Why the charter school experiment must be allowed to proceed

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A guest post by His Excrescence the High Priest of the Church of the All-Seeing Sandwich.

Greetings to you, fellow warblers!

I find myself at a disadvantage, so please bear with me while I establish how exactly this computer keyboard works.

(You may think it odd that despite being a prolific writer I am barely able to type. However, if you have read my most recent work, Sexuality and the Potato, you will know that mucus is my usual means of expression. It makes a splendid substitute for ink, once dry.)

My church does not usually concern itself with you low, worthless beings, but an issue has arisen that we can no longer stay silent on.

Thanks to the generosity of the depraved gentleman who runs this pitiful excuse for a website, I now have the opportunity to make public our concerns about plans by certain politicians to destroy everything we have worked so hard to achieve.

We were horrified when we first heard that the Labour Party was promising to end the charter school experiment. We hoped against hope that it was some sort of sick joke, like the combustion engine or gravity. But enquiries by our affiliated body the Brotherhood of the Rectangular Gumboot have confirmed our worse fears. It seems almost certain that our plans to open a charter school will come to nothing if that spiteful assemblage of demons calling itself the Opposition comes to power next year.

We have always believed in the importance of education, but we despair at the state of the current New Zealand school system. By focusing all their efforts on learning and development, our schools are failing a huge number of children. We agree that there may be a role for learning in an educational environment, but any learning must be balanced with the need to instil fear and a genuine and abiding sense of horror in our children.

That is why we have decided to apply to run one of the proposed charter schools. And that is why we are so alarmed at the plan by Labour to shut them down.

We hope that a school based around the teachings of the Most Wobbling Jelly-God and Lord of the Three-Fingers Whose Names Are Balthazar Bartimus and Barry, will offer to students and their parents a different approach towards education. But while our faith is important to us, we do not plan to push this too much on the students of our charter school. Instead, we will encourage them to find their own path. Religious instruction features in the curriculum, but it isn’t compulsory. So if a parent decides that they do not wish their child to attend religious instruction, we will simply take that child aside, beat them on the soles of their feet with truncheons for hours on end, and then stick them in a small wooden box filled with angry wasps.

We believe that a traditional education isn’t for everyone. A lot of kids are falling through the cracks because they just aren’t engaged at school. The traditional focus on learning works for some people, but experience tells us that some kids need a more targeted approach. While some children adapt well to the classroom environment, research undertaken by our holy men has shown that others do better outside the confines of a traditional school building.

That is why all of our classes will be conducted outside on trampolines, between the hours of three-thirty and seven-thirty in the morning, but only on a Tuesday, except in March. March is our holy month, when we all conduct a pilgrimage to the shrine of the Shiny Metal God of Divine Aluminium located under the couch in the living room at 37 Miles Avenue in the holy land of Papatoetoe. So there will be no school in March.

We also think it’s time to stop mollycoddling our kids. Our peer-reviewed* research shows that children who push boundaries, take risks, and challenge themselves, do better as adults. That is why we plan to encourage our students to use their free time at school to engage in physically challenging and risky activities, such as bullrush, climbing trees, and being chased by wild lions. Older students will be encouraged to snort cocaine and engage in high-risk sexual activities. We believe that the students who come through these ordeals will be both wiser and stronger.

We don’t pretend that our different approach towards education will work for everyone, and we are realistic enough to anticipate that some students will end up as junkies and crack whores, or will become real estate salespeople.

But for every graduating crack whore we expect to turn out at least three of those people who show up on your doorstep when you’re trying to cook your tea, asking you whether you’d like to change your electricity or phone provider, and then you tell them no-thanks, but they won’t stop, and they keep asking you questions and you say I’m-really-not-interested, but the fuckers never listen, and then another one from the same company turns up two weeks later with his stupid little clipboard and asking the same fucking questions and then he looks all confused when you tell him someone was here a fortnight ago, and why can’t you people update your records, and please don’t come here again with your hardsell bullshit, and why don’t you people even speak English properly, I can barely understand a word you’re saying, and don’t even get me started on the people who ring me constantly trying to sell me home insulation, I told you last time I wasn’t interested, write it down, you cretins, good day to you sir!

These opposition politicians say that we should not have a charter school system, because there is a lack of evidence to justify their existence. But how can they be so sure? Isn’t the whole idea here to experiment? To try something new? To find some vulnerable children, smear them in butter, coat them in flour, and then shoot them up into space in a rocket, never to be heard from again?

How can they be so quick to dismiss our plans? I don’t expect that our plans to use student labour to erect a giant stone pyramid dedicated to Barbara the Eternally Flatulent Prophet (may her malodorous vapours rise heavenwards) will be popular with everyone, but there is a vast amount of literature establishing beyond doubt that physical exercise can be good for brain development.

So who are you to judge us, Labour? At least let us have a go. All we ask is the chance for our kids to build a nuclear facility in downtown Wellington and threaten our Australian neighbours with a big dirty bomb. Is that so much to ask?

Let this experiment proceed. If it doesn’t work, then we’ll be the first to put our hands up and say “okay, so you were right, you smug self-satisfied pricks. Kill the unbelievers! Kill! Kill!”

But it might work! It might actually help kids who feel as if the traditional system has failed them. So let this charter school experiment proceed.

Either way, you still all die.

* The experts we approached reviewed our work thoroughly. They told us it was laughable rubbish.
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