April 12, 2018
Culture crucial for education overhaul
A veteran educationalist says a review of Tomorrow’s Schools needs to answer why the system of community control of schools failed to work for Maori.
Pem Bird says when the policy was put in place 30 years ago in the wake of the Picot Report on education, his then-school Rakaumangamanga in Huntly embraced it as a chance for mana motuhake, with the community and iwi taking responsibility for education.
But he says in most cases Maori parents haven’t been fairly represented on boards of trustees, and under-achievement has become more entrenched.
He says it’s boards of trustees that determine what parts of the curriculum get taught in their schools.
"I absolutely applaud the fact our curriculum guidelines are broad, inclusive and permissive but it is up to each board of trustees to translate that to meet the needs and I am talking the cultural needs of Maori pupils," Mr Bird says.
He says school trustees need to be held accountable for outcomes, which is why he supported the charter school experiment.
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