I’ve got two school-age sons and I’ve spent a fair amount of time observing the way New Zealand schools are run.
By way of background, the Labour government of 1984 put in place the “Tomorrow’s Schools” ethos. Part of this new way of thinking was a move to Boards of Trustees being formed to govern schools. The thinking went that it is the parents of the children at a school who are best placed to run that school – regardless of their knowledge of education, finance, governance or employment.
It’s a model that has come under a fair amount of criticism, clearly running a business is a difficult job. Running one with dozens of employees, sometimes hundreds of students, funding constraints and a robust central Government regulatory structure all conspires to make it a difficult job.
My brother is the chairman of a primary school board of trustees, and he also has two sons at a high school that is in the process of coming through a $1.7million budget deficit. yesterday on National Radio he and a couple of other people were interviewed about the high school issues in particular, and school governance in general.
It’s a really interesting interview – check it out here (it’ll probably only be available for the next week)