Posts by Dave Patrick

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  • Speaker: Friday Music Guest:…,

    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.

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 240 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Artists gonna…,

    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

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 240 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Music for Occasions,

    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

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 240 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: When there were…, in reply to Hebe,

    My name is Hebe and I like Simple Minds. I suppose I'm banished now.

    My 9 Simple Minds LPs would argue otherwise

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 240 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: When there were…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    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.

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 240 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Moving from frustration to disgust, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    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

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 240 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Moving from frustration to disgust,

    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.

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 240 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Moving from frustration to disgust,

    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 • 240 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Reading the Numbers, in reply to merc,

    Thank you for your answer. I get the feeling they may be the Govts. foil to the teacher's union?

    They're supposed to be an independent lobby and support group for Boards of Trustees, but as Hilary says above, they're more like an employers organisation than anything else, and also do receive a lot of government funding in the way of training contracts. But their "employer" stance puts them at odds with a lot of Boards who, while they are employers in name, have a lot more in common with the teachers than with the Ministry.

    Their "training" around National Standards (or at least the sessions I attended) were not much more than a thinly-veiled ra-ra session on how easy to implement and great to use National Standards were going to be.

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 240 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Reading the Numbers,

    Why no howls? Well NZSTA seems firmly in bed with the Minister rather than being the independent voice for parents and Boards that they are meant to be.

    I was on the Board of our local school for about 12 years, including 6 as chair, and I was always surprised that NZSTA seemed to take the side of Government in a lot of things, like employment disputes, wage rounds, etc. They don't really independently advocate for Boards and schools nearly as often as they should.

    On other topic I had to goog NZSTA, http://www.nzsta.org.nz/ how does their being funded work?

    They're funded through an annual levy on schools as far as I know. At least our school paid a membership fee every year. The local office was handy on a couple of occasions when we sought advice on procedures, but the national body seems far too close to the Ministry for my liking.

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 240 posts Report Reply

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