Proof of Anne Tolley Hiding Evidence
Proof of Anne Tolley Hiding Evidence of Mistreatment of Children At Private Schools
Following yesterday's press release, we have been asked for evidence to back up our statements. here's an update with proof that Hon Anne Tolley has hidden complaints about what amounts to child-abuse in order to avoid obeying the Human Rights Act and legislating for children's welfare in private schools.
With a whopping 91% of surveyed parents [www.safetotell.net/STT/Results.html] agreeing with the Law Commission that private schools should be required by law to provide "a safe and supportive environment", (R14, page 4) [www.lawcom.govt.nz/project/review-law-relating-private-schools] the Government's statement that "no evidence exists of any problems" (Parliamentary question for written answer 10761 (2010)) as their entire rationale for not correcting the situation needs some analysis at the very least; especially given all the ubiquitous rhetoric on choice and parent power.
Unsurprisingly the "no evidence" assertion doesn't stand up to the slightest scrutiny. Well it was a pretty rich claim to make in the first place. Given that the Government didn't even check with the Ministry (Question for Written Answer 23668 (2010)), the arrogance of that statement is truly stellar. Clearly Anne Tolley does not wish to know, any more than Heather Roy did when she had responsibility for this Bill, about "problems" at private schools.
So what happened when Parliamentary questions prompted the Ministers to have a look?
Heather Roy admitted first to two complaints (QWA 18143 (2010)) and then, when challenged about that number, Anne Tolley, (to whom QWA were referred after Heather's vicious expulsion), came up with one more, but said that it made no difference to Heather Roy's statement that "no evidence exists" (QWA 26428 (2010)).
Then another two appeared, (QWA 26362 (2010)). Even though that makes five, she will now still only admit to four complaints in the last two years. (QWA 26362 (2010)) Perhaps Anne Tolley should test herself against the National Standards! Clearly five (or four) complaints is not "no evidence" of any problems. Unfortunately, it is easy to prove that this number is again completely misleading.
One particular "problem", the expulsion of three small children from a private school in West Auckland, has magically morphed into an issue about the school failing to look after one child sufficiently with no mention of the fact that the October 2009 complaint (QWA 26362 (2010)) was actually about three children being expelled.
Somewhere between the office of Mr Bruce Adin, manager of the Northern Branch of the Ministry, and Anne Tolley's office, two of the children involved in this complaint have completely disappeared. When the situation surfaced through Parliamentary questions Anne Tolley said "The October 2009 complaint relates to a parent complaining about a private school failing to meet standards of care for their child." (QWA 26362 (2010))Child, singular. No mention of expulsions, suspensions, or exclusions.
Yet Bruce Adin's correspondence with the family clearly shows the true nature of the October complaint. Writing by email to the parents of the children on the 5th of February, 2010 at 11.33 am he said (see attached image):
"The Ministry is not empowered to undertake a judicial or review process and cannot review nor amend the decisions of The Rudolph Steiner School, Titirangi regarding the enrolments of your children…..The Education Act does not require private schools to follow any particular practices when ending an enrolment."
This cynical "interpretation" of complaints demonstrates a complete lack of interest in the actual effect of private school's damaging actions towards children. How many other complaints have been obfuscated?
As Anne Tolley has admitted that two out of the four acknowledged complaints were about children being unfairly excluded from private schools (QWA 26362 (2010)), the real tally should be five complaints about expulsions alone. Surely 5 complaints is sufficient reason to require schools to inform parents about their policies and procedures at the very least, as recommended by the Law Commission and desired by 93% of surveyed parents [www.safetotell.net/STT/Results.html]. After all, even that legislation would only amount to a sort of disclaimer to alert and inform parents. What is choice without information?
When the Education Minister is faced with facts that don't fit with the agenda, apparently the facts have to change and sadly, given the provable reality of this cover-up, the real tally of "problems" may be much higher.
What is cynical and really scary is a recognition that the Government would probably have done this with whatever information it encountered in order to follow its own agenda. Presumably any misery inflicted on a child by a private school, even to the extent of that child losing the will to live, would be sanitised in the same way to present the desired picture.
So what is the Government's agenda on private education? Given that when this Bill becomes law (and it is about to be rushed through), private schools will still be completely free of any obligation to even inform parents about the lack of legal protection, or indeed give them any proper contracts, even though the Minister has opined that contract law will suffice to sort out any problems (QWA 10775 (2010)), what will Education Amendment Bill 2 do to the law on private schools?
If you read the Bill, you might think that the Government is getting tough with private schools, because there is a lot of writing about "expulsions" and how they've got to be reported to the Ministry. Sounds good, until you remember, as Bruce Adin said above, that the Education Act does not even require private schools to acknowledge that they are, in fact, expelling children.
Instead of securing the welfare of students, the Bill makes provision for grants to private schools, which may be made "unconditionally" out of "money appropriated by Parliament". And how will this system of grant giving from public money be organised? "The Minister must determine the amount of each grant." [www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2010/0169/10.0/viewpdf.aspx] (Section 35 O) Of course.
What this redirection of public finance means is that when schools in this sector continue to hurt children, they will be doing it with Government sanction, and using your money.
Anne Tolley is pretty confident that you're ok with that.