04 July 2018
While presenting to the Education and Workforce Parliamentary Select Committee this morning on the Education Amendment Bill, a Bill that repeals all Partnership School Legislation, John Shewan suggested that Minister Hipkins had 'bullied' the Partnership Schools.
Upon being elected to Parliament , Minister Hipkins instructed his Ministry of Education officials to terminate the contracts of the 11 operational Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua and to ensure they were all closed by the end of the 2018 school year. There was no discussion, there were no options, the proposition to Kura Hourua sponsors (owners) was close or be closed.
There was no consultation, there was no consideration of the available and compelling evidence that these Kura Hourua were successful in improving the educational success of New Zealand's most vulnerable students.
The Kura Hourua were told by Minister Hipkins and his officials that they could apply to set up new state schools, either Designated Character Schools or State Integrated Schools, which they have all done. So here we have 11 Kura Hourua now negotiating the termination of their contracts with Crown, at the same time awaiting Minister Hipkins decision on their applications to set up state schools in order to try and provide some sort of continuity for their students, but in a position where they can’t afford to speak out on these wrongs for fear of prejudicing either their termination negotiations or their application for a new school.
And now we come to the students in the Kura Hourua. They have 'Hobson's choice'. They have the option of returning to the state system that had served them so poorly in the past, or leave school if they are old enough.
In recent times Minister Hipkins has announced reviews of 'Tomorrow's Schools' and the NCEA qualifications. Apart from diminishing the input of School Principals on NCEA, both processes have been built around extensive consultation. This makes Minister Hipkins refusal to consult with those affected by the forced closures of 11 Kura Hourua serving 1500 vulnerable students. So now we can add inequity to the allegation of bullying.
Kura Hourua serve Maori, Pasifika, decile 1-3 students, primarily. Maori enrolments amount to about 75% of total enrolments. It is clear then that these schools are in the main kaupapa Maori. Now Maori are the Crown's Treaty partner, and yet we have seen no consultation, no reciprocity, no equity, and certainly no active protection.
So if this is not bullying then what is it? And by what stretch of the imagination can the Minister's flimsy regard for the Treaty of Waitangi be interpreted as honouring his obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi?
E Tipu e Rea
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