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 Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    They could just do what they're required to legally. Provide the data, in a plain envelope, with nothing identifying the name of the school.

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

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to barnaclebarnes,

    National standards or not, how do we measure that the teaching that you are doing is working?

    There are several worldwide surveys of performance that show the NZ education system has been working really well at producing children and adults that can think across several disciplines.

    The reality is that by "trusting the teachers" and education professionals we have established a genuinely world class education system.

    In short you CAN trust teachers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to barnaclebarnes,

    but don’t we want to know that our teaching methods are working and are improving over time?

    Just to harp on about this a bit more. There is a very good reason why education is a degree level science and not a high school diploma. Understanding what works in education is not simple. Children are humans and complex, developing methods to help them learn in not straightforward. It really is a science as complex as any other field.

    Do you expect to understand the Higgs field? I don't. But I trust the experts in that field. I trust their rigor and I trust the internal checks they have.

    Education deserves the same respect. It isn't the simple easily measurable and easily improved task that the politicians insist it is.

    Would you trust Winston to design the LHC????

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to barnaclebarnes,

    National standards or not, how do we measure that the teaching that you are doing is working? I still haven't seen a satisfactory answer on this. "Just trust us" doesn't cut it.

    Do you reckon parents are seeking reassurance about individual students, rather than for whole schools or the whole system (which scores well as others note)?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Allan Moyle,

    My advice to the BoTs would be to either a) photocopy as poorly as they can the relevant sections from the return to BoT and snail mail to Fairfax on the the 19th day and advise said Mr H that the info is in the mail or b) print relevant section using Acrobat with select/copy/print etc disabled. In both cases Fairfax have to manually transcribe the info and along with the range of formats they will be receiving etc should make the job reasonably tiresome.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Sacha,

    Do you reckon parents are seeking reassurance about individual students, rather than for whole schools or the whole system (which scores well as others note)?

    I think it's been said here before that they're not mutually exclusive are they ? The desire to know how your child is doing and how the school/system as a whole is doing ?

    Particularly the former is something you want to know once your child is in the system, the latter when deciding on where to send your child ?

    Although as I said before to Russell, in my experience it's a myth that you have a selection of local schools to choose from anyway.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Allan Moyle,

    There is also the option to make parallel OIA's to determine the formats being used and forge-posting massive numbers of 'responses' to John Harteveld, purportedly from the school's email adresses.

    I knew SMTP didn't have sender verification for a reason...

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

  • Glenn Pearce,

    A certain wealthy school a couple of suburbs over from us has been notorious for discouraging special needs kids for a while now.

    If you or someone you know has recent evidence/experience of this it should be reported to the Ministry. The law is pretty clear, unless the school operates a zone and the child is out of zone then they must be accepted, in fact they must be welcomed.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    Sorry Glenn, although you are right, it is not quite that simple. Discrimination against 'special needs' kids can be subtle and insidious by schools and school cultures. Since I've been involved in autism advocacy I cannot count the number of specific instances of kids not welcomed by their local school (eg 'the school down the road is better equipped'), to the exclusion of such kids from school camps, plays or other events. Eventually many families are asked to remove them, formally or via 'Kiwi suspension' usually citing the health and safety of other kids (whatever that means). It can be as basic as having other parents complaining about the special needs kid taking too much of the teacher's time. If a parent with that attitude gets on the school board, there isn't a hope of an inclusive culture developing there.

    Families are often exhausted fighting for support, and battling with an unwelcoming school is one more thing to cope with. I know of an example when a mother rang around a dozen schools to see if any would take her intermediate aged Aspergers child, after the local school board suspended him. All had excuses not to.

    The IHC currently has a case with the Human Rights Commission citing numerous examples where schools have broken the law re disabled kids.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Allan Moyle,

    My advice to the BoTs would be to either a) photocopy as poorly as they can the relevant sections from the return to BoT and snail mail to Fairfax on the the 19th day and advise said Mr H that the info is in the mail

    Come to think of it, if all the BoTs used only snail mail, it would be a bit like spammers getting their just desserts when they receive huge bags of snail-mail counter-spam.

    Glenn:

    Although as I said before to Russell, in my experience it’s a myth that you have a selection of local schools to choose from anyway.

    Especially with recent revelations of zone gerrymandering to block out the 'problem' and special needs students. It's symptomatic of the meritocracy-turned-plutocracy that MSNBC's Chris Hayes has warned about in his latest book.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Starting reading that article and this stood out:

    the largest mass murder on the continent in the nation's history

    Exempting the Trail of tears and all the other genocide of Native Americans, naturally.

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

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Starting reading that article and this stood out:
    "the largest mass murder on the continent in the nation’s history"

    My first though was “What would Harry Potter know?”

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    My advice to the BoTs would be to either a) photocopy as poorly as they can the relevant sections from the return to BoT and snail mail to Fairfax on the the 19th day and advise said Mr H that the info is in the mail.

    And my advice would be to get the school's students to transcribe the data by hand. And assume it is transcribed correctly and then send it as is.

    Also, I wonder how all the bilingual schools are getting on, Ministry didn't provide national standards for bilingual education, and they had to make them up.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Because no OIA is going to tell you how those students are really doing. How they’re getting on with classmates, or contributing in class, or stood up to do that really brave thing, they’d never done before. That conversation is one that’s shared with parents on a regular basis, if you’re an engaged parent, who works hard to form a relationship with your child’s teacher.

    +1.

    Regardless, I can't get up in arms with Fairfax for requesting (and presumably publishing) the information. No it's not useful, in fact it's potentially damaging, but it's stupid information that the government requested, so of course the public has the right to see it. If the government hadn't pushed it through under urgency (and given a shit about what everyone said about what they were doing), perhaps they might have done it a little better.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • tim kong,

    The Ministry did create a different set of national standards for the use of Maori-medium schools.

    They didn't publicise them as much to the electorate though.

    Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori

    I'm still not sure how well they relate to the National Standards especially as they specifically have a standard for oral language, which non-Maori medium don't have to report against.

    Because you know, in non-Maori medium schools, we don't value oral language. #facepalm

    I would recommend schools just present their data, as they sent it to the Ministry. There was no specified data format required from the Ministry. If there is any journalistic integrity in pursuit of this story - said journalists will have no issue sorting through the data as provided. I'd be interested in what story they actually think will emerge.

    I found it sad that now the chase is to provide centrally formatted data so that people can understand what schools are doing. Because National Standards are so plain language, we've now created another acronym to explain the plain language. It's not National Standards - it's Public Achievement Information.

    But also remind the media to read the ERO reports, meet with every school in the country to discuss their learning values and principles, analyse variance reports and the rest of their charters. Visit these schools, meet with teachers and students, discuss the compliance costs and pressures. Sit in a classroom for a week, and observe the processes that go on. Explore the expectation on school structures and systems that have changed immensely in the last decade. Expose the "bad ones" if you will - but please pay attention to the whole picture.

    One example:
    Examine the financial and time costs for implementing enterprise grade IT hardware and software into schools in which classroom teaching positions are funded based on numbers of students. The funds for IT support come from internal fund-raising, or fall on a teacher who has to learn another set of skills.
    That creates a lot of pressure on a school system to support a delivery infrastructure, that may or may not deliver effective teaching and learning.

    None of that can be captured in a headline though - or fits inside a 2 minute TV interview though - so I can't imagine you'll hear those stories from the media anytime soon.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    John Hartevelt went to school a million years ago. These kids are different. I think fairfax news gatherers should spend some time considering why this new generation will be different from them,if they really feel pasionate about understanding education theory.

    The tables are a mess because students are all very unique. Ignorance parading as brave news reporting. Stats should be collected in a scientific way, if not ,they're not stats. The data is drawn from pools of incredible diversity and you need to define a population to use data as an instrument of measurement.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Jeremy Eade,

    John Hartevelt went to school a million years ago. These kids are different. I think fairfax news gatherers should spend some time considering why this new generation will be different from them,if they really feel pasionate about understanding education theory.

    Also, did he go to public or private? Low decile or high decile, if it was around in his day?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    In my school days violence was common, either in the fields or at the Headmaster's office. Our schooldays produced a generation that are looking to deliver an inferior way of life to our next generation. Our schooldays produced wild poetry such as "Hate fluff" and other classics.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Jeremy Eade,

    Also, is the recent scourge of helicopter parenting mostly a high-decile thing? If so, I wouldn't be surprised if it fosters the kind of gated elite as described by Chris Hayes.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    I don't see how anyone can compare schools at all. It's about the relationships between a teacher and the children being taught in a given year. Last year isn't like this year won't be like next year. In that classroom. In that school. In any school. Anywhere.

    Let's see the government publish league tables on marriage, friendship and acquaintances. I want to know who the best spouses, friends and acquaintances are so I can hook up with them.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jeremy Eade,

    John Hartevelt went to school a million years ago.

    He's not that old. And he's not a bad journalist either.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Steve Withers,

    Let's see the government publish league tables on marriage, friendship and acquaintances. I want to know who the best spouses, friends and acquaintances are so I can hook up with them.

    A+

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Jane Pearson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Since national standards were introduced, John Hartevelt has written at least one comprehensive article about their implementation. I remember thinking at the time it was a reasonably balanced piece that covered some of the misgivings I have. Whether I would think the same today if I reread it I don't know. I'll put that to the test some time soon. But I'm wondering if he may be thinking of showing up some of the inconsistencies of the data that the Ministry has received to date.

    Since Feb 2010 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Just a bit off the subject: a glowing review of Media 3 by Diana Wichtel in the latest Listener

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I haven't read a lot of John Hartevelt but I haven't read anything to support that theory. It's hard to know with many of our journalists, maybe you know them personally but their writing personas are hardly stunning ,although I don't know much about the culture.

    The move to table this data with his name on it invites a negative perception. It actually is quite a pissy thing to do given the sensible arguements against pointless data comparison. Education is under attack to some extent across media and I'm sick of reading about ruthless, selfish teachers in N.Z media.. Bankers collapsed the economy not teachers. Teachers are delivering much more than most sectors.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

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