Anna Lorck: Education makes me see red

By Anna Lorck

Anna Lorck is the Labour Party candidate for the Tukituki Parliamentary seat.
Anna Lorck is the Labour Party candidate for the Tukituki Parliamentary seat.

WHEN a woman wears red something happens - she sparks interest.

And if there's one thing that's got me nearly as much attention as being Labour's new Tukituki candidate, it's been my red dress - people noticed.

"You're the one in red" and just like that people start talking to me. We know it's not the dress, because the conversation quickly changes to what they really want to know, for most they're not into the politics, they want to find out what makes me tick, do I have heart and will she listen.

Yes a woman like me, who strives for more, with a busy family of five girls, who built a business and lives and breathes the heartland, what made you red enough to stand for Parliament?

I remember the day clearly. It was at my daughter's prize-giving when the respected school principal spoke out. He told us that in 40 years of his career, it had been the worst he'd experienced. And he asked us, as parents and grandparents, to start challenging the government or we would lose everything that was great in education.

It got under my skin, and every time I thought about it, I felt myself turning redder. I told myself to stand up, for my children, for all children and their future.

My family is right across education - kindergarten - primary - secondary, and next year, university. And I couldn't let it go, like a dog with a bone.

I won't let this government, with a string of poor performing ministers, including Tukituki MP Craig Foss, who've had their hands on this vital portfolio, continue to make a mockery and mess of education.

As parents we do what we can to know what's going on in the classroom and, increasingly over the years, I've seen all the extra pressures schools and teachers are coming under.

Labour will remove national standards, league tables and charter schools because none of these are actually helping our children learn.

And Labour will work with the teaching profession to make us world-leading again because we need to move to what is real and achievable for each child, because we all learn differently and we need to work together with parents and teachers.

So it's a bittersweet time in our family as our baby is turning 5. We're full of excitement for our big schoolgirl as she starts out on those wonderful childhood primary school years.

She's grown up so fast - they all have. And I will treasure a rare moment, that happens only once. A tiny little piece of parenting joy when for the very first time, after her big day she pulls out her book, and says with all the confidence and conviction in the world - "I can read".

We know it's not the book, but what the book does that matters. It's about giving a child self-belief, and if we can do this right from the start and keep on encouraging and supporting - by giving children our time and investing more in them and in their education, where their teachers have more quality time to teach, our children will achieve more.

It's a big role we take on, it's not easy as we help prepare our children to navigate life in the 21st century.

They certainly need a different set of tools to the ones we had, because everything is changing in this fast-moving technological world, where our children know more than we did at their age.

They are facing big life stuff. Nothing is private, it's posted, tagged and viral - and things are coming at them from all directions.

To survive, we're going to have to work harder for them than we ever have before, building a stronger, safer and secure foundation for all children to build their dreams on, where they know, no matter where you come from, there is always something better out there, if you are prepared to work for it.

So if it takes a woman wearing red to get the conversation rolling, or a principal to ask parents to stand up, then do more of it, because all children, their education and their future are worth more.

#Anna Lorck is the Labour Party candidate for the Tukituki parliamentary seat. Each candidate will be given an opportunity to write a column in the run up to the elections.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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