The Norman Kirk government would provide me with an instant answer for one of those on the whole pretty bad "What makes you proud to be a New Zealander" ads - the sending of a frigate to protest French nuclear testing in the Pacific was not only a wonderful piece of showmanship, but the first time I can recall New Zealand having a grown-up, independent foreign policy initiative.
I went through a period of just-returned-from-overseas-just-got-married-just-got-a-massive-mortgage-just-had-kids penury, when the only way I could fund new acquisitions was by flogging stuff I didn't listen to any more. it was painful the first time, bu it got easier. And every now and again I have a pang of regret for selling Songs for Cleaning Guppies but it's usually only when I see the stupid prices it lists for, not because I'd ever, ever play it again.
An old game called Ascendancy (released in 1995) which revolved around building spaceships, colonising planets and defeating other races, had the most beautiful soundtrack I'd heard in a game up until then.
The Heroes of Might and Magic games also have beautiful soundtracks - HOMM2's (released in 1996) music played in an ordinary CD player if you put the game disk in the CD player, and HOMM3 (released in 1999) used mp3 compression for its music files way back in pre-Napster days.
Some klezmer for a Friday - the Klezmatics
And a sweeter song from them
And some crazy Finns - Alamaailman Vasarat, who sometimes manage to sound heavier than the heaviest of metal, even though they're paying cellos
This is the first thing people are going to hear
Then some of this
Then some good old tear-jerking Les Miserables
And some more 80's goodness
There's lots more, but I'm going out to this one
My name is Hebe and I like Simple Minds. I suppose I'm banished now.
My 9 Simple Minds LPs would argue otherwise
Although I would like to be assured that Simple Minds will be playing their early stuff. I could definitely go a round of 'Theme for Great Cities'.
If they restricted themselves to Sister Feelings Call and Sons and Fascination I'd be tempted myself.
I think Christchurch's long obsession with "which school did you go to" suggests that it is a culture New Zealand could easily adopt if the conditions were right, and league tables would certainly fertilise the ground.
On that note, The Press thinks league tables are a great idea. Much of the opposition is, apparently, true but beside the point. Oh, good-oh then /sarcasm
Couple of things from some posts up-line
From the Schagen article:
The standards describe what a student should be able to do at each year level. Those students who aren’t at the standard are identified and provided with the assistance they need to make progress.
One problem with this (actually, two) - school funding has not increased by one single dollar to provide those identified students with assistance. And the government would have you believe that these students aren't being identified at the moment, or aren't being identified in a way that allows comparison between schools. This is wrong as well - PAT tests, 6-year net and other tests already in use are standardised nationally. National Standards isn't about getting everyone to use the same set of standards (because that's already happening), it's about providing that information to central government.
And just a note on zoning from my experience - Rangiora has three primary schools, along with 5 or 6 smaller country schools on its fringes. Every one of these schools has a zone, and only two of them overlap. In our town's case, enforced zones (and at least two of these have been enforced by the Ministry when the schools in question didn't want a zone) are about managing the Ministry's classroom stocks, rather than being about what each individual school wants. Rangiora really should have a fourth primary school (and maybe a second high school) but the Ministry has been "consulting" (read delaying actually having to do anything) for a good 8 years now. So you have the choice of going to your local school, or not going to school.
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.....