Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Moving from frustration to disgust

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  • Sacha,

    Your point about the way schools are likely to handle disabled students is brought into sharper focus by the current moves to close remaining specialist residential units that provide an option for some students. Ian Leckie is unamused.

    Didn't the last Labour government lose a major court case against forcing all disabled students into mainstream classes regardless of the actual level of support available in them?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Paul Brislen,

    I've heard from one primary school that the data gathered for the ministry is now being assessed on a much lesser scale than the curriculum demands. The reason I presume is to make sure the kids all "pass" in numbers such that National Standards can be declared a success.

    I know that as a parent I have seen a degrading in the information the school is handing out, as we move from a comprehensive report that details how each child is doing to a "failing/coping/excelling" model.

    Incidentally, how much trouble is it going to cause a child to have "failing" stamped on their forehead in their very first report aged five or six? Simply unacceptable.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report

  • Paul Brislen, in reply to Sacha,

    Very good point - initially we were told that kids with various disabilities would be excluded from the school's assessment - now they're back in.

    This means my own primary school, which has a large ESOL contingent (still can't say cohort without thinking of pirates) and an equally large disability unit with a number of kids who aren't measurable in NS terms will be disadvantaged and potentially labelled as failing when in fact they're doing a fantastic job by all accounts.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report

  • Greg Treadwell,

    Thanks for the analysis, Russell. This government's legacy in the education sector will be a mess that will take years of rebuilding. Consultation? Just another form of red tape, really, that gets in the way of business. Sorry, education.

    Since Jun 2012 • 1 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Sacha,

    Human Rights Commission provides a useful paper about disabled students' access to education (pdf, 241KB), including reference to the 2002 'Daniels' case.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Greg Wood,

    Oh I am really, really fucking angry now. Later I'll write a polemic about teaching to the test, and another vitriolic spew about this government's blind arrogance and insensibility, but for now I'm going to go and be very very fucking angry for a few minutes. And once I calm down even slightly I'll probably make some more phone calls about leaving the country, too.

    Now back in Aucktown • Since Dec 2006 • 86 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Greg Wood,

    Oh I am really, really fucking angry now.

    I'm honestly having trouble calming down. It's just a basic failure in the duty of care we expect of any government of any stripe. And it will have consequences for years to come.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Kyle MacDonald,

    Great post, couldn't agree more. We will look back at this Government and wonder how they managed to trample all over process and make decisions without consulation, abuse Urgency, and ignore harmful results on New Zealander's.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report

  • merc,

    Certainly as a parent I know I've always been very keen to have information about the performance of schools my children have been at...

    Dudes either got his tense screwed up or he's been post evaluating his kids school performance after they left.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report

  • Rob Stowell,

    Did it strike anyone else as a sort of ‘up yours, we’re still the boss’ to teachers- who were seen to have won a very public victory over class sizes?
    ETA: on a ‘meta’ analysis (and related to Josh Marshall’s ‘bitch-slap’ theory of politics) if you can forget about the content (which is destructive etc etc) there’s an underlying message of ‘we’re still in charge’ that might play well to the ID of some core National voters. Less about policy than a message about power and ’control’ after a perceived set-back?
    Stupid, off-the-cuff, and deeply counter-productive to NZ education- but also the inevitable result of the ‘national standards’ idiocy, which has thrown away a great deal of our education money (and good-will) into a system that has failed world-wide, where-ever it’s been tried…
    Angry, yes, surprised, sadly no :(

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2120 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    I've just added this to the main post, but for an insight into the implications of "teaching to the test", please read Jolisa Gracewood's account of her experience as a parent in the US.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Tamara,

    This is so infuriating. My eldest is a new entrant and I've heard from the school about it's view of NS and the latest changes. The teachers are warning us of the potential problems, especially for kids with learning difficulties. I wish they could just get on with teaching.

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 115 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Less about policy than a message about power and ’control’ after a perceived set-back?


    Handy distraction from the heat on asset sales too. Political game-playing with real people's lives makes me sick.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    A summary of the issues regarding National Standards and autistic students, including a report from the Education and Science select committee which considered this problem several times, 2009-2011.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen,

    I particularly liked the way John Key tried to frame the whole thing as the fault of the media.

    It wasn't National's fault for introducing standardized tests, it wasn't National's fault for collecting the data ... it was the media's fault for using OIAs to get at that data!!


    Policy by ideology not evidence then blame the media for exposing the problems.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Mark it farces...

    And it will have consequences for years to come.

    I fear they are betting that Charter Schools will save the day,
    and we'll see a drop off in the fully formed and informed adults quota for a generation or two...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Julie Fairey,

    Thank you for this Russell.

    Puketapapa Mt Roskill, AK… • Since Dec 2007 • 234 posts Report

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I think it's worse the way in which he justifies it in terms of being parent driven. It is beyond appalling that he seems more worried about what parents think than about having a constructive relationship with the education sector.

    With parents "desperate" to measure school quality, league tables created by the Ministry of Education could be the best solution, Prime Minister John Key says.

    FFS! What is wrong with ERO reports as a measure of school quality?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 830 posts Report

  • Martin Lindberg,

    I almost feel a kind of parental survivor's guilt about this as my youngest is now in her final year of school.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report

  • Ross Mason,

    A year is a long time in politics. But Prof Gluckman politely suggested to the govt back in April 2011 that better Evidence Based Policies would be a really really good idea.
    From the report:

    The public good is undoubtedly advanced by knowledge-informed policy formation, evaluation and implementation. The challenge is how to do better in two related domains: the generation and application of knowledge to inform policy making, and the use of scientific approaches to the monitoring and evaluation of policy initiatives.

    And just to make sure this geezer was not speaking above his station:

    As Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister I have the brief to promote discourse that will lead New Zealand to better apply evidence-based knowledge and research across all domains of public endeavour.

    The crux:

    1. Preamble
    Democratic societies make decisions and policy based on many inputs, including fiscal considerations, societal values, prevailing public views, and the ideals and vision of the government of the day. But democratic governments want to make good decisions and at the base of such decision making should be the use of high quality information and evidence, both in developing new policies and in evaluating current policies. Decisions made in the absence of such informed background material are, by definition, less likely to be effective or efficient and can entrench policies which may be of little value. Thus governments can become constrained by earlier policy decisions that are not easily reversible because there may be a popular or political perception that they are effective when in fact they are not.

    (My emphasis)
    Please Prime Minister, it is time you refreshed your memory and organised a fireside chat with Sir Pete. After all, you hired him to tell you like it should be.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report

  • Steve Barnes,

    That's not all...
    'white flight' from low decile schools

    Secondary Principals' Association president Patrick Walsh said...

    "The only credible reason would appear to be 'white flight' from low decile schools and that would indicate that, in the school sector at least, there is a growing division on ethnic and socio-economic lines, which I would suggest is not a good thing for New Zealand society.''

    School leak list grows

    Documents released to the Herald under the Official Information Act show a total of 273 primary, intermediate and secondary schools - dozens of them in Auckland - are now listed in ministry documents as having a "defective" or leaky building.

    Now remind me, who was in charge when our building standards were reduced to increase profits for big business?.
    These Guys.
    Budget 2012: Government cuts back housing scheme

    Mr Heatley said every dollar invested with non-government providers delivered two to three times as much social housing as the Government could provide.

    I have to agree, this Government is not as efficient as a bunch of money grubbing property developers at fleecing the poor and they seem to be proud of the fact.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report

  • Terry Baucher,

    Did it strike anyone else as a sort of ‘up yours, we’re still the boss’ to teachers- who were seen to have won a very public victory over class sizes?

    That was my immediate reaction when I heard it this morning. The cynicism would be astonishing if it wasn't so dispiriting.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2008 • 91 posts Report

  • merc,

    "Some parents assume the decile ranking is a proxy for the quality of the school and that can be very unfair ... I have gone to a number of decile one to two schools that I would more than happily send my own children to, and decile 10 schools I wouldn't send them to."
    I just love the way this guy frames things, so folksy and non-academic...oh wait.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report

  • Rob Stowell,

    Anyone else get the creeps when the "New Zealand Initiative" is allowed (eg on RNZ this morning) its self-described role as ‘an independent think-tank’.
    We know it’s taken something from the New Zealand Institute. But probably not, for example, its funding. that’s more likely to come from its other parent- the Business Round Table.
    BRT are quite entitled to have an opinion on education- or anything else- but they need to own it. They are undoubtedly aware that much of the public perceive the BRT ‘brand’ as toxic. Shopping their ideas around as the ideas of ‘an independent think-tank’ is dishonest.
    We haven’t forgotten what an ‘independent social policy think-tank’ the Maxim Institute was …
    (Joined the mailing list for the ‘NZ Initiative’- which seems to have lead, almost inadvertently, to my first ‘tweet’- asking them where their funding comes from. If anyone else wants to join in, an small tsunami of such requests on twitter might be interesting :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2120 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    he seems more worried about what parents think than about having a constructive relationship with the education sector

    Govt is cynically trying to re-establish a wedge between parents and professionals.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

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