Thursday, 7 April 2005

Lessons from Another School

Hard on the heels of the news of Orauta School refusing to close comes news of another school refusing to close its doors, this one in Hawkes Bay.

The Education Ministry is prosecuting the parents [of Raupunga School] after repeatedly warning them they have been breaking the law since January 26 by sending their children to an unregistered, unauthorised Maori-language school set up at Te Huki Marae.
Once again, the Minstry of Mis-Education is telling parents that their children are "not necessarily getting proper schooling," and once again parents are standing up and saying 'we'll make our own judgement on that, thanks very much.'

Good for them. It's well past time that state and school were separated, and parents left free to make their own choices regarding their own children.

Might I suggest to parents at both Raupunga and Orauta school however that they should reflect on two old and wise sayings: first, that 'he who has the gold makes the rules.' As long as you're taking money from the government (who are of course taking it from the taxpayer) then you can expect the government to boss you around. That's the deal.

And the second thought on which to ponder: A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have. So be very careful what you ask for.

It's a lesson many people have still to learn.


  1. This case differs from the other in that you make no reference to the school wanting tax money. So the comments I made earlier re tax mony don't apply to this example as given (you even quote the golden rule).

    So lets move away from this example to theory and see if I can find out what your point really is.

    You think that parents get to should decide what's good for kids, not the govt. Fine, everyone thinks that. But most of us think that applies within some limits, in that most of us think that there are times (exceptional rather than usual) where the govt should step in to protect kid's rights.

    You think parents, not the govt, should decide if a school is good enough for the kids (right?). Interesting.

    Are there any limits on that? What if you discovered the school was not teaching reading? Or if it was training white power kids to read Mein Kampf, salute Adolf's picture daily and practice knife-fighting? Is there any sort of schooling that you think is so bad that the govt should intervene even if the parents approve?

    How about no schooling at all, if the parents give their blessing?

    Do you agree that there should be any govt-imposed limits on what parents can decide to do re their kids? Or are kids entirely possessions of their parents?


  2. Icehawk, you say I "think that parents get to should decide what's good for kids, not the govt." I do. "Fine, everyone thinks that." I only wish it were so.

    The NZQA doesn't think that. The Auckland College of Education doesn't think that. Lockwood Smith didn't think that when he introduced NCEA, and neither Nick Smith nor Trevor Mallard thought that that when they introduced forced retraining for all early childhood teachers so that parent choice in the early childhood years would become almost non-existent. Need I go on?

    So who decides what's good for their kids? Well, whose kids are they?

    Does government have a role in some cases in protecting kids from their parents? Yes it should.

    To clarify what I think that role should be I'd say it is to protect those rights that the child has that are 'held in trust' by the parent. For detail, I'd point you to the Bill of Rights in Libz proposed Constitution for New Freeland:

    "Article X - Rights Held in Trust

    "Nothing in this Bill shall be construed as permitting activities which can be shown beyond reasonable doubt to destroy the potential of a child to become an adult with full rights and liberties eternally enshrined in the Bill of Rights and Bill of Due Process. Subject only to this constraint, parents and legal guardians shall have full freedom to raise their children as they see fit; equally, they shall be deemed responsible for the actions of their children."

    If such an Article was included in a Bill of Rights with teeth, I'd be happy. And the 'child molestors of the mind' at NZQA would be out of a job!

  3. You're initial rant re NCEA and NZQA distorts what I said, since the next sentence was the qualifier "But most of us think that applies within limits". You've even given limits yourself.

    Regards Rights Held In Trust: fine. Lets accept it as is.

    But I'd argue it leads to two things:

    1) to become a full adult with full rights and liberties one will require some modicum of education. If you can't read and write, you can't accept the full role of an adult in today's society.

    2) a right is not a right if it is not enforced. If you don't believe me then read the USSR's constitution to see the vast array of 'rights' soviet citizens had.

    So, how would you as a libertarian say we should enforce a child's right to an education that is held in trust?


  4. Icehawk,

    We agree then on the idea that rigths are held in trust. Great. We agree aso that"a right is not a right if it is not enforced" - although I might use the word 'protected' rather than 'enforced'. A pity more people don't understand that point.

    But here we disagree: reading and writing are not rights. I'd expect a Constitutional COurt would quickly conretise what the 'rights held in trust' principle would mean in practice, but they couldn't make a right out of something that isn't.

    It comes bascl to the argument of what is a 'right,' and what is a 'good.' A right is something that imposes no obligations on others other than they they leave you alone. To suggest a right to education would then take away the rights of those who are to provide that education; just as a right to a house would enslave the builder, a right to an education imposes an obligation on someone to provide that education.

    Learning to read and write is of course a good thing. So is eating. Both are good, but neither is a right.


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