Posted by: blogger on 30, Oct, 2012
By Winged Rodent
Q Glenda: Is the rationale for changes in Christchurch schooling likely to be applied to other areas of New Zealand? Are we the guinea pigs?
A Hekia Parata: We are using a mix of information from what the challenges are here locally and what the best evidence tells us about raising achievement for students. We are also learning from Christchurch - the Education Bill going through Parliament right now provides for flexibility of timetabling for instance - because that has worked here and schools around the country have asked for that also.
Well you have it, right from the horse's mouth - quake stricken Canterbury schools are set to be used as guinea pigs for the rest of the country.
In a live chat on the Christchurch Press website this afternoon the minister of education confirmed our worst suspicions - that the post-quake Christchurch education 'renewal' would be used as an excuse to roll out dodgy policies across the rest of the country.
One of these dodgy policies is the practice of double-bunking (or in ministry-speak “flexible-timetabling”) where more than one school shares the same site.
In Canterbury this was done in an emergency situation. Schools shared sites because some schools simply didn’t exist anymore. It ‘worked’ to use the minister’s phrase because schools, teachers and communities worked above and beyond to make it work. It threw up all sorts of problems but they did it – because they had to. Double-bunking has huge implications for sports and cultural activities and destroys the notion of community schools. It is a worst-case-scenario stop gap solution, not something to be inflicted on the rest of New Zealand’s schools.
Alarm bells rang when the flexible-timetabling phrase popped up in the newly-released Education Amendment bill, which also promotes charter schools. Fears were raised that this was a signal that double-bunking would be rolled out - and it appears those fears are being realised.
Given the fact that Christchurch is also one of the areas slated for the introduction of charter schools this is doubly suspicious. It appears this government’s appetite for experimenting on disaster victims knows no bounds.