Mike Hosking: 'Hipkinism' won't make things better for schools

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 13 Nov 2019, 4:58PM
Chris Hipkins announced changes to school zones yesterday. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Mike Hosking: 'Hipkinism' won't make things better for schools

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 13 Nov 2019, 4:58PM

Chris Hipkins has done an excellent job on the control freak front. Yes, school boards stay with the powers they already had, sort of, but my word, has he given the politburo the rest.

Schools no longer control their rolls. That’s to be in the hands of a new division within the education ministry. Principals are up for more training, potentially not a bad idea, but once again, based on his obsession that the troubles of a few need to involve the inconvenience of everyone. Trustees might get some training, same ideological nonsense applies.

This is all based on his theory that the trust between schools and the ministry has broken down, that schools are struggling and all its going to take is a great big dose of Hipkinism to sort it all out.

Reality check for Chris: most schools are fine.

Most schools think they’re underfunded, but that’s because our expectations have gone through the roof and a whole raft of social issues and baggage has been wandering through the school gate for years now

There’s to be a free disputes resolution service, all of that’s fine, but the big question is on the school roll, who goes and who doesn’t and how does the new branch of the government decide.

Here’s the trouble with zones: good schools get to cherry pick because supply outstrips demand. Property prices move because people buy into areas of good schooling. Poor schools can’t fill rolls, kids who can’t move get stuck with poor education.

Take a zone away, good schools still win because they cherry pick from all over town, no longer burdened by a zone.

The trick of course, and Hipkins will agree with this, is make all schools good schools. But you can’t, not by doing what he’s doing, not with the unionism involved, not with the blind belief that Wellington knows best.

Moving school property out of the control of the school is an issue as well. One, it takes the maintenance headache out, unless of course the ministry doesn’t do their job, so go ask any hospital whether that’s an issue. And two, schools make a variety of decisions around property or otherwise based on the needs and desires of their local community.

Hipkins now wants us to believe none of that matters, that Wellington knows best. They claim this is the biggest education shake up in 30 years

No argument there. It is without doubt one of the most dangerous decisions made. It’s an ideological decision. It a decision that shows little if any respect to good professional educators and trustees.

No, boards might not be moved to a hub, that is a back down, but given you no longer control who comes through your gate, that is something the Chinese would be smiling at.

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