Hekia Parata speech to concerned parents of unnamed school

MC: thanks to all of you for coming tonight. Please do help yourself to a cup of tea or coffee and a gingernut in the kitchenette nook at the back of the hall. A big thank you to the Parents’ Association for organising the cake stall to pay for the purchase of the gingernuts. Now could you please welcome to the stage our guest speaker for this evening. Time Magazine once called her by accident. Give a warm welcome to our current Minister of Education – Hekia Parata.

(SFX: single man claps before quickly slowing then stopping abruptly)

Hekia (waving and smiling to the front row): Kia ora parents, pupils and staff of this unnamed school. My name is Hekia Parata and I’m here to talk at you about a range of things – many of which have something to do with the education of, and the learning to, your children. 

When I was a small girl growing up on the East Coast of the North Island of Aotearoa, I never dreamed that the networks of influence my tribe has over much of the Maori leadership of this great country would end up with me being appointed, without any hint of impropriety, a minister of the crown. It’s a long walk from Ruatoria to Wellington, but if you take a crown limousine, the walk is like floating on air.

I often dream of a time when all children, small or big, large or small, will achieve at or above the national standard for their age. I am adamant (bangs fist on lectern) that this will happen in my tenure as minister.

Children are like sponges. You can fill them up with water and then give them a squeeze and what comes out? Water mostly. But if you squeeze hard enough you might just squeeze out a slight boost to their national standard achievement data – particularly if you are a teacher with strong wrists and a determined will.

And that’s why I’m here today. The children that go to this school have been selected to take part in a trial for a new brand of teaching. We have called it simply: the teacher school.

After several minutes of exhaustive consultation with all relevant stakeholders we’ve chosen you as the guinea… um… lucky recipients of this excellent new model of teaching. Even though you are a school with a very high rate of success, the ministry and I have decided to make you even more successful by sacking all of your teaching staff and replacing them with a cheap Indonesian laptops.

These laptops were provided by a Sky City high roller as payment for gambling debt racked up during three days of hospitality following one of the recent festivals of education we held around the country.

Sky City were generous enough to realise how important computers and other IT stuff is to student learning and were able to gift them to the National government free of charge – except for a few minor policy concessions in the gambling and social harm areas.

So thank you to the teachers who’ve turned out tonight… you might as well leave now. Help yourself to another gingernut on your way out.

So this plan. You students will come to school at 8am every morning. They will be force-fed a banana supplied by an Australian supermarket chain. After that they will log in to a website where they will answer questions from the 6, 7, 8 and 9 times-tables. This maths tuition will continue for three hours.

After a short, 10-minute lunch, they will log back in and do some spelling words until 3pm. Then it’s reading everybody’s favourite newspaper – the NZ Herald – until home time at 5pm.

A weekly test will be held on Friday to determine if the children have retained any of the important NZ Herald information.

If you have any questions about your new school please ask the new Expert Teacher – he’s the chap at the back that looks like an accountant. That’s because two weeks ago he was an accountant.

Thank you for letting me in to gut your school this evening. The government is very pleased that we are able to experiment on your children like this. The American Educorporates give their thanks.

Cheers for your time.

(is quickly ushered out side door by phalanx of bodyguards as “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston plays on the public address system).



2 responses

  1. Bloody hilarious, but also very sad because of how close to the truth it is!


    1. I know. I write these things with tongue firmly in cheek but with one foot in reality.


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