Monday, July 23, 2012

Once in your life give 10%

After just two days and a few hours with some Chch Principals I went home to Akld feeling sad, disappointed and quite frankly pissed off. The people of Christchurch are getting ripped off, progress on fixing things is unbelievably frustrating and the rest of New Zealand carries on without knowing the disruption. Lots of people were annoyed with the progress happening but these are Cantabs, hardy stock. They never want to be seen as moaning, they are too proud for that. They don't want to throw stones, they have lived through a lot and they know this will take time. Evereyone is very accepting of "the way it is" this is, i suppose, the best mentality to take from this horrible situation. What grinds my gears is that we just carry on thinking the earthquake commission, the insurance companies, the task force and Gerry Brownlie have it in hand and the hardship is over. Nothing could be further from the truth. Its tough going, the suburbs are doing it tough, the schools are $200,000 to $300,000 down on their annual budgets, try losing that much cash and keep your school going. Housing sucks and hundreds of houses stand rotting with weeds 6 foot tall, and rain pouring in. School buildings are compromised and the decisions are hard to make. Principals have big ideas and hopes for rebuilds but their cash situation is dire and they are all looking at losing staff. Bugger that!

I ask -how can we really help? I suppose I'm now thinking of schooling issues. Schools across New Zealand gave generously to the CPPA and this was gratefully received. However the schools are still involved in messy meetings. Property money (5ya) has been frozen. There is still no decisions on which if any schools close and the wheels may be moving slow. However these are not criticisms of those in charge of decisions, there are complex issues and opportunities are rising from the devastation.
My issue is that while Christchurch schools wait and teachers are uncertain of their futures, other schools can do something, our leadership needs to think creatively and with empathy.

I believe that all schools in New Zealand should make a commitment to re building the school infrastructure in Chch. Why can't every school in New Zealand have 10% of their  5ya property money frozen. This would allow the money to be available for Christchurch schools when the decisions on infrastructure have been made. While chch suffers other NZ schools are building new libraries, admin blocks, gyms, meanwhile they wait for fulton hogan to pour some tar-seal on their damaged courts!
I want every child in New Zealand to get a free and fair education. Its not about our Ivory Towers its about being a Kiwi. I believe we all have to give up a bit of our hopes and dreams of our schools for those who have been hit the hardest.

So its time for the Ministry of Education to get this ball rolling. Get STA PPTA NZPF NZEI and any other group of fish heads together and talk sensibly about our friends in red and black country.
Put me down for %10, but its a team effort.


Heymilly said...

I was down there in the holidays for EduCamp and I was bewildered at what damage was still around. My friend who teaches there still finds it heartbreaking to go into the city and see what's there. The cool thing was talking and meeting these teaches who seemed more determined than ever to make the most for their kids with where they are at. Such amazing souls.

Cheryl Doig said...

Thanks Luke. Peopel are just getting on with it and so it takes someone from outside to make a reflection such as yours. People don't want to be seen as whingers!

It's really complex and hard for schools and will be for several more years I suspect. When every school is self managing it adds another layer of complexity. Even your suggestion of 10% of your 5yp is a hard one to get other schools to commit to. So how can you turn your good idea into a movement, a flashmob, a catalyst for other ideas?

ChCh schools are amazing, teachers committed and principals working their butts off. Many of us aren't going anywhere but here so we are staunch and try to focus on how much hope the future holds.

Podgorani said...

The other thing I didn't go near is the damage people have suffered in a subliminal way. I believe there are some very damaged people who don't know it.

Somehow we have to start speaking with the right people around sharing the wealth. I'd love ten minutes with the minister of education. I might start with my local MP and go from there.

Any other principals willing to freeze their 10%