Anger over Chch Maori school closures
Thu, 11 Oct 2012 6:15p.m.
By Jessica Rowe
Opposition is hardening among Maori education schools in Christchurch that are earmarked for closure or merger.
They're puzzled why at the same time, an application for a new character school is being considered by the Ministry of Education, with principals calling the timing "ironic", "insensitive" and "fishy".
Stephanie Richardson is a parent and teacher at Te Whanau Tahi School which is proposed to merge with the only other kura kaupapa in Christchurch.
She says the ministry's timing for a new Maori education school is hard to understand.
“The Maori medium has been shrunk [and] all of a sudden a new school has been proposed. It just doesn't sit well at all. It's a bit fishy.”
The Government has proposed to close or merge seven out of 10 schools which offer Maori education in the quake damaged city.
Shirley Intermediate is one of them and principal Geoff Seive, attending a Pasifika leaders conference in Wellington today, says it's peculiar to propose closing and merging so many of the city's bilingual schools, and then looking at opening a new one.
“I would like to think if that's going to be replaced, there better be something good replacing it. And it's a great loss because a lot of community and whanau involvement goes into every unit.
“I want to defend my bilingual unit, I want to defend my school, Shirley Intermediate.”
The new character school is a Maori immersion school called Te Pa o Rakaihautu and it happens to be chaired by the Minister of Education's second cousin.
“If people were to look for ulterior motives, then they would say that that is quite suggestive,” Mr Seive says.
Ms Richardson doesn’t understand why this is happening.
“Ten thousand earthquakes couldn't do what Hekia's done to us as a community, to our kura family and as a whole of greater Christchurch.”
To avoid any perception of a conflict of interest, Ms Parata has transferred all matters relating to the application to Associate Minister of Education, Pita Sharples.
The Ministry of Education declined our request for an interview, but in a statement he denied there was any link between the proposal to merge the two kura, and the plans to open a new school.
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18/10/2012 6:20:39 p.m.
Dr. Cherie Taylor-Patel wrote:
Policies the Ministry of Education continue to support and roll out in schools are based on weak research, poor process and less that transparent motives. Our government should be looking to do good without doing harm. Creating league tables, introducing charter schools, underfunding kohanga reo and introducing flawed pay systems all undermine a state education system that is ranked 5th in the world. Graham Henry had a 83% success rate as an All Black coach and is hailed as an international success story. Our education system has an 83+% success rate and we are a failing system? We all want to support students to achieve success in learning. Labeling schools and students and undermining teachers are not strategies conducive to improving outcomes, just as they are not in rugby. Creating winners is about support, collaboration and utilizing expertise to improve coaches' abilities to get the best from their players. In education this expertise is found in Finland.
16/10/2012 12:14:51 a.m.
This is a disgrace. Ministry of Ed. are making it up as they go along. Why aren't media all over the Parata family nepotism- her sister 3IC at ministry as well!
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