There are the reports on the ERO website. You can plug a school in and see real data on how kids are improving, what are the schools strengths, what it needs to improve upon, etc.
I think the both Schools and the Ministry have let people down by not standing up and pointing to this while the idea "If not national standards, then how will we know how our kids are going?" has been pushed. I didn't know about it until our daughter's school really promoted it in their newsletter.
My daughters, aged four and seven, have been watching documentaries on 7. I can't tear them away from anything do to with astronomy or the solar system. Kathlene was raving about volcanos and asteroids after last weeks episode about how Jupiter's gravity effects Earth and the other inner planets.
They're also a big fan of 'Meet the Neighbours', a wildlife one run by DoC (I think) and the craft one (the name escapes me).
I also find the Kid's programming (before 8:00am) to be better than on the other channels; simply by not being toy commercials disguised as cartoon shows.
My work teamed up with the Red Cross and flew a whole lot of volunteers down to Christchurch to help out. They ended up out in the suburbs helping fix up some schools.
We recently saw a video with comments from some of the people who went and they were pleased to get the chance to help, and felt guilty that they could just pack up and go home, all at the same time.
My high school had BBC Micro's in the computer lab until 1990. They were heaps of fun, but the work was boring, mostly essays on computing and our teacher was the "read the first and last paragraph only" type. We confirmed it on more than one occasion by writing what was expected for the first and last paragraph, but filling the middle with stories about drinking etc and still got 100%.
I still have a soft spot for the beeb and have a port of Chucky's Egg somewhere.
I've used a number of different systems through my computing life: BBC Micro, a Dick Smith computer, a plethora or PC's and Macs. Most of the computers I've used have been second hand and a bit behind the times. In fact the first computer I bought new is my current desktop, a 2006 iMac that's showing it's age for games*, but is still trucking along for everything else.
*While I have some Mac Games, I use BootCamp and have a XP partition for most games**.
**And after saying goodbye to WoW, I've found I cannot run any of the new MMORPGs or games that look good to me. The newest game I'm playing is Fallout3
I think the lack of male primary school teachers may also be due to the difference in perceived status between primary and secondary school teachers.
I bet there is also the opposite mix of male to female teachers in the secondary space. I'm not sure why this is or what came first. Do more men become secondary school teachers due to the higher status and pay, or do society give it more status because there are more men in secondary teaching?
On a tangential note. I've been reading up on the ECE task-force and am dismayed at the impact to PlayCentre should the changes be implemented. I see that one of the members, Dr Anne Smith, doesn't recommend changing the current funding. in fact she says:
I am concerned, however, that the proposed new funding system could have a negative influence on affordability and participation rates in ECE for some groups, particularly middle-income families with 3 to 5-year-old children. I therefore recommend that introducing such a system should wait until the fiscal situation improves, so that all families and children can benefit.
and concludes with:
The proposed funding system may have advantages for the government and possibly for employers, but I do not see any evidence that it has of benefits for the majority of parents and children.
I love Playcentre and the way it's become a second family for my kids. Politicians (and studies) are always saying kids need strong, positive, parental role models and that parental involvement is crucial. Playcentre supports and encourages this, and values the family unit.
Playcentre is not everyone's cup of tea, it'd be boring if we were all the same. However it's not the only group that will be adversely effected should the changes go through. Parent's ability to choose the early childhood education scheme that best fit their family will be severely reduced.
I'm encouraged that it's getting some news coverage, but appalled that the response from the Minister of Education boils down to "It's a just a Labour led beat up."
One thing that apparently never occurred to me in this whole “becoming a celebrant bizzo, is that I’ve cried at ever wedding I have ever been to. Problematic.
Only if we redefine problematic to mean awesomesauce. I doubt you'd start crying until after the vows, and to have a celebrant that's so into your wedding would be great.