Alf is very fond of Hekia Parata and an admirer of her unwavering optimism.
The media have been banging on about three out of five charter schools failing to meet minimum enrolment targets.
But our indomitable Education Minister is unruffled.
The NZ Herald reports on what she had told Radio NZ:
(a) there is still demand for these schools and (b) it is still early in the year and figures might improve.
September? Early in the year?
If you know Hekia as well as Alf knows Hekia, you won’t be pointing out to her – not face to face, anyway – that we are nine months into a year of 12 months, and this might not be as early in the year as she imagines.
Rather, you will congratulate her on the way she has applied her incisive logic:
“These schools are maybe five students below their guaranteed minimum in their first year and we are only just half way through the year.
“Two of the schools are over their guaranteed minimum but no-one’s implying to them that they are a failure.”
As for saying the figures might improve – David Cunliffe happens to think much the same thing about the poll figures.
But Alf would put money on the charter school figures improving long before David Cunliffe has become our Prime Minister.
The tossers at the Herald are not so patient and seem to be in an awful hurry to have things run perfectly at these schools.
The Herald reported some of the problems at Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru back in June.
But Ms Parata said it was still early days.
The school opened in February.
“Over half of their starting roll is at school, parents are supporting the school, they do have a curriculum…
“This is having some effect but it is still in its early days.”
Yep. Early days.
We are thinking long term, here.
Furthermore, Hekia pointed out that the students from the school were on the margin, but the school’s purpose was to re-engage them in education.
“These are kids who have had drug problems, these are kids who have been absent from schools, these are kids who are on the margin.
“But what’s the alternative? To have these kids become another statistic in the justice system, or in the social welfare system?”
Actually, Alf does have an idea.
But he has been advised not to mention it in polite company because it involves shipping the ratbags off to the Auckland Islands.