Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: School bully

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  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Pi Roy,

    we have being sliding down the rankings for the last twenty years

    All the way down to this?

    Key findings of PISA 2006
    Of the 57 countries participating in PISA 2006, no more than 5 countries achieved a result that was significantly better than New Zealand’s 15-year-olds in scientific literacy (2 countries), mathematical literacy (5 countries) and reading literacy (3 countries).
    New Zealand and Finland achieved the largest proportion of students performing at the highest level of scientific literacy.

    (source)
    Wish we were still sliding in that direction.
    Nobody I’ve ever heard with any clue has ever said things were all rosy in NZ education – or that it’s equally good across the board, or that there are no bad teachers, or schools with poor staff culture – and especially noone denying there are kids in the ‘long tail’ who are not getting a fair chance to learn.
    But the same stupid blind managerialism that fails and fails and fails isn’t the answer. (It’s everywhere. Brought into health in the 90’s it was only dialled back a notch at the Canterbury DHB when surgeons and nurses combined to fight, there was a protracted battle, only settled when a Govt commissioned report by Robyn Stent found 4 deaths directly attributable to bad management decisions. 4 deaths directly attributable no clear idea how many others might have been “adversely affected”. It’s hard to dismiss death as a rounding error.)
    It fails because it assumes cost-accountancy and ‘efficiencies’ derived from second-rate business mangers always trump the collective experience of professionals – who are concerned with things like health and education, not performance pay, bonuses, cost-trimming and robotic worker output.
    Health should be run by health professionals. Education should be run by teachers.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2097 posts Report Reply

  • JLM, in reply to BenWilson,

    I read this soon after I had read this wonderful anti homework "rant" from an Invercargill headmaster, and it occurred to me that the best thing to cope with this dichotomy would be to set homework but to make it optional. Then parents who think it does their kids good can hassle and help them into getting it done, and everyone else can relax.

    Judy Martin's southern sl… • Since Apr 2007 • 240 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Pi Roy,

    No one is setting out to reduce the quality of the system I have faith that everyone is trying to get us to a better place

    No parents are, I'd agree. However, I'm not so optimistic about some of the neoliberal ninnies in and behind this government. When they introduce something that has demonstrably failed elsewhere, we all have to ask why.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19697 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to tim oliver,

    linking funding to child progress sounds like a great idea - more money for those schools making slower progress, right, because they need the extra resources?

    Unfortunately a common thread in the ideology of our current guvnors is that the best overall result in any endeavour comes from giving the most to those who have already been 'successful' - as they'll surely know how best to spend it. Plays out in many policies, regardless of any evidence or professional advice. Need doesn't come into it.

    Strangely this always seems to benefit the same group of people. Who'd have thunk it.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19697 posts Report Reply

  • JLM,

    And I join with everyone else with saluting Jolisa's wonderful post. But the arguments here are up against some countervailing slogans that seem to have resonated with parent's most anxious and competitive urges.

    How can we turn the ideas in this essay into an "elevator pitch" that will bring home the reality of what these changes mean

    Judy Martin's southern sl… • Since Apr 2007 • 240 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to HORansome,

    As one of my teacher teachers told me, teaching is the profession where everyone has an opinion as to how it’s done because everyone has been to school and is thus an expert. Or, at the very least, thinks they are.

    I've been in hospital, too. Perhaps next time I could perform my own necessary life-saving surgery while under general anaesthesia.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Trevor Nicholls,

    NZ schools // UK hospitals.

    UK schools are actually 2-3 years (give or take) further down more or less the exact same path NZ is heading down.

    See here, here, and here for a different comparison than the US ‘no child left behind’ (spoiler: the ending is the same).

    In fact, every one should just go and read all of the ‘secret teacher’ entries on The Guardian website.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    oh but john key has such a nice smile - seriously i was told this over the weekend
    That is what is wrong with our country
    we are sitting by as
    Christchurch crumbles
    children crumble

    bet everyone complaining about that $60 a kid won;t be for much long as it will need to go towards private tutoring because it looks like teachers are not allowed to teach

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks, in reply to Hebe,

    Yes. All of it.

    I agree. This is an important article.

    But still, I especially like:

    Ask how these policies think of schools: as a key part of the democratic social fabric that binds us together, community spaces, collectively funded, open to all and open to inspection? As places where every one of us can learn not only what we’re capable of for ourselves, but how to play our part of the bigger story?

    Or as vectors to individual advancement, easily consolidated and trimmed like so many factories, judged by their balance sheet, with “failing” schools – or students – handily bundled together for sale to the lowest tender?

    [I haven’t caught up on the comments yet, I’m just posting this as a vote of support for Jolisa’s post.]

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Trevor Nicholls, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Yes, but UK hospitals (thanks to the latest piece of legislative vandalism) are following the same program.
    When I lived in the UK (a couple of decades ago, now) I got the impression that the NZ education system was extremely highly regarded globally. The NHS has always had its detractors but had a similar reputation I think.
    These days it seems that the overlap between people who see education and health as a public good (on the one hand) and those who see education and health as vehicles to make money (on the other) is very small. We need to stop putting the control into the hands of this second group, because they are prepared to shut the system down if it isn't profitable, damn the public good.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Newly elected NYC mayor Bill de Blaisio is growing a pair and confronting the charter school gravy train head-on, even if it means getting offside with his Blue Dog Democrat colleagues.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5426 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5426 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    At some point in the future, not right now - I'm in the middle of doing my appraisal - I'll write a long and fluent post on ECE and how far down this track we already are. For the moment, I would just say that what Jolisa has done is important.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Tertiary Education Minister Stephen Joyce’s statement that universities need to “think more strategically and move more quickly on areas like online learning and MOOCs” suggests what might be in store.

    We could be barely be bothered to raise a feeble groan as our universities plunged out of the top 200 in the world. Instead our philistine masters, egged on by the anti-intellectuals that infest the right wing dominated media, rush to do more of the same and to cap spending, dumb down courses, funnel money into bloated salaries for corporatised governance boards and generally do everything they can to give public money to their mates in their mad free market crusade.

    Our whole society is riddled with a strange cultural defeatism, as if we’ve given up as to hard our forebears wish for us to take our place in first world by being a better Britain, and have decided all we can manage and all we deserve to be is as good as Chile without the military.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • Ianmac, in reply to JLM,

    There is no research that shows that Homework is beneficial.
    For any homework to have any chance of achieving something it must have all three of the following:
    1. It must be appropriate in difficulty to the ability of the child. (Thus no blanket one size fits all.)
    2. It must be connected with what is happening in the current class program.
    3. It must be acknowledged by someone.
    I was present when a class teacher was holding a meeting for the parents of his class pupils. He asked for a hand show of parents who wanted homework for their kids. 5 women shot their hands up. 12 men and women slowly put their hands up. 9 mostly men looking reluctant very slowly raised their hands. Just 5 did not. It is what parents want. Really?

    Bleneim • Since Aug 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R,

    re: The Finns and their education system

    http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/03/finnish-education-chief-we-created-a-school-system-based-on-equality/284427/

    They didn't always have an excellent education system.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Ianmac,

    Those observations strongly suggest that, concerning homework, these parents really wanted ... a secret ballot.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1898 posts Report Reply

  • kalypso,

    Auckland • Since Apr 2010 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    An excellent post but where is the Labour opposition on the alternatives? I had to look up google to find out who the Labour party spokesperson is on Education.

    As a parent of a year 8 child in the current system I am very interested in the best possible outcomes but what I see is schools in conflict and that can't be the best situation for teachers or students.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 366 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Education policies come and go. The one thing they all have in common is that they are always contentious. The one thing successive governments have failed to do is spend enough money on the sector. By a long way.

    I wrote about this, twice.

    Big Education, not Big Government

    Big Education, the reprise

    tl;dr "If we want a better education system (and we know this creates better economic and societal outcomes) we need to be prepared to spend a tonne more money on it, everything else is a side show."

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to HORansome,

    Try Unlimited-Discovery Paenga Tawhiti School in Chch. It's different.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2896 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    our philistine masters, egged on by the anti-intellectuals that infest the right wing dominated media, rush to do more of the same and to cap spending, dumb down courses, funnel money into bloated salaries for corporatised governance boards and generally do everything they can to give public money to their mates in their mad free market crusade.

    Yes but those "universities" are churning out lots of MBA's so that we, as a nation, can have more "middlemen" producing nothing but profit from the consumer to the "business" owner.
    Crap like this...
    National MP Nicky Wagner lost money in the sale of her share in two website companies to Digital Partners.
    Website companies. Pah!
    That seems to be the goal of this lot, money money money.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Akehurst,

    For a wide range of complicated educational reasons, we chose to send our oldest son to Kristin Middle School (for Year 7 and 8), a private school in Auckland. Peter Clague, the Executive Principal wrote in the school newsletter last week, a brilliant piece on the high quality State education system, and the pernicious effect of constantly undermining that system by the media and their National Party overlords. He states; "Just as the nation's parents were starting to relax and enjoy a summer holiday with their families, melodramatic media organisations felt the need to inform them that their children's futures were going to Hell in a handcart". He goes on to say that even though New Zealand's independent schools rank very highly (in the PISA results from the OCED, he was referencing), New Zealand's independent school sector is very small compared with other nations. Why? "Because New Zealand is blessed with a very effective and high performing State education system." He finishes his piece by asking; "I wonder what the steady media diet of bad news stories about schools, teachers and parent choice is on the morale, confidence and trust required to maintain our world class education system?" This is the key to both National's strategy and our future as a society. National will get their way and sell off schools to their funders, meanwhile New Zealand's future dims as their poll ratings rise.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Life inside the exam factory - why British teachers are quitting in droves.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

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