Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Moving from frustration to disgust

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  • Greg Wood, in reply to Ross Mason,

    After all, you hired him to tell you like it should be.

    C'mon - you're talking about the Prime Minister who heard from his Chief Science Advisor about the clear evidence for the failure of boot camps to have any effect at all over a long period, and replied "Well evidence is all very good, but we've seen results with our own eyes."

    This government is a bunch of idealogues hell-bent on being in power at any cost. It includes a Minister of Finance who hazards guesses. A Minister of Education who doesn't read the reports. A Minister of Transport who takes flights of fancy over benefit-to-cost ratios for massive motorways in the face of a massive global swing towards public transport. A Minister of Tourism who's happy to lead a government that won't do a thing about water quality in our lakes and rivers. A Foreign Affairs Minister who goes missing in action. And don't get me started on the way they're being lead by a Prime Minister who used to be a merchant banker, and who is happy for his ministers to lie about accepting money from Bond villains as long as they don't actually break the law... Yeah, I'd trust this lot to look after our kids, as much as sell off our assets... oh, and look: they're ramming that through six weeks early while playing games on their fucking iPads. At about this point, someone usually pops up and asks "what can a regular person do about the whole thing?".

    I can leave the country. Why should I not take my three crazy early-days kids and my large tax contribution elsewhere? Tell me.

    Now back in Aucktown • Since Dec 2006 • 76 posts Report Reply

  • Judy J,

    This government is quickly destroying the best of our education sytem where creative teachers are being stifled.The very thing which makes our pupils stand out against others is the fact they have been encouraged in creativity, to think independently and laterally , to use initiative and the number 8 wire mentality. All this will disappear if they become learning robots .
    Well there would be one advantage . Our graduates would no longer be sought after by overseas employers . Perhaps that is the underlying goal for John Key and his mates !

    Waiheke Island • Since Jun 2012 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris,

    Regardless of the rough shod way in which the government has implemented the National Standards policy there is no way to measure a child’s academic achievement relative to his/her peers without introducing fixed national standards against which they can be objectively compared. League tables are an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of attempting to definitively describe a child’s relative academic ability.

    If the sticking point for some of those who are opposed to this policy is the hasty implementation and quality of the testing then I’m inclined to agree, but I am fundamentally opposed to any testing regime other than one which is norm referenced.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Sacha,

    Govt is cynically trying to re-establish a wedge between parents and professionals.

    Agreed.
    Our current intermediate school in Christchurch is not exactly a radical hotbed. But even they have been pretty rarked up lately, in a polite way of course.
    They were really furious about the budget cuts. And from the latest newsletter:

    As has been widely publicised in the media, the government has, thankfully, reversed the above Budget announcements. This means that for now at least, the formulas currently in place for staffing our technology and general classrooms will remain in place. This is fantastic news for all schools across New Zealand as this would have had a significant impact on us all. Parent power rose to the challenge and most statements by the Minister of Education indicate that this was the main contributing factor that instigated the 'U turn'. The fact that educators across the country were saying the same thing doesn't seem to matter!

    This might appear mild, but it's the most scathing thing I've seen come out of this particular school.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 660 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    This makes a complete mockery of the backdown on class sizes.

    Not too long ago, Deb Coddington mused that appointing Auckland Grammar admins to low-decile schools would fix the problem. That won't work for one very simple reason: the Auckland Grammar ideology is inherently segregationist. It simply blocks out all the low-decile students except the ones who can make the 1st XV.

    And if the Howick racial divide I posted about is anything to go by, maybe it won't be long before we have our Little Rock moment.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4352 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Greg Wood,

    Why should I not take my three crazy early-days kids and my large tax contribution elsewhere? Tell me.

    Cos we will miss you :-(

    But your description of the pirates at the helm of this ship is so scarily on the mark, I can see why the horizon is looking pretty bloody tempting right now.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1411 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Scott Chris,

    League tables are an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of attempting to definitively describe a child’s relative academic ability.

    Except they don't do that. They are a very narrow means of comparing schools' performance, one that has many perverse and undesirable effects. Read the Ian Schagen link in the post.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18963 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Further to add: what better weapon could the NZEI/PPTA/SPA use against charter schools, than Intelligent Design curricula and textbook revisionism?

    And how would the Auckland Grammars of this world like it if compulsory bussing was foisted on them?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4352 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Will ERO be the ones adminstering collation and reporting of National Standards results? I must admit to finding their school reports bland, brief and non-commital* and would much prefer the money, energy and political capital going into failed standardised testing to be invested in more comprehensive ERO reporting and some form of visualisation reporting approach to better communicate the quality of the school.

    *Limited engagement to be fair, but being the father of a 3y/o looking to buy a new home you find yourself investigating things you always thought far too suburban and cliched...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King,

    Did it strike anyone else as a sort of ‘up yours, we’re still the boss’ to teachers- who were seen to have won a very public victory over class sizes?

    That was my immediate reaction when I heard it this morning. The cynicism would be astonishing if it wasn’t so dispiriting.

    Absolutely. And if it wasn't that act of spite, it was an even uglier cynicism: 'If they try and rally everyone to stop this too, then they'll just look like anti-change moaners who oppose everything we do and the public will stop listening to them: now's the perfect time to push this one past them.'

    Since Sep 2010 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward, in reply to Greg Wood,

    Why should I not take my three crazy early-days kids and my large tax contribution elsewhere? Tell me.

    Because this awesome country is far more than any particular set of clowns that happen to sit in Parliament at a given point in time?

    (Sorry, my usual response to people who want to flee the country over given Governmental policy - when it comes to your kids education I certainly understand the desire to get it right...)

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Scott Chris,

    League tables are an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of attempting to definitively describe a child’s relative academic ability.

    All stick, no carrot, IMhO. Once they find out there are significant gaps, what is the policy for addressing it, and where is the funding coming from in a zero budget?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2144 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    I can't but help wonder if our PM's latest utterance isn't a well timed brain fart to divert attention from the surplus being pushed back...

    added bonus, making our education system better (sarcasm)

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 340 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to JacksonP,

    All stick, no carrot, IMhO. Once they find out there are significant gaps, what is the policy for addressing it, and where is the funding coming from in a zero budget?

    Quite. My guess is that there has been urgent advice from the MoE as to the coming consequences, so it's been thrown back to the ministry to try and sort something out.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18963 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason,

    How do you get a half decent NZ educational system?

    1. Start with one of the best educational systems on the planet.
    2. Elect a bunch of shallow ideologues.
    3. Wait.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • Alistair McBride,

    "off the cuff" and "on the hoof"…?
    It might seem that way but that is the cover for the real agenda being slipped into the public discourse. That was a deliberate and carefully constructed piece of media massaging. Which bit of disinformation do the experts and critics respond to first in order to get the story flowing right – just read the responses here? And the news media doesn't know which bit to pursue either having been sucked in over the last four years.

    Hamilton • Since Dec 2006 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to bob daktari,

    a well timed brain fart to divert attention from the surplus being pushed back

    True. Pretty embarrassing, that one, given their lack of any other grand target.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16754 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Grevers, in reply to Russell Brown,

    ...and in the first year or two of education the standards results reflect the pre-school environment not the quality of the school. Our son is reading at level 19 (two thirds of the way through the primary reading structure) eight weeks into Year 1. Yet some of his classmates cannot count to 5 nor tell you their family name. The school (Decile 1) is not responsible for either result. However, with skilled and dedicated staff they will often bring those children forward through 2-3 years of pre-school experience in the space of a year - only to be told they are failing under National Standards.

    New Plymouth • Since Jul 2011 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Am I wrong in recalling that those schools with the best results receive better funding? Under this impression I decided that individualising measures to the child (try explaining to a primary school child that failed results doesn't mean that they're a failure) and the only reason to do so, as the ministry already rated schools, was to make league tables the schools with struggling students will only have their capacity to assist them reduced. This will of course drive those that can away from the state school system into private schools and a trend with this government to reduce public offers in favour of private only increases.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 565 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    "Alan Bollard may well be right," Mr Key said. "Treasury may well upgrade their numbers and decide they are more in tune with the Reserve Bank. I don't know and none of us really know at the moment.
    "It's just a very uncertain time."
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10813900

    Epic fail. No forethought, no answers, no courage, no plan...just a very uncertain time. The most failures of any NZ Govt. at any time, history would be unkind to them if they weren't...

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood, in reply to Euan Mason,

    How do you get a half decent NZ educational system?

    Zing!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • RaggedJoe, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    I almost feel a kind of parental survivor's guilt about this as my youngest is now in her final year of school.

    Snap

    But I now have one child half way through a primary teacher training degree. By the looks of this she is going to be fed into a machine. Just finished 5 week practicum at a decile 1 school and loved it. A world of opportunity to offer little year ones. Measured by NS league tables? Sorry it is just BS, cant work, wont work.

    City of Sales • Since Sep 2008 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward, in reply to Euan Mason,

    How do you get a half decent NZ educational system?

    1. Start with one of the best educational systems on the planet.
    2. Elect a bunch of shallow ideologues.
    3. Wait.

    4. ?
    5. PROFIT!

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Gareth Ward,

    4. ?
    5. PROFIT!

    4 Create charter schools

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3415 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    A great informative depressing post thank you Russell Brown and others. I guess Key is hoping that the general public will support his line that every parent is entitled to know which school is best. Maybe they will and maybe they will just see teachers as just obstructionists. Or rebel!
    The only good thing about NS is that they chose to not have particular tests regulated and ordained for particular dates. (In Scotland parents and teachers connived to keep the less able kids home on test days.) The frightening post by Jolisa is a warning of just what damage is being done. Funny how USA has slipped even further down the PISA rankings.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

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