It’s times like these I thank goodness for Peter Dunne’s hair, Winston’s crazy left brain and the Prime Minister’s constant discrepancies with reality. Nobody’s asked me about national standards, teaching or chartnership schools.
I love being anonymous.
You know, I was talking with some learners the other day and they were all unanimous. We love you Hekia they were saying. We love how you get to the nub of the issue with your no-nonsense style of telling it like it could possibly be given that we don’t have all the information yet.
It was clear to me, and everyone attending this cash handout at a prestigious private school somewhere near central Newmarket, that education is flying high. Never have we been so close to the precipice.
All the learners I was talking to, some of whom had come straight from their school ball after-party, were adamant that their education had been totally fantastic.
A fantastic education is so important to a young and financially secure teen leaders.
As I looked around the room I saw many, many parents following my every stage movement with their surgically enhanced eyes. It was important to me to put their minds at rest.
“At no time ever,” I began, “will your children ever have to work for anything ever.”
As the ovation died down I continued.
“We are at a cusp,” I said, “where we could go one of two ways. Either we have a public education system that is the best in the world – the envy of so many jurisdictions around the western world – or we can have the one that you want.”
Many didn’t know where I was going with this. However it was hard for me to tell whether they were sad, angry, outraged or ecstatic thanks to the prevalence of the Fonterra-supplied Botulinum toxin circulating in the faces of my audience. I carried on.
“As a government we are prepared to pay for everything to do with your boy’s education – teachers, support staff, buildings, lodgings, sports equipment, school trips, iPads, Galaxy tablets, mobile phones, smartphones, late-night Swedish tutors, and officially sanctioned NCEA exam takers. We are not, however, in the business of providing this sort of thing to everybody.”
At that moment a parent of one of the “scholarship / make the school look altruistic” students piped up, “What about all those kids in South Auckland whose parents struggle to put food on the table and clothes on their back because their too busy working several jobs to make sure they can pay their power bill to a government-owned power company?”
I let the laughter run its natural course and as the woman left I started the powerpoint that showed how all the money we used last year for Reading Recovery was being funneled into a new bridge lounge for the head-master and the board.
These are very exciting times in education. Long may the redistribution continue.