September 18, 2014
Why a Partnership School?
Why a Partnership School?
Last week it was confirmed that my organisation the Manukau Urban Maori Authority had the opportunity to start and sponsor a Partnership School. Formerly known as Charter Schools Partnership Schools offer us a real chance to make a difference in Maori people’s lives.
For the last few decades too many Maori kids have left school with no qualifications. Whilst we have some success in mainstream and are getting a number of great kids coming through the Kohanga and Kura Kaupapa system, we still lag well behind pakeha in terms of achievement. In fact more than a quarter of our kids still leave school without NCEA Level 2 qualifications. Some just don’t or can’t fit in with mainstream education practices so they are side-lined and written off by the various schools and teachers around the country.
I know this for a fact as my organisation have looked after many of these kids in South Auckland, we have run mentoring programmes for them over the last 15 years. Unfortunately it’s almost too late for most of them. We get to them when they are between 14 and 17 but by then they have already built up a huge amount of resentment towards their school and teachers. Sometimes over the years we have been able to save them but its one heck of a battle.
We have realised that we need to get to our kids early so that’s why a Partnership School has now become our focus. Last year I attended a dinner where tennis great Andre Agassi spoke and he talked about the kids who he sponsored in Las Vegas, in fact he has put millions of dollars of his own money into the Charter School idea, he has had stunning results. I was inspired by Agassi, he talked about young people written off by the system, poor kids whose potential had never been realised. Charter schools turned their lives around and gave them an opportunity.
The Agassi story is our story, we want to give our young ones a chance it’s as simple as that. Our school will have registered teachers and we will wrap around and make available all the services we provide, like whanau ora to the families who bring their kids to us. I’m sick of the constant criticism of this initiative from people who should know better.
MUMA will be opening our Kura “Te Kura Maori o Waatea” in February 2015 with 50 children this will complement our early childhood centre that will be starting at the same time. We hope to build the roll up to 200 by 2019 this will not be easy work but we look forward to the challenges that lie in front of us.
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