Education has always been a difficult portfolio for Minister in Cabinet, no matter what party holds that position. Political agendas are often hidden in the detail and it is only when the public’s ire is stirred that we get more of the picture. The latest claim by the NZ Herald that Minister Parata is being advised by Treasury to ‘slowdown’ changes and to keep them secret for as long as possible to lessen the impact. Yes, the words may not be exact but the intent is obvious. Parata and her cohorts are about to unleash widespread changes in NZ education that are based on political philosophy emanating from the ‘right’ and driven by monetary considerations more than what is best for our students.
We have seen this Minister drive policy in an arrogant manner many times now and if the reports are correct then we are in for a torrid time. The two unions will not just sit and take what comes, particularly the PPTA. Whilst they have not always endeared themselves to the public and especially the Government, they do nave the interests of their ‘charges’ at the forefront of any actions they take, despite what politicians claim.
Expect upheaval within the education sector if Parata pushes her agenda and tries to change the New Zealand education system to one that benefits those at the top and penalizes those who have less. This lady just does not get it! There are many reasons why kids fail and no amount of cheap fix- ups or policy announcements of the type she promulgates will make any difference, especially when she tries to spend less to get more. In this case ‘less is not more,’ it is simply a shoddy attempt to save money, all under the guise of ‘educational research’ that she has dragged up from some failed system overseas; like the Charter School experiment and increased class size proposals.
Yes, keep an eye on what is about to happen and use your votes wisely at the election next year. A message to any ‘wannabe Government;’ tread carefully my friends, because you too have had a few hiccups in the past and if you have not learnt, then the students of NZ lose even more. Someone has to stick up for them and value the work of teachers. Let’s look to politicians who really care about our students.