Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: From soundbite to policy

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  • Rich of Observationz,

    They need at least one big, big reason to stick with the deal

    What, bigger than a ministerial car?

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

  • Danielle,

    Caveat: To feel awesome you do need to put in sometimes. Hard. Harder than everyone. And come up with the goods.

    Hm. Libraries as high-pressure work environments requiring coming up with 'goods': not so much. I must just be a slacker, but without the awesome part. :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Just to address the straw man. The question is
    "how do we best go about improving literacy and numeracy?"

    It's worth comparing teaching from when I grew up, which although at a different school was within the same system as that described by David Haywood
    and the kind of teaching that is exemplified by Tim Kong at the bottom of the page.

    Back in the good old days we had lots of tests and kids failed them. We can also see in the US an experiment with large scale nationwide testing of the kind implied by the new bill.

    It seems fairly clear that testing of that nature does not improve literacy and numeracy.

    To improve those things we need to train dedicated and talented teachers and give them the information and skills to teach. I firmly believe our education system has dramatically improved over the last 20 years, particularly in it's ability to deal with minority groups of all kinds. Having the Minister mess with the system seems unnecessary.

    We want to teach our next generation, not train them to take tests.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    AS: Maybe you could discuss what prevented you achieving literacy yourself?

    Block capitals should be used for abbreviations and acronyms. There is boldface and underlining for emphasis. You have to talk *about* something, "I'm talking having..." is not correct usage.

    Glass houses, etc.

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

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    Ben, you're right that there probably are fields where my style of working might be an advantage but currently I'm a full-time parent and you really can't say "sorry bub, Mummy's goofing off right now but I'll attend to all your needs in an intense hour just before bedtime".

    While I can't blame the school system for how I do things I do think it gave me the latitude to do things like that and I wonder how much "better" I could have done had I been actively engaged more of the time.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    Out of interest, what Education experience does Anne Tolley have?

    One of the many crosses that teachers have to bear is that everyone who has been to school fancies themselves as an expert on Education.
    Strangely, the same people can eat roast dinners without feeling they have become experts in Modern Agricultural Systems.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • Heather W.,

    Here's a job with short-term high workrate - I do hope they have cleaned up.

    But is it art?

    North Shore • Since Nov 2008 • 189 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Out of interest, what Education experience does Anne Tolley have?

    To me that's not really the question. You could be a perfectly good Minister of Education (or indeed, something else), without having been part of the system. How many Ministers of Police are ex-police officers? Ministers of Defence ex-military?

    The question comes back to 'why is this so urgent?' And given that there doesn't seem to be a good answer for that, why doesn't it go to select committee where all the people who are experts can have their input included and the Minister can manage that process.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Danielle, not sure what kind of librarian you are, but if you have to handle customer requests, then 'finding the answer in the shortest possible time' is exactly what is required. If you goof off in between, who would care, so long as the other chores are done? Only the worst kind of boss.

    Isabel, I know kids demand a lot of attention, I have a son myself. But the level of attention can rise and fall. A constant drip feed of low level attention is not better than getting very intense attention for periods, and almost none at other times. I think it's a mistake to think you have to be constantly on call for the kids every whim. That's a recipe for boredom and depression, if you are not naturally suited to it.

    Depends on the age of the child a lot. A newborn is perfect for a slacker - half of the time they are asleep. You can goof off then. So long as you keep them sorted while they are awake. My 2 year old is perfectly happy entertaining himself for long stretches, so long as you give him really good attention when the time is right. That suits me. I don't think there's anything wrong with getting bored with a game your child is playing, and moving off to some other activity. The important thing is that you do play with them regularly and attentively. Children need to learn that adults also need rest. Otherwise they will be horrors.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    A Probationary Officer I knew was very successful in engaging his "clients." What was his secret? He said that most lacked anyone to listen to them. He said that he listened intensely to these people in trouble and responded appropriately. They clients blossomed in most cases and even after their supervision ended many would pop back in to update the PO even just to say I've got a new job, or girlfriend, or flat. Some came from "good" homes but felt anonymous at home. So this confirms the belief that kids really need to be repected. Their opinions need to be listened to. We parents tend to give the "correct" opinion whiich undermines the confidence of the child in developing their own judgement. So the 3 Rules might be; Listen, Listen, Listen.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Out of interest, what Education experience does Anne Tolley have?

    About as much as Annette King did in Health when she became Minister -- insert your favourite 'Murder House' joke/anecdote here -- and she didn't seem to do too bad a job.

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

  • Sacha,

    Craig, I don't recall King fresh in her job ignoring professional evidence and avoiding engaging with her sector before rushing through policy changes, do you?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, I don't recall King fresh in her job ignoring professional evidence and avoiding engaging with her sector before rushing through policy changes, do you?

    Not personally, but I could point you towards a fair few health professionals who'd say King did exactly that when it was politically expedient to do so. Or to put it another way, we shouldn't be too surprised when politicians engage with people who tell them exactly want to hear, and take "professional evidence" on board when it's convenient to do so.

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

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    'Murder House'

    Are there further revelations about Labours secret police to come?

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    To me that's not really the question. You could be a perfectly good Minister of Education (or indeed, something else), without having been part of the system. How many Ministers of Police are ex-police officers? Ministers of Defence ex-military?

    Yeah, but tell that to the people who insisted that Aunty Helen had no place telling them how to raise their kids because she has none of her own. It's exactly the same thing. I happen to agree with you, but plenty of people expect that <Minister-or-whatever-of-their-pet-peeve> has inside experience.

    Also, when it comes to teaching, it's not hard to find MPs with direct experience who can head the education portfolios. Finding former cops and soldiers is rather more difficult.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    After my earlier comments, I did a 3-second google search on UK google using the key words 'school' and 'testing'.

    The very first hit is this article from the Daily Telegraph (that well known bastion of anarcho-communist thought....)

    I'd recommend that anyone who thinks that school testing is A Good Thing And The Solution To All Our Ills do the same search and read a few of the results.

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

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Also, when it comes to teaching, it's not hard to find MPs with direct experience who can head the education portfolios. Finding former cops and soldiers is rather more difficult.

    Probably. But I think you could also make an argument that having experience in the Ministry (or most likely, one part of it) could be a bad thing.

    A former secondary teacher, for example, might push the secondary barrow a long way, and neglect the other parts of our education system.

    Also, and this is just my impression, there seem to be a lot more people from the secondary and tertiary education sectors in politics, than primary and early childhood.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    plenty of people expect that <Minister-or-whatever-of-their-pet-peeve> has inside experience

    I expect them to be mature enough to take expert advice. That's all.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Max Call,

    I have to agree with what many others have already said up page(s).
    My childrens teachers have already assessed where my childrens literacy and numeracy are at. They have also reported that info to me in plain everyday English. They already use this info to set new goals.
    My children do not need another test so that the Minister of Education knows what their rankings are compared to other NZ children.
    If the Ministry wants to improved our 'tail' of failing children another test will do nothing to help.

    I might tell my childrens school that they are not allowed to sit this National Standards test. There is no benefit to my children. Opportunity cost of test - learning time.

    Fruit Bowl of New Zealand… • Since Jun 2007 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Max Call,

    Opportunity cost of test - learning time.

    and that's just to my children.

    cost to teachers! too much time spent administering test, marking test, filling out the forms to report results to parents, school, ministry etc... hope there is still time to teach how to read and add 2 + 2

    Fruit Bowl of New Zealand… • Since Jun 2007 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Delay of Standards Review:

    “After meeting with principals and hearing from many heads of department and others, I have decided to revise the implementation timeline for the new standards by one year to allow further consultation with the sector,” says Mrs Tolley.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I applaud her decision - credit where it's due.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Max Call,

    “After meeting with principals and hearing from many heads of department and others, I have decided to revise the implementation timeline for the new standards by one year to allow further consultation with the sector,” says Mrs Tolley....
    Mrs Tolley has told the Ministry of Education that wider consultation with principals is required and, that as leaders of learning in their schools who are responsible for implementing the standards,__ input from principals and teachers is vitally important.__

    (my emphasis)
    so if this is important for NCEA - why not for literacy and numeracy National Standards testing????

    Fruit Bowl of New Zealand… • Since Jun 2007 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Other experience should also indicate that having independently verifiable performance measures are not the panacea they prefer to be. They tend to mean that organisations or organisms (in this case children) are assessed against that which is easiest to quantify, despite it being the more intangible, subjective and difficult-to-measure things representing a better yardstick.
    It sees whole organisations bent toward that which is measurable, rather than what is best. Or as I like to refer it the triumph/cult of reliability over validity.
    Whether it be needle exchanges measured in terms of needles exchanged, rather than increased health.
    Or academics in terms of citation metrics.
    Schools in standardised test scores.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    Delay of Standards Review:

    Perhaps she reads PA.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 395 posts Report Reply

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