Friday, 5 September 2014

Dear Hekia Parata, diddums about the chalk in your car park, but $359 million could be spent so much better.

These two pictures came through my Facebook timeline over the last ten hours.  They were posted by Hekia Parata, the Minister of Education, herself, condemning primary teachers and principals for defacing public property with.... CHALK!!!

Gee those teachers were bad arsed!! 

But if you went to her page and checked out the comments you would be shocked.  Apparently teachers should be arrested for doing such a thing!

Naturally I couldn't not post responses to some of the ignorant posts made in regards to the actions and the intent of the teachers who protested up and down the country yesterday morning.  Not only was Hekia's office targeted, but many of her National party MP colleagues as well as opposition MPs such as Chris Hipkins, Phil Goff, Phil Twyford and Tracy Martin.  Some choose to go out to meet and greet the teachers.  Hekia did not.  Here is a smattering of photos I have gleaned off the Stand Up For Kids - Protect our Schools Facebook page where there are so many more - you people are magic:

Trevor Mallard's Hutt South office.

With Tracy Martin of New Zealand First - some did a 1.5 hour round trip to meet with Tracy.

Phil Twyford of Te Atatu.

Mark Mitchell's office in Rodney.

Iain Lees-Galloway's office in Palmerston North

John Key's electorate office.

Nick Smith's office in Nelson.

Phil Goff in Mt Roskill listening to NZEI.

Maggie Barry's North Shore office.

Hone Harawira was also delivered a message for Internet Mana to consider.

Chris Hipkin's electorate office.
Anyway, I was so incensed by Hekia being offended by a little chalk that I wrote this wee posting on one of her photos.  I wonder if she will read it.

Dear Hekia Parata,

If you really want to make a difference in the lives of our children, in their learning outcomes, then I urge you to listen and work with our primary sector to make meaningful progress.

You want me to be a more effective teacher? Then give me the support (teacher aides and specialists) to support the children with special needs in my class - and for more than an hour a day, because anyone one of those three kids can spin out for no apparent reason at any point in time.

The biggest things that stop me from being the best teacher I can be are managing the erratic behaviour of the above kids, paperwork that doesn't benefit my kids and lack of support for kids who should be getting special ed funding.

That is why I support the assertion by NZEI that the $359 million for IES would be better off spent directly on the students themselves.

Currently we have a group of students alienated from our education system due to the fact that their behaviour and/or learning styles are not being catered for at secondary level and they end up being excluded.

I heard a mother speak about her son in Hamilton at your PAI meeting and your response was appalling.

Schools work blimmin' hard to keep these kids in, but they are not financially resourced to put into place personnel to support these kids without MOE funding. GSE is so understaffed now that a school is lucky if they see anyone or get a case worker appointed. The system does not work for these kids no matter how great the quality of the teachers involved are or the decisions the BOT makes. And the reason many of these kids get excluded is because they become a safety risk for the other kids and teachers because they have not been catered for due to the previously mentioned reasons.

I have a friend who has been in the same situation with her son. He lasted 8 weeks in year 9 at College this year. I know how hard the DP and HOD of learning support there worked to keep that boy in school. They were lucky to get support for him, but it was not enough - the wrap around service didn't go all the way round. That boy is intelligent but his conduct issues do not suit main stream schooling. In his rural town what are his schooling options now he is 14 and been out of school for two terms? What does his future hold: a lifetime of being a productive member of society or one of being a drain on society? What would cost less in the long run: giving this boy a true wrap around service or the cost of possibly a life involving benefits and jail?

I'm sick of seeing kids who clearly need help that I'm not skilled in, such as speech language therapy, turned down for help because they don't meet a threshold or there's no funding or a lack of staff to take them on. By denying those kids help you condemn them to a life of struggle in their education journey and limit their options for further study and work when they leave school. You also end up taking away from the rest of the class because I spend more time working with that child who did not get the speech language therapy they needed and now have ongoing learning issues.

Spend the money on the kids who need it and then they have a more effective learning journey and become productive members of society. Don't, and you extend all of societies problems in crime, violence, child abuse, substance abuse, homelessness, reliance on benefits, poor health.....


  1. Well done, and well said. I fully support what you guys did yesterday - I think Hekia struck back the only way she could, childishly talking about chalk and defacing property. Thats because she has no argument. I am incensed too at what people say about our "profession". And thats what we are dedicated, trained professionals - and we care which is why we make our voices heard. It is with sad regret I am in PPTA who will not come out against IES and they will not vote until after the election. Bloody softies!

    Dave, Tawa

  2. Very well said. I agree with all of your points. I honestly don't understand why the people who run our country refuse to listen to the people with the best knowledge: teachers and parents. I can only hope for a change of govt, it's the only way I can see things improving.

  3. The teachers protesting would have had to buy the chalk out of their own wages as this isn't a free school supply any more, along with gramophone needles and typewriter ribbons.