The Dim-Post

November 1, 2012

Education Minister translated

Filed under: education,Politics — danylmc @ 9:34 am

Hekia Parata is closing a couple of special schools in the South Island, explaining:

At the very heart of this difficult decision lies the opportunity to provide services and support for more children with complex needs in their local community. We can link local services with the remaining residential provision to achieve a more personalised and high quality approach for children and their families. “I am satisfied that this combination of services will make sufficient provision for all children with special education needs both locally and nationally.

I’m pretty sure this means:

The Finance Minister is making me close schools to save money because he promised to reduce the deficit before the next election and I’m closing these ones because teaching intellectually disabled students has a high student/teacher cost ratio, which means I can save more money and have fewer parents mad at me.

Also, I’ve found that if you imagine all of Parata’s statements being said in Ralph Wiggum’s voice (‘I’m consulting widely!’) it lowers your expectations of her to a realistic level.

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33 Comments »

  1. To call Parata an Education Minister is to use a contradiction in terms.

    Comment by Sunny — November 1, 2012 @ 10:02 am

  2. I suspect that in the long run she will have a whole lot more parents mad at her. These students do take a lot of resourcing, that away from their own school will suck up reducing resources from others.

    Comment by Stephen Doyle — November 1, 2012 @ 10:07 am

  3. The critical bit is this:

    ” Under the proposal Ms Parata said she had reached a compromise by keeping two of four residential schools open – Halswell Residential College in Christchurch and Westbridge Residential School in Auckland.

    By keeping the two residential schools open, 100 students with special education needs would be accommodated, 15 fewer than currently catered for by the four schools.”

    Of course you would close two schools if the net loss applied to only 15 students!

    JC

    Comment by JC — November 1, 2012 @ 10:19 am

  4. The Ministry of Education opposes special schools because it is committed ideologically to mainstreaming. So, when it has a National Ministers it advises they should be closed down for cost reasons. With Labour Ministers, it advises they should be closed down for social equity reasons. Usually the community rebels and the Minister backs down. Then the Ministry waits for the next Minister and the process starts again. On balance I think I actually agree with Ministry, but then I have neither a special needs kid and nor do my kids have a special needs kids in their classes, so I’m not really qualified to comment.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — November 1, 2012 @ 10:22 am

  5. On balance I think I actually agree with Ministry, but then I have neither a special needs kid and nor do my kids have a special needs kids in their classes

    And there’s the rub.
    It doesn’t seem that the needs of mainstream students have been taken into account when kids who have already been ejected from mainstream schooling for behavioural reasons are reintroduced to their classrooms.

    Comment by Gregor W — November 1, 2012 @ 10:41 am

  6. Is there any information on how well (or poorly) these schools do with their students, both on education results and interpersonal development, with comparisons to mainstream schools?

    Comment by Ataahua — November 1, 2012 @ 10:49 am

  7. And my special advisor, Glenn, said to me. “Inclusion is NOT an illusion”….

    Comment by Bilbo — November 1, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  8. Ataahua – of course there isn’t. The ministry, teacher unions and education academics aren’t going to collect such data in a way that would enable comparison. That would be icky and rightwing etc.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — November 1, 2012 @ 11:07 am

  9. Contrary to MH, I would suspect there is some info in the bowels of the Ministry.
    Without ongoing needs analysis, how would special schools be business cased in the first place / be able to petition for ongoing funding?

    Comment by Gregor W — November 1, 2012 @ 11:19 am

  10. “Of course you would close two schools if the net loss applied to only 15 students!”

    but obviously the 2 schools being closed don’t only have 15 students between them. the “net loss” means that other schools will have to take up the work and will require resources. we’re not being given the whole equation.

    if it really was a good idea I don’t think Hekia would have to natsplain it to us in that horrible managerialist dialect…

    “I am satisfied that this combination of services will make sufficient provision for all children with special education needs both locally and nationally.”

    sufficient for what? as good as it is now? better? at least with their other terminally stupid education policies they tried to present a ‘problem’ that needed to be ‘fixed’. in this case the problem seems to be “we haven’t closed down any schools this week and we’re getting antsy”.

    Comment by nommopilot — November 1, 2012 @ 11:41 am

  11. @Matthew Hooten. What bollocks. Of course there is information on hw well these schools serve their students. It was widely diostributed by the schools when this idea was mooted. This is the reality: there are no “wrap around services”. For years, high need teenagers, once dumped bvy schools, have fallen through the gaps and contributed to our crime and mental health stats.

    Comment by Robby110 — November 1, 2012 @ 11:45 am

  12. Is there any detail on what wrap around services are?
    Sounds a bit like community care when the Nats were ‘helping’ the in the 90′s

    Comment by Dv — November 1, 2012 @ 11:48 am

  13. Mathew H The ministry, teacher unions and education academics aren’t going to collect such data in a way that would enable comparison. That would be icky and rightwing etc.

    Oh you mean like the collection of really meaningfull Nat std data.

    Comment by Dv — November 1, 2012 @ 11:52 am

  14. Also, I’ve found that if you imagine all of Parata’s statements being said in Ralph Wiggum’s voice (‘I’m consulting widely!’) it lowers your expectations of her to a realistic level.

    Harsh. But fair.

    Comment by TerryB — November 1, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

  15. “imagine all of Parata’s statements being said in Ralph Wiggum’s voice”

    Wiggum is mainstreamed and he’s doing wonderfully!

    Comment by nommopilot — November 1, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

  16. ‘but then I have neither a special needs kid and nor do my kids have a special needs kids in their classes, so I’m not really qualified to comment.’…

    Other than to suggest that despite the desperate pleadings of a particularly sympathetic Minister, the bastards in middle management in the Ministry just went ahead overrode her .

    The simple fact is that the Govt has transferred the cost of the educating and caring for these children, during school hours, to the school. As ever, any additional expenses will come straight from the School’s operating budget…so every child in that school, irrespective of whether they get the privilege of sharing the classroom with a special needs child..or children…will be the worse for it.
    Of course with all the sympathy trickling down from the Ministers Office…no parent will feel any sort of resentment about funds being diverted..or any disruptions, etc.
    Unless Parata makes some reasonable budget increases next year.
    I’ll hold my breath…

    Comment by Peter Martin — November 1, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

  17. The needs of these special needs kids vary wildly, of course. But some of them are very, very special and very, very needy.
    Mainstreaming them is exactly as sensible as emptying the mental institutions into community care in the ’90s (someone here already referred to that).
    The kids I am thinking of never will do anything except live on a benefit under supervision. Some of them can’t, for example, manage basic cleanliness or speech.
    You don’t really consider their academic achievement, all you can hope for is to keep them safe and relatively happy. There are, naturally, some specific problems for girls in this state.
    No doubt the schools that mainstream these kids will have all the resources they need. I feel a Tui billboard coming on…

    Comment by Roger Parkinson (@RogerParkinson) — November 1, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

  18. Why not charge parents the full cost of schooling their disabled children? Surely this is where National are heading with this?

    Comment by Dan — November 1, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

  19. And the whore Hooters said:

    “so I’m not really qualified to comment.”

    Indeed. That applies to everything he’s ever said in fact, but since he’s paid to…

    Comment by Rhinocrates — November 1, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

  20. ‘I’m consulting widely!’

    “Consult” – a portmanteau of “Con” and “Insult”.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — November 1, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  21. aren’t going to collect such data

    Oh, I just love that Hooters – just after the government announced that it’s not going to release reports on our environmental stats as it used to. Geez, hypocritical, not?

    Sorry, redundant question.

    The difference is that your example is insinuation and mine is real. You’re not very subtle, you know. If I were paying you, I’d wonder about my value for money – are you sure you’re really worth what you’re getting? “Thick and full of himself” is the comment I remember from The Hollow Men

    Comment by Rhinocrates — November 1, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

  22. I find many aspects of this policy offensive, but one stands out. And that’s the idea that there hasn’t already been a great deal of consultation and assessment and a whole lot of meetings and back-and-forth and possibly mainstreaming for a couple of years and maybe day-school in a special unit or special school in the history of all of these children. I’ve watched my parents wrangle with MinEd and several schools for going on 15 years with regards to my youngest brother (did you know you’re legally entitled to be in secondary school until the year you turn 21?), and his needs are relatively simple as these things go. Parents don’t just wander down to the closest residential school and enrol Little Timmy there; it’s a completely different (and much more time-consuming and emotionally challenging and stressful) process than getting your kid into the local primary. I don’t know about residential schools specifically, but just the process of getting special funding and an individual education plan can take years.

    I’d imagine, if I were the parent of a child in a special school and that school was closing, and I was facing having to go through the entire process of needs assessment and getting funding approval for a different set of agreed special provisions and getting my child to accept a change of environments (which can be very difficult for some children) AGAIN, I’d want to weep right about now. And I’d be incredibly frustrated at the idea that nobody has considered mainstreaming, or mainstreaming with assistance, or putting the child in question into a special unit attached to a mainstream school (many of those units have been closed too!), or getting the child in question into a special-needs day school (not many of those about either!). Because of course all of these things have already been considered, and all of them have been found wanting by the parents of the child and the professionals involved.

    Comment by beigemoneypit — November 1, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

  23. Oh, looks like we have a battle here

    Comment by Dan — November 1, 2012 @ 9:44 pm

  24. Hardly. Hooters never sticks around for long when he’s challenged, I haven’t the slightest respect for him and I’d welcome his contempt (or indifference). I certainly wouldn’t stoop to genuine debate with him because he’s incapable of good faith. People I know who have had dealings with him describe him as a vile creature at all levels. He’s a paid whore and a parrot – the only curious thing about him is his enduring – and increasingly desperate – belief that someone somewhere thinks that he’s a credible independent observer without an agenda because once that perception finally evaporates, he’s out of a job. The only thing you should ask when he squawks on any topic is “Who paid for that?” Just like Glenn Innwood speaking for Japanese whalers, his true value is in showing what his masters want to have heard.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — November 1, 2012 @ 10:28 pm

  25. Welcome back, Sir!

    Comment by Gregor W — November 1, 2012 @ 10:40 pm

  26. Sorry Gregor, I’ll be gone again soon. Too much work to do.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — November 1, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

  27. Hooton is irrelevant (as always).

    Is Danyl correct in his interpretation of Parataspeak?

    This government only cares about Gecko values.

    Warren Buffet has more sense than the entire national party members and their supporters. He thinks taxes are not a bad thing.

    Presumably Key et al would rather see beggars on the the street than fund social services. It would favour private enterprise prisons (tax payer funded).

    National has always had a problem with education and other social value matters.

    I am sure they envy the Taleban mullahs, they have no doubts.

    How many votes would the nats lose by closing special needs schools? Not many more than they already have lost anyway.

    Who cares?

    There is no opposition, apart from some acoustic guitar work.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — November 2, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

  28. He’s a paid whore and a parrot…

    He turns up and argues a point without insulting anyone.

    Maybe he should act more like the liberal media in Britain who were so complicit in Jimmy Saville’s activities.

    I suppose The Guardian were a bit pre-occupied for a while portraying Hillary Clinton as a witch. Not sure what the BBC’s excuse is.

    Comment by NeilM — November 3, 2012 @ 12:06 am

  29. He turns up and argues a point without insulting anyone.

    Here, maybe, this time, but bullshit everywhere else. His slurs and insinuations are more subtle than Slater’s sometimes, but not always, and never any less tendentious. Comparing the Labour Party to the Kahuis on Nat Rad’s Nine-To-Noon, claiming that Helen Clark was plotting a coup or his shouting and bullying if there’s a female on the other side of the table are hardly the sign of a gentleman.

    His attempt to shill for Parata here is necessarily low-key, but hardly innocent or honest.

    Hooton is irrelevant (as always).

    Oh, he’s useful to indicate what his masters want us to think, to show what spoiler strategies are being deployed. He won’t fart without an ulterior motive and a paycheck, so he’s worth observing for that reason. And worth a laugh or two into the bargain.

    “Liberal media”? Saville? Clinton? Relevance? Why not bring up Torquemada the Black Death and the Second Law of Thermodynamics as diversion too?

    Comment by Rhinocrates — November 4, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

  30. I think people are past Hooton now, since he’s so obviously a sellout. Used to have credibility.

    Comment by Dan — November 4, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  31. Used to have credibility.

    Really? When?!

    Comment by Rhinocrates — November 4, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

  32. And this for anyone who thinks that Hooters is a nice guy who never insults anyone, this quote:

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2006/07/quote_of_the_week_2.html

    Yeah, really classy.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — November 4, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

  33. Ralph better get her act together.

    Comment by Dan — November 4, 2012 @ 8:36 pm


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