Columbus teachers union pulls endorsement of school board’s James Ragland

Alissa Widman Neese
 
| The Columbus Dispatch

Can a member of a public school board work for a group that advocates for private and charter schools?

It’s a simmering issue that recently boiled up for Columbus City Schools teachers and board member James Ragland. Ragland is the director of provider outreach for School Choice Ohio, a nonprofit group that informs Ohio families about the educational options available for their children, including private and charter schools.

The Columbus Education Association, the district’s teachers union, recently rescinded its endorsement of Ragland and took a vote of “no confidence” in his ability to serve the district, it announced Monday.

“He is actively trying to take money out of the pockets of our students,” association President John Coneglio told The Dispatch. “While the school board may not always agree with us, we want a board that reflects the schools that Columbus students deserve. Clearly

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Greens co-leader James Shaw meets with Taranaki teachers over Green School funding blunder | 1 NEWS

Taranaki teachers were hoping to hear the Green Party’s James Shaw withdraw a controversial grant of almost $12 million to a privately-run Green School at a series of behind-closed door meetings around the province.

Green Party co-leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw at Normanby School South Taranaki.
Source: rnz.co.nz


By Robin Martin for rnz.co.nz

Instead, they had to settle for a sympathetic ear, yet more apologies and a vague assurance that the funding will be turned into a commercial loan.

The Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson went back to school yesterday to make good on a promise to listen to the teachers, many of who are angry about the Green School debacle and the contrast with other school communities putting up with shonky school infrastructure.

The Green Party top brass travelled around Taranaki visiting schools in Stratford, Normanby and Ōpunake before fronting a meeting in New Plymouth.

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Green School funding saga continues as Chris Hipkins rejects claims made in James Shaw video



Chris Hipkins, James Shaw are posing for a picture


© RNZ


Minister of Education Chris Hipkins is disputing a claim from Greens co-leader James Shaw he gave “verbal sign-off” for the Green School proposal, describing it as a mischaracterisation.

A leaked video shows Shaw telling party members he got the okay from Hipkins in a conversation they had before the controversial bid was signed off.

Shaw’s been in damage control since infuriating party supporters, schools and unions with his strong advocacy for the nearly $12 million application for the private school.

The expansion project was approved by a group of wider ministers under a $3 billion infrastructure fund – they say Shaw should take full responsibility as the sole advocate for the bid.

That advocacy extended to threatening to block at least 44 projects, earmarked for $600m of funding, unless it was given the green light.

While Hipkins had no involvement in the ministerial approval, in the video, Shaw

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James Shaw’s mea culpa on Green School funding exposed his lack of political nous



James Shaw standing in front of a building: Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

When Green party leader, James Shaw, apologised for backing the use of public funds for a private school last week, he ventured down a well-trodden path of the political mea culpa to save his own skin before October’s election. While he’s not the first person to row back a policy in New Zealand politics, or during this Covid pandemic, whether he survives may have as much to do with how he manages the public’s perception of him as a leader, as it does with the nature of his mistake.



James Shaw standing in front of a building: James Shaw came under fire for effectively backing a private school with public funds.


© Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
James Shaw came under fire for effectively backing a private school with public funds.

Of the current party leaders in the New Zealand parliament, James Shaw is probably the least comfortable public communicator. Over his parliamentary career he has never shown much understanding of the art of

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James Shaw contradicts Chris Hipkins on implicit approval in leaked video

A leaked video of last week’s Green Party crisis call shows James Shaw claimed the controversial Green School funding was given “verbal sign-off” by Minister of Education Chris Hipkins.

The comments contradict Hipkins who’s repeatedly stated he did not back the proposal.

RNZ has been sent footage of the Friday night Zoom meeting in which Shaw sought to assuage party members who were furious at his advocacy for a nearly $12 million funding package for the private Green School in Taranaki.

In the video clip, Shaw tells members that Hipkins “wasn’t intimately involved in the decision” but gave it tacit approval in a conversation.

“He did, sort of, give at least a verbal sign-off to the project,” Shaw said.

“He did say that – assuming everything else being equal – as long as the funding partner is the [New Plymouth District] Council, which it is, that he was okay with

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James Shaw apologises for signing-off on funding for ‘green’ private school



James Shaw wearing a suit and tie


© RNZ / Dom Thomas


Green Party co-leader James Shaw has apologised to members for signing-off on funding for a private school.



James Shaw wearing a suit and tie: Green Party co-leader James Shaw


© Provided by Radio New Zealand
Green Party co-leader James Shaw

James Shaw said he is working to find a solution. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

The climate change Minister approved nearly $12 million for the ‘green’ school in Taranaki, despite his party’s stance not to fund private schools.

The money came from the government’s $3 billion ‘shovel ready’ projects fund.

Green School New Zealand, which opened in February, charges up to $24,000 a year for local students and up to $43,000 a year for international students.

The school has about 50 students, half of whom come from overseas. The funding is designed to expand the school’s capacity from 120 to 250 students.

Shaw apologised to members in a Zoom meeting last night, saying he would not make

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