This year I have been focused on getting a better deal for kids and families with learning needs such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, and autism spectrum. We had a Select Committee inquiry into the issues faced, but the Government was too scared to make the recommendations needed for actual change. Despite initiating the inquiry, I was […]
The proposed Education (Update) Bill is the Government’s statement about what the point of education is, and what it means to people. This week we had a day of Select Committee hearings in Auckland on the Bill. It’s a huge and complex piece of legislation. Some changes are sensible but it’s marred by some very […]
We need an education system that caters to all children, as is their human right.
Schools are undoubtedly stretched and underfunded to cope with students with high learning support needs. But this cannot justify the use of rooms (or cupboards) as spaces to forcibly isolate children. It has emerged via media that this practice continues in some schools for some children with learning support needs and children whose behaviour has […]
Last Thursday the disability and education communities held a rally at Parliament calling for proper funding for inclusive education.
It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant milestone on our journey to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi and right historical injustices. I […]
I am absolutely thrilled that today Parliament launched its live closed captioning service. For the first time since my election, I am finally able to follow the debate in the house from my office!
Yesterday there was a big meeting about the future of Salisbury School, a Nelson residential school for teenage girls with complex needs. The school is threatened with closure despite the High Court affirming the value of the school and despite endless testimonials of their contribution by former students and parents across the country. The Government […]
National have two flagship education policies which they have been pushing since 2008. A great deal of public money has been spent on both. Charter schools and National Standards are central to their strategy of supporting education as a business opportunity and focusing on measurement and assessment rather than learning. Both these policies have serious […]
A week is not enough but it can be a spring board to taking steps towards our national language, the first language of Aotearoa. So far it has been tau kē! We had the celebratory hīkoi through Te Upoko o Te Ika, hundreds of excited tamariki, waiata, haka and Te Reo kōrero. We heard that cute […]
The first phrase of conversational Maori I learned was, “Haere mai kare, whengua tō ihu.” (“Come here darling, blow your nose.”) It was our first time at kōhanga reo and I was new to the community and with a four-year-old and a new-born, keen to make new friends and learn te reo Māori at the same time.
Last night I watched a fascinating programme about the Otago University 45 year study of 1000 New Zealanders. It concluded that there are ways to intervene and support people who are at risk of becoming violent. One of the key findings was that early positive intervention could help our youngest people develop self awareness and […]
Budget 2016 is another step towards the free public education system being a memory from the past.
Improving access to digital information including news, current affairs, sports and popular shows through captioning, is something I am personally very passionate about.
Last week the Education and Science Select Committee visited the dyslexic student programme at Kapiti College. They invited us to visit them during the Inquiry into Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Autism Spectrum in schools which I initiated. We were hosted by the students and their teachers. The visit consisted of giving us a series of learning […]
It seems like a no brainer. If we teach the next generation the history of our country and give them some context for how we got to the present uneasy state of cultural confusion, we can hope to build better relationships in the future. Can’t we? After all, a petition calling for the Land Wars […]
So in one week the OECD finds poor kids are six times less likely to do well as rich kids, AND it finds that the teachers in poor schools are just as good as the teachers in rich schools. The Minister of Education Hekia Parata has a bee in her bonnet that it is teachers […]
This year I had a huge breakthrough in getting the Education and Science Select Committee to open an inquiry to investigate the identification of and support for students facing the significant challenges of dyslexia, dyspraxia, and autism spectrum disorders. We put the call out for submissions and were overwhelmed by the response. On the very […]
Yesterday the Government put out their Special Education Update and the Action Plan which is their response. I’ve spent the last month listening to the tears and rage of families and teachers at the Select Committee Inquiry that I initiated into special education, and I find the Government’s response alarmingly vague. The messages from the […]
We are well underway hearing from submitters to the Select Committee Inquiry into Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Autism issues in schools. The testimony has had considerable media coverage because it has been compelling and intense. The students and parents who have spoken to us have given us sometimes gruelling accounts of bullying, neglect and ignorance as […]
At this busy time of year, the Minister of Education has announced a review of aspects of the Education Act. Submissions close on Dec 14. There could hardly be a worse time for educators to engage with critical questions as they supervise and mark exams, organise prize giving and wrap up the year, but it […]
It is easy to take teachers for granted, I know I did as a student. However, on World Teachers’ Day I want to pay tribute to the true professionals of the craft of teaching. I want to pay tribute to teachers who are conscious liberators of students and their potential whether they are 4 years […]
The Minister for Pacific Affairs is supporting the value of Tuvalu’s language and culture this week – but in words, not deeds. Despite Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga stating he’s “committed to creating opportunities to share and promote Pacific cultures,” the value of Pacific heritage is consistently being undermined. A single celebratory week does little to […]
The Minister of Education Hekia Parata recently acknowledged the hardship of “persistent under underachievement and poor employment outcomes”. Her solution is to roll out targeted Professional Learning and Development (PLD) for teachers in Northland and East Coast. Like Hekia, I think PLD is very important, but we don’t think that targeting the teachers in regions […]
The trouble with the Charter school model is that it is a publicly funded experiment on children. The National Government has consistently put its desire to open charter schools ahead of the safety of the children in them, ignoring repeated warnings by the Ministry of Education. Some Charter schools may have small classes, more support, […]
Providing high quality teaching that caters to the specific needs of every child is an enormous challenge, but there is no investment more rewarding for society. Gifted Awareness Week gives us a chance to think about how diverse the needs of our children are and what extraordinary things can happen if we rise to the […]
This November access to the Student Loan scheme will be cut off at seven years seriously harming medical students. Studying to become a doctor takes years of hard work, dedication and intense study and it’s a blunt tool and completely counterproductive for Steven Joyce to pull the rug from under medical students and remove access […]
This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than at five as it is now. They will also be required to look for 20 […]
It’s not always easy being an icon and Playcentres tell me they are facing big challenges under the current economic and social circumstances. However this week Playcentres are celebrating their proud history and current contribution. Since 1941 the Playcentres have offered children and their families a free and welcoming experience. They have offered a creative […]
The latest in a long line of problems to plague charter schools in New Zealand – a complaint about a principal at one of the new charter schools – is a big deal that would be a big deal for any school, no matter if it was private, state or a charter. But the fact […]
Last Wednesday, I attended the farewell for Tony Simpson, Principal of Phillipstown School. It was a very emotional event where many of us in the large crowd shed tears. Bagpipes and tiny tamariki performing kapahaka brought the house down and showed us how greatly loved this man and this school are by so many people. […]
Today I visited Cosgrove Primary School in Papakura, one of the many that provides lunches for children every day and “Kids Can” breakfast as well. It was a visit scheduled long before the Prime Minister’s admission yesterday that he stood by his claim that “only one or two kids” in low decile schools come to […]
Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle when they grow up. Let’s break that cycle, lunchbox […]
As the rest of the world wakes up to the stifling effects of teaching by testing and assessing, there are fresh reports that National is now poised to unleash even more damaging assessments on the youngest high school students. Today’s Dominion Post reports Hekia Parata is looking at an “assessment tool” for years 9 and […]
Playcentre is part of New Zealand’s heritage. It’s a place where many of us grew and thrived as children and parents, playing and learning with our families and communities. The Green Party backs Playcentre completely – we know it’s value and we know that it’s unique. That’s why so many of our own MPs, […]
If ever we needed evidence of the corrosive nature of national standards it’s in the stories of teachers pressured to rank their pupils by their national standards results and then display each child’s ranking on the classroom wall. The Government can spin as hard as they like but the fundamental issues inherent in the imposed […]
The Green Party welcomes Labour’s announcement to provide $100 per student to schools who choose not to ask parents for donations. The burden of donations needs to be lifted from parents in a public education system and the lower decile communities and schools just don’t need the pressure. This policy will see more money going […]
According to John Key, solar PV systems “never pay for themselves, let alone reduce energy bills, or make money”. That was his response when we launched our Solar Homes policy earlier this year. Well, Peria School in the far North is about to prove the PM wrong. I was up there on Monday cutting the […]
Last Wednesday the Minister of Education attended the Estimates hearing at the Select Committee and showed us some interesting figures. Apart from the bizarre sideshow whereby Trevor Mallard accused her of hitting a staff member I did get to raise some issues about the education plans in the latest Budget. Since then I have spoken […]
Let’s be really clear. The money being spent on education is shrinking under the National Government. Any new money they’re splashing around is not even enough to keep up with inflation. In fact, under this budget education funding in real terms will drop by $500 million in 2018 compared with this year, using the Government’s […]