Not sure what to make of this

This afternoon I was minding my own business when my phone beeped at me. It usually does this when I’m being notified of a tweet or some new item of news or my mother is texting me a question about her iPhone (that last one never happened. She’s absolutely fine with her iPhone and doesn’t even need me to help her. Dad still has a dumb-phone).

This particular beep notified me of a comment to a blog from a week or so ago where I was deeply critical of Hekia Parata’s plans for some parts of school funding to be linked to pupil achievement. Our gracious and all-conquering minister has since back-tracked from these remarks saying she: a) never made them and b) if she did make them (which she didn’t) her comments were taken out of context. Or something.

Here is the comment in full:

You should take this off immediately! All of it is untrue! The Minister has not ever said that funding of a school will be based on the achievement of students at all! Did you even bother to check the MOE website or any of the press releases from her office or even the transcript from that interview! You pretend like you’ve done all this research into what the plans are for schools in NZ but you obviously haven’t at all because it’s all there ready and public for you to look up! FYI- This defirmation of Character.

As my title suggests… I’m not sure what to make of this but it does appear suspicious to me. It almost sounds like something straight out of one of the more oily of right-wing National Party blogs – particularly the spelling of defirmation near the end.

Lots of passion with very little substance.

I, and many other commentators (NZ Herald, Stuff, and the interview transcript itself) disagree with you oh mystery comments person.

What Hekia Parata said when asked by NZ Herald journalist Jonathon Milne on whether she was, “pegging funding to delivering progress outcomes,” is:

What I’m talking about is that at the moment we fund into our 2500 schools and for every 2 out of 5 education dollars it goes on property, for instance, and I can unpack the other three dollars for you but what we’re wanting at the other end is achievement, kids having learnt well and secured qualifications and so forth. But at the moment those systems aren’t pegged together.

That is from the interview transcript. I’ve just typed it in myself. Reading the words while my hands were typing them. She said the words herself “pegged together” in terms of pegging funding and achievement. Pegging them together. To each other. With dirty great neoliberal policy pegs. She said it. Yes she did.

As Russell Brown of the Hard News blog over at Public Address puts it best in his commentary the other day:

I don’t know about you, but amid all the ministerial waffle, it really does seem that the minister said the decile funding scheme is for up for grabs and the government’s thinking is around a different funding model, tied to student performance.

So mystery comments person… Hekia is definitely saying she wants to link achievement outcomes to school funding. Her mistake was to accidentally announce the policy to a national newspaper.

Hopefully this post doesn’t end up with me being sued for defirmation.

Mr B.

POST UPDATE: thanks to some tech support, I’ve now discovered who posted the “anonymous” comment. Best not to use a real name and your personal gmail address when posting anonymous comments from your work computer.

Sources: 

School funding shake up looms: Herald on Sunday – March 16, 2014

Performance-based funding slammed: Stuff.co.nz – March 17, 2014

What Hekia Parata actually said: Russell Brown, Hard News – March 19, 2014

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