Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Command and control education okay, says Minto

The Urewera 17 transcripts and John Minto's close association with all the protagonists was enough to show that the motives of his Global Peace and Justice mob were the reverse of those suggested by the name.  It was certainly neither peace nor justice that the snipers' rifles and molotov cocktails were intended to produce.  Minto's other interest, of course, is the Quality Public Education Forum, and like GPJ, it's another mis-named front.  As his rebuke to Tim Shadbolt over the issue of educational innovation demonstrates, it's neither quality nor education that interests him.  It's control.

Southland Institute of Technology (SIT) has used the government's tertiary 'voucher scheme' to deliver innovative education systems country-wide, says SIT's mayoral champion Tim Shadbolt, in courses that compete with other providers in both content and delivery.  But the government's new command-and-control tertiary scheme, which has seen him announce a year-long campaign of opposition, will kill SIT's innovative approach, he says, and kill off the opportunity of education for many youngsters who relish the teaching tools used in SIT's classrooms.  "There are kids in South Auckland who will miss out [if the courses are dropped]," says Shadbolt, pointing out for example that SIT's courses that use TV and computers as teaching tools had been successful with those who had difficulty in traditional classrooms. "A lot of street kids find paperwork off-putting. They're more comfortable with computers and TV and are prepared to have a go."

But this is competition and innovation delivering quality education.  That's not what Minto is for.  Minto literally wants to "erase 'entrepreneurialism' from the curriculum."  Showing his true colours, Minto insists Shadbolt and SIT should sit still, stop innovating, and do just as the education commissars tell them to, which means to butt out of competing and possibly showing up other educational providers.  Competition in education, under which SIT and its students have flourished, creates a "pointless and wasteful turf war" according to Minto, adding nothing to education "but the false notion of choice based on glossy brochures."  Such is Minto's notion of competition.  Organisations competing for your favour create a "pointless and wasteful turf war" and "a false notion of choice based on glossy brochures."  He would prefer the system more familiar to Soviet housewives, it seems: the empty shelves and substandard produce of a commissar controlled collective.

It would be a "tragedy for all young New Zealanders," says Minto, "if Mayor Shadbolt's campaign to undermine the new [command and control] funding mechanism is successful."  In fact, it would be an even greater tragedy if Minto were accepted as a genuine supporter of quality education.  Like peace and justice, it's of little interest to him except as a front for his real interest: Marxism.

UPDATE: By the way, if you're wondering why the the names of two of the groups associated with New Zealand's recent "terrorist camp" raids sound so benign ("Global Peace and Justice Auckland," spearheaded by communist John Minto and "Peace Action Wellington" by sniper rifle trainee Valerie Morse), then as Lindsay Perigo suggests, "Think Gramsci."

1 comment:

  1. If ever the Right draws its fractious members together enough to produce a manual on how to combat leftism, "Think Gramsci" would be a fine title for it.


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