Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Research Fail

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  • Russell Brown,

    Go ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Tom Semmens,

    its the purity of the system that counts, not common sense reality.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report

  • Don Christie,

    What seems to be lacking is an understanding of the end game here. Is it state funding of private schools?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report

  • John Fouhy,

    There was an article in the news recently about schools abandoning homework (the comments section on Stuff was surprisingly sane). One thing I remember from the article: an academic quoted as saying that homework helped some students and not others.

    When I was at school, I was quite academic, and I was lucky enough to go to a college that streamed students. But I have heard that my old school no longer does that.

    It seems like we're trying to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach when different students have different needs and respond to different teaching styles. Would it be bad to have different schools with different focuses, and try to match students to the one that suits best?
    (I think they do something like this in Germany)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report

  • Matthew Poole,

    Basically, this reads to me far more like an ideological fantasy than it does evidence-based policy development

    But Russell, evidence-based policy development is dead :P

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report

  • John Fouhy,

    From the other thread:

    I wish these f*&kwits could understand that "bonus' " and "Incentives" schemes really screw systems up.

    As an ex-banker, Key surely knows that bonuses are just part of the standard remuneration package and should be paid regardless of performance, right?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report

  • Steve Barnes,

    It's not surprising Prime Minister John Key is itching to champion plans to form an Asia-Pacific financial services hub in New Zealand.
    Key is sitting on a confidential report suggesting financial services could reasonably swiftly swell into a billion-dollar industry,

    Insider trading?.
    Nah but.. Didn't Nauru try something like this?

    Nauru decided to become a tax haven and offered passports to foreign nationals for a fee. This attracted the wrong kind of money (but a lot of it): the Russian mafia funneled over $70 billion to the tiny island nation. Things got so bad that most big banks refused to handle transactions involving Nauru because of money laundering problems.

    And that was after they had mined all their Phosphates. With all that Drug money from the Gangs this seems like a splendid idea.
    Still, that wasn't the end of the road, there was still another money making scheme in the offing...

    This led Nauru to another extraordinary money-making scheme: it became a detention camp for people applying for asylum to Australia!

    Yesss... John Key, the one for me.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report

  • Ngaire BookieMonster,

    Doesn't this sort of ignore the fact that surely a large problem with those kids at the bottom is a sustained lack of parental involvement and interest in their education? And nothing about this scheme would change that without a vast bureaucratic effort?

    Which, speaking of, wouldn't this necessitate diverting a significant amout of funds to administration?

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

  • Jackie Clark,

    Oh, and the joy just goes on and on. Can we have Helen back now, please?

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    There's been a bit of discussion around the networks about the current special education review under Heather Roy as Assoc Min of Ed, and that much of it seems quite sensible and uncontroversial. Perhaps it's because she has been advised by an expert panel that has some expertise.

    But the question has been; what is her real agenda? Well here it is in this document. Choice for a few, no choice for most. Vouchers, with no assurance they are purchasing quality education in appropriate environments, and transportation and logistical nightmares. Excuses for schools to get rid of the most time consuming and difficult students. It will be the special educational needs kids and those already disengaged from schools who will miss out by being further marginalised - bussed out of sight.

    The document praises US charter schools. These have been allowed to pick the kids they want, run the school day as it pleases them, teach whatever curriculum they want (as long as the kids pass the standardised tests), and employ who they want. They are known for employing non-unionised and often untrained staff. So they become specialist environments with little diversity. For this they get tax payer money.

    Not a good model for egalitarian NZ with our world class educational system, and the right in the 1989 Education Act for every child to attend their local school from 5 - 19 years..

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Ben Gracewood,

    I really don't get it. Am I missing something?

    From Stuff:

    The provider would only be funded two-thirds of the cost of the child's course, with the final third paid as a performance bonus when the child succeeded.

    As a parent of EITHER a top 5% child or a bottom 20% child, why the hell would I send him to a school with only 2/3 funding of my local school?

    Even if I were positive that my child would succeed, why would I put his education at the mercy of the teachers and other kids succeeding?

    Truly puzzled.

    Orkland • Since Nov 2006 • 168 posts Report

  • Ben Gracewood,

    The document praises US charter schools. These have been allowed to pick the kids they want, run the school day as it pleases them, teach whatever curriculum they want (as long as the kids pass the standardised tests), and employ who they want.

    You only need to read Jolisa's last blog to see how wonderfully that works out. Fucked if I'm going to send my kids to a school where they replace the lunch break energy release valve with more lessons.

    Orkland • Since Nov 2006 • 168 posts Report

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Oh, and the joy just goes on and on. Can we have Helen back now, please?

    Sorry Jackie, although I agree with you ,apparently she is not good enough.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    The ideas in the policy paper come pretty much verbatim from The Education Forum, a lobby group that campaigns for school vouchers and privatised education.

    Here's an editorial talking up the working group, and the Swedish system, by Roger Kerr.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Just thinking,

    Only after I fell-over during my first attempt at PostGrad study was I tagged as gifted.


    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Truly puzzled.

    Quite. They've made a whole lot of airy blanket statements about other countries' systems, then given it an administrative overlay that's just plain weird.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Paul Williams,

    its the purity of the system that counts, not common sense reality.

    Precisely. I'll read this report with interest. I'd previously debated this issue with Deborah Coddington who surprising conceded exactly this, saying:

    Paul, there’s no guarantee that vouchers would improve education “outcomes”, and that’s not why I support them, although Swedish and Dutch research shows that is a result. But other factors contribute to successful education outcomes, for instance parental involvement, teacher expectations, etc. I support vouchers because I believe all parents should have choice, not just those who have the financial capacity to buy or rent a house “in zone”.

    My understanding is that the Swedish school system was centralised and homogenous with few independent or non-government schools. Perhaps in this context, a voucher system would help develop diversity and responsiveness but context is everything and the NZ school system is incredibly diverse and decentralised.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report

  • slarty,

    Am I alone in wondering where the f*** are labour in all this? It seems to be only the Greens who get quoted. I presume Goff is either:

    a) Silent because they are concerned at offending the ignorant masses by speaking truth or
    b) Being ignored (which I can buy in the case of Granny nowadays)

    At grass roots in AKL I've noticed the Supercity stuff is getting airtime...

    I'm sure there's a marketing master plan somewhere...

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    The amount of the particular student’s scholarship would be developed using a formula that weights for the particular student’s needs48—this will mean that portions of monies currently bulk-provided under different headings may need to be redirected if a fiscally neutral system is the only option. Providers will also be incentivised by receiving more per capita than they currently receive.

    What they are saying is that kids who qualify as gifted or struggling will be given extra funding because they cost more to educate. Assuming fiscal neutrality (as mentioned in the above quote), that funding will be at the expense of ordinary kids.

    Bonuses are paid for substantially lifting the performance of low achieving students or gifted students to new levels.

    So, where's this money going to come from, if not from the budgets of non-provider schools ?

    So, yet another Act-led scheme based on failed policies, and which predictably has the effect of enabling a rort of tax-payer money.

    I'm very disappointed that the Maori Party went along with this rubbish.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    From the working group paper's characterisation of US Charter schools:

    • regular testing and formative assessment
    • long school days and a long school year

    Meanwhile, a Stanford University study from last year:

    A national study released today casts doubt on whether the academic performance of students in charter schools is any better than that of their peers in regular public schools.

    Looking at 2,403 charter schools in 15 states and the District of Columbia, researchers at Stanford University found that students in more than 80 percent of charter schools either performed the same as—or worse than—students in traditional public schools on mathematics tests.

    Detail from the study itself:

    The group portrait shows wide variation in performance. The study reveals that a decent fraction of charter schools, 17 percent, provide superior education opportunities for their students. Nearly half of the charter schools nationwide have results that are no different from the local public school options and over a third, 37 percent, deliver learning results that are significantly worse than their student would have realized had they remained in traditional public schools. These findings underlie the parallel findings of significant state‐by‐state differences in charter school performance and in the national aggregate performance of charter schools. The policy challenge is how to deal constructively with varying levels of performance today and into the future.

    So half of students see no improvement -- and more than a third of charter schools deliver a poorer result in basic education than the public schools the students were formerly attending.

    I need hardly add that these recent and highly relevant numbers do not feature in the policy paper.

    The closer I look at this thing, the more it seems like a bad joke. Trevor Mallard's response this morning was lame -- he has plenty of facts at his disposal and he should bloody well use them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • slarty,

    RB, this is you not having time ;-)

    I think Debbie Babes comment from last Friday clearly explains how this (and the drug thing and the SuperCity thing) should be driven:

    Instead of trying to deny our feelings, perhaps we should be harnessing them. This is not something businesspeople are very good at. Many executives are geniuses at suppressing their emotions and pride themselves on looking at cold hard facts. This can lead them to become somewhat disordered individuals...

    Perhaps if we tried to use thoughts to encourage us to have more positive feelings we would achieve more. But that's just how I feel. That's from one of the people who is proud to say I don't know anything.

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report

  • Paul Litterick,

    I don't have time this morning to go through Step Change: Success the only Option, Report of the Inter-Party Working Group for School Choice

    I got this far before breaking down in tears of sardonic laughter. These people really do think like this: we need a step-change and success is the only option. Next they will be telling us they like a challenge, think outside the box and that they work hard and play hard.

    There is something quite demeaning about a government which talks in the argot of photocopier salesmen.

    I shall now conitnue reading your post.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Trevor Mallard's response this morning was lame -- he has plenty of facts at his disposal and he should bloody well use them.

    It seems a few are short on time this morning but never fear...Kelvin Davis here.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report

  • Paul Williams,

    Sofie, I agree. The response has been very muted. I'm surprised too...

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I'm bamboozled by this bit in the Stuff article:

    [Heather Roy] said the top, gifted children and the bottom, worst-performing children would be able to switch between schools during the school day for different subjects.

    How does that work? Will they be putting on a mini van to transport the kids to the other school? Or will the kids have to coordinate public transport (if, indeed, their school is serviced by public transport).

    What a hassle.

    Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report

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