was not fit to continue teaching.

The union is complicit in the harming of every victim by that piece of trash.   Read more »

And so the cover-up begins

Hekia Parata is handing the opposition a nice little cover-up scandal to beat the government with by refusing to have an inquiry into who was responsible for allowing child rapist Robert Burrett to continue to be near children despite years of alarm and warnings.

Minister Hekia Parata says there are no plans for an inquiry into how the Ministry of Education handled information about child rapist Robert Burrett, despite mounting pressure from the Opposition.

The former bus driver and school caretaker was investigated for making sexual comments two years before his arrest.

Burrett raped and sexually assaulted 12 school girls, some disabled and others as young as five years old.

The question is whether the Ministry of Education missed the warning signs.

An investigation into Burrett began in 2013 after he’d made inappropriate comments to a disabled schoolgirl.

Opposition MPs want an independent ministerial inquiry.   Read more »

Blunt decile system to get some tuning

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Funding schools based on students’ individual risk of underachievement is one of the options on the table as the government considers a shake-up of the decile system.

The Ministry of Education is considering making use of government-wide data about every child to allocate extra funding to those schools with students who are deemed to be at risk, the NZ Herald reports.

Schools would get more money for students who had at least one of four risk factors: a parent who had been to prison, if they or a sibling had suffered child abuse, if their family had relied on a benefit for a prolonged period, or if the child’s mother had no formal education.

The proposal is reportedly in its preliminary stages. Read more »