Social media bid to promote schools debate

A Blenheim mum decided to try to get more people talking about the secondary education submissions process and created a Facebook event.

The event, called 'Yes We Want a Co-Ed College for Blenheim', had 70 members this morning.

Evelyn-Gavin McLean said she started the group to find out what her friends were thinking and to encourage them to write submissions to the Ministry of Education about their thoughts on college education in Blenheim.

"I realised that people weren't really talking about it and I knew Facebook could reach a lot of people, so I changed it to a public group," she said.

She wanted to know what other people thought, and knew they might not agree with her views, but any discussion was better than nothing.

"Personally I want change, I think having the choice of a third co-ed college would be great.

"I have no idea what is better educationally, but I feel communication is going out the door with this generation," she said.

She felt that technology is separating teens even more - they are texting instead of talking.

"One-on-one relationships are being affected, if we could have the choice to educate them together I feel it could help our society produce better-balanced young adults.

"Even half-days or on separate days, everything in the college systems are telling our students to be separate - but that's just my opinion," she said.

Another member of the group, Linda Barnes, shared her concerns about the lack of a co-ed option.

"I would like co-ed but it sounds like it is too hard - evidence shows better results in single-sex schools.

"My thoughts are, would co-ed option help our young people to communicate better, resulting in less domestic violence, separations and build better marriages?"

Ms McLean felt that parents were too focussed on buildings and sites and hoped more parents would focus on what the boards are asking for - do they or don't they want change?

Ministry of Education consultation facilitator Janet Kelly was impressed that a parent was so passionate about the discussions.

"It's great to hear that the community is getting passionate and behind their views, motivating their friends and community too," she said. She was also happy to report that she had received at least another 26 submissions since Monday's meeting, bringing the total close to 100.


The Marlborough Express