Getting it right this time

February 18th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reported:

The Government will announce interim decisions for 31 earmarked for possible closure or merger as part of its ”education renewal plans” for the city at noon on Monday.

Schools will have six weeks to respond to those decisions. A final decision on the schools will be made in late May.

The 31 affected schools have a total roll of about 5500 kids, or 7.6 per cent of the school population in greater .

The schools will be informed of the interim decisions first on Monday, at their schools as they have requested, before the decisions are publicly announced at noon.

A letter for parents will also be sent home with all children at the affected schools outlining the decisions and what it means for them.

Information about each school will be available on the shapingeducation.govt.nz website.

An 0800 number has been set up, which parents can call if they have any questions. That number is            0800 746 338       and will be active from noon Monday.

I have to say it looks like the Government has learnt from what went wrong last time, with the way they have handled this latest round.

Last time people were summoned to a room, and found out the proposed fate of their school from the colour of their name tag.

This time, the process looks much much better. The schools have been asked how they want to be told. Each school has someone coming in to them – to tell them first. The Government has made clear any decisions are interim, and that there is six weeks to submit before final decisions. There is a letter to each parent, a dedicated website and an 0800 number.

Now this doesn’t mean everyone will like the decisions. Inevitably any decisions on mergers and closures will be upsetting for those affected. But the population loss and damaged buildings and land has made change inevitable. Also 92% of pupils in Canterbury will be unaffected by any decisions.

Also important to recall that the education unions have called a strike for tomorrow – regardless of what is announced. The unions have decided in advance to oppose whatever is announced. [It seems the strike may have quietly been called off according to one report.]

I, for one, am going to wait to see the details.

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22 Responses to “Getting it right this time”

  1. Mobile Michael (464 comments) says:

    How does a teacher strike help the children? It will just confuse the kids, slow down the disemation of information, and generally show them as a bunch of self interested idiots who blindly follow whatever the union tells them.

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  2. AG (1,832 comments) says:

    Also important to recall that the education unions have called a strike for tomorrow – regardless of what is announced. The unions have decided in advance to oppose whatever is announced. [It seems the strike may have quietly been called off according to one report.]

    Very quietly.

    The NZEI only put out a press release announcing this: http://www.nzei.org.nz/NZEI/Media/Releases/2013/2/Christchurch_rally_to_support_targeted_schools.aspx#.USEjOIVmEy4, which was then only reported in a newspaper: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/schools/8312477/Christchurch-school-strike-called-off. Who could possibly have known about it?

    [DPF: I wasn’t suggesting it was a secret it had been called off. But I was unaware it had been until this morning and I do read a lot. They had months of publicity about their planed strike, and one small story about canning it.

    But I am glad they did.]

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  3. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Watching TV3 this am they had a guy from Phillipstown school wailing on about how important the school was and how crazy the new plan is.

    Well I happen to know something about the phillipstown area and they have a good descriptive term for the state of the ground in that area. The term they have is “Its fucked”.
    The area is going to be slowly depopulated as the buildings are pulled down. Its subject to liquifaction and the ground is going to keep moving as the whole canterbury area continues to settle (assuming no more earthquakes…..unlikely)
    The stadium is right on the edge of phillipstown and although its most likely that it will be repaired, the fact is that the area will become more and more industrial/recreational and much less residential.

    There will be no need for a school in a depopulated area which is on unstable subsoil.

    The department is completely right to scrap the place and move the resource to areas where it will be needed. And dont forget all govt property isnt insured.

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  4. Viking2 (11,568 comments) says:

    Yep and some double barreled named woman who is currently President of some subversive outfit that belongs to the education unions was on radio this morning saying that they expect this to rolled out to the rest of the education sector right throughout NZ.

    Time this sector was chopped up into its smaller bits.
    How do you dismantle the beast.
    Little bits at a time.

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  5. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    Factual error by DPF – “Also important to recall that the education unions have called a strike for tomorrow – regardless of what is announced”

    Which unions are calling off a strike? Which unions announced the strike?

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  6. Henry64 (83 comments) says:

    Ham and Bones is right for once. At the last minute the NZEI has called off the strike.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/schools/8312477/Christchurch-teachers-strike-called-off

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  7. Henry64 (83 comments) says:

    P.S – Hammy – you need to re-read DPF’s report – last paragraph “Also important to recall that the education unions have called a strike for tomorrow – regardless of what is announced. The unions have decided in advance to oppose whatever is announced. [It seems the strike may have quietly been called off according to one report.]”

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  8. Peter (1,723 comments) says:

    Last time people were summoned to a room, and found out the proposed fate of their school from the colour of their name tag

    I voted National, but that sort of thing makes me cringe. Seriously, how clueless does someone have to be to think that was the way to approach it?

    [DPF: It made me cringe also. It made Ministers cringe. It was cringe-worthy]

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  9. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (895 comments) says:

    Shearer-Norman government in 2014 will reopen all the closed schools. A levy on private schools will get the necessary funding to run these schools.

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  10. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    Henry64 – I read it word for word. I believe it is factually incorrect to say that “education unions have………..”

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  11. CHFR (234 comments) says:

    Peter the important thing to remember is the=at despite being the government National still has to work with the Min of Ed. My daughters principal is a card carrying unionist who hates the Ministry as he says it is full of people who don’t know what they are doing.

    As as aside I have a client who is ex Ministry of Health and he said there are people in the ministry who seriously believe they don’t need to know anything about the area in which they work because they are public servants. This is one reason he left as he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. I guess it is the same for the Min of Ed.

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  12. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    hamnidaV2 (90) Says:
    February 18th, 2013 at 8:56 am

    you fuckwit…………….

    you are obviously a product of the current education system – only able to read and comprehend 3 words at a time…….

    [DPF: Don’t use abusive terms please]

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  13. BeaB (2,148 comments) says:

    Teacher courses are full of colour coding. They usually love it! How often have we heard “it wasn’t the decision it was the way they made it” we didn’t like. Damned whatever method is used.

    One principal is already whinging the announcement should have been at the end of school today not this morning.

    There are 9300 EMPTY places in Christchurch schools, including 5000 from before the earthquake. And the taxpayer should carry on paying to keep empty classrooms open?

    The whole city needs to be looked at with so much population and other change. You can’t just do it one school at a time.

    There will always be a teacher for the requisite number of kids. It is only principals who lose their jobs so no wonder they are kicking up.

    Many schools will end up better and stronger.

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  14. AG (1,832 comments) says:

    “[DPF: I wasn’t suggesting it was a secret it had been called off. But I was unaware it had been until this morning and I do read a lot. They had months of publicity about their planed strike, and one small story about canning it.]

    But then surely the fault lies with whomsoever in the newsroom chose to pump up the original press releases announcing a strike, and downplay the one calling it off.

    Plus, wouldn’t you have been better spinning this as a sign of how well the Government has done this time around – “Look! Even the intransigent unions (who, remember, threatened to strike no matter the outcome of the review) now admit that the process has been properly handled and have called off their silly action!” Because when you instead say “The unions have decided in advance to oppose whatever is announced” … that’s actually not true anymore, is it?

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  15. David Farrar (1,902 comments) says:

    Fair point Andrew. I had written my post before I was aware the strike was called off. I then just did an update.

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  16. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    DPF – Do you still stand-by the use of the word “unions” in your post?

    If so, your statement is factually incorrect no matter which way you look at it.

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  17. BeaB (2,148 comments) says:

    So the NZEI union voted last year to hold a strike the day after the decisions were made public – whatever those decisions were.
    And now they have quietly called it off.
    These people are teachers?
    No wonder we have so many kids leaving primary school unable to read or write to the standard needed for high school work.

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  18. Morgy (172 comments) says:

    BeaB you hit the nail on the head. Ham please comprehend this clear and obvious blinkered view from the union; regardless of the outcome, they had voted to strike the day after and they made a noise about it. Rational people can see that this is nothing but unions living in a box! Just like rational people could see how much of a cock up the ministry made of the original announcement. I would love to know more about your background because on face value, man I hope you have nothing to do with the education system, the tax system, the decisions around the enviornment……lets face it; anything that can dictate our country’s direction.

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  19. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    Morgy – I am objecting to the use of the word “unions” and the term “teacher unions”.

    The NZEI is a “union”.

    By using words like “unions” and “teacher unions” in the context of strike action, readers are given an entirely false description of reality. For example, if you have two children, one in Year 9 and the other in Year 12, you could read the article and think schools are closed tomorrow because of a teacher strike.

    Ironically, the post is about how the Ministry of Education and National-led Government can communicate better this time round.

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  20. Henry64 (83 comments) says:

    Ham – I’m sure that Christchurch parents can read the whole article and make note of the paragraph I highlighted, then Google ‘The Press’ and locate the same item I did. Then, if there are any doubts, they can double check with the schools before tomorrow.

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  21. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    Henry64 – I hope so, but in the digital age there maybe some parents who rely on the internet, and as a web sub-set blogs, for their information. It is important parents do not think the “unions” are holding a strike tomorrow.

    If I was a parent who used Kiwiblog as my main source of news, it would be easy to think there is a strike across the whole school sector tomorrow.

    For the sake of accuracy during uncertain times for parents and students in Christchurch, DPF could change the article to reflect the truth.

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  22. Henry64 (83 comments) says:

    Ham, there are other means. My sister in law’s sister in law put a request out on Facebook as to whether the strike was still on in the weekend. I was able to dierct her to the NZEI website and the article I linked to above.

    In lieu of digital technology a phone call, or actually talking to a staff member/teacher when you go and pick your kids up would do.

    Also one would think that the teachers/schools would do the right thing and tell their students, so that they and their parents are informed.

    Never leave anything to chance or assumption.

    I do think it is highly, highly unlikely that many parents would use Kiwiblog as their main source of news.

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