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Put the kids before the politics

Te Ururoa Flavell
Maori Party Co-Leader | MP for Waiariki

21 February 2014

Put the kids before the politics

Te Ururoa Flavell, Maori Party Co-Leader, has expressed disappointment at the influence of PPTA in advising Whangarei Boys High teachers to not teach students who attend Te Kura Hourua Te Kapeha Whetu.

“As I understand it the Board of Trustees at Whangarei Boys High was happy to support Kura Hourua students in specific areas such as the visual arts. That type of cooperation has been modelled in the relationships that many other kura establish with general schools, wananga, polytechnics and other education providers across New Zealand. It represents a dynamic relationship that we should surely be fostering in our communities – that the education and learning of our students impacts on us all,” says Te Ururoa Flavell, Maori Party Co-Leader.

“I recognise that Partnership Schools is a major political issue and teachers have a right to their views on educational policy, but what about the kids? Surely we should be putting the best interests of our young people ahead of our politics.”

“I was a teacher for many years and I know that the profession prides itself on putting the interests of our children first, but this flies in the face of those values. I would have thought as teachers, that what matters is that every student experiences success. That’s what Te Kapeha Whetu want. That’s what the Maori Party wants. Come on PPTA – surely there are other ways of making political statements that do not impact so immediately on our kids.”

“It harks back to the conditions that faced kura kaupapa Maori some twenty years ago. They experienced similar issues when they were established and many mainstream schools did not support them. Despite the politics of the time, some schools did support kura, and together we proved that not only are they a successful model, they are an important part of the education system, creating choice for whanau and contributing to educational success for Maori kids,” says Te Ururoa Flavell.

“The Maori Party know this history intimately, and supported Partnership Schools because we see the opportunity to trial new innovation that could improve outcomes for Maori, Pasifika and other children.”

“What our education system needs is not political stand-offs, but to develop a culture of inclusivity and acceptance of diversity. And I think we need to go back to our values of putting children first.”

“If we focus our efforts on ensuring that this model will fail, then we have failed our children not our politicians,” says Te Ururoa Flavell.

ENDS

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