I’m travelling at the moment. Overseas, visiting the homeland and showing off the Banshee to the rellies. Things revolve around long lunches with lost aunties and trips to stately homes with various olds in wheelchairs. My only access to news is via the odd glimpse of BBC1 and intermittent access to the internet on my Samsung mini. As a consequence, I find myself strangely cut off, missing all but the most outrageous of Hekia’s doings.
Still, some things are sufficiently jaw-dropping that they reach me even with this almost post-apocolyptic lack of information.
I was having a nice trek around the National Forest (in my new walking shoes,purple and sturdy) when my phone suddenly found a stray radiowave and started vibrating violently. “Something’s up,” I thought, and sat down for a sausage roll and a nosy.
“More money needed for first charter schools!” said my little screen. Surely not, I thought. They’ve not even started up yet – how on earth could they be into overspend already? And with so few pupils?! How could nineteen million dollars not be enough?
The mind boggles.
Sadly, or perhaps to preserve my sanity a little while longer, the radiowaves deserted me and I was unable to find out any more, so I rounded up the banshee and resumed the stroll.
But my mind was running a million miles an hour…
How many kids would $19 million (and counting) have fed school lunches to? How many special needs students could have been granted assistance with that money? What about all the kids whose teachers could have gotten specialist training to help boost numeracy and literacy in target groups?
Hekia is fond of saying charter schools will raise student achievement at NZEA level 2. I’m yet to see how. Because, despite the small phone and shonky internet coverage here in my forest, all I see is more neo-Liberal shuffling of money from the public purse into private hands.