Hekia Parata stepped her high heels gingerly over of what remained of New Zealand's public education system (battered by funding cuts, Novopay failures, sacked advisory services, recent closure announcements, bullying implementation of ideological systems and a struggling Ministry) and sat before microphones and cameras. With practiced composure and a broad smile she announced that the latest National Standards results revealed a "small but incremental increase in reading, writing and mathematics".
The way Parata presented the information one could believe that the data arrived from the heavens and was inscribed in stone and was not derived from roughly moderated teacher judgments and testing systems that had recently been scaled upwards. For all we know the small but incremental increase could just as easily have been a 10% drop in achievement, the data is so flawed.
For teachers to hear this Education Minister appearing to take credit for the apparent gains in achievement and then condescendingly suggesting areas that needed improvement, it was almost too much to bear. Most of us would love to present a report on the Minister's own achievement and I have constructed my own here (based on real evidence):
MID TERM REPORT
Name: Hekia Parata
CONSULTATION: Well below the standard (see Ombudsman report)
EVASIVE ANSWERS: Well above the standard (see recorded example)
STAFF MANAGEMENT: Well below the standard (difficult relationships in office and Ministry)
SPECIAL NEEDS: Well below the standard (Salisbury School judicial review)
PRIVATE SCHOOLS: Well above the standard (always given priority over public schools)
MAORI / PASIFIKA: Well below the standard (many successful initiatives had funding cuts)
LEADERSHIP / OVERSIGHT: Well below the standard (Novopay glaring example)
Comment: Hekia Parata has an excellent vocabulary and is an expressive speaker but she needs to understand that her speeches still need substance and she must try harder to connect with her audience. Hekia has been accused of bullying behaviour and needs to develop greater empathy for those less fortunate than herself. Hekia must take responsibility for her own actions and remember that great things can happen through co-operating with others.