Speaking of National and arrogance… Hekia Parata

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Charter schools are an important and effective step towards solving a problem with children that are on the fringes of the current education system. ?Charter schools are also a political hot potato. ?The opposition and the media are looking for any excuse to expose them as failures.

Education Minister Hekia Parata ignored advice from her ministry and signed off on a Northland charter school that has been plagued with problems since opening last year.

It can be revealed that Parata received a glowing reference from the charter school authorisation board regarding Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru and signed a contract with the school’s sponsor in September 2013.

That was despite ministry concerns the Whangaruru school had not outlined a “safe environment” for students and had not spoken with local iwi about their plans.

Since the school opened, the Education Review Office has identified a number of problems with the quality of teaching, learning, management, leadership and student engagement.

The quality of teaching, learning, management, leadership and student engagement. ?That’s not a minor list of complaints. ?

Parata responded to the ERO’s concerns, saying the school needed to improve.

This was backed up yesterday by Ministry of Education secretary Peter Hughes, who told MPs at a select committee that the school had problems, and needed more time.

Because charter schools were dealing with the most challenging students – many of whom had not previously been enrolled in a school – some of them would not be successful, he said.

How are the kids responsible for:?teaching, management, leadership and student engagement?

Wow. ?Just wow. ?Nice one Peter Hughes, blame the kids.

Labour education spokesman Chris Hipkins said Parata’s judgment was wrong and she needed to be accountable.

“She’s been given clear advice and chose to ignore it. This squarely rests on her shoulders and shows her judgment can’t be trusted.”

Chippie simply echoes what a fair amount of people in caucus know – she’s there because she ticks a number of boxes, and she’s been in the spotlight previously for being arrogant, hard to work with and the sort of person that tells you things and doesn’t listen.

Parata said she considered the advice from both the ministry and the authorisation board but saw the ministry’s advice as an “assessment” – not a warning.

In May, the ministry noted serious reservations and problems with the capability and capacity of Whangaruru.

A month later, the authorisation board recommended Whangaruru as a charter school.

In July, the ministry advised that Whangaruru needed more time before it was ready to open.

Parata asked both the ministry and the authorisation board for clarification around their recommendations so her decision could be “based on the most robust information”.

Then, two months later, she signed a contract with Whangaruru to become a charter school.

Yeah, breaktaking.

Listen up. ?When you depart on something new, something that will become a political football, you manage the issue by picking winners. ?You leave the risky edge cases for the second round of implementations.

What you need are 5 glowing wins.

The fact we have 4 glowing wins doesn’t matter now. ?The media and the opposition will simply highlight how “Charter Schools” are a failure because they have been given a gift of a completely dysfunctional school.

I still can’t get over the fact that the Ministry of Education blames the children for the management, teaching and leadership.

Just like the Novopay issue spiraling out of control until they put Steve Joyce on the job, Parata is out of her depth. ?She gives the appearance of confidence and competence when everything runs well, but give her the chance to stuff something up and she will.

This school should never have been given the green light. ?All the warning sings were there. ?And through her arrogance, National and the other charter schools will now have to carry the burden of having this scab picked at ad infinitum.

 

– Jo Moir, The Dominion Post

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