Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Who'd have thought?

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  • Graham Dunster,

    Just stumbled on this apposite quote from Armando Iannucci in an FT article http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/65876d80-ba0f-11e1-937b-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1zif5j3MV -

    Because there is no money for grands projets, he says, there is a kind of bathos in the compulsion to legislate in ever-finer detail. “It becomes very specific: instead of building 150 new schools, you say children have to be able to read to this standard, by this age. But that level of specificity requires experience. Which is what they don’t have.”

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Any problems with gang colours (even in Kohimaramara)?

    None that I was aware of. But it wasn't really a fighty kind of school, and was in a wealthy area. Which is why I doubt anyone was much put out of pocket either way - uniforms weren't really expensive, and kids had massive wardrobes anyway, if they wanted them.

    I think it may have become a rougher school in the 90s, the younger kids I knew said so, that there were race rivalry fights.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8451 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Uniforms are an interesting thing. I went from uniformed to non-uniformed schools - uniform at my very first school (St Annes which closed and a parent group started up Kristin), to nonuniform at Takapuna Primary, back to uniform at Dio, and then on to Marsden, and finally mufti in my 7th form year at Rangitoto. Coming from a relatively wealthy family, I don't know that I ever noticed the difference. But nowadays, as an observer, and seeing school kids every day in Mangere, I have understood two things. Firstly, the school next door to us has a sort of a uniform - the red tshirt/sweatshirt, blue/black pants thing. Most of the kids wear it, and it would seem to me that for their parents, this would save a great deal of money. Some of the kids don't wear it all the time, which would be about what Emma has said. Namely, if you can only afford one set of uniform clothing, then you aren't left with much choice. Secondly, with the Mangere College students, they look so smart - especially the senior kids, the prefects and so on - and I know that a number of them feel really proud when they're wearing their blazer. So there is that part of the equation too. It's something their family has invested in and something they wear with pride.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And so today the Herald has what is presumably a John Roughan editorial on the state of national standards.

    It pretty much creates its own reality. And Roughan’s paranoia about teachers gallops onwards.

    Many teachers will, for their part, be having a quiet chuckle. They have been able to utilise a belated Government concession to set their own goals and measure their pupils against them. Absent has been a single nationwide test, as is the case in Britain, Australia and the United States.

    And:

    The teacher union, the NZEI, has its own preference for reporting to parents. It remains adamantly opposed to any ranking of schools by aggregate test results, saying this takes no account of pupils’ socio-economic advantages. But that concern is irrelevant to most parents and, in any case, they are quite capable of factoring in decile rankings.

    Parents want only to see their children in schools that promise the best results. They do not care about the home circumstances of other pupils.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18827 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Parents want only to see their children in schools that promise the best results. They do not care about the home circumstances of other pupils.

    I see whoever wrote this editorial is having terrible trouble differentiating what people say and what they mean. And also with the concept of things which lack mutual exclusivity.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    A trend in this anonymous NZ Herald writer to be inhumane. (Amended to "this anonymous NZ Herald writer" on afterthought).

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    At least he admits (clumsily) that these 'standards' never had anything to do with improving children's learning; only with helping put-upon parents choose the 'right' school (despite them sneaky teachers keeping vital clues from them).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16614 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    he's the loud-mouthed dunce you'd avoid at parties

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16614 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    At least he admits (clumsily) that these ‘standards’ never had anything to do with improving children’s learning; only with helping put-upon parents choose the ‘right’ school (despite them sneaky teachers keeping vital clues from them).

    I would actually debate that. People in the ministry were focused on ways of making standards a good thing -- as in, a useful source of insight -- which is why they so strongly opposed the direction the editorial declares to be the purpose of standards.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18827 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Professionals were trying to make it work, for sure. But to me that's the difference between the political and practical points of view, between the dogwhistle and feeding the dog.

    I'd say the Herald editorial accurately echoes the intended public political messaging which Giovanni's piece about the Metro schools edition critiques.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16614 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sacha,

    Simon Wilson's editorial column from that Metro education edition has now been posted online as a single-page scan.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16614 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    Parents want only to see their children in schools that promise the best results. They do not care about the home circumstances of other pupils.

    There is so much wrong with that piece, but what really gets me is the way it purports to speak in my name as a parent.

    Not in my name, moron.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 796 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    Good point, the NZ Herald veers towards otherfying* - the old, you are either with us or you are against us, thing. They must think it works, but for whom?

    * a trademark of this coalition Govt. as well.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to merc,

    I wonder what would the editorial writer have thought about the Little Rock Nine, or the Ole Miss incident of 1962?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4238 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I would actually debate that. People in the ministry were focused on ways of making standards a good thing – as in, a useful source of insight – which is why they so strongly opposed the direction the editorial declares to be the purpose of standards.

    By the sounds of it, they were given the impossible task of polishing turds.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4238 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to DeepRed,

    People in the ministry were focused on ways of making standards a good thing – as in, a useful source of insight

    Yes, I saw some of this. But the people I saw (and talked to) were also pretty defensive, and knew full-well they were walking a tightrope. "We can make this work out ok" - because, in part, we've looked carefully at how it's failed in the UK- was the mantra.
    It was- how to put this? a very guarded enthusiasm.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1543 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Your impression corresponds 100% with mine. People tried.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18827 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Parents want only to see their children in schools that promise the best results. They do not care about the home circumstances of other pupils.

    Which is to claim that they do care, greatly. And want to keep themselves and their children away from "those people" and their unfortunate offspring as much as possible. Segregationism ahoy.

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 428 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Barker,

    Parents want only to see their children in schools that promise the best results. They do not care about the home circumstances of other pupils.

    This is just about the saddest inditement of right wing New Zealand ever. I actually do care about the other children in my community, actually about all other children - here and overseas. I do not just care about myself - remember when we were a country that cared?

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2012 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    The thing I've never quite understood about New Zealand school uniforms was dressing children in shorts in winter.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Paul Barker,

    This is just about the saddest inditement of right wing New Zealand ever. I actually do care about the other children in my community, actually about all other children - here and overseas. I do not just care about myself - remember when we were a country that cared?

    Is NZ only going to care if these 'other pupils' become tomorrow's Fidel Castros?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4238 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to chris,

    The thing I’ve never quite understood about New Zealand school uniforms was dressing children in shorts in winter.

    When my grandfather (and I think perhaps my father) were boarders at Nelson Boys, they kept the dormitory windows open overnight in winter to Build Character. Then again, I believe they also had a special scholarship for boys of Pure British Stock, so....

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    . . . at Nelson Boys, they kept the dormitory windows open overnight in winter to Build Character.

    Given the place's history, those character-building open windows might well have doubled as emergency exits.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3444 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    they kept the dormitory windows open overnight in winter to Build Character

    Fresh Air was also widely thought to protect from respiratory illnesses such as TB.

    TB Sanatoria exposed patients to as much fresh air as possible. My Mum recalls the one at Waipiata in Central Otago had the patients sleeping out on the covered verandas all through the winter. Snow would sometimes blow in onto the beds.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3439 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to chris,

    My brothers went, as very small boys of 7, as weekly boarders to Kings Prep. They were gotten up, every morning of the year, to swim in the cold pool. Sado-masochistic they must have been, back then.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

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