Schools scythe is a shambles

MIKEYARDLEY
Last updated 05:00 23/09/2012

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Is the Government exploiting our natural disaster to slash and burn our schools? Change was inevitable, but the sheer scale of the proposed closures and mergers cut far deeper than most principals envisioned.

Following last week's shambolic announcement, it's taken some time for school communities to get to grips with exactly where they stand. There's no doubt, there are some winners, with Pegasus, Rolleston and Halswell in line for new schools.

Equally, some school closures are inevitable, as the exodus from Le Bons Bay School demonstrates.

But some of the closure and merger proposals are highly debatable. The idea of forcibly fusing four single-sex state schools into two schools is so fatuous and offensive, Education Minister Hekia Parata should never have allowed it to be floated as an option. It's a credibility killer and Parata should quash it today.

The Government is taking a real crack at intermediate schools and they have failed to fully explain why. Can we really afford to lose five intermediate schools, and see Chisnallwood, a highly popular and successful school, to be swallowed up in a radical super-sizing school experiment in Hampshire St?

The Ministry of Education has seriously damaged its cause by allowing fallacious status reports to be disseminated about some schools, such as Ouruhia. The ministry has falsely asserted the school has nine quake-damaged buildings and a falling roll.

After listening to so many fired-up parents on talkback this week, the Government has bought a serious fight.

The grandstand

Last weekend's boy-racer carnage underscores the insidious madness of allowing marauding groups of spectators to commandeer public roads at will. They are a readymade crowd that fuels the stupidity, like nitroglycerine, by its very presence.

I have some sympathy with those in the scene who lament the lack of access to off-road track meetings, but the roadside grandstand of boy-racer groupies needs a swift legal response.

Share the love

In recent weeks, as we have debated the pros and cons of sister-city relationships, there has been a growing call for our sister cities to pay Christchurch a visit.

Next week, Adelaide comes to town to celebrate 40 years of sister-city love. The Lord Mayor of Adelaide hasn't seen fit to cross The Ditch - we're getting the deputy mayor, instead. So, just how significant does Adelaide consider the relationship?

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