I was asked by a parent on Friday in Cambridge what was NZEI and PPTA suggesting as an alternative model. I replied with this wee spiel:
Earlier this year Hekia Parata set up the Funding Review Panel with about 19 representatives from all over the education sector, including NZEI and PPTA. The participants were excited, expecting they would be starting from the ground up, brainstorming and throwing about suggestions for how education should be funded in each area.
However, their hopes on the first day were dashed. They met together in a room and then the MOE representative came in, put a pile of papers on the table and said, "These are the funding models we will discuss."
There was no innovation to be had.
This was typical Hekia Parata style of consultation - or as Rebecca from NZEI Head Office and I coined it: nonsultation.
What we really want is proper consultation and collaboration to come up with an equitable model that will adequately fund all ECE centres, kindergartens, primary, intermediate, secondary and area schools. We need to go back to the beginning. Let's do this right and not rush it.
Of course, with the announcement by Hekia Parata of her intention not to stand for Parliament at the 2017 election on 19 October (Education minister Hekia Parata will not contest next general election, NZ Herald), you can see why Ms Parata is in such a hurry to push through the changes she wants to implement.
NZEI and PPTA know that waiting until Minister Parata reports back to Cabinet with her recommendations and for Cabinet to make a decision is too late for making the sector's opinions, and the opinions of parents (aka voters), known. That would be reactive.
Therefore they made the proactive decision to launch the #betterfunding campaign. This has involved three buses in #betterfunding livery (based in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch), a postcard campaign addressed to the Minister, and two petitions for special education funding and for support staff funding.
The buses have been in action for three weeks. Last week the bus was in Hamilton for Tuesday, Friday and Saturday's march down Victoria Street to the rally in Garden Place. I was on the bus for Tuesday and Friday to support the field staff from NZEI and PPTA as we visited a variety of schools and centres.
Our first stop was Hamilton West School, where the message was warmly received by parents and caregivers. A number of staff from Hamilton West came out to help with the postcard campaign.
We dropped resources into the kindergarten on Massey Street and into Frankton and St Columbas Schools, before heading over to Fairfield Intermediate to catch them and Fairfield Primary (across the road) during their morning tea breaks.
|Fairfield Primary staff brave the rain during their morning tea.|
|Some Fairfield Intermediate staff brave the rain during their morning tea.|
|Some of the Woodstock Primary School staff during their lunch break.|
|Fairfield College staff and students.|
|Fairfield College staff.|
|Hamilton East staff supporting #betterfunding|
|Myself, Sue Moroney, Patrick from NZEI, Prof Martin Thrup and Shane from NZEI.|
|We had been challenged by Auckland NZEI staff to get a jump shot. Denise and her fellow Goodwood administrator along with NZEI field staff Shane, Jackie and Maxine as well as I complied with the challenge.|
|Tamahere Country Model School staff in full Book Character Dress Up Day mode supporting #betterfunding.|
|Knighton Normal staff show their support for #betterfunding during their morning tea.|
|Two Girls' High staff with Bill from PPTA and Maxine from NZEI.|
|Two of the students who were curious enough to come and ask about the #betterfunding bus. They agreed schools needed better funding too.|
|Some of the Peachgrove Intermediate staff who came out to help us with the #betterfunding postcard campaign.|
In Hamilton we held a march from the Ferrybank Band Rotunda on Grantham Street, up Victoria Street to Garden Place. For safety a police car led the parade and the #betterfunding bus backed up the rear. To create some drama we had a drum band at the lead of the parade and lots of banners and #betterfunding discs flapping about.
|Coming up Victoria Street.|
|A 360o view of the rally in Garden Place.|
|Waikato NZEI AC Chair Karen Morrison introducing Prof Martin Thrupp as the first speaker.|
|Sam Speedy from Hamilton Girls' High School explaining the PPTA view on CoOLs.|
|Sue Moroney, Labour List MP, talking about Labour's commitment to a free quality public education system.|
|Jan Tinetti from NZEI National Executive.|
|Michelle, the Waikato Primary Teachers Network Leader.|
|Karen from Anglican Action Waikato.|
|Anglican Action Waikato manning the BBQ for the free sausage sizzle.|
|Carol Webb reading out a message from Hamilton West MP Tim MacIndoe.|
|Catherine Delahunty speaking about how she was tired of listening to the rubbish National say in Parliament.|
|Bill Anderson does the poroporoaki.|
It was a great day to celebrate teachers, principals, support staff and the like in our schools and ECE centres. I got a cheeky selfie with Catherine before I went with some of my NZEI friends to have another jump shot with the #betterfunding bus to end the day.