Porirua teachers 'red sticker' Hekia Parata

ANDREA O'NEIL
Last updated 17:29 19/02/2013

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Thirty Porirua teachers ''red stickered'' Education Minister Hekia Parata's electorate office this afternoon in a protest against the closure of Christchurch schools.

Protestors waved flags and banners and chanted ''Heck no, Hekia'' to many honks of approval from passing cars on Semple St. Labour's Mana MP Kris Faafoi and Christchurch East MP Lianne Dalziel were in attendance.

Ms Parata announced on Monday that seven Christchurch schools would close due to unsafe buildings and falling rolls across the city. Twelve schools are to merge and five new schools will be opened.

The timing of the announcement, four days before the second anniversary of the earthquake, was insensitive, said Dianne Khan , a former teacher and head of activist movement Save Our Schools.

''Doing it the week of the second anniversary of the earthquake is beyond belief.''

There was no need to close many of the schools or build new ones - teachers did not require fancy buildings to do a good job, Mrs Khan said. "We don't need a good building to teach well. I could teach on a beach, in a paddock."

Some of Christchurch's five new schools were likely to be charter schools, Mrs Khan said.

''It's an underhanded way for [the Government] to bring in charter schools. This really is rotten to the core."

Glenview School teacher Tufaina Faraimo said hearing the list of closing schools was like getting a kick in the guts.

''It just felt like a death call. It was like we were being hit in the guts. And you could imagine how devastating it would be for those schools.''

Christchurch teachers, parents and children have hardly had time to recover from the earthquake, let alone a drastic overhaul of their school system, Mrs Faraimo said.

The Education Ministry handled the announcement badly, she said.

''They said they care for people but it doesn't look like that, it doesn't feel like that.''

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