Congratulations Labour and our new coalition government! Finally, some hope for an end, or a complete relook, at the neoliberal agenda that has crippled education in New Zealand and continued to marginalise our Māori and Pasifika learners. It's time for some truth-telling! "Let's do this" was your campaign slogan, Jacinda. These are some of your education promises, and in these promises lie some hope for tackling the barriers and colouring some of those White spaces. Words are cheap - so LET'S SEE THIS:
abolish national standards and work with experts and stakeholders to develop a new system that better acknowledges child progress and focuses on the key competencies
undertake a review of the current NCEA related assessment load on students and teachers
work with teachers, principals, parents, tertiary institutions and the Education Review Office (ERO) to develop more effective ways of evaluating the performance of schools
progressively introduce an entitlement to 3 years of free-post school education or training for New Zealanders to use throughout their lives as they see fit
designate funding for night classes and other adult learning opportunities
that the role of the Special Education Coordinator (SENCO) in each school is properly recognised, resourced, and supported - allocate resources based on individual needs assessment for each child
review the use of Commissioners and Limited Statutory Managers with a view to establishing a new system that is more positive and constructive
recognise and support the role of schools as community hubs
increase the number of social workers available to all levels of the education sector,
recognise the place of Maori as Tangata Whenua and provide opportunities for Maori to succeed and thrive.
provide all early childhood and primary school teachers the opportunity to undertake lessons in Te Reo Maori
provide dedicated scholarships to increase the number of Te Reo Maori teachers and ensure that Te Reo Maori is available as an option in all secondary schools
pilot the establishment of traditional Wananga Maori
investigate the establishment of a unique Wananga Tohu Matauranga qualification at secondary school level to better reflect increasing opportunities for Maori to succeed as Maori.
re-establish support for Pacific languages and review the level of funding and support provided to schools that offer bi-lingual teaching in Pacific languages.
provide all State and State Integrated schools that opt-in an additional $150 per student per year instead of asking for parental donations
investigate the introduction of ‘First in Family’ scholarships to help those from families with no prior achievement in higher education to participate
establish a joint taskforce with the teaching profession to reduce the amount of compliance-focused paperwork teachers are required to complete so that they can return their focus to what really matters – teaching and learning.
repeal the legislation allowing for Charter Schools