Marching in Invercargill to Support Our Kids and Our Schools

We had a well supported march in Invercargill today in support of our schools and children. The sun shone, the bagpiper played, cars tooted, people shouted support from the footpaths and we had some spirited chanting. We ended up in Wachner Place for a brief speech and a free sausage.

My speech:

Kia ora koutou

Thank you everyone for your strong support for our wonderful quality public education system.

In terms of education in Invercargill, we have a lot to be proud of. Thanks to the support of our communities and fundholders we have school facilities that rival the best in the country and we have teachers and school support staff who are passionate about doing the best they can for our children.

We are marching today because we want a Government that will respect and listen to our education professionals, our parents and our communities. We object strongly to the introduction of policies that will remove and damage what has made our education system one of the best in the world.

We say NO to the introduction of systems from countries ranked beneath us with no mandate, no evidence and no planning.

We say NO to the flawed systems supported by the Global Education Reform Movement commonly known as GERM!

We say NO to publicly funded, profit focused Charter Schools that will allow unregistered teachers in front of children. Children do best when their teachers are well trained and professional.

We say NO to performance pay based on narrow achievement criteria. Children do best in schools where teachers work together, not compete against each other.

We say NO to league tables based on flawed standards that aren’t actually standards, aren’t national and aren’t fair on children. We want schools to work together not compete against each other.

We say NO to narrow one size fits all systems that don’t recognize that children are all different and have individual needs. We want an education system that delivers to all children.

We say NO to unnecessary, nationally driven data collection, this Government does not have a good record in confidentiality or using data appropriately.

We say NO to funding cuts for advisors and special education. Our vulnerable children need specialised support and our teachers and support staff need proper professional development.

We say NO to the introduction of systems like Novopay without a trial and with pre-identified flaws. When a Government is prepared to treat those who work in schools with such casual disrespect they obviously don’t value what we do for children or value education.

We say NO to the terrible treatment of Christchurch Communities where their voices and needs were ignored in favour of the GERM agenda. Schools are an imported part of any community and to rip them apart without proper consultation has been destructive to communities that have already suffered enough.

We say YES to collaboration, we say YES to proper consultation, we say YES to child focused teaching and learning and we say YES to properly valuing the work of our support staff and teachers. We have a great education system and we don’t want to lose it!


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