Jacinda Ardern ‘throwing the babies out with the bathwater’

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater

A solo mother has said that the private school scholarships for underprivileged students that Jacinda Ardern’s government is terminating ‘made the impossible possible’.

New Zealander of the Year in 2014 and well-known Kaitaia doctor Lance O’Sullivan is also a mentor to 13-year-old Malachi Donnelly, one of the last recipients of a national scholarship supporting underprivileged kids into private high schools.

The Government announced on Tuesday it was scrapping the Aspire scholarship scheme, designed by National and ACT in 2009.

John Key kept the Labour policy changes that he inherited and even expanded one or two of them. Labour, in complete contrast, seems determined to slash and burn anything of value created by National and ACT no matter what the consequences to underprivileged kids and the demographic of Maori and Pasifika, which Jacinda claims to care so much about.

SHELLEY TURNER/SUPPLIED
Dr Lance O’Sullivan with Malachi Donnelly, 13, after Malachi started at St Paul’s Collegiate School in Hamilton in 2018.

[…] “I’m really excited he’s going to St Paul’s on the Aspire scholarship,” O’Sullivan said. “But I’m really gutted that, because of dirty politics, the Government is pulling these scholarships from this boy and many like him. This is a poor show.”

Oooh, Jacinda’s government is being accused of ‘dirty politics’ – how delicious.

Malachi’s mother, Shelley Turner, a sole parent on a low income, was disappointed to hear the scheme had been axed.

“From a financial perspective, the Aspire scholarship made the impossible possible. From a social perspective, I can be most things, but I can’t be a dad. And I’ve learned that boys need positive male role models to thrive. St Paul’s fills that gap,” she said.

“I think, as a nation, we have a social responsibility to care for the less advantaged. As a taxpayer I am more than happy to make a contribution towards the Aspire scholarship. It makes a huge difference to low-income families.”

Jacinda Ardern claims that her government has a social responsibility to care for the less advantaged yet she is taking away opportunities from children for purely ideological reasons. Like with Charter schools, anything linked in any way to a private-type system (no matter how successful) runs contrary to her determination to have the state in control of education. ‘One size fits all’ is her party’s mantra.

[…] O’Sullivan has worked with many young Māori Aspire scholarship winners, and their “incredible need to be supported” was evident, he said.

Over half the scholarship recipients were Māori and Pacific. That [the scholarship] was intentionally targeted towards those young citizens in New Zealand we need to do better for,” he said.

“I work in the space of trying to create young Māori ‘superleaders’. They have to have skills that put them heads and shoulders above the others in their community so they can be seen. This young boy I’m mentoring at St Paul’s is one of those boys I believe could be the standout leader in his community, for his peers and elders.”

New Zealand needed to invest in its future leaders, he said.

“I have always believed this is an opportunity to take children out of a place that probably isn’t going to contribute to their long-term future in a positive way, and expose them to a different part of New Zealand, to higher education opportunities.”

O’Sullivan said he felt the decision seemed “incredibly politically motivated“.

“I despair of a situation where we have politics in New Zealand that influence the potential positive outcomes for young New Zealanders in this manner,” he said.

“Throwing the babies out with the bathwater is the wrong approach.”

He said it was unclear what the Government’s main concern was.

What is it that they are saving?” he asked.

“Review the scholarship, review the criteria … but if you can’t say that it’s not working the way you want, you shouldn’t make a rash call and just cancel it.”

Associate Education Minister Jenny Salesa said the Government’s election manifesto made it clear the scholarship would be cancelled.

“We were concerned about the efficacy of the scheme, as the design of the scholarships relied on self-selection and provided a high level of funding to a very small number of students,” she said.

Translation: If you can’t help everyone it is best to help no one. 

“We considered administrative data on the profile of scholarship holders, including the decile of their previous school, ethnicity, and achievement. This information showed that 14.4 per cent of those who took up scholarships between 2009 and 2017 were already able to attend a private school before receiving an Aspire Scholarship.”

Translation: We need an excuse to cancel a perfectly good scheme so will pretend that the remaining 85.6 percent of students who couldn’t attend the school without the assistance of the Aspire scholarship aren’t important.

Salesa said there were no costs involved in the cancellation of the scheme, and the savings from the cancellation of the scholarships would be used towards the state schooling system.

Translation: The state system will ‘save’ around $2.31 per student (this has nothing to do with saving money; it is purely ideologically driven).

“We are yet to make decisions about how this funding will be used, but it will be re-invested to help make our system fairer,” she said.[…]

Translation: We will use it to buy some biscuits for a few teacher union meetings.

 

– Stuff


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