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PPTA urges government not to play ‘blame game’

Media Release
2 February 2009

PPTA urges government not to play ‘blame game’

PPTA president Kate Gainsford is pleased education minister Anne Tolley is taking the issue of struggling schools seriously, but cautions against a ‘blame and shame’ mentality.

The growing number of school boards being replaced by commissioners illustrates PPTA’s concerns about the Tomorrow’s Schools system, she said.

“That more and more schools are running into financial and management difficulties shows the problem is systemic.

“The fact is the Tomorrow’s Schools structure has set up some schools to fail and that’s not good enough for New Zealand students.

“Every parent should be able to send their child to their local school confident that the system will ensure they are getting a decent education, but as we are discovering, Tomorrow’s Schools leaves some communities high and dry. It is easy to blame the boards, parents, teachers, even the students themselves, but much harder to fix the structural problem,” she said.

Tomorrow’s Schools places the education system in the hands of local communities and the boards of trustees who are meant to represent them. There appears to be little back up however when the school community is deeply divided or the board struggles to find the knowledge and experience to make the system work.

PPTA has been calling for an urgent review of the Tomorrow’s Schools governance system for some time now (see PPTA conference paper “Tomorrow’s Schools – Yesterday’s mistake? at www.ppta.org.nz under resources/publications) and recent events only highlight that need, Gainsford said.

“The minister would be well advised to look at overseas examples based around a co-operative network of schools, rather than creating a system of winners and losers,” she said

ENDS

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