“Education for All” Rally

You may have noticed your Facebook friends’ profile pictures changing to the “education for all” picture. It should be simply a statement of something we can take for granted in this country – we’re told we have a world-class education system, we’re told it is inclusive, we’re told it is free. The reality is our education system is failing it’s most vulnerable students, and in turn their families and wider society. Students that have so much potential, students who could flourish and succeed if our education system was genuinely inclusive and resourced adequately; students who are instead treated like after-thoughts and who are given up on. edforall

It’s such a waste, and the impact of the lack of training for working with children who have special needs, lack of in-class supports, and dire under-resourcing, is widely-felt. It’s felt by the teachers and the other students. It’s felt by the parents of children who can’t work because they’re being called into school all the time, or who are expected to home-school their children or keep their children at home during “kiwi suspensions” because the school can’t cope. And most importantly, it’s felt by the children who have these different needs; it’s affecting their future, and the way they see themselves and their own potential. The impact on their educational and career opportunities, on their ability to ultimately contribute to society themselves, and on their image of self-worth, can be life-long.

We should all be concerned about this, not just because it ultimately affects all of us, but because what is happening in our schools is shameful and embarrassing and is falling short of what we expect and value in this beautiful country of ours.

Recently the government decided to look at special education in New Zealand, and its proposals for how to fix the system have not addressed any of the core problems we face. What we need is better training, better resourcing, better supports, a simpler system for accessing supports, shorter waiting times for services, and meaningful inclusion. What we got was tinkering on language and a shifting of resources without an increase in funding. We are not being listened to. And so it’s time to make them listen.

That brings us to the “education for all” rally. There will be a rally this Thursday, September 22nd, for everyone who wants to stand up and be heard about the shortcomings of our education system. If you can, please join the rally outside Parliament Building in Wellington, from 4:30pm to 5:30pm on that day. It’s going to be a family-friendly event, and a good chance to meet some like-minded people uniting for a good cause. You can find out more about the rally through their Facebook event page here. If you can’t make it, then consider sharing the event with others who may be able to attend, and consider changing your Facebook (and twitter, etc) profile pictures to show your support and promote this event. I can’t make it, but if I lived in Wellington I’d have proudly been there. If you go, please do come back after the event and share your experience; I’d love to hear how it goes, and to thank you for standing up for our families and our children.

For more information on the government’s proposed changes, and an excellent post in general on why it’s time to rally, plus helpful links to relevant reports and news articles, I point you towards “This time we rally” by Giovanni Tiso.


Posted in Schooling | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

American Accents Aren’t Disney’s Fault

This gallery contains 1 photo.

In a recent (and I would add “highly irresponsible”) piece of reporting from the New Zealand Herald, we are told that an explanation for children turning up at school with American accents is that children are watching too much Disney … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Teacher Aides and SENCOs in New Zealand Schools; symptoms of a broken system.

This gallery contains 1 photo.

If you want some insight on how children with special needs are valued and cared for (or rather, not valued nor cared for) within the New Zealand education system, I suggest you start by looking at two specific groups of … Continue reading

Gallery | 3 Comments

Your Voice Has Not Been Approved

This gallery contains 1 photo.

I’ve been a very quiet blogger lately, quiet enough that you may have suspected I’d quit blogging. Hell, even I suspected I’d quit blogging. I’d started a new career, been published, moved house, got two new insanely adorable kittens, and … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Sesame Street’s “See Amazing” Autism Initiative Gets Everything Right

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Sesame Street’s new autism initiative hits it out of the park, but not everyone agrees. Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Anxiety in Children (and why you shouldn’t let that “broken leg” stop you running races)

This gallery contains 1 photo.

What future does an anxious child have? That’s not just up to anxiety, it’s up to you too. Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Funding Teacher Aides

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Who is responsible for funding teacher aides? The Ministry of Education here in New Zealand, claims they provide adequate funding and support for children with special needs, and so parents shouldn’t be paying for teacher aide hours. The schools say they … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Is it harder to raise a severely or mildly autistic child? …Yes.

There are a lot of counterintuitive claims that you’ll encounter in the autism community. Claims that will throw you and think the people making the claims are in denial, running some sort of hidden agenda, lacking perspective, or all of … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

New School; Same Ministry.

It was no easy task finding my children a new school. I researched our options carefully, and chose my local top preference. The visit to that potential new school went worse than I could have imagined – the principal told … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , , | 21 Comments

Riding For The Disabled; A Mother’s Perspective.

This gallery contains 1 photo.

My eldest son attends “Riding for the Disabled;” where once a week he gets to ride a horse for an hour during school time, and I get to say he’s doing therapy. At least, that was my first impression of … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments