Charter School defenders proven wrong

As you may recall, ?Te Pumanawa o te Wairua School, in Whangaruru, Northland is a charter school that has been given four weeks to get its act together or face closure. ? I’ve criticised Hekia Parata of this mess on two fronts. ?One, she should never have allowed this school to come about in the first place – the warning signs were there. ?Two, she should have closely managed its success, as the Charter School flagship schools could not be allowed to fail.

The school faced a clear list of shortcomings, but many people, including my own readers, oddly enough, defended Parata and the school blaming the ‘difficult’ kids who had been out of the school system too long. ?I found this gob smacking. ?That was a known going in. ?That was the very issue that needed fixing.

A report was released yesterday that also totally debunks it being the kids’ fault.

Documents released today, including an annotated report written by the ministry’s deputy secretary or sector enablement and support Katrina Casey , identified school management as the cause of the issues – which include truancy, a falling roll and underachievement.

“The on-going issues present at the school are directly attributable to the quality of the leadership and management running the school,” it said.

Next to that comment, Ms Parata had written: “YES”.

The report went on to say the Ng? Parirau M?tauranga Trust, which had the contract to run the school, needed to replace the leadership team with suitable appropriate and experienced personnel. Only in that case could it make a swift recovery.

It said a trust member had taken a part time operational role in the school this year, but it was “not clear they have the required skills to effectively manage the Education Director or the operations of the school”.

An honest and frank evaluation that doesn’t seek to blame the kids.

The document also highlighted poor educational achievement – only 30 percent of the schools students achieved NCEA Level 2 out of an expected 66.9 per cent.

The kura, located on a farm 65km north-west of Whangarei, has been plagued with problems since it opened at the start of last year. While the school started last year with 61 students, despite the fact it was funded for 71, the roll quickly dropped. It now sits at 37 – the lowest it has been.

It clearly wasn’t working. ?You can say the kids simply didn’t turn up, but in the end, the core reason for the Charter School to exist was to engage them and get them over the NCEA line.

Instead, they nearly lost half the roll before they even completed the first year.

And then we have all the experts come out of the woodwork to blame the kids. ?Apparently they’re hard to work with. ? Well, DUH.

It’s a failure every which way you look at it, and I don’t think 4 weeks is going to fix anything.

Hekia Parata is?being out of touch, arrogant and deadset useless. ?Issues such as these need to managed through. ?You can’t just sit in your ivory tower and hope for the best, especially when you constantly get (and ignore) feedback that set off alarm bells with any other person.


– Kirsty Johnson, NZ Herald