Labour/Government spending on schools

In her Speech to the 2019 Labour Party Conference Jacinda Ardern gave details of plans provide money to all schools for maintenance.

…next year almost every single state school in New Zealand will receive a one-off payment of up to $400,000 to upgrade their classrooms and facilities.

This is the biggest cash injection for school maintenance in at least 25 years.

It will create jobs in every community in the country while helping to make our schools the special places they deserve to be.

Every school will get a payment of $693 per student, capped at a maximum of $400,000, while no school will get less than $50,000 regardless of how small their roll is.

@henrycooke: The funding maxes out at $400k per school but also has a $50k floor. This creates some wild ratios, eg: Auckland Grammar, with 2421 students, will receive the max of $400k – $165 per student. Papanui Junction School, roll of 7, will receive the minimum of $50k – $7k per kid.

Be it classroom upgrades or extensions, ensuring classrooms are warm and dry so our kids can learn, replacing coal boilers with new clean and energy efficient heating, improving play areas with resurfacing and landscaping, replacing roofing and guttering – this money is to ensure that the projects that schools have often had to defer can now get done.

But this isn’t just about schools – it’s about jobs. And especially trades jobs.

We want schools to engage local builders, plumbers, carpenters, roofers, landscapers – this is an opportunity for work at a local level in every town and city in the country.

Now this is just the first part of our infrastructure package, and one element of our work to rebuild New Zealand.

And it will leave a visible mark on every school in the country.

Now I know that what happens to our school buildings is one thing but what happens within them matters even more.

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She also announced a Ministry of Education offer to pay all school support staff at least ‘the living wage’.

So I want to finish by acknowledging that on Friday, the Ministry of Education made a new offer to settle the school support staff collective agreement, which, if accepted, will see teacher aides and other support staff receive at least the living wage.

Today, I can also announce that we intend for the Ministry to extend the living wage offer to all non-teaching staff in schools including cleaners, caretakers, and grounds people.

A lot of people will like this expenditure, and many will benefit from it. It won’t do any harm for Labour’s election chances next year either.

School pupil climate change protests

Thousands of school pupils took to the streets today in protest about a lack of action on climate change. They had also protested on 15 March but that was overshadowed by the Christchurch mass shooting.

It’s good to see teenagers prepared to speak up about issues that are important to them, and to many, climate change inaction is of extreme importance and urgency.

RNZ:  Thousands of children across New Zealand turn out for climate change strikes

The second round of climate change strikes have been taking place today with thousands of school and tertiary students around Aotearoa skipping classes to take part.

Around 1000 turn out in Auckland

The Auckland Schools Strike for Climate wrapped up after 1000 students lay down on Queen St in protest with students from at least 20 schools taking part.

They were chanting and holding signs, and with police escorts, shut down entire blocks of Queen St as they lay down, and chanted “Wake Up”.

Wellington students call for declaration of climate change emergency

In Wellington, student leaders at the school strike for climate have urged the government to toughen up its zero carbon bill.

Thousands of students marched from Civic Square, through downtown Wellington to Parliament in Wellington, where they urged MPs to move the goal for net zero carbon emissions from 2050 to 2040.

They also called for Parliament to declare a climate emergency.

Strike leaders told the rally the world is in an emergency and political leaders need to act.

Christchurch students also turn out after 15 March strike cut short

More than 200 students and parents gathered in Christchurch, where the first school strike on 15 March was cut short by news of the mosque attacks.

Zahra Husseini said the well-being of the environment is emphasised in her religion.

“It’s very important we look after our nature, our environment because it affects our personal well-being as well in our community.”

‘Our education won’t mean anything … if the world is in flames’ – Nelson student

In Nelson, hundreds of students from schools throughout Nelson and Tasman marched down the main street.

A large crowd gathered on the Church Steps, before the students chanted their way along Trafalgar Street, attracting huge support from onlookers.

Stuff: Kiwi school students strike again for urgent action on climate change

Thousands of youngsters nationwide dropped pens for placards on Friday, calling for urgent action on climate change for the second time.

In Wellington, students gathered in Wellington’s Te Ngākau, Civic Square, before marching through the streets to Parliament.

The crowds shouted “no more coal, no more oil, keep your carbon in the soil”, calling for “climate justice” and drastic action by political leaders to enforce change. Adults shouted support to protesters as they bee-lined toward the Beehive.

Stuff – Hear our voice: Waikato and Coromandel students demand climate change action

In Hamilton, about 300 students converged on Civic Square on Friday afternoon to chant slogans, wave banners, and to grill politicians on environmental issues.

In Thames, students called on MPs and the council to take urgent action to address climate change.

Meanwhile, south of Hamilton, the Cambridge Tree Trust put on its own climate strike outside Cambridge Town Hall.

Charlotte Matthews, nine, took the day off school to support the protest and said politicians need to treat climate change as an emergency.

ODT:

School pupils and students marched along George St in Dunedin today, as part of strike action aimed at sending a message to New Zealand politicians about the urgency of climate action.

Zedd reports from Dunedin:

just got back, about an hour ago.. about 1000 attendees, mostly school kids, but also; quite a crowd of ‘we older folks too’

whilst they are often seen as ‘all noise’.. at least they are out there making it, as opposed to APATHY !

nga mihi ki a koutou 🙂

Expect this to be ongoing.

Climate change protests versus school

More in the build up to Friday’s climate change protests that have already been effective at raising attention.

@BenThomasNZ:

If anyone is still interested in “should kids go on the the climate strike” takes, this one by a teacher I know is probably the best

If it’s a one-off or occasional thing I have no problem with children (teenagers) taking a bit of time off school to take part in an organised protest. It is likely to inspire them a lot more than just another day at school.

Compulsory te Reo Māori in schools?

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori  (Māori  Language Week) is being used to promote wider use of the language, and calling for compulsory te reo Māori in schools.

There has been some teaching of te reo Māori in schools for years, like days of the week, counting in Māori and other basics alongside cultural awareness and more. Schools in Dunedin with very small numbers of Māori pupils have popular kapa haka groups.

So I think the question is how much te reo Māori (and Māori  culture and history) should be taught in schools.

I’m happy for a continuation of what is being done with te Reo Māori in primary schools now, and perhaps an increase, alongside all the other specific and general topics on the curriculum. Fundamentals like reading, writing and arithmetic are essential, as well as art, music and physical education. Māori history, Aotearoa history and new Zealand history are important for kids to know something about.

All of these subjects are compulsory at Primary level now, so there’s no reason to change that. One question is whether to increase how much is taught.

And probably the biggest question is whether conversational Māori should be taught. I’d be happy if it was, to an extent. It should at least be promoted as a positive thing to learn.

But when it comes to Secondary level I don’t think Māori should be compulsory. Most subjects at this level should be choices for pupils.

Is English still compulsory? I expect so, and I think there’s a good case for this, especially to say Form 5 (now year 11). Everyone benefits from a good working knowledge of English in this country, and it is useful in many places around the world.

But I think that Māori, and French and Japanese and Chinese and any other languages, should be optional rather than compulsory at Secondary school.

 

Hipkins clarifies Northcote school rebuild not by-election related

Labour’s candidate in the Northcote by-election, Shanan Halbert, tried to capitalise on a school rebuild announcement in his campaigning.

Minister of Education Chris Hipkins clarified – albeit a day later – that the rebuild had nothing to do with campaign promises, it would have happened anyway.

Another mass shooting, more prayers, Trump flips

Mass shootings in the US seem to be about as common as violence in the Middle East, and are far more common and more dangerous than terrorism.

Paltry prayers have been offered, demands have been made again that something must be done, but President Trump is now up to a flip flop flip on doing something about rampant gun violence.

Reuters: Texas Shooting Suspect Had Message for Classmates: ‘You Will Pay,’ Witnesses Say

A 17-year-old student confessed to opening fire at his Texas high school on Friday, killing 10 people, and told investigators that he had spared certain students “so he could have his story told,” the authorities said.

A Galveston County Sheriff’s Office investigator wrote in an affidavit that Dimitrios Pagourtzis had waived his right to remain silent and had given “a statement admitting to shooting multiple people” at Santa Fe High School. The investigator, identified only as J. Roy, also wrote that Mr. Pagourtzis had said that “he did not shoot students he did like so he could have his story told.”

Mr. Pagourtzis’s apparently well-planned assault in this rural community of about 13,000 people was the deadliest school shooting since February, when 17 people were killed in Parkland, Fla. But investigators said that Mr. Pagourtzis had given no overt indications that he was planning a mass shooting.

“Unlike Parkland, unlike Sutherland Springs, there were not those types of warning signs,” Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said, referring to the Florida school attack and a siege at a church last November.

Mass shootings are awful, but not unfortunately not unusual in The United States of America.

The Gun Violence Archive statistics for the year so far, including the Santa Fe shooting.

  • Total number of incidents 21,938
  • Number of deaths 5,433
  • Number of injuries 9,877
  • Mass shootings 101

Horrific, and horrible that the US seems powerless to do anything substantial about the problem.

This compares to an estimated 512 terrorist attacks world wide with 2,692 deaths – see Terrorist Attacks.

President Trump has responded saying mass shootings have been ‘going on too long in our country’, but not long ago promised a National Rifleman’s Association rally that he would protect gun rights.

Politico: Trump says mass shootings have been ‘going on too long in our country’

The president says he is ‘determined’ to protect students after the latest school shooting leaves at least 10 dead.

President Donald Trump on Friday said mass shootings have been “going on too long in our country” and promised action after a Texas community was rocked by a school shooting that left at least 10 dead.

“My administration is determined to do everything in our power to protect our students, secure our schools and to keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves and to others,” Trump said, speaking at a White House event on Friday. “Everyone must work together at every level of government to keep our children safe.”

He indicated he would do something after the Parkland shooting in February.

Trump, who briefly alarmed gun-rights activists by suggesting aggressive measures after the February shooting in Parkland, Fla., did not specify what sort of actions his administration might take.

The usual thoughts and prayers:

At a prison reform event at the White House, Pence and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner voiced sympathies for the victims.

“We’ll continue to monitor the situation and we will make all federal resources available to first responders and school officials in the wake of this incident,” Pence said.

“I just want to send our thoughts and prayers to the people of Santa Fe,” Kushner added.

Trump, in remarks near the end of the prison reform event, offered a somber tone as he told those affected by the latest shooting that “we’re with you in this tragic hour, and we will be with you forever.”

But he recently pandered to the NRA:

However, Trump returned to more strident language during the National Rifle Association’s annual convention earlier this month, telling attendees that their Second Amendment rights “will never, ever be under siege as long as I am your president.”

As lethal sieges at schools and other public places continue unabated in the US.

Trump proposes more guns to combat too many guns

President Donald trump has a proposal to combat shootings in schools – let teachers carry concealed handguns. In a country with far too many firearms and far too many killings, he has proposed more firearms.

He said this in front of people who went to the White House to implore him to do something to prevent more shootings.

In the shooting in Las Vegas last October where 58 people were killed and 851 injured, concealed handguns were no use.

Chicago Tribune: Trump’s solution for school shootings: arm teachers, post veterans with guns

Seated between teenage survivors of the Florida school shooting, President Donald Trump said during an Oval Office listening session Wednesday that arming teachers and posting gun-toting veterans in schools could deter or stop school shooters.

His comments came during an emotional meeting that included Vice President Mike Pence, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and school-shooting survivors and families who had lost children to gun violence, including a father who buried his daughter just last week. They poured out grief and anger over the lack of efforts to stem school shootings.

Trump talked about strengthening background checks and increasing mental health resources. But his most pointed and specific remarks came when he spoke about adding security to schools by arming teachers and posting gun-equipped veterans.

Trump posited that if Aaron Feis, a popular football coach, has been armed, he could have stopped the gunman who killed Feis and 16 others last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“If the coach had a firearm in his locker when he ran at this guy – that coach was very brave, saved a lot of lives, I suspect – but if he had a firearm he would not have had to run. He would have shot and that would be the end of it,” Trump said.

He then proposed to arm 20 percent of schoolteachers and to hire veterans as armed school guards.

“A teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer be a gun-free zone,” Trump said. He suggested that an armed teacher on campus could reach a school shooter faster than responding police officers. “You’d have a lot of people that would be armed, that’d be ready.”

His proposal to make 20 percent of public schoolteachers ready to fire back at a school shooter would mean training and arming about 640,000 people nationwide.

I’m not sure how much ongoing training the 640,000 armed teachers would require. There’s also likely to be a reluctance by many teachers and schools to become armed fortresses.

The idea got a warm reception among some parents, but was met with swift backlash from teachers’ groups nationwide.

“Bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence. Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms,” said Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association, the largest teachers union. The group represents 3 million educators in K-12 schools and on college campuses. “We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators. Arming teachers does nothing to prevent that.”

“This is bar none, the worst theory of action I’ve ever heard,” said Shanna Peeples, a former educator who worked in Texas when she won the 2015 National Teacher of the Year award. She shared her thoughts on Twitter. “Texas law allows schools to arm their teachers. That’s not a good thing. None of us are trained to respond to threats in the way law enforcement is.”

Strictly limiting the number of high capacity assault weapons that can be bought and owned would be a more sensible approach.

Florida school shooting

Another horrific mass shooting in the US, this time at a school in Florida.

Reuters: FBI was warned about alleged Florida gunman, could not locate

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was warned last year about an ominous online comment by the 19-year-old man accused of killing 17 people in his former high school but was unable to locate him, an agent said on Thursday.

Authorities said the ex-student, identified as Nikolas Cruz, walked into the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, near Miami, on Wednesday and opened fire with an AR-15-style assault rifle in the second-deadliest shooting at a public school in U.S. history.

Cruz may have left warning signs on social media. A person with his name wrote a comment last year under a YouTube video that read “I‘m going to be a professional school shooter.” The man who posted the video, Ben Bennight, a Mississippi bail bondsman, was alarmed and contacted the FBI, according to a video he posted online late Wednesday.

Wednesday’s shooting was the 18th in a U.S. school this year, according to gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety. It stirred the long-simmering U.S. debate on the right to bear arms, which are protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

President Donald Trump addressed the shooting in a White House speech that emphasized school safety and mental health while avoiding any mention of gun policy.

“It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference,” Trump said at the White House. “We must actually make that difference.”

The big question is, given the number of guns and the lax gun laws in the US – how? There is no obvious answer that the NRA lobby and politicians they fund are likely to accept.

School decile system to be replaced

Education Minister Nikki Kaye announced today that the Government will replace the school decile based funding system with a ‘Risk Index’. They say that no school will get less funding, but some will get more.

I hope it doesn’t just replace one system of bureaucracy with another.

Time will tell whether this planned change will survive past the election if a new Government comes into power.


Improved funding for children at risk of not achieving

Education Minister Nikki Kaye today confirmed the Government will replace the decile system for schools with targeted funding to better support those students most at risk of not achieving.

“For too long schools have been stigmatised and wrongly judged by their decile number,” says Ms Kaye.

“Children and young people deserve to take pride in their school and we need to better target funding to where the need is greatest to support all children to achieve.

“Today I’m announcing that the Cabinet has agreed to replace the decile system with a Risk Index that allows us to better target funding to schools with children and young people most at risk of not achieving due to disadvantage.

“We will also be replacing the equity index used to allocate disadvantage funding in early childhood education with the Risk Index.”

Decile funding currently accounts for less than 3% of a school’s resources.

“Rather than allocating this funding on the basis of neighbourhood characteristics as the current decile system does, the Risk Index will instead provide fairer funding that better reflects the needs of children in our schools and services.

This will mean extra resources are better targeted to support schools to lift achievement.”

The specific factors to be used in the index are subject to further analysis before being finalised. But, they will be the indicators which evidence tells us have the greatest influence on student achievement.

“However, I’m pleased to be able to confirm that no school, early learning service or ngā kōhanga reo will see a reduction in their funding as a direct result of this change,” says Ms Kaye.

“In fact, we expect some will gain significantly.

“This is the first major change to be announced as part of the Funding Review, and I would like to acknowledge the incredible work by my predecessor Honourable Hekia Parata who initiated this important piece of work.

“As part of the Review the Government has been working with education leaders, such as those in the Ministerial Advisory Group for the Funding Review and a Technical Reference Group, which have advocated for change and further funding for disadvantage.

“With any system, whether it’s with decile or the Risk Index it’s very important that children and young people’s privacy is protected at all times. The way the system is being designed it will not be possible to identify which children generate the additional funding.”

There will be further engagement before any changes are implemented, although it’s likely the new model of funding will take effect from 2019 or 2020.

“Stripping out decile will change how schools are judged,” says Ms Kaye.

“We are working on a number of initiatives to make it easier for parents to find and assess information about the quality of schools.

“This includes a project with ERO that improves their reports and key information as well as making it more accessible to parents. This will involve some investment in greater online tools.”

Further work on other aspects of education funding is also ongoing. The Ministry of Education is due to report back later this year on the other parts of the Funding Review.

Related Documents


1 News:  Teachers union wants schools ‘underfunding’ dealt with as decile system scrapped

The primary teachers union says it’s big concern is underfunding for schools following the Government’s announcement that the controversial decile system will be replaced with a new rating system for funding.

The unions are largely welcoming the idea, but worry about the funding.

“Our big concern is obviously the underfunding that we have currently in the system. And that’s what we really want to see addressed,” said Lynda Stuart, NZEI president.

 

Kiri Te Kanawa beaten by nuns

Violence in New Zealand used to be a normal part of New Zealand society. Many of the effects of this continue, as does much violence.

Today it’s hard to imagine nuns being violent but there have been many claims of violence in religious institutions and schools.

Kiri Te Kanawa claims to have been beaten by nuns at school.

NZ Herald reports Dame Kiri Te Kanawa: ‘I was beaten by the nuns as a child’

“I’m tough … I’m tough because I have had to be. I was beaten by the nuns as a child.”

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa’s revelation stunned an audience of several hundred in Whanganui.

The celebrated singer, in the city to teach at the two-week New Zealand Opera School at Wanganui Collegiate, was speaking candidly in a public conversation with fellow international opera performer and Baptist Church minister, Rodney McCann.

“I am as tough as I am today because from age 12, when I was at a convent school in Auckland, I was beaten by the nuns,” Dame Kiri told the audience at the Collegiate auditorium.

Some aspects of our society have changed markedly for the better in my lifetime. It would be unthinkable to hear of nuns beating children now.

Unfortunately some in our society continue perpetuating the violence they learnt as normal behaviour as children, and pass that on to their own children.

We have a long way to go before we can become relatively non-violent society.