Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Herself's Turn

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  • Finn Higgins,

    Grrrr... Phil Goff, unctuous lying prat... snarl... Lockwood Smith grinning Thunderbirds puppet... spit, foam... Russell Marshal, human blancmange... gibber... Maharey, Mallard...erk! (immediate stroke).

    Do I sound like DFJ yet?

    Actually, I was expecting you to finish with "I was very, very drunk"...

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I wonder whether we don't end up with creeping qualificationism,

    we have. in order to have the status of a BA one now has to have an MA. and to have the status of an MA, a PhD. And a PhD has no status anyway. bummer.

    Education is about making distinctions. What we've seen in the last 10 years is the effects of the Left's applying their delusion that education is never about competition and the Right's belief that it is only about the market.

    Some people are better at some things and deserve the rewards and educational institutions should have some economic freedom to do that.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Finn Higgins,

    Just on the topic of qualificationism, I had to leave my first crappy (civil service) data-entry job after a year because I didn't have GCSE English and had no intention of getting it to keep the job. Which I'd been doing for a year, note.

    I had some similar fun with pay scales for itinerant music teaching in New Zealand. If you want to make money teaching an instrument in schools in NZ, go get the shortest and easiest degree on offer beforehand. You'll get considerably more money that way than if you, for example, go find the best musicians on earth and spend a fortune on studying with them one-on-one until you can play like Coltrane, Hendrix and Jesus combined.

    It would be possible to be irritated by that stuff, but generally I'm of the view that organisations which value people on the basis of paperwork alone are ones that I can happily avoid. They'll only prove to be annoyingly stupid and inflexible in other ways later.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Kyle - I accept the technicality of your point but $6000 a year less of loans in no way compensates for between 4 and 8 years of adult earnings. Mature students really struggle to make ends meet. Believe me I know to my cost.

    Oh yes, it's a difficult path. Often leaving a secure job to jump into nothing. Mortgage, kids, retirement to think about.

    But you said they ended up with the same sized loan. They don't tend to. Their road is harder in different ways.

    Please don't get into "American Studies what good is that?" It's not the subject that matters as much as the process of learning.

    That will be reassuring for everyone, because American Studies is being cut at Canterbury, so everyone is going to have to find a different subject to process their learning though.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Grrrr... Phil Goff, unctuous lying prat... snarl... Lockwood Smith grinning Thunderbirds puppet... spit, foam... Russell Marshal, human blancmange... gibber... Maharey, Mallard...erk! (immediate stroke).

    Do I sound like DFJ yet?

    Nope, you've got to work 'lickspittle' in somewhere. Let one of the Freuds explain why that deliciously antique invective is so popular among the wingnutterati, 'cause I'm not going there.

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

  • Finn Higgins,

    American Studies is being cut at Canterbury, so everyone is going to have to find a different subject to process their learning though.

    You mean people have to watch The Simpsons for fun now? Aw, hell...

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    made redundant and invited to reapply for her job

    Isn't that illegal? I thought that was constructive dismissal. Totally abusive, anyway.

    lets not entirely discount the contribution education/training can make.

    Of course. I just don't think we should expect it solve everything, or spread it around wastefully.

    @Finn on using employer stupidity as a screening criterion: the problem is that those employers can be quite hard to identify. And if they are a minority in your chosen field, it makes it hard to get the foot in the door that will give you the experience in the first place. (Having said that, I wore shorts and jandals to work yesterday...)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    --I was empower by one of the Norman Kirk airer state run alternative schools. Coming to thing of it that was a pretty cunning way of hiding problem children. They simply run the school as a democracy, thats an alternative school.--

    A school run as a democracy - fabulous idea. With all the challenges to get inspirational about, the Headmaster at my son's school chooses hair length and bullying parents to pay fees as his pet obsessions. Of course school boards, who employ them, get captured by certain types of empire builders who actually represent the interests of very few in the community. Most regular people simply don't have time.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Of course. I just don't think we should expect it solve everything, or spread it around wastefully.

    I fear we're too late for this. Having once led protests demanding free university education, something I've not abandoned but relegated, I've also had to argue the case for funding for industry training. I did not escape me that the people who'd most benefit from industry training were fighting over the scraps left by the unis.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    made redundant and invited to reapply for her job

    Isn't that illegal? I thought that was constructive dismissal. Totally abusive, anyway.

    I think you'll find employers get round the law thusly: Your job was to do A,B,C,F, & J. We have reassesed the roles required by our company and have disestablished your position. You are therefore redundant. But because you have been so great*, we invite you to apply for a newly created position that requires the following skills: A,B,C, G & K.

    During the interview process you explain how you're already a master at A, B, & C and F & J aren't too far removed from G & K. They thank you for a great interview but sadly, oh if only it could be different, you haven't got the job. They really need someone with experience in G & K.

    *translation: we don't want you going psycho and stealing all our IP, or stationery.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    Nope, you've got to work 'lickspittle' in somewhere. Let one of the Freuds explain why that deliciously antique invective is so popular among the wingnutterati, 'cause I'm not going there.

    <irony>Thanks</irony> I'm going to need surgery to get that revolting image out of my mind now - either that or I make another determined effort tonight to kill more neurons. I think that I'll try the latter.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    <irony>Thanks</irony> I'm going to need surgery to get that revolting image out of my mind now -

    A minor talent, but you have to work with what you got. :)

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

  • Geoff Lealand,

    The problem with these discussions is if you stray away for a day or so (or if life intrudes), really interesting conversations have moved on to new topics. There seems to have been some talk about the value of American Studies, in wake of its pending demise at Canterbury. My argument is that if you are doing American Studies, you are pretty much studying the shape of contemporary culture. Pretty much of what we consider as culture, value, ideology is defined by the USA, or our relationship with the USA--acceptance, rejection, adaptation etc.

    But then I am inclined to this view as I studied AS at UoC (BA and MA), and it steered me towards a very satisfying career. I do always remember that I first encountered the idea of historiography, through the teaching of Craig Harlan and Leonard Wilcox, ie the notion that the writing of history is shaped by the world view of those writing it. It was a very important moment for, and the start of an intellectual journey.

    If we want to talk of cutting university offerings, perhaps we should start with schools of business/management. They represent the debasement of the purpose of an university education.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2560 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    If we want to talk of cutting university offerings, perhaps we should start with schools of business/management. They represent the debasement of the purpose of an university education.

    Them's fightin' words!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    The trouble is, Geoff, you'd be relying on managers to make the decision. The plague of managers and the spread of the the deadly disease managerialism is so widespread it's now in charge of itself at all levels. Academics running the academy? Ha!
    It should be business 101 that a manager is someone who doesn't actually produce anything.
    The inflation in the qualifications has a lot of ramifications. We were told recently that NZ has the highest rate of tertiary take-up 76%- in the world.
    Managers took over and they did what they do: they grew the business in dollar terms. No thought for educational need, and quality? That's the job of the branding team, you moron.
    So now what's the aim? Universal student debt, it seems.
    Who, bitter, me?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Greetings, Rob. Of course your dad was part of my American Studies experience too. I intend to add my two-cents support to the beleagured Christchurch folk, as a great deal of ignorance seems to be prevailing.

    When I started at Waikato 12+ years ago (when it was Film and Television Studies) I sometimes had to defend what I did, from folk asking "why study film and television?". My usual (short) response was "Because it is there!". Then I would go into my longer justification. I no longer get asked such questions, partly because Screen and Media Studies has been the salvation of my Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences + our students getting really good jobs + benefiting greatly from the growth in NCEA Media Studies. It could be the same for American Studies.

    Surely that figure of 76% tertiary take-up can't be right--where does it come from?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2560 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Hi Geoff.
    I hope I don't come across as too much of a snarling mongrel.
    The figure of 76% came from a management ahem, briefing powerpoint. I think Iceland was next, on 72%. But I don't know what the definition of tertiary study was.
    The meeting was looking at strategic positioning for the university. What students we wanted to attract, where the demographics were moving, class sizes, with a marketing perspective. There was considerable discussion of capping numbers and the implications around that.
    It's a striking number, but googling around I can't find any data on those numbers at all- let alone confirmation. NOt even sure where to start looking.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'm not even sure what 'tertiary take-up' means in relation to that. Take up is normally used in relation to loans and whatnot - % of people eligible for a loan that take it. How do you measure take up of participation, given that people can enrol at any point in their life?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    76% only makes any sense if read as the proportion of final-year school leavers who go on to spend some time (however short) in some form of post-secondary education. (Like Kyle, I am uncertain whether this should be limited to immediate takeup, though I don't see how any final figure would be possible otherwise.)

    Of course, that ratio would be fairly meaningless, since a sizeable proportion of secondary students don't complete the final year and so aren't included; and conversely, this figure certainly doesn't tally with successful completion of a tertiary course of study (even allowing the dubious equation of "post-secondary" & "tertiary").

    Census data on "highest educational qualification" from Statistics NZ: in 2001 (sorry, that's the most recent I have immediately to hand), ca. 40% of NZers aged 20-49 had some "post-secondary" qualification, with little variation within that age range; the rate peaked at 43% for 35-39yo, then fell gradually to around 20% for 60-64yo, 15% for 65+. About 2/3 of this category consists of vocational certificates.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1941 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Just a bit of historical perspective on the tertiary take-up rate: in the early 1980s we had the lowest in the OECD - about 25%, from memory.

    There was a concerted push at that time to try to get the rate up. It was, of course, helped by the surge in unemployment which began in the mid-late 1980s.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    I was in Leonard Wilcox class on 9/12 - He didn't expect anyone to turn up but we all did - thinking AMST might make sense of things.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

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