Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Joining the conversation

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  • Sacha,

    That these silly 'standards' don't work for disabled students is merely a subset of them not working for anyone.

    In stark contrast with our world-leading and forward-looking curriculum, the whole sad approach is so resolutely old-fashioned that I'm surprised Tolley is not doling out stone tablets or insisting that students salute the flag like Merv Wellington did.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Jane Clifton (who by any sane measure is astoundingly inept at taking pillow-dictation from Der McCullynator)

    If you want to spin it that way. On the other hand, she does manage, this week, to compare Phil Goff to Adolph Hitler, so... *shrug*

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    That these silly 'standards' don't work for disabled students is merely a subset of them not working for anyone.

    To clarify, they fail for the same underlying reason in both cases - by promoting a concept of "normal" that doesn't match reality.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    I just know that twatcock is going to be word of the year...

    Which would be questionable given that it's obviously pejorative to hermaphrodites, who are already severely marginalized by society. An indicator of the lexis users' ethical slutitude.

    sanctimonious, moi?

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    That these silly 'standards' don't work for disabled students is merely a subset of them not working for anyone.

    I'm not sure that they don't work for above average students. But they're not the ones who need help from the government.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Out of nowhere I topped my primary school academically in standard 4, it was down to one teacher whose teaching style would be called 'Subversive and Hippie" today, but was just amazingly engaging from memory.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    I had a teacher like that in 4th form. I was topping the class anyway (out of sheer asynchrony and infallible memory), but it was a revelation that you could do that by being interesting and creative, not just by rote regurgitation. Also, the other kids suddenly got a lot smarter too. And for a brief shining moment, school was something to actually look forward to.

    Sigh.

    or insisting that students salute the flag like Merv Wellington did.

    OMG, return of the repressed memory! I wrote a satirical poem about Merv Wellington which was deemed too disrespectful for the school magazine. The final line was "We'll vote him out and chop him down: another useless flagpole."

    (I didn't say it was a good satirical poem.)

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    or insisting that students salute the flag like Merv Wellington did.

    I don't think we even had a flag at my primary school (or my college, come to that.) Except that time we did the Olympics and had to be different countries and made our own flags and I got stuck with Eritrea. But I presume Merv Wellington was in favour of saluting the New Zealand flag in particular, rather than just whatever you happened to have around.

    I'm not sure that they don't work for above average students. But they're not the ones who need help from the government.

    They're also the ones who generally don't need standardised tests to show that they're doing well, rendering the whole exercise moot.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    National Standards are a simplistic answer to a complex problem.To suddenly expect all children to achieve simply because a standard has been set shows a complete lack of understanding of what happens in schools and how children go about their learning. Thats' not say we teachers don't set standards for the children we teach, it's just that we are realistic while also focussing on how much progress they are making as well as all the other stuff like physical activity,art, etc. I just wish these media commentators who like to have a go at teachers about the standards would actually come into schools and talk to us about how the whole National Standards format is a mess and very difficult to understand and implement in places. That Listener editorial was lazy and showed no understanding of what the problems are with National Standards.
    Now off to school-Today's volleyball after school then Kapa Haka festival tonight...hmmm wonder what standard they come under.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Fiona Rae,

    Does the Listener have a full TV/Radio anywhere on it's site?

    That's a tricky one - apart from the fact that it would be a massive undertaking, the networks might not want us stealing their thunder. They want you to go to their website, after all.

    Point Chevalier • Since Nov 2006 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • Fiona Rae,

    So these are the highlights of the week that were published in print form in the listener a week or so ago, published daily on-line?

    Yes, they're the highlights that appear in the print mag, but I'm adding other stuff too - things that maybe weren't available when we went to print.

    It's a work in progress, so bear with us!

    Point Chevalier • Since Nov 2006 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • Fiona Rae,

    Does the Listener have a full TV/Radio anywhere on it's site?

    Also, see comments from Matt Sinnock above....

    Point Chevalier • Since Nov 2006 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    They're also the ones who generally don't need standardised tests to show that they're doing well, rendering the whole exercise moot.

    No one does. Most teachers know their students' progress all too well.

    The new 'standards' are to rank teachers and schools, that's all. But the govt can hardly be honest about that, can they.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Most teachers know their students' progress all too well.

    But knowing your students' progress and knowing it in relation to a standardised national mean are two different things. And asking that the schools gather that information and report it to their community (whether through the board, or directly) doesn't have to be useless or evil. There are a lot of things wrong with the implementation of the standards, but not necessarily with the idea of the standards, if you wish to ascertain which schools may be under or over-performing in relation to the composition of their student population. If they're under-performing, I think the community needs to know, teachers and management need to know, hell even the ministry needs to know, so they can see how to correct that. If they're over-performing, it may be useful to know how it came about and if those methods can be replicated elsewhere. The standardised tools that are there at the moment are just to piece-meal for that kind of information to be of real use.

    None of this has anything to do with reporting directly to parents and singling out their children as failures, or creating league tables. But that's due to how National politicised the issue and rushed its implementation, not to the idea of standards being bad per se.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    If National Standards are actually a tool to crush the NZEI/PPTA, why doesn't Minister Tolley just say so? And as I previously mentioned, teachers are heartily sick of social work and warden duty foisted on them.

    The education wars are but one symptom of the privatised class system malaise. One possible solution could be a refinement of compulsory busing, but history lessons have to be learnt though. It went wrong in America because of a fatal weakness - it only applied to public schools, and hence a lot of leafy suburban parents simply re-enrolled their kids into private.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Now what will I read in from the listener in supermarket cues?

    You could take your networked device of choice along and go to www.listener.co.nz while cu/queu-ing?

    While I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment and have first-hand experience of same, based on her writings for over a decade, I doubt Joanne Black and her husband would have too much to argue about......if you know what I mean.

    Personally I can't imagine choosing a partner whose political views were completely opposed to mine.

    If people don't like the Listener they could not buy and read it, or criticise the content, as compared to being rude about one of the writers.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    If people don't like the Listener they could not buy and read it, or criticise the content, as compared to being rude about one of the writers.

    Does this guideline also apply to Investigate magazine?

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    if you wish to ascertain which schools may be under or over-performing in relation to the composition of their student population

    (emphasis mine). Are the standards as proposed going to be moderated for the socio-economic status of students' families? I recall large-scale educational research from Christchurch some years back establishing that as the only salient factor.

    If they're over-performing, it may be useful to know how it came about and if those methods can be replicated elsewhere.

    A professional community of continuous improvement would be great, yes. Publishing unmoderated rankings of schools or teachers seems likely to work against that.

    I'd hope it was already one function of ERO and other sector bodies - which as some have noted are not necessarily shared by the educational systems of other countries like the US whose policies this government are slavishly applying.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    the educational systems of other countries like the US

    This excellent piece has some bearing on that. Eg:

    Hanushek has released studies showing that teacher quality accounts for about 7.5–10 percent of student test score gains. Several other high-quality analyses echo this finding, and while estimates vary a bit, there is a relative consensus: teachers statistically account for around 10–20 percent of achievement outcomes. Teachers are the most important factor within schools.

    But the same body of research shows that nonschool factors matter even more than teachers. According to University of Washington economist Dan Goldhaber, about 60 percent of achievement is explained by nonschool factors, such as family income. So while teachers are the most important factor within schools, their effects pale in comparison with those of students’ backgrounds, families, and other factors beyond the control of schools and teachers. Teachers can have a profound effect on students, but it would be foolish to believe that teachers alone can undo the damage caused by poverty and its associated burdens.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    And as I previously mentioned, teachers are heartily sick of social work and warden duty foisted on them.

    I've heard a few reports from teachers that their high school kids are not focused, maybe the hours are too long, maybe the morning start is too early? Secondary needs a complete revisit in strategy.

    One thing i do know is these Teachers don't want to raise your children, they want to lead their own lives. They are educators not surrogate mummy and daddy.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Does this guideline also apply to Investigate magazine?

    I don't mind people slagging off the Listener or Investigate or the Herald or anything else.

    Slagging off one writer as shit because their husband works for a political party? Lets off all the other shit writers whose partner doesn't work in politics.

    And also all those writers who have strong political leanings which affect their journalism but they're not as obvious because they're not labelled through their marriage.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Ngaire BookieMonster,

    Personally I can't imagine choosing a partner whose political views were completely opposed to mine.

    Hours of entertainment, it is.

    At the foot of Mt Te Aroh… • Since Nov 2009 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • uroskin,

    If you want to spin it that way. On the other hand, she does manage, this week, to compare Phil Goff to Adolph Hitler, so... *shrug*

    While she should have compared him to Stalin, if she had checked the talking points memo from her husband/leader first.

    Waiheke Island • Since Feb 2007 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    No doubt Russell will pick this up as a new thread. Government response to Special Education Review seems to be: improve from 50% to 80% inclusion with only the already announced extra investment in boosting ORRS coverage. Can't see any links to the actual report yet.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Personally I can't imagine choosing a partner whose political views were completely opposed to mine.

    Oh, so drably utilitarian. You need to unleash your feelings! Go with your instincts! Let L'amore be your guide!

    Anyway, when a man marries a woman, isn't it implicit that everythings going to be completely opposed?

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

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