Parents are getting boilerplate responses from Chris Hipkins

Chris Hipkins (obviously) dealing with a significant number of communications from New Zealanders worried about what Labour is doing to Charter schools

Parents and other concerned New Zealanders continue to e-mail Education Minister Chris Hipkins in a vain attempt to get their questions answered about what is going to happen to their children who are currently enrolled in Charter schools.

I have been sent copies of e-mails sent to Hipkins as well as his responses which appear to be almost identical no matter what questions were asked by the parents and what issues were raised in the e-mail. The boilerplate responses suggest to me one of two things. Either they are being inundated with e-mails from concerned parents and voters on the issue and they simply do not have the manpower to craft an individual response to each one or they simply don’t care. 

Here is just one example of the hundreds of e-mails sent to Hipkins:

To be clear, does this mean my child will be ‘transitioned’ into a mainstream public education system?

He is dyslexic and has Auditory Processing Disorder, public schools in my area certainly do NOT easily accommodate for such children, they just become another child in the ‘system’ who leaves school early because it is too difficult. It is a real shame that the government see no place for the Charter School model in New Zealand.  I bet if one of ‘the governments’ children had learning difficulties such as my son, they wouldn’t be put into the mainstream education system – it fails so many children every year and especially those whom have such difficulties to begin with.

Having smaller class sizes has been made a significant difference for my son, he has come home sharing so much he has learnt already. He is actually enjoying the learning for the first time in many years, he has the opportunity to really be heard and for his teachers to spend extra time with him when needed. I know my son is not the only child in this situation – there are so many.  I know this as I work in the Education System at a local school.

It’s completely unreasonable to expect someone like myself, a working mum, to afford private schooling as an alternative, or just through him back into over sized classrooms where he will drown.

Not happy at all, no one is really listening to the children and families of these schools at all.

Watch out NZ, things are becoming more and more like America, the people are nothing.


Boilerplate response number one:

Dear [redacted] ,
Thank you for your email of 9 February 2018.

This government recognises the importance that famillies/whānau and community play in young New Zealanders’ education. I appreciate your writing to me on these issues and I want to emphasise that we have put students at the centre of our work in the education portfolio.

This emphasis is no different for our approach to Charter Schools. We have been consistent with our messaging prior to the election that we do not see a place for the Charter School model in New Zealand, and one of the reasons for this is the flexibility and scope evident within the current public education system. We are committed to utilising this flexibility and adapting it where need be, to ensure success for all students.

The Ministry of Education is having discussions with each of the Charter Schools to explore options for them to potentially transition into the wider public school education system or to become a private school.

As part of any change, a charter school’s contract will need to be brought to an end as they transition to a new form of school. It is a necessary step, required by law.
In the interest of whānau and students who attend the schools we are working hard to make any such transition as straightforward and seamless as possible.

The Government is committed to transparency and we and the schools will be endeavouring to update parents, communities and students as we move through the process in good faith.

Kind Regards,

Hon Chris Hipkins

 


Boilerplate response number two:

Dear [redacted],

As promised before the election, the Government has started the process of ending the charter school model. We have been consistent in our view and have made a principled decision to remove this corporatised, deregulated model.

The Government believes, and Labour has long believed, that a strong and well-resourced public education system is fundamental to New Zealand’s ongoing success. The charter school model is a distraction from this. It does not require schools to teach the NZ Curriculum or to employ qualified teachers, and it allows schools to be run for a profit.

For currently existing charter schools, however, the Ministry of Education has started discussions to explore options for them to potentially transition into the wider public school education system or to become a private school.

As part of any change, a charter school’s contract will need to be brought to an end as they transition to a new form of school. It is a necessary step, required by law.
In the interest of whānau and students who attend the schools we are working hard to make any such transition as straightforward and seamless as possible.

The Government is committed to transparency and we will be endeavouring to update parents, communities and students as we move through the process in good faith.

Kind Regards,

Hon Chris Hipkins

It is worth noting this comment from one of my sources regarding the two boilerplate responses. After reading them their reaction was…

His Ministry is not doing what he says they are doing. Where Hipkins says: ” It is a necessary step, required by law.” he is preempting the work of the select committee and the House in that the Education Amendment Bill is not yet “law.” He is on the wrong side of the democratic process.


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