Saturday, May 28, 2011

Kidicorp in the poo

Despite SFO dropping it's investigation against corporate baby-farmers Kidicorp, they are happy to say that management routinely fixed the books to make it look like more qualified staff were at work in order to qualify for extra funding.

They already get $60m to 'look after' 10,000 kids, but I guess they wanted just a little bit more from the taxpayer. Greedy bastards.

The corporatisation of ECE has been a lolly scramble with the public/private formula meaning there's really no way you can lose. ECE is prime investment and with the increasing of legal roll sizes, the lowering of teacher qualification standards, and economic management dictating the curriculum, everyday is payday for this bunch of shiny-arsed suits.

Feeling used? ABC, Kidicorp etc, attack the professionalism of teaching and turn children into numbers. Reject the corporate model and keep your centre autonomous and thus better able to reflect the community and its children.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Budget blues...

Don't be conned by the 'extra' funding for ECE. The 1.1% increase is to cover four years of projected roll growth as the new wave of babies arrive at centres. It's way below the rate of inflation and is effectively a funding cut. A lot of centres will not make enough to cover costs and as a result will be charging more fees. Sucks eh?

This government treads water as usual; no forward thinking, no real plan, just keep paddling until you tire...

Maybe the election will come before that happens?

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The politics of voting...

I've never voted because I don't believe in representative democracy where the ability to recall delegates - or MP's if you like - is denied to us. I wont relinquish my power as an individual to a person I have no control over. The parliamentary system has been molded to suit the needs of those in power and essentially serves their interests while ignoring mine and my comrades.

The old saying 'if you don't vote you can't complain' is bullshit of course as the act of voting is the passing on of your voice. By not voting I have retained my authority to speak and act.

In the big picture of control, voting is essentially meaningless - the bastards will screw you over to maintain their privilege. What's more important is what you do in between elections, how you participate in your community and agitate for change that sees justice, equity and mutual aid as the basis for a modern society - this is the 'justice orientated citizen' that I have discussed in previous posts and is a core learning goal for myself as a teacher in early childhood. Remember, justice is the antithesis of democracy.

With an eye on the big picture, tactical voting is common among some anarchists who see no harm in creeping reformism as long as it does not become the goal of all activity. A lot of ex-anarchists inhabit the Green Party (co-leader Metiria Turei was once well known and respected in anarchist circles), but you would be hard pressed to consider revolution a policy of the Green Party.

While I wont be voting, I'll be promoting the Mana Party as a tactical vote for the anarchists and other non-voters as a way of feeding the flames of anti-neoliberalism and the goal of equity. They will probably get seats and who knows, they may play a crucial role in the 'governing' of this country. The little reforms that may eventuate will help many people who have been burned through successive years of neoliberal policies. Every bit helps when you can't pay the bills or feed the family good kai.

A vote for Mana won't change the system one iota, but it could help.

While I won't be running election orientated posts, others will and I suggest you hop over to check out the commentary:

For general left-wing analysis try

For a more Māori focus try

The best anarchist site is

And of course there is Mana themselves at

That's enough support for politicians from me, back to the anarchy of the sandpit...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tectonic pressure...

From an interesting conversation:

We are experiencing downward pressure on early childhood education services to adapt more to the needs of compulsory education, IE, children are able to read and write before they begin school; children are able to sit quietly and listen to a teacher for long periods; children able sufficiently subservient to relinquish their power to teachers.

What's scary is that these ideas are acceptable to some ECE teachers despite the fact that they go against all theories of learning and set back notions of the empowered child living in the here and now as active learners by several decades: once again, children are empty vessels to be filled with 'our' knowledge and moulded as we see fit...

Let me talk you through this cascade of reality:

Parents are increasingly under economic stress ....   this translates into fear over their children's opportunities in life....  this feeds a perceived need for changing education providers so they focuses on 'academic' success as this is obviously the only option ....   this consumer demand prompts education providers to tinker with the curriculum and produce a more academic, teacher-controlled environment ....  this practice prompts right-wing education lobby groups like Child Forum to call for a review of the early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki claiming that it is too vague in telling teachers just what to teach...

Dr Carol Mutch of Auckland University talks of how ECE teachers as a sector have little understanding of their collective power and do little to defend their sectors educational philosophies and theories. Shit happens to us and we let them.

The current climate of downward pressure to align more with primary schools is damaging the integrity of early childhood education. Teachers are willing to change fundamental learning practices because their own personal power // pedagogy is too weak. We need to collectively articulate to our communities just what is wrong about the teaching practices of compulsory schooling and that we must defend children's rights to learn as they intuitively do and not succumb to right-wing ideology masquerading as educational theory.

There you have it.

Oh, I do have loads of other interesting conversations at parties...

Sunday, May 8, 2011


It came in the middle of the night...

It was a block in some research slash thinking that has been inspired by my plunge into social science. Poverty, we have it because our system requires inequality to operate. Children are set up to fail at school - they leave with a similar social position as their parents and no manner of whips and carrots really changes this predetermined reality.

So capitalism fails children in its need for hierarchy and exploitation to generate profit. Yet as an early childhood educator I'm guided by Te Whāriki which holds aspirations for all children to succeed like nothing else matters...

but then they go to school and their wings are clipped: sit still, listen, passivity, docility, obedience, where the social and cultural capital of middle-class pākehā are the keys to the magic bus...

Te Whāriki is recognised as a tool of neoliberalism and promotes the high aspirations of this ideology, yet there is tension with traditional capitalism which seeks hierarchy within a social structure like New Zealand.

The thing is we're now global. We follow the knowledge economy where we are positioned as thinkers and not doers. The hierarchy is now global with working-class poor not in Porirua or Otara, but in Asia. Tension within the systems of capitalism.

Of course.

What the hell are we to do?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The double-speak of neoliberalism

This caught my eye today:

"The covert nature of schooling is to internalise control of citizens"

That's the basic function of schools as was envisioned by the rulers of Prussia who wanted  loyal, obedient, homogeneous thinking citizens who would willingly go to war.

Bingo. We willingly do just that.

One particular piece of contemporary internalised double-speak which again only benefits our masters is the notion of 'equality'. What's wrong with equality? Well...

Don Brash talks of equality in the context of some members of our society getting 'special treatment'. Equality has been co-opted by neoliberalism along with other rhetoric such as 'freedom of choice' and 'individual responsibility'. The new meaning of equality is now all about the starting of a journey rather than the finish or outcome. So we have equal access to schools, medical care and the whole shebang of life-chances, but this equality does not factor in structural inequality that means Brash get to choose a private school while we get the shitty local. No sir, but that's all about 'individual choice' eh? I mean you're born human, how much more equal can you get?

This is bullshit of course.

Rather we should talk about 'equity' as in the outcomes are equal. So regardless of social position, ethnicity, gender, ability, first language etc, you should be able to achieve the same outcome: complete university, obtain a well-paid job, achieve good health etc.

Capitalism relies on exploitation to be successful thus inequality in inherent in our economic and social structures: poverty is part of the business. In the face of such inequality, we need equity. The world of Brash, Key, and Goff means few of us have the material, cultural and social capital to achieve in a way that wealthy white males can.

We need a step up. We need equity, not the smoke and mirrors of equality.

Equity is targeted benefits, it means higher funding for certain schools, subsidised transport, free books, more teachers and a breakfast programme. It means jobs, a minimum wage that is livable, fresh food that is affordable, and communities that are safe and supportive. Equity is the antithesis of neoliberalism.

True equality will only come with the death of capitalism. In the mean time, when you hear politicians cloaking their racist, classist, sexist agendas with the rhetoric of 'equality', first, vomit, then demand equity.