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Speaker: My People

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  • Ian Dalziel,

    Tony "education is bad for the taxpayer" Ryall

    gotta say Ryall on the telly tonight, made me rather angry (chatting with an interviewer in a matching suit) spouting words to the effect that the 220 school boards, parents, etc refusing to implement National Standards were doing so for political reasons...
    Jeez, Tony it's not all about you, they are motivated by procedural concerns and by wanting the Ministry of Education to stop making it a political issue and stop acting
    like bullies...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4183 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    There are a LOT of people in ANZ who think your quote, chris, to be desiderium - and do their best to make it so for their kids. But the practical barriers against that - let alone all of us so motivated to help as best we can with whanau members - are fuquing huge. Where-ever those concepts/practises originated (may I just say it is a fact that Maori didnt beat their children until encouraged to do so by missionary-beasts?) the sad matter remains: this is ANZ today, and we need to make it change for the better.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    gotta say Ryall on the telly tonight, made me rather angry (chatting with an interviewer in a matching suit)

    When did he become 'Acting Minister of Education' (suggesting he is only pretending to be a minister?).

    What is it with those guy and their mis-matched striped suits and shirts and clashing ties? Are they colour-blind?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Tasteless, Geoff, and congentially disabled (poor things) from ever having a sense of quiet good taste- in anything, let alone clothing-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    I was thinking that some postings were about people who thought that anyone who looks after kids should be at work and the kids put in child care. After all wasn't that the reason they were set up? So that parents could become "real" taxpayers?

    But I think the point is, it does not matter who is home looking after the kids, on a benefit, single, partner in work or whatever. The fact that they choose to look after their kids should be honoured to the full and supported to the hilt. As has has been said already, value the kids, value the rearing.

    "Until they soar"...maybe he was talking of young adults. But at least sort out the fledgling part of growing up. It makes soaring a shit load easier. And cheaper for society in the long run.

    And, until teaching (hopefully) again becomes the profession that society respects and full encourages we will continue to reap what we sow.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1457 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Geoff, I presume it's just that Tolley is elsewhere for a while

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15706 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    gotta say Ryall on the telly tonight, made me rather angry (chatting with an interviewer in a matching suit)

    Speaking of suits. From a SCIBLOG blog about the “Re-setting science and innovation (in NZ) for the next 20 years”

    The second talk that stood out for me was Sciblogs very own Dr Shaun Hendy who presented some of the ideas he has been sharing at Measure of Science. It struck me that amid all of the rhetoric about what New Zealand needs to do to raise it productivity, Shaun is one of the few who is actually applying science and try and analyse how we measure up to other countries and what the key differences and similarities are. I also appreciated Shaun’s self effacing sense of humour by apologising for not wearing a suit in a room full of suits.

    Apparently, speakers had been having trouble with the projector throwing a tantrum and a jeaned and tee shirted geek would arrive on the stage to help the stricken speaker. Shaun was the "stand out" participant in that he seems to have been the only one who wore Js and Ts. He was up on the stage at the podium ready to give his talk when the Chairman asked if anyone had seen Shaun Hendy? Shaun then introduced himself to the Chair accompanied by a smattering of guffaws. Half way through his talk the projector hiccupped and Shaun told the Chair that he knows about these things and could fix it 'cos he was dressed just like the computer technician.

    Another good example of clothing imposing "norms" that may not be the right ones.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1457 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    his mum is away and i'm standing at the sink in the kitchen. i know the boy is there somewhere in the room with me, playing, rustling, searching. in the space between his speaking and my reply i feel it, the loneliness. it's just us, and i can tell that it could have always been this way. he a child and i an adult. we together alone.

    i reach out to the feeling. i sense the gentle wash of hopelessness. i sense the depth of despair waiting just beyond the hulabaloo and crash of making it from day to day. i touch the edge of uncertainty. i feel the wave upon my back, responsibility, pushing me down, forcing out my air.

    i look up to the lighted window and wonder, is this is what she lived with. the uncertainty. the vacuum of knowing you are all this small person has to depend upon, when you can depend on no-one in turn. sole parent. the sun. and i look back to see the light from those eyes and wonder if i could ever have done this, the endless march of parenting, alone. to be the rock in his small universe until he needs me no longer.

    thanks jackie, thinking of this took me and my understanding of my own back-story to a higher place.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2018 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    What elevated concepts such as harshness and hardness to the forefront of our social inventory and what compels them to retain this position?

    1. Capitalism building on patriarchy.
    2. The apparent paradox that we can't challenge these ideas safely unless we are in a position of power over those who hold them dear, yet it seems that we cannot attain positions of power over those who hold them dear without acquiescing to these ideas to an extent that makes it difficult not to internalise them.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2906 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    The prevailing doctrine that has re-emerged could be summed up very succinctly: barefoot and pregnant. Or should that be Goodsex and Sexcrime? D:<

    How much worse can the National Standards dispute get? Somehow it isn't yet DEFCON1, but it's close at the very least.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3892 posts Report Reply

  • sally jones,

    Yes, bravo Jackie! Your passion and compassion are commendable and I agree that an award for services to the community would be quite appropriate in your case, given your rounded gifts and contributions. Your positivity alone is refreshingly rare. How do you do it?

    Actually, I think I know partly how. It's the kids. They ooze life, preschoolers. School begins the main-streaming, unfortunately.

    Children in general are much more diverse than adults with our stock paranoias and copied points of view. That makes them infinitely interesting as one is always being surprised and challenged. They're open ended and ask so many questions their minds are forever being led down a different path by the variety of answers. Of course they say the darnedest things too, which is always good for a laugh. I am envious (to be honest).

    I spent nine years as a Playcentre parent. I really miss it. I really miss them (not my own kids, you understand). Them. The community's kids. You learn so much by caring for other people's kids. It kind of gives you a heads up with your own. Of course I don't much miss the work!!! I'm impressed you can manage to care for/teach so many kids and do everything else you do, including PA! Well done indeed. I think your dynamic personality and abundant positivity must be part of the equation at your particular kindy. Are there long waiting lists to attend? I wouldn't be surprised.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2010 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    It's the kids. They ooze life, preschoolers.

    Yes. there's no question that working with young un's is some of the hardest work there is . It takes bundles of patience and energy while requiring the most delicate sensitivity. I'd never have what it takes.

    desiderium

    Thanks for this word Islander, fresh clay!

    (may I just say it is a fact that Maori didnt beat their children until encouraged to do so by missionary-beasts?)

    Needs to be said, acknowledging sources and all.

    1. Capitalism building on patriarchy.
    2. The apparent paradox that we can't challenge these ideas safely unless we are in a position of power over those who hold them dear, yet it seems that we cannot attain positions of power over those who hold them dear without acquiescing to these ideas to an extent that makes it difficult not to internalise them.

    That's great Stephen, both erudite and eloquent.

    "Until they soar"...maybe he was talking of young adults.

    Yeah I guess so.

    But at least sort out the fledgling part of growing up. It makes soaring a shit load easier. And cheaper for society in the long run.

    Too true Ross, I don't think it's ever too early to start nor too late to continue (thinking specifically of whaleoil here for some reason). The expectations the privileged have of our caregivers are often almost impossible to live up to; the whole rearing process needs to be duly resanctified at the deepest level of our consciousness to its rightful primary position as the hub round which the social mechanism spins. Thanks for this Jackie.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 888 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    the endless march of parenting, alone

    Yes. Beautifully said, Che. I've felt it myself, but only from time to time when my husband has been away, once for over a month. It was hard, hard, work. But I had support, and I knew it would end. It must be so much more difficult for sole parents.

    I have a lovely, wonderful aunty. Her husband cleaned out the bank accounts and left, just two weeks after they had shifted into a new house, with the first mortgage payment looming. She had five children, from teenagers down to a five year old. Masses of family support, but she worked so very hard to rear them all. A few years ago, she said to me that the thing she found the hardest was that there was no one to share the small joys with, no one to help with the little problems. She could manage the big problems, but daily life was difficult on her own. It was soul-wearying.

    And more in line with Jackie's post, sometimes I think we forget that by and large, most parents, sole or otherwise, in paid work or being helped by the state, do a fine job.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    gotta say Ryall on the telly tonight, made me rather angry

    He pissed me off too when he said this decision by the schools to boycott sending in their targets to the MOE was going to jeopardise the children's education. It's not going to change what's happening in the classroom and is just another example of the emotional blackmail Tolley and friends deal in when it comes to education.

    Great post Jackie. You eloquently said what we in education know and deal with every day. Some family members who are of the catholic persuasion seem to think the only valid family unit is the one with 2 parents yet in my (long) time as a teacher I could point out solo parents doing a great job with fantastic kids you just love to have in your class while there are "nuclear family" kids who present big problems in the classroom. It has a lot to do with assumptions and expectations and unfortunately we do still have teachers who continue to maintain these assumptions.
    These attitudes also manifest themselves in the way some parents make their schooling choices often bypassing the lower decile school close by for the higher one further away because they percieve that their children will get a better education there. Often it's a choice based on predjudice and a wish to mix with the right people and it's happening to my school at the moment to the detriment of our school roll.
    Oh well better get off to school then.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Okay, 23 minutes till my wee, and not so wee, ones arrive, all laughing and shouting and eager to start their new day. (Well, some aren't, but they are easily chivvied into action. Nothing a good swing won't fix). Che, that was the most beautiful, evocative passage. It made me cry. I love your writing. Love it. I don't know what it is to be a parent, but that writing made me feel a little of what that feels like. And as for awards, Sally? No. I just work with families for a couple of years. One of the things that you quickly learn in kindergarten teaching is that once a child leaves, often that's it. Your part in their lives is over, so you make it count while you can. And I work in a great community. These parents here really fight for their kids. Make no mistake - if it's what's best for their child, they won't take anything lying down. One of the ways we know that what we're doing is good is that we have a good waiting list, full rolls, and really great attendance. And they pay their optional charges. It's only $5 a week, but they pay by the term, many of them, or a few weeks in advance. That's how we know they value us. So we don't need any other rewards, or awards. And in an earlly childhood environment where people have alot of choices around the education and care of their children, where many kindergartens around the country have had to go "school day" (meaning they operate from 8.30-2.30) to justify their existence, that really really means something.
    Driving into work this morning I had a sudden thought about the statistical side of the "beneficiary" debate. Maybe it is not that it is beneficiaries that commit most of the crimes, but that people who are more disposed to commit most of the crimes choose to live on benefits. Seems credible to me.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3112 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    It's the kids. They ooze life, preschoolers.

    I've just been reading a book on this - called The Life that Lives on Man - we are real estate for a plethora of beasties from bacterium to bed-bugs...
    :- )

    But I know what you mean, Kindergartens and Playcentres are great incubators for the patterns and behaviours we will embrace, and repeat, for the rest of our lives...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4183 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Well spoken Jackie. I just stay away from discussions about children as I dont have any and never will now. I just hope those in the field are competent.
    But I came across this and thought some might find it interesting. The author sticks to drawing parallels between Blakes London and modern day US. Tho' I think some of what he says applies to NZ and every western country with a Christian history as well.
    A quote:
    "Blake suggests that if you want to understand the moral state of a country, you had better check first and see how it deals with its children. Does it treat them with loving kindness, or does it exploit them? Does it look down upon them from the perspective of the greedy and frightened Selfhood, or regard them with the generosity of the enlightened Soul? "

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1149 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Arohanui Jackie, and everyone. It's so refreshing to hear beneficiaries praised for doing well in spite of our difficult circumstances. Everyone I know who is on a benefit would rather not be, and is doing their absolute best in the face of hardship, disability, stunningly bad luck, or all of these.

    I am reminded of hearing Celia Lashlie talk about prisoners, and how if we actually met them and heard their (usually horrific) personal background we might feel differently about them. It's so easy to hate people we don't know.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3298 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    [Ryall] pissed me off too when he said this decision by the schools to boycott sending in their targets to the MOE was going to jeopardise the children's education.

    Massey education academics say it's ill-tested standards that are likely to harm children.

    Dr O'Neill suspected most boards and parents were becoming increasing concerned about the flaws and potential harm to students the standards could cause.

    "If there had been a proper trial of the standards, none of these concerns need have arisen," he said. "Parents wouldn't allow their children to take an unproven drug or medical therapy. Why should they allow their children to be experimented on with education policy?"

    Dr Clark said the standards were limited in their scope, not adequately measurable, and had not been sufficiently tested - meaning a high risk of failure.

    "The Minister of Education, Anne Tolley, has said that 150,000 children fail to achieve, and that national standards are the means by which their achievement can be raised but how this will happen, remains unclear," Dr Clark said. "Merely documenting national standards will not lift pupil achievement. Specific causal mechanisms for increasing learning must be identified and to date, these are singularly lacking."

    He said under-achievers risked being labelled as failures and being treated accordingly by parents, teachers and peers, placing them at a profound disadvantage.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15706 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Oh, Lilith - I LOVE Celia Lashlie. She spoke at the very first Early Childhood Symposium quite a number of years ago. I have great love and admiration for the woman. She makes a great deal of sense.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3112 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    So...we are doing the right thing by having child care centres so that parents (both...?) can go out to work and be acceptable contributors to society.

    It's a question my wife and I wrestle with. We've got two kids at home, one 5+ and one almost eighteen months, and we struggle as we work collectively 9 working days a week (my wife has one day away from the office). Last night my wife worked until 2am - that's unusual but not unheard of.

    Is this the best option? I don't know. For the moment, it feels necessary. For a period, I worked fewer days including one from home but I can't do that now. Living in Sydney is expensive, but we chose to be here.

    Critically, my two daughters have had fantastic child care and have flourished. Had they not, had they struggled or been distressed by the days away from us, things might've been different. We're lucky that we were able to access great care provided by wonderful teachers (and it's not work I could do and is woefully inadequately financially rewarded).

    What's right can't be simply or uniformly stated surely? What's right depends on the individuals concerned. I don't think having kids in care is necessarily worse than being at home fulltime provided the care is good and the children benefit. In my situation, I believe that's been the case. It's also meant my wife and I can both maintain our careers - which are important to us both.

    Regarding solo parenting, I know only a few, they are dead-set heros and I'll indulge no criticism of them from Tony Ryall, Peter Cresswell or Rosemay McLeod for that matter.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2185 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I don't think having kids in care is necessarily worse than being at home fulltime provided the care is good and the children benefit.

    Fear not! The Hand Mirror linked to a study which basically proved this, quite recently (does anyone have that link, she asks lazily?). At the moment I'm home full time with our little dude because I can work from home (privilege!) but I often think that some external care would give him some useful variety of experience - different books, different toys, different people? Anyway.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3582 posts Report Reply

  • sally jones,

    I've just been reading a book on this - called The Life that Lives on Man - we are real estate for a plethora of beasties from bacterium to bed-bugs...

    :- )

    Yes, kids are particularly contagious.

    But I know what you mean, Kindergartens and Playcentres are great incubators for the patterns and behaviours we will embrace, and repeat, for the rest of our lives...

    Well, not to as great a degree as happens once children start school. At Playcentre when I was there (1994-2003) we explicitly encouraged child creativity and discouraged adult modelling of ideas at the collage table or the carpentry bench or wherever. At school the kids all paint fishes, then they all build a shoe-box model of their bedroom with. I think the difference is quite marked.

    Jackie: Can I just say, if I offended you (or anyone else) with my strong opinions expressed on domestic violence on Russell's "Policeman" thread recently, I am sorry. If I didn't, I am sorry for presuming.

    I love the timber of truth in your writing, especially on this subject so close to your heart. But I'm afraid my heart has been darkened by the reading I've done over the years on domestic violence, primarily on wife abuse (which I've written a PhD thesis on). My thinking on this subject is bound to be full of generalisations because theory generalises, and my thesis is a work in political theory, or tries to be. An academic is trained to be impartial but eventually realises there's no such thing. It's a wonder we don't all go mad at that point. Perhaps we do, some of us. Actually I should say they. I'm not currently employed by any university.

    But academic knowledge is not a patch on experience-based knowledge, especially when it comes to social knowledge.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2010 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    I'd love to live in a world where parents are equally supported whether they choose to be in paid work fultime, parttime or not at all and where caring for young, elderly, ill or disabled family members and friends was considered as high status a vocation as, say, investment banking.

    There are two parts to this.

    First is "Who pays?" That isn't a trivial question as the cost will be high. It is clear that the "free market" will not pay for such a thing. You might create fantasy scenarios where the free market might pay for it but those scenarios have yet to be made real. The only logical conclusion is that this would have to be something we all agree to pay for - the same way we agree to pay for the fire department. In short we would have to contribute tax and elect a government on the basis that they make sure our tax goes towards paying for that.

    To me that logic seems utterly compelling and demands that we need to pay more tax.

    The second part is harder :). "How do you value tasks?" Does a parent get paid as much as a fireman/policeman/doctor/scientist/IRD employee? Included in that is some consideration for those who are not parents? Are those who do not have children lesser in some way and hence undeserving of support?

    This is not meant undermine Isabel's idea. I actually agree very much with her. But if we want it to be so, then we have to make it so ourselves and that means answering some of those questions in real terms. And then we have to convince most of New Zealand that it is worthwhile and we should really do it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3107 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Tolley is elsewhere for a while

    Pretty certain she has always been on another planet

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3107 posts Report Reply

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