Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

A Thing of Beauty - Bi Partisan Agreement

23 June 2005

A Thing of Beauty - Bi Partisan Agreement

I support the Minister's Extending High Standards in Schools initiative. I have no idea what answers it's coming up with but the project is asking the right questions - what makes for a very good school?

Mallard plans to award a 10% ops grant bonus to top 5% of schools that meet the EHSS criteria. However the project leaves out the parent factor. Any assessment of a school is going to have a subjective component, where a parent makes a judgement about its suitability for their own child. The project can't capture the judgement of parents exercising their fundamental responsibility for their child's welfare. It's academic for Labour who are doing their best to make sure parents can't act on that judgement by gradually closing the doors to choice.

Almost a year after the project was started the NZEI and the Principals Federation have finally figured out that differentiating between schools violates every tenet of state education they hold dear. They have correctly told the Minister the bonus conflicts somewhat with Labour's policy that every school is a good school. How did they ever agree to a scheme that pays schools a bonus for good performance? Imagine if National had proposed it. I hope Mallard doesn't duck this one.

Play Ground Robbery

The Ministry of Education is laying claim to $35m of school assets built and operated by integrated schools from their own money. The Audit office has decided to enforce law which says that any building funded by monies in the official school accounts belongs to the Ministry, even if that money was came from the proprietors or the local community. The Minister also wants to enforce a law that says any building by an integrated school has to be approved by the ministry. So the Audit office is tagging schools annual accounts with a breach where this hasn't happened. No one knew it should, so they didn't do it.

Coming on top of the debacle over bulk-funded buses, it shows the Minister and his minions tightening their grip over the whole school sector, enforcing more control whenever they have a choice. National will opt for less central control whenever we have a choice.

Who Will Calm This Growing Storm?

The tertiary sector is in the biggest mess in decades. Trevor Mallard has pulled the plug on five years of carefully crafted and dreadfully executed strategy. Confusion and depression reign, because no-one knows what the rules are any more, except in universities where they ignored the whole TEC business anyway.

Trevor's plans to cut low credit courses and community education, the A1-J1 reviews and the assessment of relevance for PTE's are turning competition into cannibalism. The Vice Chancellors want Trevor to slice a hundred million or so out of sub degree courses in polytechs and PTE's to help them pay for the university pay round, and so far he is obliging.

Half the Polytechs are headed for financial trouble and the PTE sector is headed for oblivion. About 80% of PTE courses have failed the strategic relevance assessment. In fact most tertiary courses would fail the criteria. PTE's believe they will get funded for higher relevance courses to replace what they lose. However I am advised they can't access alternative courses until 2007, so its curtains. Polytechs and the Wananga are relying on election year pressure to save them.

This is public policy stupidity laced with a desire for revenge. Labour are trashing the "lifelong learning " pathways they just spent hundreds of millions developing. At a lower cost, some of those pathways represented good value. And lovely caring sharing tertiary people aren't raising a peep about how these measures will disenfranchise thousands of disadvantaged New Zealanders who have been able to get started again. Well educated social consciences don't stretch far beyond self interest.

Pre Election Etiquette

* Get in touch with the Opposition spokesperson. In three months he might be the Minister.

* You can criticise but you shouldn't lie about a potential minister's policy.

* Polling shows that not all education spokespersons are equal. Greens, Act, and United Future will not provide the next Education Minister. So don't clutter up the political panels with them.

* Inviting the Labour Minister only to your conference is partisan and ineffective. He has been Labour's education spokesperson for 12 years and won't be the minister after the election even if Labour win. So what's the point?

* It is not 'political' to give the Opposition Spokesman time at you're conference - it's a service to your members. They need to know what might be government policy and he needs to know what your members think.

Bill English www.billenglish.co.nz www.national.org.nz

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

Entering into its third decade of operation, the Scoop news ecosystem is set to undergo another phase of transformation and evolution.

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>

 
 

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>

ALSO:

Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>

ALSO:

Train Free Thursday: Workers Strike To Defend Terms Of Employment

"They signed up to these conditions a year ago when they got the contract for Wellington's rail services. Now they're trying to increase profits by squeezing frontline workers." More>>

ALSO:

Seclusion: Ombudsman Emphasises Importance Of Monitoring

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says that while there have been changes to the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 to prohibit the use of seclusion, the report is an important reminder of the importance of regular monitoring of schools. More>>

ALSO:

United Future History: "All Good Things Must End"

'We’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved over the past 15 years, working alongside the government of the day, both National and Labour.' Mr Light told members on Monday. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Outcome, And The Hobbit Law

Somehow the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal has come lurching back from the dead – and as predicted in this column last week, the member countries gathered in Vietnam have announced a deal in broad principle, shunted aside until a later date the stuff on which they don’t agree, and declared victory. More>>

Agreeing To Differ: Greens Maintain Opposition To TPPA
“The Green Party has long opposed the TPPA. The new proposed deal, which came out of the weekend’s talks, still contains key ISDS concessions to corporations that put our democracy at risk, so our position remains the same,” said Green Party trade spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman. More>>

ALSO:

Monitoring Report: A New Chapter For Children’s Rights In New Zealand?

The Children’s Commissioner is calling on the country to embrace children’s rights to ensure their overall well-being. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election