A Southland school principal has compared education minister Anne Tolley to Hitler on her Facebook page.
Marlene Campbell, the principal of Salford School in Invercargill, made the comments on November 5, which were then picked up by bloggers KiwiBlog and WhaleOil.
Campbell wrote: "And the MOE attack schools deferring setting targets, thats a constructive response? Excuse me Minister Hitler? Am I in Germany? Is this the end of self managing schools? read Kelvin Smythes latest blog, he is a true hero! (sic)"
The comments were made on the public part of her page, called the "wall", available for all users to view.
KiwiBlog wrote about the Facebook post yesterday. By this morning, more than 80 people had commented on the article.
Oh dear. If there was any doubt whatsoever that the boycott of National Standards is a political stunt led by principals and the teacher unions, Marlene Campbell has just removed it. Comparing Anne Tolley to Hitler is both absurd and over-the-top.
And it seems that Ms Campbell has been embarrassed by this public revelation; she has shut the stable door, but the horse had long since bolted. She's also shooting the messenger - read on:
When contacted about the comments, Campbell said she had now made the wall private.
"It's unfortunate that the WhaleOil blog has picked it up. But we heard last week that he was targeting anyone that was on the list of schools boycotting national standards," she said.
Salford School was part of that boycott, Campbell said.
She did not want to comment on whether the comparison would affect her position at the school.
And Anne Tolley's office has responded in the best possible way:
The minister's office said they were aware of the comments but did not deem them worthy of a response.
A spokesman for Tolley said: "The Minister will not be gracing those comments with a response, and remains focused on lifting achievement for all children, especially the one in five who are leaving school without the basic skills they need in reading, writing and maths."
What is probably the best thing to come out of this, apart from the anti-National Standards agenda being dented, is that a journalist has based a story on something from the blogosphere, and has given the credit to those to whom it is due, Kiwiblog and WhaleOil. Kirsty Johnston may be 18 hours behind the blogosphere with her story, but it's a case of better late than never.
The media has studiously reported the activities of the principals and Boards of Trustees who have instituted the boycott, even though there has been plenty of contrary comment on the blogosphere. With this story, and the reporting yesterday of Peter McKeefrey's bold one-man protest against the BoT at Clyde Quay School, it seems that the worm may have turned. That is a very good thing, in our always-humble opinion.