Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: And so it begins

139 Responses

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  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    They could add it on to the school fees. They're illegal too, but that one doesn't get enforced. Or write an insincere apology. Or have a minion do it, and deny any knowledge when pressed.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to barnaclebarnes,

    The perception of the public will be of self interest by teachers.

    and with some assistance by govt spinmeisters :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to barnaclebarnes,

    The perception of the public will be of self interest by teachers.

    Though I get your point, would you ignore a lawyer on the law or a medical professional on a health matter? Teachers are expert, some more than others, and their perspective is a vital one. This predictable development may harm NZ's schooling and, by comparison with Australia's myschool site, is an indication that the Minister is unwilling to listen to officials about what meaningful data may be provided to the public.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Nathaniel Wilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    But if past behaviour is a predictor of future behaviour, then no matter how worthless the data is, parents will do anything to send their children to the highest ranked school they can manage.

    So what's going to change then? 'cause it's not like anyone's going to be surprised the the outcomes are they?

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    It isn’t legitimately public information*. It’s the private information of the community of students that form the school.

    Do you think medical records should all be shoved up on an open website, so we can analyse how doctors and patients are doing, with pretty graphics and that?

    False equivalence being totally fake. I'll put it this way: I've done several stretches in public hospital psych wards, and I assume there's a file attached to each of them but yeah... I think it's kind of important that data is available to assess whether mental health services are being delivered effectively. There's also plenty of evidence that public transparency is a pretty great tool for exposing systemic failures or abuses. All without "shoving up patient records on an open website.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    If the data publication can't be stopped, then the education sector needs to make it very clear that it's heartily sick of having social work foisted upon it. It's little to do with helping the 'long tail of underachievers' and much to do with attempting to bust the NZEI/PPTA/SPA.

    I'm tempted to think compulsory busing would be poetic justice.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Paul Williams,

    Paul , thanks for that Aussy My Schools link .
    That looks like a better way to provide a wider range of info on a school that could put the league ( Results) tables in context .

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    So, let's see if I understand.
    In response to a hartevelt want (couldn't help that, I just had to) the Ministry refuses to allow the collected data, collected at their insistence so as to be enable them to compile "League Tables", to be made public because people might take that data and compile "League Tables" and this is bad because the data is incomplete/useless and that "League Tables" destroy the foundations of our Education system?.
    That Data stuff sure has a bad rep, eh?. Data collected to back up the evidence of Global Climate Change can, apparently, be made useless by repeating the mantra "they cheated and altered the data" but somehow the almost universally disputed accuracy of the Education data will be accepted on face value and children will suffer the consequences of going to a school that may or may not be perfect for them.
    Perhaps if the article Mr. Hartevelt wishes to write were accompanied by a picture of a well educated child everything will become truthiful.

    This whole argument will become null and void once our school system is sold to the highest bidder anyway. Welcome to Pizza Hut College.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Clarke,

    One thing people who don't support this could do is stop buying Fairfax papers, using Trademe, plugging their products and articles, etc?

    I did this a couple of weeks ago and heartily recommend it as a thoroughly refreshing experience.

    A kid turned up at the door trying to sell subscriptions to the DomPost, complete with all manner of Fairfax sweeteners like cheap magazines. (Which does rather beg the question ... if their subscriber numbers are really as flash as they claim in their self-promos, why are they selling door-to-door for the first time in living memory ... ?)

    Anyway, I politely but firmly informed the saleskid that given Fairfax's relentless editorial support for useless roads, continual attacks on the mayor and their insistence on bylining Karl du Fresne as "commentator" rather than the more accurate "grumpy old douche-bag", they could take their subscriptions elsewhere.

    The kid was stunned that the editorial stance of the paper would be linked to my interest in paying cheap rates for home delivery, and remarked that he'd never had anyone decline a nearly-free subscription on that basis before. So perhaps collectively we should make it a more frequent experience for him and his colleagues.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 85 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Rob Coup,

    If we start down “well, not for <insert controversial topic>”, pretty soon there’ll be no open data

    Slippery slope argument.

    I really do get the importance of open data.

    But I also know that civil protest is tremendously important as well. Without the willingness of people to break laws (even good laws) we would not have the society we cherish today. Are you saying the OIA is a law that should never be broken?

    So here's a question
    If the OIA is so important that you will not accept any limit to it, how do you suggest schools (those who care) make their protest against this use of this data?

    And bear in mind that this is a really important thing that is happening. League tables will damage our next generation so no token protest will suffice, it has to be something that makes people notice what harm is being done.

    To me this is more important than same sex marriage or even asset sales. I'd also argue that the very fact that parents will move house simply to get to a better school is an indication of how important it is to the public.

    Believe me I do understand the principle of OIA. I just don't believe that principle is more important than a quality education system.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    how do you suggest schools (those who care) make their protest against this use of this data?

    politically (including engaging with parents and others) as they did so successfully over classroom sizes.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    children will suffer the consequences of going to a school that may or may not be perfect for them

    That not what has happened elsewhere. What has happened is that schools distort the education of children to get a good number on whatever measure the table uses this year. The result is all children get lower quality education.

    And in poorer communities the lower table ranking causes parents to transfer their children to higher ranking schools. This has the effect of removing from the school parents who care about education which has negative effects on the school as a whole.

    This happens to some degree now, but league tables make it a much more dominant effect.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    What has happened is that schools distort the education of children to get a good number on whatever measure the table uses this year. The result is all children get lower quality education.

    So, it begs the question as to why a Government would want such a thing but we know the answer to that question already.
    The current bunch of control freaks we have in the house are well recognised as the kind of people who despise teachers, this is why they learned nothing at school. Such Governments dislike, intensely, an educated populous because educated people are bright enough to see the underlying motive of profits before people.
    The only real answer lies with the result of the next election, which unfortunately is far too far away.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Adrian Humm, in reply to Nathaniel Wilson,

    Alternatively, we could all just send our children to the local high schools of the communities we've chosen to live in, and base where we live on the quality of the neighbourhood, not the schools.

    I've taught for 18 years in a small rural town. Our schools are low decile and the district has more than its fair share of problems with unemployment, family violence, etc. I'm in awe of local teaching staff who constantly manage to guide students to "good" results.

    My kids are lucky enough, bright enough and fit enough to harvest the academic and sporting high fruit so we've been happy to use our local schools. Other parents have felt that these schools don't provide what their children need. Often this is for reasonable educational or demographic reasons based on the needs of their own kids and what small schools are able to provide.

    There are also many instances of parents sending their children to schools outside our district through fear founded on hearsay and gossip about the 'problems' of local schools. And a fair few kids are sent away for no better reasons than family tradition or snobbery.

    As some of our brightest and best children leave the area so the schools' ability to excel diminishes . Naturally, this leads to a greater degree of truth in the negative comments about our schools. So more parents send their children elsewhere. And so on...

    I'm not convinced that parents have grasped the effect this has on our town. The high school is the community to a large extent. It's not quite hyperbole to state that these parents' actions are causing the "quality of the neighbourhood" to stagnate if not spiral further into decline.

    Fast forward to the brave new world of league tables and charter schools. Multiply our experience by the number of small rural towns with single, medium-sized high schools. I see more problems ahead than opportunities. How about you?

    Dargaville • Since Nov 2006 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • John Armstrong,

    Greg Wood has already touched on this, but is there any guarantee that the requested information will necessarily be used to compile and publish league tables? Given the direction the debate has tended to run in the media so far (further evidenced by the direction of this thread), isn't it at least possible that the story might well foreground and discuss the shortcomings of the information itself?

    Wishful thinking? Yes. Delusional? Probably.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2007 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson, in reply to Adrian Humm,

    Also being in a smallish town, I agree with you about the school reflecting the community. If/when league tables appear, I think the school needs to be proactive and use the local press and whatever other means available to point parents towards the comprehensive info available at ERO. Use the media to their advantage and don't give up after only one or two outings. Our high school publishes their monthly newsletter (brag sheet) in the local newspaper and it gets read by a large proportion of the community.
    The information for league tables will be used no matter what so its about coming up with suitable strategies for countering their influence.

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Grevers, in reply to Russell Brown,

    and kids who don't fit the frame will be shunned.

    That's happening already. The local Decile 10 school is known to refuse entry to kids whose records suggest they will be "difficult".

    New Plymouth • Since Jul 2011 • 143 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Coup, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    If the OIA is so important that you will not accept any limit to it, how do you suggest schools (those who care) make their protest against this use of this data?

    There are limits already. Pretty significant ones that are used to weasel out of a lot of requests already - "national security", "commercial considerations", etc. I just don't want the net to open any wider.

    Schools (and MoE, communities, and other interested parties) need to go on a PR offensive:

    1. reaching out to media to help them understand the data and what it means. Ala Science Media Center.
    2. proactively publishing alternatives based on better comparisons (eg. ERO). Ideally in advance, rather than in response... first in establishes credibility.
    3. quickly refuting and correcting errors, and getting that out to as many people as possible. Help parents and the community understand what the numbers mean.

    Not easy. But do-able. If this is going to be as important as we fear, then it's worth doing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    While we’re discussing the OIA, here’s a good example of how it can be used to unmask bullshit: the CTU has discovered that the government’s proposal to drug-test beneficiaries is based on no actual data at all .

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to John Armstrong,

    Given the direction the debate has tended to run in the media so far (further evidenced by the direction of this thread), isn’t it at least possible that the story might well foreground and discuss the shortcomings of the information itself?

    The thing to do there would be to target the minister's office with well-formed OIA requests. There'll be plenty to find out, I'm sure. That would be a more difficult path of course -- because Ministers of the Crown are far more evasive about observing that particular law than boards of trustees are.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Richard Grevers,

    That’s happening already. The local Decile 10 school is known to refuse entry to kids whose records suggest they will be “difficult”.

    A certain wealthy school a couple of suburbs over from us has been notorious for discouraging special needs kids for a while now. Guess it'll only get worse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Once information informs negative actions against the people involved, it isn't suitable for publication.

    Many Ministers believe this too. It is, of course, not a good reason to withhold anything.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Grevers,

    I hope that if/when they send the information to Mr Hartvelt our BOT add a requirement that he adds a footnote that 15% of the school roll are ORRS students, some with a mental age as low as 3 months, whose scores have been aggregated.

    I am Hartvelt of Borg. You will be aggregated. Resistance is futile.

    New Plymouth • Since Jul 2011 • 143 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rob Coup,

    +1 to those suggestions.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Richard Grevers,

    I hope that if/when they send the information to Mr Hartvelt our BOT add a requirement that he adds a footnote that 15% of the school roll are ORRS students, some with a mental age as low as 3 months, whose scores have been aggregated.

    Wow.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

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