I really enjoyed the article on the misrepresentation of schools and education in South Auckland (especially in the current climate of debate around Charter Schools). You can read it at Education Aotearoa’s website.
“Our children need the best
Finalyson Park School, Manurewa: Shirley Maihi’s school is bursting with energy. “Every year we seem to add something new – although getting the funding can be hard work.” The school offers high quality ESOL and bilingual education, and acts as a hub for many services so parents can better look after their children and support their education. Whether it’s a health nurse, a counsellor, a budgeter, a chaplain, driving lessons, “All enhance the skills of our parents.” Another programme (HIPPY – Home Involvement Programmes for Parents and Youngsters) works with up to 70 families of preschool children in their own homes. “It makes a huge difference to those children – they achieve much more highly than our other children. We start when they’re three-and-a-half to four, and it really stands them in good stead for later in school.” Shirley’s work is widely recognised (she has a QSM). In the week before EA visited she’d hosted Education Minister Hekia Parata, and then a group including the Australian Governor General and the head of the Ministry of Social Development. But she’s no soft touch. “It makes me really cross for a minister of the government [John Banks] to stand up and say South Auckland schools will be first for trialling charter schools when he hasn’t even ventured into South Auckland. I’ve been here 40 years and I haven’t seen him. How can he possibly say South Auckland needs to be first for untrialled stuff. Our children need the best and most experienced people in front of them. It’s just unbelievable – especially as the overseas research shows it’s a failed policy.” She’s similarly scathing of National Standards, saying it’s unrealistic for children in the school’s community to be achieving the standards in years 1-5, although they will by years 6-8. “We are not going to tell our parents their children are failing. We will show them the achievements, and the progress made – we will always do that.” (12-13)
Ref: p.13 Jane Blaikie ‘Crisis? What crisis?’ (2012) Education Aotearoa 3(2)Autumn, pp.10-15