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A Profound Failure of Leadership

Published: Sat 25 Sep 2004 02:26 PM
A Profound Failure of Leadership
Minister of Education Trevor Mallard’s attacks on schools over alleged sexism and time-wasting during powhiri reflects not a problem in schools but a profound failure of leadership in education.
If either of these concerns about powhiri were valid they are so at such a tiny minority of schools that the Minister should write directly to the Boards of the schools concerned. It is a safe assumption that he has done nothing of the sort.
REAL problems in schools are myriad. Lack of decent government funding for the operations grant; dependence on gambling profits, foreign students and double taxation of parents to maintain quality in school education; lack of staffing; teacher recruitment; failure in special education policy; NCEA credibility; transience and truancy are some of these real problems.
And herein lies a profound failure of leadership. Real issues are left to fester while the Minister engages in sideshow politics.
Mallard’s real purpose in raising this issue appears two-fold.
Firstly to appeal directly to the red-neck voters lost to Don Brash earlier this year. Attempting to portray his comments as concern for education are a jellyfish disguise – transparent and spineless.
Secondly Mallard has gone to great lengths recently to divert public attention from funding issues in schools. He has spun a multitude of irrelevant figures in numerous media releases to try convince the community that the government is funding schools adequately and that the real problems lie elsewhere. Too much time on sexist powhiri is just the latest twist.
Where is the REAL Minister of Education?
John Minto National Chairperson

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