Matters that matter

This week National made several announcements on matters that matter:

A re-elected National-led Government will improve freshwater quality by investing $100m to buy and retire farmland next to important waterways. ntnl.org.nz/1BaGDWz #Working4NZ
National is committed to building a stronger economy and improving the quality of our environment, which is why we’ll require dairy cattle to be excluded from waterways by mid-2017. ntnl.org.nz/1BaGDWz #Working4NZ
We’ll deliver world-class connectivity to even more people, extending the roll-out of Ultra-Fast Broadband to a further 200,000 New Zealanders. ntnl.org.nz/1t1RAF2 #Working4NZ We’ll boost funding for special needs by providing an additional 800,000 teacher aide hours. ntnl.org.nz/1vUMAqE #Working4NZ

None of these would be possible or sustainable without National’s sound and careful economic management.

3 Responses to Matters that matter

  1. Dave Kennedy says:

    All these are useful policies, if still under-done, the question is why do them now when they were needed just as much 6 years ago? We were in negotiation a few months ago trying to lift teacher aid pay above the minimum wage and we were told there is no money available and yet suddenly there is enough to pay for 800,000 extra hours. There is no honesty or transparency with this Government.

  2. TraceyS says:

    I have a different take on things to Dave. While at a public meeting not that long ago I was able to ask the Minister directly what more could be done to help kids (like one of my children) who has the following characteristics: ie. supportive family/home life, educated/successful parents, physically healthy, bright but with learning difficulties. I know many, many children fitting these criteria who are simply not fulfilling their potential at school and it is a travesty. Some of these kids are the offspring of highly experienced teachers would you believe! You can imagine their frustration.

    I admire and fully support the Minister’s focus on the long tail of underachievement but it is not just lower-socio, Maori, or Pasifika kids who are not doing too well in NZ’s education system. There are lots of children who have all the right factors to be doing well, but are not, usually because they have a misunderstood learning problem.

    When raising this question, I did not necessarily mean that more money was required to help these kids, but it is always helpful and the policy will certainly make a difference. A change of attitude needs to go along with it because in my experience, having a teacher or teacher aide (or anyone in the classroom) who understands the struggle of living with a learning disability, makes a world of difference. We could, perhaps, in addition to policies providing more funding, also make papers on learning disabilities compulsory in teacher education rather than elective. That would cost very little.

    Teacher aides often bring empathy and understanding. They may have struggled with a learning problem themselves or have been drawn to becoming a teacher aide through having helped on of their own children at home. This is informal experience but being able to relate to the child’s difficulty at the personal (not just professional) level is critical. Of course there are teachers who can offer this too. My son had one for two years and it’s about the only time school has ever been a joy for him.

    You say “there is no honesty or transparency with this Government” and I can see were you are coming from regarding being told there was no extra funding. However, election time is an opportunity for getting out and listening to the views of people not normally heard very loudly at other times. With the announcement of this policy I certainly feel listened to and I’m surely not alone. Of course the funding could always be greater, but I reiterate that I don’t think money is the most important thing – it is understanding that matters most. We need to have just enough resources to let that understanding reach where it needs to.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10466876/Key-gets-movie-star-treatment

    Well done Minister. Thank you for recognising that Dyslexia and other conditions ARE real challenges and not just a matter of the child trying harder or being “unable to learn”.

  3. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey I have nothing against funding more hours, it is well over-due. What you don’t seem to realize is that over the last five years the government has steadily eroded special education services and sacked the majority of our advisors. We also struggle to always get the best people as teacher aids because they have such low pay and the worst conditions and job security of almost any other. Many teacher aids who have worked ten years or more for the same school have to wait every year to hear if the have a job for the following year and can continue to pay the bills. They make up 30% of the staff in schools and are too valuable to treat so badly.

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