March 22, 2019

1936: Kings High

February 18, 2019

By Anarchist History of New Zealand

Principal: Schools being asked to do parents’ role.

Great speech kicks in at 4mins

Kings High (est 1936, in time for James K Baxter to attend) is a Dunedin boys-only school. Rector/Headmaster Dan Reddiex is upholding a tradition which, of course, goes back to deep roots among the Scottish Presbyterians: The core value of quality education that immigrated with the Scottish Free Church Presbertarians to Otago. He makes several points I find interesting!

A School With School’s Values

1) Dan likes to rap about economics with his students, even if topics like Rogernomics are not strictly on the syllabus (cool!)

2) He is plugging Winston Churchill to his kids and trying to live up to the same ethic of ‘never give up’ in this very speech (hard core!)

3) A sideswipe at the “Unlimited”/Open Classrooms experiment which he says exhausts teachers and fails students. I wanted to follow this debate that’s been going on some years but fell behind. I wonder if he’s right? I assume conservatives like Kings High alumni had their minds made up about this from the start though

4) There is pressure for schools, ie The State, to take on the role of parents and answer for what children do and he’s not bloody having it!

School Values Subsuming Family Values

It’s this last one that’s of great interest to me. In our statist culture many institutions would leap at the chance of expanding their powerbase. Displace individualism and family, replace it with bureaucratic impersonal institutions. Here’s a man turning it down.

Not sure how much he’s signalling to his in-group, saying what an ivy-tight-arse Dead-Poets-Society Prize-Giving-Speech crowd swoon to hear. Or is he fighting a real vanguard here, standing up for Dignity Culture? Is this authentic so I can *really* like it?

At any rate, he’s perfectly right. Family integrity and responsibility is more and more being chipped away at and pushed into the hands of collective institutions. More about this in tomorrows post about 1920s Kororakia.

Contrast also with Henderson Intermediate who are one of many who have have substituted out academic values for family values at the cost of even being able to spell themselves!

Image ref. KHS coat of arms; Facebook

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