COMMENT:

Anyone of us with a child in the education system should be thinking long and hard about the proposed Tomorrow's Schools reforms.

A couple of the schools our kids attend have held public meetings to inform parents, but there's still a lot of confusion out there.

Our experience of the six different schools our children have attended is that not a single one is the same as the other. They're all so wildly different in their approach, governance and execution that it's impossible to imagine how a centralised 'hub' could maintain the uniqueness of each school and understand each school's unique needs.

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But the Tomorrow's schools discussions, much like the capital gains tax discussions, have the tribes 'for' and 'against' peddling their set rhetoric.

But look closely at who the loudest voices are on this: Bali Haque, David Seymour, Richard Prebble.

What? Where is Chris Hipkins? Why is the Education Minister not more omnipresent on this and front footing stuff? His approach has tended to be more head in the sand responding to criticism, as opposed to driving discussions. He's a lot of theory versus reality. He lacks experience in not having school-aged children too.

And then there's the opposition. Where are they?
National has lost the CGT as an attack weapon against the Government - they're going to have to pony up for a bit more than the great slushy machine scandal of 2019.

They should be all over Tomorrows Schools - why are National MP Nikki Kaye's public meetings in school halls not getting more coverage or cut through? Why is her voice not louder?

What about NZ First's view on Tomorrow's Schools? Why are they so quiet on this? Are they keeping their powder dry until the last minute, much like they did on the CGT?

Another concern out of the discussion being flushed through the public domain currently is the focal points of conversation. Why are we talking about yet more increased bureaucracy, when we should be talking about teacher shortages, teacher churn, the ageing teaching cohort, lack of male teachers, teachers being under-paid.

What about the hefty union involvement in teaching? Union leaders blocking discussion around performance-based pay? Making good teachers feel as though demanding money based on productivity is criminal. Worse, ensuring under-performing teachers are a protected species.

Also concerning, kura schools - they'll lose their independence and be returned to direct Crown control. How is that a good thing?

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The 'one size all' approach being proposed will not meet the needs of our differing school communities. Our schools are chronically under-funded, many of our Māori and Pasifika children are not achieving as they should be, teacher supply is at crisis point.

Instead of talking about hubs and control and bureaucracy, why aren't we talking about these other pressing issues - and fixing those first?