Quote of the day

April 10, 2015

My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors. Maya Angelou


Another quote of the day

March 24, 2015

“Schools are not there merely to teach in the old words of reading, writing and arithmetic, but they’re there to transition young people, especially at high school, into the real world,” . . . Canterbury University dean of law Dr Chris Gallivan


What does this teach?

March 24, 2015

“What would have happened if you told your parents you’d been punished for something you’d done at school?”

The question came from a teacher and my reply was simple – I wouldn’t have told them because I’d have got no sympathy and might have invited further punishment.

Had I felt I’d been unfairly dealt to and my parents agreed with me, the best I could have expected from them was acceptance that it was unfortunate but they would still have supported the school.

The teacher sighed and said if only they still had that level of support from parents. Instead, they got parents swearing black was white and their little angels could do no wrong.

That conversation was more than a decade ago and the teacher wasn’t then having to deal with legal action.

The St Bede’s College rowers axed from their Maadi Cup rowing team for breaching airport security say they took court action due to concerns over the school’s decision-making process and have questioned whether the punishment was fair.  . .

Teen rowers Jack Bell and Jordan Kennedy were removed from the school’s Maadi Cup rowing team after being given formal warnings by police and the Aviation Security Service for jumping on a baggage conveyor at Auckland Airport on Friday.

The pupils, who had just arrived on a domestic flight from Christchurch, rode the carousel through rubber curtains and into a restricted baggage area, the Civil Aviation Authority said.

The school ruled the pupils should be sent home. However, their parents, Shane Kennedy and Antony Bell, were granted a High Court injunction allowing their sons to stay and compete in the Maadi Cup.

A statement, released by the boys and their families on Monday afternoon, said the court action was never intended to justify their actions or to suggest the school was not entitled to take disciplinary action.

“The only reason for the court action was due to concerns over the school’s decision-making process and over whether or not the decision as made was proportionate to the misbehaviour. The court action was certainly not taken lightly,” the statement said.

“They accept that what they did was stupid. No harm was meant and it was intended as nothing more than a prank.

“All parties are aware that following a full and fair investigation about the incident that there may well be disciplinary consequences.” . . .

Rector Justin Boyle says this sets a dangerous precedent:

St Bede’s rector Justin Boyle said the action could be seen as undermining the school’s authority.

“What it’s doing there is is taking away the ability of the school to manage their children and any educational activity outside the classroom.”

Mr Boyle said the school’s board was meeting today to consider what actions it would take.

St Bede’s lawyer Andrew McCormick said it was important the school got a decision on whether it was right to discipline the pupils.

He said the substantive hearing could not be held until the regatta is over, so the penalty becomes moot.

But he said there were broader implications as to whether schools and principals can exercise their discretion and discipline students. . .

The Principals’ Federation says this is a worrying trend.

Principals’ Federation president Denise Torrey says it sends the wrong message to students.

“The boys didn’t learn that there are consequences to your actions and that the whole reason we have rules or a code of conduct is to outline expected behaviour.”

Ms Torrey says parents taking action in the courts is a worrying trend. . . .

No-one is arguing about what the boys did nor whether it was wrong to do it.

The court action was questioning the school’s process.

And what does that teach children?

That if they do something stupid, breach the school’s code of conduct they can get a court to stop the school imposing the logical consequences of that, not because the boys were wronged but because the school might have got the process wrong.

Once more it appears that the right process is more important than what’s right and wrong.


All schools aren’t equal

March 2, 2015

Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced schools in Northland, Waikato, Hawkes Bay and Canterbury have gained approval to use a new allowance to recruit principals who can help them tackle significant challenges:

The Principal Recruitment Allowance was agreed as part of Investing in Educational Success, the $359 million package to help lift students’ educational achievement.

“A board of trustees can apply for approval to offer an allowance of $50,000 to help recruit a principal with the right skills to meet the particular and significant challenges at their school,” says Ms Parata.

“There are very clear criteria the school must meet in its application. These include significant underachievement, particularly for the groups of kids most at risk, serious safety or wellbeing issues for students and/or staff, high principal turnover or a number of statutory interventions.”

The five schools granted approval to offer the allowance are Opononi School and Mangamuka School in Northland, Ngaruawahia High School in Waikato,  Kimi Ora Community School in Hawkes Bay and Aranui Community Campus in Canterbury.

Ms Parata says applicants for the positions will have to provide strong evidence of highly successful performance.

“We’re supporting schools with significant challenges to do one of the two most important things they can to lift educational achievement, which is get the right leadership in place. 
“The other major in-school factor is the quality of teaching and we’re supporting that through new teaching roles and the communities of schools that will work together to share best practice to tackle their shared goals.”

Approval for the Principal Recruitment Allowance is given by the Secretary for Education.

Conditions of the allowance  the allowance include:

  • the fixed-term allowance attaches to a permanent principal position
  • both the school and the applicant must meet separate eligibility criteria for the allowance to be payable
  • the initial period of the allowance is for a fixed-term of three years; a board may seek approval to renew the allowance for a further period of up to two years (the allowance cannot be renewed more than twice)
  • approval for payment (or renewal) of the allowance is discretionary and may be subject to conditions imposed by the Secretary for Education.
  • consideration will be given to each expression of interest on its merits
  • the allowance is on top of other remuneration offered by the employing board
  • the allowance will end when the fixed period of the allowance ends, regardless of whether the principal ceases to be employed as a principal at the school; or when the principal ceases to be employed as a principal at the school.

All schools aren’t equal nor are their principals.

Schools with significant challenges need special leadership.

Those leaders deserve financial recognition of the challenges they face and for their skills, experience and accomplishments.


Sharing the goodness

November 11, 2014

The Green Party wants to provide free food for all low decile schools, whether or not they want it.

Fonterra is already sharing the goodness of milk, delivering it free to any and all schools which want it.

 


First anniversary of Milk in Schools

November 4, 2014

Fonterra’s Milk in Schools programme has been operating for more than a year.

Those schools which choose to participate get free, chilled milk.

Unlike the Bill before parliament which aims to provide free food for all low decile schools, the Fonterra programme is targeted and only those schools which want it, get it.


Challenge is trade

October 18, 2014

Prime Minister John Key was asked about advice for other leaders and said:

I think the big challenge for everybody is international trade,&rdquo he says. If you want to look at what drives economic outcomes, it is access to markets, it is education – the skill base of your people – and flexibility of your labour markets. All the other factors will take care of themselves.” . . .

This explains the government’s prioritising free trade agreements, education and labour law reform.

The quote is a small part of an interview in The Telegraph headlined: John Key: the poor boy who saved New Zealand’s economy.

I recommend reading it in full.

 

 


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