Let students and parents decide

July 12th, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Amanda Fisher at Stuff reports:

After huge community pressure, including a hikoi to Parliament, the education minister has partly backtracked on proposed mergers of .

In May, Anne Tolley announced her decision to merge three Kawerau primary schools into one, close Kawerau Intermediate and turn Kawerau South School into a year 1 to year 8 primary school.

That was despite four of six schools opting for a different outcome, and a petition signed by 70 per cent of the town’s adults. About 250 people joined a May hikoi from Kawerau to Wellington.

However, Mrs Tolley announced yesterday that a Maori immersion kura, going up to year 8, would be established on the current Kawerau North School site. She has delayed deciding the fate of the intermediate, which could be merged with Kawerau College, saying any changes would not take effect before 2013.

However, the three intermediates – Kawerau North, Kawerau Central and Putauaki primary schools – would still merge.

I think it is regrettable that our funding model means that the Minister is the person who has to decide which schools are viable, and which ones are not.

Ideally schools should be fully delegated their funding – property, salaries, IT, operations etc. And parents and students should be able to choose which school they wish to attend, with funding following them.

That way, then the Minister would not have to decide on school mergers. If a school can attract enough students to remain viable, then good on them. If their roll shrinks to the point they can not cover their costs, then they close.

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19 Responses to “Let students and parents decide”

  1. Andrei (2,499 comments) says:

    If school teachers didn’t spend so much time promoting sexual deviancy, the virtue of condoms and so forth perhaps New Zealanders would actually have more babies who in time would need to be educated thus filling the now empty classrooms and negating the necessity of closing down schools.

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  2. Pete George (22,754 comments) says:

    Tolley announced school closures and mergers in Dunedin last week. There’s been a lot of local comment and concern – and support.

    School merger defended (ODT)

    Macandrew Intermediate principal Whetu Cormick has taken exception to Labour MP Clare Curran’s suggestion that the Ministry of Education’s plans to close Forbury and College Street Schools may disadvantage pupils.

    In the wake of Education Minister Anne Tolley’s announcement on Friday, Ms Curran said Mrs Tolley’s decision to merge Forbury School and Macandrew Intermediate was “mishandled” and made without cognisance of what the community was telling her.

    Ms Curran said while she hoped South Dunedin schools would be continue to deliver quality education, she believed Mrs Tolley’s approach did not provide confidence.

    “These schools cater for a significant and close-knit community, many of whom are on low incomes and rely heavily on public transport,” Ms Curran said.

    “Closing them will cause considerable hardship for numbers of families.

    “Hopefully, it will not disadvantage our children’s prospects of getting the best possible education.”

    Mr Cormick was upset by Ms Curran’s comments because he believed Mrs Tolley had made “a sound and sensible decision” with regards to the closure and merger process.

    “At all times, she [Mrs Tolley] has kept the educational interests of students at the fore.

    “I believe that the merger of Forbury School and Macandrew Intermediate will bring together `one’ community and can only strengthen the future educational and social opportunities for our young people.”

    Mr Cormick said it was now Ms Curran’s job to move forward and to work to help merge two innovative schools’ curriculums and cultures.

    “And in doing so, to help us create a new and exciting school for the future.

    “Local members of Parliament should have an unbiased view on such sensitive issues.

    “They really should be thinking of the children and being more supportive in the way forward,” he said.

    Yes, local MPs should have an unbiased view and do what they can to determine and represent the whole comunity needs and views.

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  3. Lipo (229 comments) says:

    Quote from DPF “If their roll shrinks to the point they can not cover their costs, then they close”

    If the criteria is that schools can not cover their costs and should close I think you would find about 90% of schools closing around the country.
    It is why every year schools demand fees from parents for so called free education

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  4. Inventory2 (10,092 comments) says:

    Goodness me Pete; a school principal not blindly following the Labour Party/NZEI line, and actually expressing her own opinion. I’m so shocked I think I need a lie-down :-)

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  5. MT_Tinman (2,985 comments) says:

    I’ve read the Stuff bit several times.

    Other than that Tolley has changed one usage – into what christ knows except that it will be stoneage based – and that some of the town were upset to the point 250 of them hiccuped all the way to Wellington (in concert one imagines) I’m buggered if I can see the point.

    Have to agree with DPF though, a school should attract pupils or fold.

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  6. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    Well its been ACT policy since Preeble was in short pants so its time the National Party caught up and did what they should.
    But they won’t just like they don’t do anything else properly.

    House prices in Auckland are on the rise in premium school zones. This from QV just yesterday.
    So it was property investors that caused high house prices was it?
    No, it was the parents who wanted their kids in the right school zone. Had they had vouchers then house prices would not have been driven up because people could live anywhere and their kids attend the school that they choose as best for their kids.

    Another Labour Govt. fail.
    Ably assisted I might add bytheir loyal socialist compatriats in the National Party.

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  7. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Ideally schools should be fully delegated their funding – property, salaries, IT, operations etc. And parents and students should be able to choose which school they wish to attend, with funding following them.

    Exactly!

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  8. DJP6-25 (1,268 comments) says:

    This problem would be quickly solved by letting the funding follow the students.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  9. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Ideally schools should be fully delegated their funding – property, salaries, IT, operations etc. And parents and students should be able to choose which school they wish to attend, with funding following them.

    Why do schools need teachers, IT, etc?

    Under the DPF model they just need a marketing department, a PR department and motivated commission based sales teams.

    great for the advertising media and polling companies, pretty shit for kids who just need an education.

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  10. RRM (9,427 comments) says:

    Yes indeed.

    I wonder…

    After all of the students move across town from the “bad” school to the “good” school; and the “bad” school downsizes or closes; and the “good” school needs to expand to serve the influx of students; which job-hunting teachers will they hire, do you think?

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  11. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Andrei (865) Says:

    July 12th, 2011 at 10:05 am
    If school teachers didn’t spend so much time promoting sexual deviancy, the virtue of condoms and so forth perhaps New Zealanders would actually have more babies who in time would need to be educated thus filling the now empty classrooms and negating the necessity of closing down schools.

    Just maybe if parents didn’t abandon their responisibilities to teach kids about sex and contraception, schools wouldn’t have to fill that role.

    Too many idiot parents clinging to Bronze Age myths have created the burden on schools.

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  12. tom hunter (4,369 comments) says:

    After all of the students move across town from the “bad” school to the “good” school; and the “bad” school downsizes or closes; and the “good” school needs to expand to serve the influx of students; which job-hunting teachers will they hire, do you think?

    I guess I could insert some snarky analogy about how poorly the private sector delivers on things like food and other basic products and services that we need to live.

    But what the hell! Since the majority of people in New Zealand (including most of the National party voters) firmly believe in the state retaining the dominant role in education and healthcare, I’ll instead ask a simple question of people like RRM:
    Why are the services and products of education (and healthcare) so different from any other classes of such in our societies that the majority of them (70-80% by spending?) have to be delivered by the government?

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  13. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    @tom –

    Why are the services and products of education (and healthcare) so different from any other classes of such in our societies that the majority of them (70-80% by spending?) have to be delivered by the government?

    I’ll play. To the radical socialist, controlling services like education allows the thinking and ergo the dialog to be framed in a way that that promotes socialist dogma. Controlling healthcare allows fears about wellbeing (per Maslow) to be exercised as voters prepare to do elect the next set of rulers. I guess they could wade into food (also Maslow) but that’s a bit obvious … and had disastrous consequences for the Soviets!

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  14. ivorytowerkiwi (10 comments) says:

    Good luck trying to get this policy implemented. It’s a sure fire “dial a strike” policy.

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  15. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    Well Reagan sacked all the air controllers sowe can fire teachers that don’t want to play. Do it about the 20thof december and no holiday pay until they sign up.

    Hungry bellies usually fix these things.

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  16. tom hunter (4,369 comments) says:

    Sheesh – three hours later and no left-winger is willing to front?

    Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to let technology bury the system, as it has so many other times in history.

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  17. BlairM (2,286 comments) says:

    MNIJ – so every other industry on earth has marketing and advertising people, and yet they still deliver a service that people want at a profit. Why would something that makes everyone else money be a drain on education? Please explain.

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  18. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    Ah and so do universities in NZ and polytechnics and others. Even they don’t get it right so thats not any criteria because they are still mostly on Govt. tit.

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  19. millna (1 comment) says:

    We are in the catchment for the new school.. we have decided to home school for a few years while they sort their crap out. it’s badly organised and there is very little info out for parents… at least with home schooling the funding will actually follow our child.

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