Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A letter to Chris Hipkins

A bill proposing the abolition of charter schools has been drawn in the parliamentary ballot. It's in the name of Labour education spokesman Chris Hipkins.

My friend Neil Harrap was inspired to write the following letter to Hipkins, which I endorse:

"Dear MP Hipkins,
"You're proving to be a disappointment in trying to stop charter schools.  Had charter schools been around when I was a kid I'd have been a candidate.

"My experience of state schools was how mediocre they can be in many cases.  Career teachers waiting for retirement were the norm in my school.

"Fortunately I have succeeded beyond my dreams, thanks to parental guidance, a strong will to succeed and some good luck.  Leaving school at fifteen isn't the best way but if school is that much of a waste of time then one is better out of it.

"You can google me and find that I've succeeded in many fields, become wealthy and helped many people in their lives.  This is not because of public education but in spite of it.  

 "You should be ashamed of yourself trying to stop diversity in education.  It shows the narrowness of your mind and your political beliefs."
Amen to all that. Of course the idea of charter schools challenges the Labour Party's cherished dogma that only the state can do things properly and that people are too stupid to be trusted to exercise freedom of choice. Besides, charter schools potentially undermine the power of the teacher unions to which many Labour MPs previously belonged.
I understand, incidentally, that Hipkins has never bothered to visit one of these schools that he's so keen to ban. Perhaps he's scared  he'll see something that might cause him to question his comfortable left-wing convictions.


Brendan McNeill said...

There are many of us who have survived the State system, only to prosper once outside of its control. I had my mix of career teachers along with at least one very good one. Students do know the difference.

After a brief flirtation with the State system we sent our children to an Independent Christian School, and while not perfect at least it wasn't working against our interests or those of our children.

I'm pleased to be in a position to help our grandchildren choose to attend independent schools of their parents choice. We can afford it, but what about those parents who cannot? While we all wrestle with our own dogma's Labour is particularly awful when it comes to parental choice around education.

Max Ritchie said...

My own experience of state schools was really good, mainly Kohimarama Primary School (before the days when Auckland's eastern suburbs became Decile 10) and Selwyn College for me, and then schools like Wellington College and New Plymouth Boys for my children and grandchildren. But lots of children these days are not doing well at school and charter schools seem to provide a solution, at least for some. The Labour Party is of course union dominated - that's its origin, after all - so one can understand a bias towards that but why the state? Unions also have members from the private sector. No reason why the teacher unions cannot have teachers from charter schools as members. Except of course ideology - only the state can provide education, they claim. It's simply not the case. Many charter schools are doing really well, better than the state for some children. And isn't that the most important thing in this debate? Surely the interests of the child should be paramount.

paul scott said...

Chris Hipkins is evidence of how well the Labour party is going. With any luck he will become the sixth Labour leader since Helen Clark. Jacinda follow Andrew, then Chris Hipkin's turn. By then it should be 2020, possibly a fifth continuing loss for Labour .

Jigsaw said...

As one who was once inside the teaching profession for many years I can tell you that the union - in my experience - made it as difficult as possible to get rid of poor teachers. Many poor teachers made sure they got positions inside the union to ensure that they were protected. There were and I would imagine still are, many teachers who simply should not be anywhere near children in a classroom. On the other hand there are teachers who are marvellous - work hard and care deeply about the children in their care. Problem is Labour and unions deny that the poor teachers exists and insist on short changing the good teachers. Worth remembering when you hear Hipkins sounding off.