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Need to ensure equitable outcomes

Opinion Piece

Re: All in this together: time to get real, January 22 column.

Hi Clive,

A couple of things. First, you write that:

“The leaders we need are born, they are not made and they are most likely to come from those who have experience of what works best for us. An apprenticeship in strategic planning requires years of studying the limiting factors that we must come to know like the back of our hand.”

If I know anything, it is this; it takes at least 10,000 hours of dedicated enactment of knowledge and skills to develop expertise. Such expertise helps build the capacities of a great leader. So great leaders are not born, they are shaped through trial and error. Qualities of intelligence, empathy, courage and excellent communication skills are useful in a great leader.

Second, you write that minority groups have the right to expect equitable outcomes but that minority groups shouldn't dictate how the majority group within a community operate. Your assertion is the antithesis of equity.

Fully-functioning communities make a point of ensuring that every group is able to experience equitable outcomes. A majority group cannot decide what is best for minorities, otherwise the status quo is ensured.

There is a difference between equity and equality. I wonder whether you have confused the two?

Additionally, over the period of 2015/2016, I was asked to explore the ways in which we could leverage education in the region in support of economic outcomes.

After nine months of research I reported back to Eastland Community Trust, as it was then, that the best bang for buck would be:

1. Ensure all educators are trained to gain expertise as educators of Maori students — students who make up a significant percentage of the school-age population, yet continue to underperform.

If you don't believe me just visit the Ministry of Education's website and look at the data for achievement and engagement of Maori students in our mainstream schools. It is still woeful.

2. Explore the idea of amalgamating the four high schools, which are all within a 2km radius of each other, into one Tairawhiti College, so there are four campuses and the most expert teachers in the region can be freely available to every student. This would maximise the opportunities for students to receive an education which ensures they are highly educated.

Doing these two things would grow the capacity of the young to start addressing some of the issues that Clive infers are causing issues in the here and now.

Unfortunately, the report was not tabled. I have wondered ever since whether that was because I could find no evidence to push for the need for a private school in the region, or for more investment in digital technology.

Lara Meyer

  1. Clive Bibby says:

    No confusion Lara
    You have actually strengthened my argument with your acknowledgement of the genetically inherent qualities of the people we need to lead us – empathy (understanding of local factors limiting our communities working together for the common good),intelligence, excellent communication skills, courage are all qualities that our best leaders are born with.
    It doesn’t mean that any of them wouldn’t benefit from spending thousands of hours gaining degrees that qualify them in other related endeavours but in the end, the qualities that will set them apart and make them useful to our communities are those that we both agree are essential when sorting the problems on our patch.
    Sadly, the current mob’s record in charge suggests they have failed miserably to set the right priorities for economic development and that is why the woeful statistics particularly for Maori achievement continue to languish at the bottom of the heap. I’m sure you might agree that their failure is a reflection of their lack of understanding of what works for us.
    I rest my case.

    1. Tyson says:

      I would be careful to read the term ‘Born’ and equate it to the concept of ‘Bred’.
      All leaders are born until artificial intelligence develops to the point where our leaders can be energised, activated or similar.
      Leaders rise when the community needs them to be there and history is filled with those examples – to which previous generations, in a less enlightened age, said: “Cometh the hour and cometh the man”.
      Our existence is a result of a large cosmic lottery where the odds of not existing have been overcome to put us as unique individuals in the universe on this planet.

  2. Martin Hanson says:

    The question of whether the qualities that make up a great leader are inborn (genetic) or environmental (‘made’) is, it seems to me, a non-question. It’s not an either/or explanation – it’s certain that both are involved, genes and environment interacting in complex ways during the development of personality and in the acquisition of knowledge and skills.