Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Moving from frustration to disgust

286 Responses

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  • Tim Michie, in reply to RaggedJoe,

    Merely from personal observation the number of those that do teacher training to soon leave the field is very common. And another reason to celebrate and support those that stay with the work.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 547 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason, in reply to Gareth Ward,

    Gareth, I'm not convinced that the policy is motivated by profit. It may sound incredible, but I think JK actually believes that league tables ranked by shallow testing of a small subset of students' abilities at only one point in time will really improve educational outcomes. I still feel slightly twilight zonish when I write that, but I think JK believes it.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 172 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Euan Mason,

    I still feel slightly twilight zonish when I write that, but I think JK believes it.

    Quite possibly. In spite of all the evidence, it's a kind of right-wing truism.

    But I think they also adopted the idea for political purposes before the 2008 election -- figuring, probably correctly, that it would resonate with potential voters.

    And they also knew that there would be very strong objections from within the education sector -- which is why they shoved it through under urgency in the first couple of weeks in office. They didn't want the embarrassment of their own officials fronting up to a select committee and providing evidence about what a terrible idea it was.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18718 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Tankard,

    FWIW, I worked in Dept of Education H/O when NCEA was still in development, and hadn't even got so far as the acronym, back in the 80's.

    There was so much internal angst about moving off an 'examination standard' - of which School Cert was a mighty flawed example - and it literally took decades before the first NCEA-related stuff came home in my eldest daughter's schoolbag from her college.
    Lo and behold! Much of the wording was exactly as I had seen in drafts in 1986, which made me wonder who had to retire/die before the policy came into a form that could actually be rolled out. (I have suspicions ...)

    As with this current issue, research, testing, and teacher and parent, not to mention student, input was required, chewing up much of that two decades.

    The changes they are attempting to make smack of the same desperation with which the ailing Coates Government, in denial about the way to solve the Depression in the 1930's, closed Teacher's Colleges to save money.
    They were voted out in 1933, paving the way for Savage's first Labour Government to come in with a landslide.

    Yep, I moved out of teaching support into historical research, with a slant at social policy. I consider this Government to be the greatest risk to New Zealand's national sovereignty in the history of our nation, since the time we became a Dominion, and shucked off the training reins from London.

    Nowadays, we are at risk from greedy education entrepreneurs from other countries, notably the USA, who have been eying our excellent State-funded schools and universities for over a decade. Many attempts have been made by business-minded US Ambassadors to get wee chunks of our state-owned education system into private hands - I'll refer you to the debacle when Stu McCutcheon moved from VUW, to the post of VC at AU, and promptly tried to sell off Elim Art School, to major outcry form prominent Kiwi artists in this country and overseas.

    Any amount of rattling this cage you fancy, Russ, is alright by me!

    Wellington • Since Jun 2012 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Euan Mason,

    I’m not convinced that the policy is motivated by profit.

    Yes and no. One overarching feature of this government is the idea that private (profit making) enterprise can do everything better than public governance. Education is just one example of that to this government. Performance in standardized tests is a good way for highly selective private schools to sell themselves.

    This may be a policy Key believes genuinely (or not), but it damn well makes someone a healthy profit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3267 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Euan Mason,

    I think JK actually believes that league tables ranked by shallow testing of a small subset of students’ abilities at only one point in time will really improve educational outcomes.

    It's a banker's approach. The solution may come from data, but is not the data itself.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2121 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to Russell Brown,

    They are a very narrow means of comparing schools’ performance, one that has many perverse and undesirable effects.

    Whichever set of criteria is chosen to serve as a basis of comparison, the range will be narrow owing to the demands of practical necessity. Some things are easier to measure than others, such as reading age and basic numeracy.

    Also, if teachers refuse to submit to being tested, another blunt means of assessing their competency is to measure their school's performance relative to itself and other schools.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Lott, in reply to Greg Treadwell,

    It's not just in Education. It's flown a bit under the radar, but as of July 1 we will no longer have a ministry for Science, Research or Technology. Dark days.

    And Russell, I hit disgust a while ago...

    Waitakere • Since Aug 2009 • 49 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Dark days indeed, why no public scrutiny?

    The Ombudsman had told a Parliamentary select committee there were "strong reasons" for the state-owned assets remaining open to public scrutiny.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7127734/Dunne-slams-asset-sales-amendment-push
    And don't forget the enablers, Dunne and Banks. Charter schools are an Act thing are they not? Where is old Banksy these days...

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward, in reply to Euan Mason,

    Gareth, I'm not convinced that the policy is motivated by profit.

    Agreed, I was just thrashing an old meme sorry!
    At my harshest I suspect the PM and his "target NZer" want to identify the best school to send their kid too, not the best educational outcome for their child (beyond the fact they probably equate the two). And the best school is the one with the "best" kids getting the best scores in reading, riting, rithmetic... The "white flight" articles this morning possibly another symptom of that thinking.

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

  • Morgan Davie, in reply to Gareth Ward,

    At my harshest I suspect the PM and his “target NZer” want to identify the best school to send their kid too, not the best educational outcome for their child

    i.e., identify the best social capital, rather than the best education, for their child? Although it's a leap to say that's the motivation, it sure as hell makes sense of this rotten business. Because education is not a zero-sum game - but social capital is. Inequality is a bug if the goal is education, but a feature if the goal is social capital...

    Wellington • Since May 2008 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kerry Tankard,

    made me wonder who had to retire/die

    I've had that thought in other areas. Great post, thank you.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16500 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    I'll tell you now who'll be at the top of any league tables - decile 10 schools. Not because they're inherently better, but because their parents may have more interest in their education, both parents aren't probably working 3 jobs between them so can devote time to homework, they'll have a decent internet connection and books to research homework topics, the school itself won't be struggling with kids who haven't had breakfast let alone brought any lunch with them as well, school fees will all be paid on time, resources can be fund-raised for and purchased, teachers can be sent on PD courses without impacting on the school's budget...... I could go on but I get too depressed.

    League tables and National Standards are an incredibly blunt instrument that show a snapshot of a period of time, with no reflection of where the kids were when they started and how far they've progressed. Good luck to the Ministry of Education even getting a coherent set of figures out of the information submitted to them from schools as part of their National Standards obligations. I know the school I was chair at just submitted paper-based evidence of assessments and some figures to show numbers above/at/below. There's no way every school would have sent information in the same format or even at the same level, so how are these mythical league tables supposed to be constructed?

    As Ian Leckie (NZEI head) pointed out this morning on Morning Report, if you're a concerned parent wanting to decide what school is best for your children, why wouldn't you read ERO reports (I've read lots, they are waffly, but once you get used to the language and style there's a lot of information to be gleaned from them) and go and visit the schools to see how it feels, rather than just basing your decision on a league table in a newspaper?

    That's a pretty incoherent stream-of-conciousness rant, sorry, but I kind of had to get it off my chest.....

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tim Michie,

    Am I wrong in recalling that those schools with the best results receive better funding?

    Not yet. Would be ideologically consistent though - reward those you've defined as 'successes'.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16500 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Am I wrong in recalling that those schools with the best results receive better funding?

    Not yet. Would be ideologically consistent though – reward those you’ve defined as ‘successes’.

    I'm fairly sure the idea was floated last year, before the election. Alarmingly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18718 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It's the logical endpoint if they're looking for a way to allocate scarce education resources in favour of the well-off. Charter schools may 'help' with that as well.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16500 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Poster #23 from Stuff (our Keith??)

    Are kids trad-ables? Are they commodities?

    Sell them anyway.....think of the savings....

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1491 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to JacksonP,

    where is the funding coming from in a zero budget?

    It's worse than zero. It's a budget that hasn't yet funded (PDF, bottom of page 2) the next fucking general election!

    This school shit annoys me, but with no children as yet I have no immediate skin in the game. But the wholesale destruction of everything in pursuit of budgetary savings is now attacking our very democracy.

    </threadjack>

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    It is hard not to see this governments education policy as simple class war on behalf of it's middle class supporters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1776 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    they also knew that there would be very strong objections from within the education sector

    To some degree, I think they were hoping there would be strong objections, which they could then dismiss as teachers being out to protect their own jobs. And there is a segment of the electorate who see teachers' resistance to National Standards and everything else as pure patch-protection. Based on what I've seen in the cesspit of Your Views I'm quite prepared to believe that it's a fairly widespread belief: teachers don't want performance-based pay and all the things leading to it because it'll make them actually work for their money.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    National Standards, oxymoron right there.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    teachers don’t want performance-based pay and all the things leading to it because it’ll make them actually work for their money.

    Given they've basically had social work and disruptive kids foisted upon them, who can blame them?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4162 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Kahnacademy as seen on 60mins on TV3 on Sunday Night.

    Now, I would have a bet that this is the kind of "e-learning system" that Johnnie Boy's Treasury bods thinks this country should adopt. It must be good. Can't beat free. Bill Gates said so.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1491 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Dave Patrick,

    their parents may have more interest in their education, both parents aren’t probably working 3 jobs between them so can devote time to homework, they’ll have a decent internet connection and books to research homework topics, the school itself won’t be struggling with kids who haven’t had breakfast let alone brought any lunch with them as well,

    It's not the school you go to , it's the home you come from and if you come from a home with money then you probably went to a good school.
    johnkey really does believe that he is there to help those that have already helped themselves, fuck the rest of us, we just don't count and if we find ways to help ourselves they will want to profit from that. They just don't want an educated populace, it may cut into the chosen ones comfort.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4704 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    The one and only reason I ever considered moving back to New Zealand is my daughter, and primarily her education (although things like healthcare and environment, and having Christmas in the summer like it's bloody supposed to be, are among other factors in that calculation). My wife doesn't want her dragged through the Chinese system, which is our other easy option. I've worked in the Chinese education system, at just about every level, for over 12 years now and I don't like the thought of my daughter going through that, either. But this whole fiasco just leaves me depressed.

    This government keeps making me think of Bob Marley: We've got to chase those crazy baldheads out of the Beehive.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2013 posts Report Reply

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