Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hands off,Hekia, Push off, Parata

The already stressed and battered citizens of Christchurch were dealt another body blow by the Minister of Re-education, Hekia Parata, and her puppet-master, John Key, recently when they announced their proposal for a massive reorganisation of Christchurch's schools.

Here is Ms Parata encouraging the citizens of Christchurch to see the "positives" in having their school system decimated and their children forced to bus long distances to their "new" merged schools just like poor, black South Africans in "the good old days" of Apartheid:

Sorry, Hekia, but we might have to drink all the contents of those bottles behind you to see any "positives" in this grand Re-education scheme. Why doesn't your boss, Pol Pot....ooooops, John Key, move us all out to the country in North Canterbury where we can learn to work the TC1 land out there to feed our masters.

Perhaps you and your hatchet woman, Lesley Longstone,

should visit some of these schools you are so callously consigning to history. You might open your eyes and rub the blind ideology out of them that obscures your vision to the fantastic work hard-working teachers do every day.

Why, here in the bruised, battered BUT NOT BEATEN East of Christchurch, we have two schools I know of personally that are fantastic examples of State schools providing excellent education and much more besides to their pupils.

Jane Dunbar's excellent article in The Press speaks volumes for the value of Chisnallwood Intermediate much more eloquently that I can, but I hasten to add that Richard Paton is one of the most forward-thinking, caring, compassionate and committed Principals it has ever been my good fortune to meet. My oldest son spent two very happy years at Chisnallwood developing a strong sense of community pride and citizenship and becoming a first-class musician. My oldest son had access to a first-class music facility with top-notch teachers of almost every instrument. The teachers at Chisnallwood went the extra mile time after time to give our kids a well-rounded experience of art, technology, music, debating and so many other subjects as well as a solid grounding in the core subjects like Maths and English. I doubt there is a parent in Christchurch who has not heard of Chisnallwood's reputation and how it punches above its weight in music and many other fields.

To throw Chisnallwood's unique qualities and character into some big amorphous "hub" is criminal, Hekia, and maybe, somewhere deep down in your heart, you know it is wrong.

My youngest son attends one of our local primary schools also in the path of "the big merge", Freeville Primary School in New Brighton. Having witnessed the progress of his older brother, he is keen to attend  Chisnallwood Intermediate also.

But he will also value the years he has spent at his local school. He started as a bright-eyed five-year-old with a cohort of his contemporaries who moved over from North New Brighton kindergarten. That is the value of community, Hekia, you always have your friends and whanau close by you.

Freeville too is staffed by excellent, vibrant, energetic teachers who go the extra mile for their pupils. I doubt Lesley Longstone would have the budget to pay these teachers for all the extra unpaid overtime they put in. Forget 9 to 3, Hekia, I once asked my son's Year 2 teacher when she started the day and she told me she was usually at school by 7am and went home about 6pm! Even if she took an hour for lunch which might be spent largely on playground patrol or attending to some child's needs, that is still a 10-hour day.

Where Hekia wants to march the Freeville teachers and pupils off to, there is no Bi-Lingual Unit which the teachers of Freeville have worked so long and hard to establish. Maori and many Pakeha children can learn immersed in Te Reo which is an Official Language of Aotearoa and, I believe, your Mother Tongue, Hekia, before you joined the Dark Side.

My youngest son has awakened an interest in learning languages, but will there be a Freeville Bi-Lingual Unit for him to enrol in for next year? Will there be a Chisnallwood for him to go to when he is a Year 7 student? Will many of the teachers he knows and loves find themselves joining the Dole Queue (where they can be punitively punished by your mate, Paula "I've forgotten my roots" Bennett)? Will the unique cultures, flavours and spirits of these two schools (just two of many about to suffer the same fate) be sacrificed to some amorphous, cost-cutting blob of educational blandness?

And don't even get me started on the dodgy data you and Lesley are tossing around like so much chaff before the wind.

It's not too late to BACK DOWN on this one, Hekia. You've done it before in the face of well-justified parent anger and no doubt, given your record, you'll do it again.

1 comment:

  1. very well written!!!! i love it! totally agree with everything you've said