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.
Last Thursday the disability and education communities held a rally at Parliament calling for proper funding for inclusive education.
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 […]
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.
A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and prioritise a plan for swimmable rivers.
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 […]
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 […]
Tomorrow is the last day to submit to the Education select committee’s inquiry into Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, and Autism Spectrum Disorder screening and support in schools. We’ve made a submission guide to help make it easy. Submissions from individuals and groups are coming in and I have also been out meeting with some groups and families […]
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 […]
Last Monday morning bright and early (well, early at least) I knocked on the door of a house in Hamilton East, a house that looks quite ordinary from the outside, but where every week day morning something quite extraordinary happens. I was warmly welcomed, handed a cup of tea, and over the next few minutes […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
Supporting our children to make the most of their gifts and to experience education as exciting is vital. Gifted Awareness Week is here again to remind us that we need to pay attention to the unique gifts of the full range of our students. It’s not good enough to teach to the average or focus […]
This year’s Budget included $26 million for the next four years for the five existing Charter schools. But there is no information in the Budget about the costs of the possible new Charters whose names went public last week. Of the 18 groups who have put in applications, at least eight have strong religious backgrounds […]
The Ombudsman’s report on a school breaching the rules around school donations is exposing the complex inequalities in the state system and the real cost of running schools. It is understandable that schools are struggling to cover costs from the operations grant. The cost of modern equipment such as digital technology is huge and the […]
A recent article by Jacqueline Rowarth, Professor of Agribusiness at Waikato University, gives a very good summary of this government’s muddled thinking (my words, not hers!) about the value of science and scientists. On one hand we have Minister Joyce trumpeting the importance of science, and attempting to wield some very blunt instruments to ‘encourage’ […]
There is absolutely no doubt that Hekia Parata told the Herald on Sunday she wants a school funding system that pegs school funding to the achievement of its students. The question is, why won’t she admit that to parents before the election? What has she got to hide? The transcript of the interview is abundantly […]
Last Friday I was privileged to join with Maori members of the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) at NorthTec’s Te Puna o Te Matauranga Marae in Whangarei. The purpose of the hui was to launch and celebrate Te Kaupapa Whaioranga – the Blueprint for Maori Tertiary Education. The well-attended hui included Maori educators from all around […]
The Minister for Tertiary Education seems determined to see our universities and wananga reduced to organisations whose purpose it is to sell a commodity called education to ‘consumers’ whose primary relationship with such organisations will be a commercial one. The National Government today stayed true to their destructive agenda for the tertiary sector, announcing their […]
I was pretty amazed to hear the news that Otago Uni has become one of the major sponsors of the Otago Highlanders rugby team. Universities should be focusing on student achievement and investing in good quality public education and research, not on corporate sponsorship. The Super 15 rugby competition is a corporate competition. It’s inappropriate […]
Last week Metiria and I hosted an education forum at the Beehive on great ideas and practices in the public education system. There was a strong critique of the Governments privitisation agenda as well as some excellent examples of what the public system can do and must do to support all our students to access […]
This Inquiry needs to hear from as many parents, students and teachers as possible. We need to hear about the excellent initiatives that already exist to build relationships between parents, schools and students. One such initiative is the three way conferences between teacher, parents and student held in many schools early in the term each […]
Last week, Dr Yong Zhao from Oregon University gave an inspiring speech at Parliament about education, entrepreneurship, creativity and the need to prepare students for this century. His address reminded me of how this country has a tendency to imitate some bad ideas which are going out of fashion elsewhere, instead of trusting ourselves. Dr […]
Last week the Education Select Committee went to visit the Toru Fetu kindergarten at Cannons Creek in Porirua. The kindergarten is a trilingual centre which supports children and their families in three heritage languages from the Cook Islands, Tokelau and Niue. All these languages are vulnerable and losing ground against English in this country. The […]
Peter Dunne says we are just being nostalgic because we want to save “Learning Media” from closure. He says the School Journal will carry on. The Minister of Education says things like “maybe” and “for now”. They think the privitisation of quality educational resources for schools is the natural order and if you cannot make […]
The Government have opened up public submissions on their proposed changes to the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) for tertiary education. The PBRF is a funding pool of around $250 million per year from the Government that goes towards tertiary education research. It is accessed by universities, ITPs, wananga and PTEs and is incentives-based, taking into […]
Yesterday Steven Joyce launched another glossy report into the ICT industry. The ICT Sector report highlights strengths of the industry and challenges such as finding enough skilled workers but the report fails to recommend any steps the Government could take and in fact misleads how Government is supporting this sector.
This week is Gifted Awareness Week and a range of organisations who support children to fulfill their potential are promoting their work. As part of this an organisation called Gifted Kids held a conference for about 100 children who are 12 years old and under at Parliament. They were leading sessions on everything from maths […]
A good start for all Kiwi kids is a can do. KidsCan is once more stepping into the breach left by the Government and trying to plug gaps to help our most vulnerable children get a good start in life. The charity, which has led the charge on food in schools, is now looking at […]
The Bill that will facilitate charter schools went through the second reading last night. It relies on the Māori Party for support as no one else apart from National and ACT will vote for it. The Bill is a privatisation device to assist education franchises and groups who do not want to be accountable under […]
For more than ten years a programme has been developed, implemented and monitored that has a proven ability to help teachers work effectively with all students. Te Kotahitanga was developed by Russel Bishop, Mere Berryman and a team at Waikato University to help teachers become culturally responsive and inclusive. More than 40 schools have used […]