Another huge bureaucratic injustice

The following was written by a parent. After investigating it I have found the claims of terrible injustice to be supported.

It is another case of the education bureaucracy listening to the wrong people; believing them to be the worth listening to because, it seems, they want to believe teaching professionals aren’t.

The government and education bureaucrats are doing inhumane things to professional educators as an expression, it is suggested, of a kind of perverted education policy.

This case is like Marlene Campbell’s but even worse; and just as I correctly predicted that Marlene would win after losing her job – I predict that Peggy Burrows after losing her job will win hers back at huge cost to the taxpayer.

(I have made some changes to the letter to conform to the website’s style.)

We the community invite you to visit the ‘support for Peggy Burrows, Principal of Rangiora High School on One News’ Facebook page. The shocking treatment of our community member and a long-standing educationalist (37 years), Principal of RHS, is not acceptable and we the members of our Rangiora community would now like to see a wider political intervention into a totally inappropriate and dysfunctional process. 

Since started this page is now 800+ strong from our small community.

Below are some of the questions we are asking and statements we are making.

Why have the Board who were elected in November 2014 never been interviewed about why they were not given an opportunity to govern the school; why did the MOE say the school should have an election and then advise the Minister of Education to sack a Board before it even sat?

Why would the MOE let a person who trained as a nurse and who has only worked as a STA adviser ‘manage’ one of the largest state co-educational secondary schools, when this community has an experienced and respected principal who was doing an outstanding job?

Why is so much school money being wasted on the commissioner?

Is it true that the other Specialist Adviser, Michael Rondel, published a very positive report on the RHS finances in February 2014 but this was not shared with the Board or community before the Board was sacked?

How can the MOE condone letting the Specialist Adviser who wrote the Employment Report that had the Board sacked become the commissioner (surely an unacceptable conflict of interest)?

Under the Principal’s leadership the school managed to increase the $7M received from the sale of 20 hectares of school land in 2007 to $9M by 2014.

Why did the commissioner lead the public to believe in February this year the Principal had taken money she wasn’t entitled to when this, of course, was untrue?

Why did the commissioner lead the community to believe the school has a deficit when it doesn’t – it has in excess of $18 million?

How many of the commissioner’s ‘special’ advisers are ex-board members who were hostile towards the Principal, that is the four who resigned in October 2014 before they could be ousted in the Board election? Ten parents stood for that election which was a fantastic endorsement of the school and the Principal. Two of those hostile board members had no children at the school so they resigned rather than face the humiliation of not getting elected. It had nothing to do with a lack of confidence in the Principal, this has always been about control by a small group of ex-Board members, control that they wanted at any cost whilst attempting to remain hidden.

How can the RHS Principal go from being nationally and internationally recognised as a distinguished educational leader and a finalist in the Woman of Influence Awards in 2013, to a person who has been pressured out of her school by a person who trained as a nurse and has no experience in education?

Why was there no judicial review when the Specialist Adviser was appointed commissioner?

What does it now cost the school to employ advisers for the commissioner because she has no real experience in running a large secondary school and needs their constant assistance?

Why is an unqualified commissioner and not our Principal running the $15M building project? Our Principal has successfully managed all the building projects over the last 12 years on or under budget and on time: Admin Building, Technology Building, Art Extension, B, C, and D Block, Structural re-strengthening, Science refurbishment and many others.

Why would the Ministry of Education allow a principal with 37 years of experience to be removed from her school at a time when there is a $15M building project underway?

If the Principal had done anything wrong surely the commissioner would have found out by now. 

This community knows she hasn’t done anything wrong and after nearly six months the commissioner also knows it, but she is not willing to own up to her massive blunder.

Who are the four ex-Board members who the government has listened to and not he community? It is time they came out of the shadows and their names made public.

Why are the students now being used (and by whom) in a propaganda war to perpetuate the idea that the Principal stole money.

We the community demand a full, proper, and complete judicial review of this disastrous commissioner-led process.

What is going on in education when a hugely valuable educational resource such as our Principal can just be cast aside in some political game, played by invisible bureaucrats?

We of this community would like to know how this Principal could go from being recognised as one of New Zealand’s most innovative educational leaders, whose educational research has been widely used, who was a finalist in the Westpac Women of Influence Awards in 2013, who turned the school around and served her community so well, to being a person who has been viciously attacked in a Specialist Advisor’s Report written by a non-education commissioner.

This type of bullying is not acceptable in our community. There must be a judicial review of that Report and it must be put in the public arena and not the redacted version this Govt dept is so fond of producing to protect itself.

What has the Ministry of Education done to support the Principal since they initiated this outrageous process? Or is it OK with them that this woman with decades of service to both school and community has been smashed without good reason? 

The MOE has a duty of care to deal fairly with those who serve in education, but instead it has systematically tried to destroy the Principal’s good name (hence this page since the commissioner went public), and her health and career.

We, the community, demand a full response from the Govt. department responsible for this outrage.

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6 Responses to Another huge bureaucratic injustice

  1. John Carrodus says:

    Honestly Kelvin,unbelievable. You couldn’t make this stuff up. These stories just keep blowing the buttons off! I wonder how much anonymity has to play in many schools now, especially with comments dredged up through so called appraisal 360 techniques. These have proved legally problematic in the US. Let me be clear I am not saying below is why or how the above story came to reality, they are merely ideas that spring to mind.
    I am aware of all sorts of outrageous accusation and rumour can be made during anonymous appraisal and review process. Difficulties arise through lack of appropriate action instead of correct process allowing rumour to run rife. Some issues may even require a legal opinion or informing the Police. I would suggest not having the gonads to follow up roumour ( for whatever reason, eg not wanting to implicate a staff member making the accusation for eg) with solid transparent process in line with board policy, can destroy people and schools. Lack of appropriate action at an appropriate time is spineless and dangerous.
    At the end of the day, I would put the house on betting the above scenario will end in obsorbing a large amount of vote education for the fiscal year, however way you look at it.

  2. Kelvin says:

    John – look at the process: it is a kangaroo court for intimidating all in school education.

  3. Juliet says:

    Who is actually responsible for answering these questions, and why have they not done so? As for asking why the commissioner has not found anything after all this time – I think there are a couple of very obvious answers: 1) There are no wrong doings to find, and 2) The longer the commissioner looks for something that doesn’t exist, the longer she gets paid her huge wage, and gorges from her trough of multiple expense accounts – both paid for by the school in which she herself; as a ministry appointed specialist advisor, has identified a problem. If this scenario was suggested as the plot of a movie, it would be thrown out as being totally implausible!!

  4. Rob Thompson-Browne says:

    The Rangiora High School Dysfunctional Governance Process so far….

    1-M.O.E. receives inaccurate/false/misleading information regarding the RHS/The Board/The Principal from 4 ex-board members who it now appears…want the “Power of Governance” at any cost…to date they have remained “hidden & nameless”….at an appropriate time & in an appropriate manner they will be “outed”

    2-To its credit, MOE acted…however in their haste they:
    A-Failed to check out the inaccurate/false/misleading information properly (if they had, none of this would be happening now)
    B-Appointed an ex-nurse “commissioner” to write a “special report based upon inaccurate/false/misleading who subsequently “got the job & all the $$ benefits that go with it” based on her also in-accurate report….interesting conflict of interest here

    3-This individual, who has had zero experience running a multi-million $$ operation, has “morphed” from a “Governance-Only to “Governance & Management Role” (interesting conflict of interest here again…seems to be a common theme) as it obviously suits her interest to “stay the course” for as long as financially possible…meantime the $$bill is heading toward 1 $mill & counting…

    4-We know also that these hidden-agenda ex-board members are “part & parcel” of this “commissioner” process acting as part of her “Community Advisory Group….first they feed her inaccurate information, (which both MOE & she fails to check out properly) & then MOE acts on this rubbish…now one or two of these dysfunctional but power-hungry/self-interest “Ex-Boardies” are attempting to add insult to injury by “attempting to consolidate” their tenuous grip on perceived power by being part of this so-called “Community Advisory Group”…beware of the destructive self-interest these individuals.

    5- We are all aware now of the horrendous toll this had had on very very good people, its effect upon a recently elected Board (by our community) now “stood down” before even meeting, students & parents alike.

    6-However, of even greater concern now is the length these individuals (unfortunately from our own community) are prepared to go to to achieve their own self-interest aims, objectives & community-destructive goals

    7-Those who know the real truth, the quality of the individuals & Board being slandered by this dysfunctional process, stand up on behalf of those who have been “gagged & bagged”and we
    A-Start this page….
    B-Mobilise the real community…
    C-Speak with & email the media,
    D-Speak with & email the politicians

    8-We will at a time of our choosing:
    A-“Expose the false accusators”…
    B-“Expose the dysfunctional MOE/Commissioner process
    C-Ensure those wrongfully dis-possessed of their workplace role & their rightful place in our community are returned in full to their former positions.

    There is more to come at the appropriate time & in the appropriate manner.

  5. Melulater says:

    This sort of jump in and take over without investigation first is endemic of many institutions in New Zealand currently. It means too many people are permentantly damaged by poor processes. Mud, even fake mud, sadly sticks.

  6. It seems the MOE bases its investigations methods on the Salem Witch Trials and the McCarthy trails. Staggering.

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