Do You Have A Child In A Private School In New Zealand?

A little while ago we published ” A Better Life for the Kids” in our series of Migrant Tales.

The author, Steve, and his partner Angel Garden, are working hard to raise awareness about unjust practices and procedures in private schools in New Zealand and need to gauge the extent of the problem.

This is a press release issued by the family who are launching a public survey to measure the public’s feelings about forthcoming changes in the law:

“Two parents from West Auckland are launching a national public survey today. Steve Paris and Angel Garden say the survey is to gage the knowledge and opinions of private school attendees, their parents and guardians nationwide regarding the forthcoming change in the law governing private schools.

Education Amendment Bill 2, which will update the law regarding private schools, is currently in Select Committee.

Paris and Garden maintain that their children were illegally expelled from a non-integrated private school in West Auckland in June 2009. Following this, they were alerted to the lack of parental input in the law revamp by the response to their own complaint by the Ministry of Education.

“Through Ministerial questions we discovered that our complaint hadn’t registered with the Government and so they were claiming that “no evidence exists” of any problems in private schools, whereas clearly that wasn’t correct.” explains Paris “so if they’ve missed ours, how many others might have been overlooked? That’s why I believe this survey is so important.”

Garden agrees, “before this century old law gets updated, parents should be informed and have the opportunity to express their viewpoint on the proposed legislation before it passes into law”, she says.

The survey is live online as of today and extends through to Friday the 8th of October 2010. You can find and fill-in the short survey at:

http://www.pss2010.net

The findings will then be presented to the Government before the Bill comes out of Select Committee on November 1st 2010. “I hope a lot of people will take the survey”, says Garden. “It’s an important opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.”

Steve said the quick about private schools in New Zealand may be found at http://www.pss2010.net

“You or your children don’t need to attend a private school in order to take part: the survey’s first 11 questions are designed to gage public knowledge of the law as it currently stands. If you are in a private school though, we’d appreciate it if you could also answer the last 10.” said Steve.

“As you may be aware, the government is currently revising the law (it’s in Select Committee as we speak), so this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try and secure some decent legal protection for children of this country.

Thanks for your time and please, pass this on to as many people as you know. The more people answer the survey, the more accurate a picture we’ll get.”

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One thought on “Do You Have A Child In A Private School In New Zealand?

  1. Hi there, I thought I’d add a bit more additional info, because the bill we’re concerned about will affect more than just the 33,000 children in a Kiwi private school:

    Education Amendment Bill 2 – Why does it matter?

    The shocking treatment of three children under nine by a small private school, prompted their parents to conduct over a year of research into private schools and led to the discovery of the following points:

    1) Education Amendment Bill 2 came to be because the Law Commission identified that the current law is “silly” (as stated by Sir Geoffrey Palmer, president of the Law Commission) and that it allows “criminal cowboys” to set up and run schools (source: NZ Herald). The law also allows schools to cover up illegal expulsions, effectively cherry-picking their clientele.

    2) The Nationals and ACT have hi-jacked the Bill, leaving out the welfare reforms on the basis that “no evidence exists” of any problems, in spite of the fact that there have been complaints reported to the Ministry. (Source: ministerial questions) The Government did not ask the Ministry before making the statement that “no evidence exists”.

    3) Instead, the Bill is now contains several mechanisms to make it easier for even more public money to be funnelled into private schools in the form of grants.

    4) Setting aside for a moment the fact that the argument of “no evidence exists” is ludicrous, (would the Government de-criminalise rape if nobody did it for a couple of years?), the Government has been caught lying since evidence most certainly exists: more than one complaint has been lodged to the Ministry and we also have numerous further testimonials from private school parents.

    5) Private Schools Survey 2010 (www.pss2010.net) is the only chance for parents and students to register their opinion on the proposed law reform before the Bill passes into law this spring. The survey canvasses both knowledge of the private school sector and opinion about it. It is apparent that a majority of people are simply not aware of the vacuum of legislation regarding their children’s welfare.

    6) Anyone can fill the survey in, not just those who are ‘clients’ at private schools;

    7) Over 33,000 children in this country go to private schools (source: the Ministry of Education’s July 2008 school roll) without any base-line protection for their welfare whatsoever. That should be news in any country, especially one with New Zealand’s aspirations and overseas image.

    8) The general public should know that this Bill will funnel increasing amounts of their tax into the private school sector, at one end of the sector that means more swimming pools for other peoples’ children, and at the other end of the sector it means illegal expulsions sanctioned by the Government, all thanks to your generous contribution.

    Wouldn’t you want to know that your tax money is going into an unregulated school that can hurt children with impunity because there is no legal framework to keep such institutions in line? That this Government is ignoring recommendations to put such a “light-handed” legal framework in place in favour of creaming off tax-payers hard earned money?

    If you have children at private school, wouldn’t you want to know what your children’s rights actually are and to secure them for future generations?

    This is a golden opportunity that will not last. Advertising the survey is the moral thing to do, and let the people speak for what they believe in.

    Steve Paris and Angel Garden continue to document events surrounding the lawlessness of private schools, and the lack of will to do anything about it.

    So far, a lot of reporters have told us that they are very interested in the results of this survey, yet none of them want to tell their audience that it’s actually taking place. How will people know if the media won’t tell them?

    The survey ends on the 8th of October 2010.

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