Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Herself's Turn

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  • Lyndon Hood,

    Oh, and you can hear Björk's name pronounced on her WIkipedia entry.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Craig - thanks for explaining what a "koan" is.

    No, thank you for the reminder that being too clever for your own good is really dumb. :)

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

  • Kyle Matthews,

    But I'm really not feeling over confident. The more I look at both speeches, the more flimsy they become.

    It was interesting to get both parties pronouncing on the same policy area in close succession, and in January too, so there wasn't much else (apart from a youth crime wave, apparently) going on to muddy the waters. It's going to get messier, and not necessarily comparing apples with apples that often.

    For me it was a points decision for Key. I don't think throwing young people at the military is going to work for many of them, but I liked at least an attempt to move the ambulance further up the cliff. If there's a variety of options for kids that are struggling to be put into, then I could see it having a positive effect. Not perfect, but maybe 6 or 7/10.

    Clark on the other hand - all I saw was the ambulance still sitting at the bottom of the cliff, but the cliff getting bigger by two years. It seemed like more money going into it, but no creative thinking. 4/10 at best.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Blair Mulholland,

    LOL

    Well consistency is the key. I'll bear it in mind next time I blog about those other great umlauted acts, like Motoerhead and Spineal Tap. :oP

    Auckland • Since Jan 2008 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Don't forget Boenoe and Oe2....

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Beyoence

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I know a sprog who calls Ms. Knowles 'Bouncy'. Out of the mouths of babes etc...

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

  • Paul Williams,

    Earlier in this thread there's a comment about Labour's policy keeping kids in school, or words to that effect, however that's not the case. Clark said:

    The policy I am announcing today is for all young people to be in school or some other form of education or of training until they reach the age of eighteen.

    Labour's policy is an education leaving age, not a school leaving age. Personally, I think this is significantly better for many of the reasons stated here to do with the the diversity of kids etc. There are many pathways to suport this, possibly there needs to be more, however the goal must be around skill acquisition, not just churning people through endless programs.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Finn Higgins,

    Paul, I'm still not buying it. Either you lower the bar for "education" so low that it could be anything (in which case the entire proposal becomes a meaningless compliance cost for employers wanting to hire people under 18) or you're still insisting on structured learning. Structured learning for long periods as a teenager really doesn't suit some people.

    When I left school I went and got one of the dumbest, most repetitive jobs on earth: data entry. Screen here, keyboard there, pile of paper there, go. I spent a year doing it. During that year I learned nothing whatsoever that I didn't teach myself, apart from fairly obvious things like how to handle reconciling batches - which you could work out for yourself anyway. It was a blessed relief, and gave me a good period of time to straighten my head out from years of struggling with the environment of structured education. All of a sudden the whole contract seemed more clear: You go to work for X hours a day, you get X in reward for it and you have your evenings free to do whatever you want with what you've earned. That seemed far superior to school, where you work X hours a day for no tangiable reward at all, just because you have to, and it follows you home in the evening.

    After a year of that I went and got a slightly more interesting job doing accounts at an airline, where I needed to think a bit more. And I enrolled to go study something I was actually interested in.

    At this airline job there was a guy my age (17-18 at the time) who was on one of those hideous place-you-in-work structured industry training courses. He was getting paid about 1/8th of the amount I was, and spent his time having to go off to spurious classroom lessons about how to work in an office (!?) and write essays explaining the structure of his day at work. Assignment 1: Explain the process for applying for leave at your office. Etc. That whole situation would have driven me spare - one of the major reasons I felt better about working than school was that there at least appeared to be some kind of point to the whole thing. If it was pointless busy-work that could be eliminated you could just point that out to the boss.

    Even with your proviso above, the requirement for structured education would seem to re-introduce a requirement for pointless busy-work for anybody under eighteen in the workforce. That would really, really have pissed me off. You might be an optimist and think that magically some amazing new way of advancing education in the workplace will arise, but I'd think it more likely that nationally we'll just start generating a lot more essays explaining the obvious to people who already know the answers.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Labour's policy is an education leaving age, not a school leaving age. Personally, I think this is significantly better for many of the reasons stated here to do with the the diversity of kids etc. There are many pathways to suport this, possibly there needs to be more, however the goal must be around skill acquisition, not just churning people through endless programs.

    Good point, that is better. I'm not sure about the age 18, but maybe there's international evidence indicating that this is a good age to keep people in education.

    I also wonder - I finished high school at 17 and a half, with bursary and whatnot - 2nd youngest person in a 7th form of over 300 kids. I went straight into university. But if I'd wanted to take a year off and work somewhere and save money before doing that - would I run foul of this Labour policy?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Finn, I suspect your experience is not unique sadly. I'm not sure when you had this experience, however in my experience there are now far more and far better pathways to skilled and meaningful work that include training and the achievement of recognisable skills.

    There's a big push in policy circles for better recognition of non and informal learning, the stuff you work out by yourself or with your colleagues, and that might be part of the solution too however I know first hand that industry training, training to national standards/qualifications, is working for many many learner/workers and directly improving workforce productivity. This is not to say it's all good, there's a great deal of improvement that can be achieved, but I've also seen some fantastic training in-situ in a number of industries; seafood processing, forestry, in the electro-tech industry and also in tourism.

    I don't think we're arguing different points, however I do think simply letting young people leave school with no qualifications pretty much consigns them to a low-skill, low-wage future.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    I also wonder - I finished high school at 17 and a half, with bursary and whatnot - 2nd youngest person in a 7th form of over 300 kids. I went straight into university. But if I'd wanted to take a year off and work somewhere and save money before doing that - would I run foul of this Labour policy?

    It appears so; odd that. Possibly something they'll need to work out however I'd've thought people with level 2 NCEA and/or scholarship would generally be about 18.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    Ms. Knowles 'Bouncy'.

    now that's a picture i'd go to the trouble to find.

    re: edumaction. i heard sam flynn scott of phoenix foundation talking on the raedio, and he suggested that some kids (particularly boys) are better getting a mix of education and vocational training from a relatively early age. keep them mentally and physically engaged.

    struck a cord with me. a potentially complex answer and application, but better than other alternatives.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    Finn - well said, couldn't agree more with what you're saying (and I say this as someone for whom the principle, if not always the practice, of high school education was well-suited).

    Kyle - indeed, just about to raise this myself after a colleague mentioned his son is due to finish Year 13 (aka 7th Form) at age 17.

    That's not entirely uncommon ... and if you're good enough to finish up all that high school has to offer I'm buggered if I can think of a reason for the state to compel more 'education' until you hit the magical age of 18.

    Re: the education leaving age vs. the school leaving age, etc. I think that, in practice, school rolls will generally increase with kids who would otherwise have left.

    Which will, I suggest, make the experience all the more shit for many of the teachers who want to teach, and students who want to learn.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Re: the education leaving age vs. the school leaving age, etc. I think that, in practice, school rolls will generally increase with kids who would otherwise have left.

    Which will, I suggest, make the experience all the more shit for many of the teachers who want to teach, and students who want to learn.

    If that in fact occurs, I agree it will be unsuccessful. Youth Apprenticeships however may reduce this risk however the challenge is to find employers willing to take on the responsibility - some employers bitch and moan about the shortage of apprentices but don't appear to be prepared to do much about it themselves.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I'd've thought people with level 2 NCEA and/or scholarship would generally be about 18.

    Nah, there'll be pots of seventeen and a bit year olds legally required to run off and do two to four months or so of 'training' after completing high school. My daughter will be one of them, as will pretty much anyone else with a birthday April or earlier. This is why I would have thought 'years of schooling/training completed' would have been better than a flat age.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    This is why I would have thought 'years of schooling/training completed' would have been better than a flat age.

    Good point. I assume you mean years completed with achievement.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    Not to harp on too much .... but we might want to think about whether, for example, 16 and 17 year olds have rights, including the right to do with their lives what they will (subject to the normal strictures of criminal law), and are not in fact the property of either their parents or the state.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    This is why I would have thought 'years of schooling/training completed' would have been better than a flat age.

    That doesn't work either. Everyone starts school on their 5th birthday here in NZ (well almost everyone). You do approximately 13 years of high school. If your birthday is over the summer, you do exactly 13 years.

    If your birthday is after school starts, you will typically do less. My birthday is in June, I did 12.5 years of school. I skipped room 7 in Primers. If my birthday had been much later, I probably wouldn't have skipped room 7, and would have done 13.5 years.

    A friend of mine who was actually a month older than me got put into room 7, and for the rest of his life he was a year behind me at school. He did 13.6 years, and was long eighteen when he finished school.

    It's a peculiarity of our system where we start on birthdays, as compared to many systems where you start the first school year after you turn 5 (or in some places 6). Primer classes are partially about sorting out where the kids with May - July birthdays go.

    The only way for me (and many other kids) to complete 13 full years in school would be for all kids to be held back no matter what the teachers (who we hope are experts in this) think about the correct side of the line for them.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I didn't mean 'full years', because that would stick you with exactly the same situation. I don't think how many months you spend in year one ends up making much difference thirteen years down the line. But I should say, I'm not in favour of ANY inflexible line in the sand, years or age or achievement. I just thought that if you wanted a hard line, setting an age which a substantial number of kids are under after they've legitimately finished school is... well, silly.

    And yes, I had a good friend who skipped fourth form and was actually sixteen when she finished hgh school.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Ms. Knowles 'Bouncy'.

    now that's a picture i'd go to the trouble to find.

    Well, the poor kid hasn't quite got the undies/togs distinction yet; because she once capped it with, "Poor Bouncy. Someone stole her dress. Is she cold?"

    What do you say? 'That's a bikini, I don't think so, and has anyone told you you're a scary kid?"

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

  • Danielle,

    I may have pointed this out before, but Bjork sounds amazingly like Little Jimmy Osmond, a lot of the time.

    I would pay quite a lot of money to see Bjork covering 'Crazy Horses'.

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

  • Paul Williams,

    Well, I don't know how she was at the BDO in Akl, but she was pretty disappointing in Sydney (but I'm not a hardcore fan) although perhaps it was partly a function of having seen the Arcade Fire the day previous who were fantastic!

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Youth Apprenticeships however may reduce this risk however the challenge is to find employers willing to take on the responsibility - some employers bitch and moan about the shortage of apprentices but don't appear to be prepared to do much about it themselves.

    Or don't have a mysterious financial problem that causes apprentices to be laid off just before they qualify and need to be paid grown up wages......

    I would pay quite a lot of money to see Bjork covering 'Crazy Horses'

    See surely being the operative word....

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Finn Higgins,

    Finn, I suspect your experience is not unique sadly. I'm not sure when you had this experience, however in my experience there are now far more and far better pathways to skilled and meaningful work that include training and the achievement of recognisable skills.

    Hum. I'm very dubious. My experience was in the UK, but I'm pretty happy that there's no way you could structure something robust enough to stand up to legal obligations that wouldn't have bothered me. When I was 16-18 I hated formalised training schemes and assessment of any description. I just wanted to be able to work, ask questions where I needed to and do something I cared about for its own reward in my spare time.

    I don't engage well with topics I find innately dull or which I can't relate to, while I'm very good at learning things I find interesting. Generally it takes a real practical application to make many everyday things interesting enough to be absorbed. Practical work with a good opportunity for initiative and problem-solving is, consequently, just about the best learning environment I've yet encountered.

    That's not something I'd promote as a personal strength, but it's definitely been a reality since I was very young and I've had little success with changing it substantially. In short, I've got to be able to see the point in what I'm being asked to learn and do, and "so you can prove you can" never seemed like much of an answer.

    Ironically all of that actually was my path to skilled and meaningful work. I think if I'd been forced to partake in substantial mandatory training and assessment schemes during those years I would probably have ended up unemployable due to mental illness and would have been scared off working in the same way that I was scared away from education. The absence of structured educational requirements gave me the time to clear my head and find a way to operate in the world that worked for me. At best these plans for continued compulsion would have just delayed that for me by two years; at worst it might have left me severely mentally unwell. I was certainly right on the brink of that at sixteen, and I'd already been out of school for a few years at that point before returning briefly to attempt getting some A-levels.

    I'm coming up on 27 now, and I'm well-paid, have been consistently employed (or profitably self-employed) for nigh on a decade now and have done a variety of interesting things. I've written professionally, built IT systems of various descriptions and worked for myself as a music teacher/freelance music programmer and as a web developer. I've also got a lot of general work experience, because when I can't find something to engage with I just go and temp. I have virtually no qualifications in anything other than music, but I can get work because I have real, tangiable things that I've built that I can point to and I have good references. I'm definitely blocked from working in some jobs and industry sectors because of all of this, but it's considerably less than I would have been blocked from working at if I'd had a complete mental breakdown at 16/17 and been unable to attend work or school.

    I'm all for giving people more choices, but this Labour's proposal would directly cut off the direction in life that worked for me without putting anything resembling a tempting alternative on the table. I'd fear for the sanity of kids going through the same things as my younger self.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

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