Politically Induced Whiplash and Other Problems

Guest blogger Bexology2 introduces us to the interesting concept of politically induced whiplash, in the course of critiquing gifted education policy snapshots from parties in opposition.

Well, last post we looked at the current coalition partners and their policies on gifted education in New Zealand. This time round we take a closer look at the nice sounding rhetoric of the Opposition Parties, and ask ‘What it is that they are REALLY saying? What would these fancy policies look like on the ground, in the everyday lives of our gifted children and their current schools?’

Today we will start with the largest opposition party: Labour. Here’s a summary their policy: LabourPartyWell. Re-establishing the GAB. The GAB has been established and disestablished so many times its surprising members haven’t suffered from whiplash. National governments dissolve it, MOE fiddles about with it, and in the meantime our gifted children bear the brunt of various political ideologies. When in season it definitely recommends great evidence-based effective practice. This is good. As is the development of programmes and mentioning extending students. This all sounds highly promising. Labour certainly seems to have a solid grip on what gifted education is all about, unlike certain political parties mentioned in my previous post. This policy is achievable, affordable, and will most likely actually be implemented if they got enough votes in the upcoming election cycle. Something worth considering come September.

Currently in Opposition are two minor parties, each based around their leader: MANA (Hone Harawira) and NZ First (Winston Peters). And what do these two thorns in the side of our PM have to say about gifted education? MANA _PartyWhile boosting gifted funding is always music to my ears, the barriers to access are often the teachers and school principals themselves! Parent after parent tells the same story: teachers and schools are simply unaware and/or do not believe what the everyday lived reality of giftedness looks like in children. Yes, gifted education does fit – sort of – within the special education umbrella, but giftedness is more complex than this. I am doubtful of MANA’s capacity to really provide anything of worth or value in this arena. Children from low-income families who have special needs will do very well under this policy. Some may indeed be gifted. But for most, they will continue to fall through the cracks. Blergh. Moving on. Next stop, Winston: NZ_First_Party Winston, you had me at tagged funding. Say no more.

Greens, I have left you to last. Can you match your peers? Are you able to hold your own in the gifted arena? GreenParty_v2Well, well, well. Me likey! Very much so! This policy is cohesive, shows understanding of giftedness, allows for flexibility for each school hub to best meet the needs of their population, and ensures that each learner has the opportunity to develop and grow. I could see this working, oh, so very well in many schools. As for ‘work with the sector’ – oh that made my heart happy!! Music to my ears. Work with the sector. Gifted educators everywhere rejoice! A government that will work with you, and not ignore you, dismiss you and send you to the corner. I know who I’m voting for this election!!

Aaand I just turned a political blog post into a political blog post. Heheheh. So. These are my thoughts. What are yours?


Blog Tour icon and link.Find other #NZGAW Blog Tour posts at ultranet.giftededucation.org.nz/WebSpace/1104/.

You can contribute to gifted awareness by reading, writing or sharing posts. Please also consider talking to a parent, a teacher, a school board member or a principal about giftedness. If at all possible, write to your Member of Parliament.



About Mary St George

I teach in gifted education, both online and face-to-face.
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