Sunday, August 17, 2014

What do I want for my child?

This election you have a choice.

You can choose Neo liberal policy from the right or Child Centred policy from the left.  

Today I watched the Current Education Minister Hekia Parata and Education spokesperson for Labour Chris Hipkins on The Nation, go head to head.  They both debated their aspirations for students in New Zealand and for the first time in a long time, the public could see a clear difference between the two parties.  You can watch the debate between the two here. The Nations Debate:

I have previous blogged about Labours policy here, and I have outlined the concerns with Nationals IES policy here.  You can make your own mind up, whats most important is that they are very different, and the public can see a clear division between them both.

In a nutshell, when you break down the policies the clear philosophical differences are:

If you vote for status quo and the right, you get:

- Charter Schools (where schools can make money out of children) 
- Privatisation
- National Standards which are neither consistent, national or standard
- IES - where 359 million is invested into paying a small amount of teachers and principals substantial sums of money to leave their own schools and classrooms for several days a week to 'help' other students i.e. money for wages for a small sub group of educators, but nothing for alleviating poverty or inequality 
- A deliberate deconstruction of public education by undermining the status of teaching and educators through the continued manufacturing of a crisis of underachievement
- A continued move away from our world class curriculum and self management model to that of a model that is more central government red tape and managerialist meddling 

If you vote for "positive change" and the left, you get:

- A repeal of the Charter Schools legislation (note Chris Hipkins stated on The Nation that that did not mean those alternative schools did not have a place supplementing current provision in the system but that they would not be for profit)
- The abolishment of National Standards and a return to NZs world class curriculum 
- Smaller Class sizes and more teachers so schools can be flexible about improving the quality of teaching and learning within their community 
- Return to the Advisory Service which will support schools and teachers on the things they need
- An emphasis on 21st Century teaching, pedagogy and practice for 21st Century children, where IT and modern learning environments will assist schools to help their students be all they need to be for the future 
- Funding for school donations to assist schools to even up the inequalities between school communities 
- Collaboration with the sector and a genuine belief that educators and the government can work together to improve things for communities 

This is not a definitive list of the differences between the two, but the above does highlight core philosophical lines in the sand.  Irrespective of whether you stand on the left or the right, there is now a clear choice that voters can make.  Not so long ago, policy rhetoric between left and right were quite similar.

I appreciate my lists are quite basic and I admit somewhat biased to the left.   However,  I preface my bias with that of the experience of having lead schools through both philosophical systems, a clear understanding based on the chalk face delivery of these policies, and what I believe to be in the best interests of children - mine (as a mum) and those of NZ (as an educator).  Furthermore, having had a little to do with policy development for the last two elections, I know these things are not made up overnight.  The fundamental tenants are costed, researched and thought out.

Given the recent developments that have come out from the book  'Dirty Politics', I worry that the focus on policy and which policies will assist our communities to thrive has been clouded over as the public, via the media, get distracted by scandal and mud.

With this in mind, I ask you to do one thing before you vote - ask yourself the following question...



  1. Yeah I agree.. my principle in high school told me he didn't think I was going to make it. I'm about to start my Phd in a highly technical subject area. My point is that people can't just rely on their expectations to dictate peoples opportunities. The right wing has never realised this.

    I am totally blown away (excited) by what is possible if we combined all the various left-wing policies!!

  2. I agree - imagine what we can co construct together and what our country can achieve!! Public education is a critical foundation for success - but it needs to be responsive to the world we live in now and what it will become - not weighted down by the doctrines of the past.