Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Standards Matter

414 Responses

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  • Emma Hart,

    Widgets can be defective in three different ways.

    Keir, your example assumes that 'defective' is an objective measure. 'Moral' is subjective - people's ideas of what is moral vary. Middleton Grange, for instance, prides itself on producing 'moral' children, along a moral code that I find absolutely repulsive. I think 'acceptance of homosexuality' is a moral value, they think quite the opposite. So... who is defective? And who gets to decide?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Has anyone explained the rationale behind exempting private schools from the standards?

    How strongly are the NZEI & PPTA represented in private schools? If not very much, then it's easy to conclude there's a far more ulterior motive at play.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Robbie Siataga,

    my cousin went to middleton grange and she was quite the lil slapper though you'd never know to look at her:)

    Since Feb 2010 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Widgets can be defective in three different ways.

    Another aspect of the scientific approach to the social is that it tends to focus on what is defective. Again, because it's easier to measure.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    'Moral' is subjective - people's ideas of what is moral vary.

    "That's two issues rolled into one," said the philosopher. "It may turn out that there is objective morality and it may also turn out that people are wrong in their beliefs as to what constitutes the moral life. Whilst we can be certain that people have been wrong about what is moral, we can't assume that morality itself is subjective."

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    Children are not widgets.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • buzzy,

    Keir, your example assumes that 'defective' is an objective measure. 'Moral' is subjective - people's ideas of what is moral vary. Middleton Grange, for instance, prides itself on producing 'moral' children, along a moral code that I find absolutely repulsive. I think 'acceptance of homosexuality' is a moral value, they think quite the opposite. So... who is defective? And who gets to decide?

    Yeah, what Emma said.

    I can group the widgets into working/busted, and classify the busted ones depending on which faults they display. The resulting piles will be the same as when you did it, and it's the fact that we can compare my groupings and your groupings that's valuable.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    'Moral' is subjective - people's ideas of what is moral vary. Middleton Grange, for instance, prides itself on producing 'moral' children, along a moral code that I find absolutely repulsive. I think 'acceptance of homosexuality' is a moral value, they think quite the opposite. So... who is defective? And who gets to decide?

    I've just read their so-called foundational principles for curricula, and it is evident to me that you, Emma Hart, are deeply defective, and I can hardly be much better.

    Honestly, what a vile, bombastic, bellowing piece of work.

    Sample:

    Truth, particularly in the humanities, is held to be subjective. This has meant that opinion and preference have come to play a role for which they are unfit. So nationally social studies, English and in some cases religious education have lost confidence when it comes to speaking about the value of one culture or form of government over and against another, or one work of art or piece of literature in relation to another, or of Christianity over Islam, or of intelligent design in the face of evolutionary theory, etc. Middleton Grange School’s curricula should not be paralysed by such foolishness.

    My taxes appear to be funding this hateful bullshit.

    Amusingly, the school's Wikipedia article lists only two alumni. One is a What Now presenter and the other is Graham Capill.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Ouch. And it appears Capill's father was vice-principal for some time. Way to teach values, eh?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    and it is evident to me that you, Emma Hart, are deeply defective

    Well, duh. Know what my partner's getting me for my birthday? Porn. Awesome. (He's also slightly concerned that the ordered by and addressed to him magazine full of pictures of naked men is going to arrive while his father is here minding the kids while we're at Foo, and he's going to have some 'splaining to do.)

    Carry on.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    If private schools were included in the standards, you'ld destroy an entire business sector.

    Rangi Ruru charges $15,200 pa years 7 - 13 = $76,000 for little Trixiebells education.

    This is the class divide & measuring purely Teritary Quals of Private & State School students isn't the whole story.

    Private Schools (at least in Christchurch) trade on the advantages students get in life.

    And weren't they right:
    Plush home detention for privileged bank robber
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/1392255

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Dinah Dunavan,

    first year university drop out rates grouped by high school

    In my third year (mid 80s) at Vic I met a bloke from a prestigious Whanganui boys school. He was the only Vic first year from his high school to pass all subjects in the first year. Of course, after his first year he discovered drugs and when I met him was he failing spectacularly.

    Dunedin • Since Jun 2008 • 186 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    More from Middleton Grange:

    Additionally, curricula that fail to take seriously the depth of sin in the individual, and the consequences of sin at a personal and social level, run the risk of doing pupils and New Zealand society the greatest possible disservice. Curricula which are only therapeutic, pandering to pupil potential and self-maximisation, and which never mention the human capacity for selfishness, deception and violence, and which describe human fallenness, sin and even evil as impersonal and as the result of economic, political or societal failure, are trivial. Our curricula cannot be so: they must bear the imprimatur [10] of Scripture and the awful revelation of the cross.

    WT, as they say, F?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 821 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Honestly, what a vile, bombastic, bellowing piece of work

    by Bruce Logan, for once writing in his own words.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    More from Middleton Grange:

    They appear to have been exempted from all standards of decency.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Ignore the terms defective/not-defective[1], it may as well be yellowish or greenish. The point is that Giovanni clearly thinks he can make decisions based on things like values. Now, there must be some way to get that information out of Giovanni's head and into the hands of other people who make decisions[2].

    An Hayekian would no doubt say that the best way to do that would be a market. As a good little socialist, I think that's wrong. I think that the best way would be an empirical research project. I would call this research project `pedagogy', and I would certainly admit that not all, and probably not even most, of it would involve numbers. But it would certainly remain scientific.

    [1] it's defective/not-defective 'cause I've been reading a book on quality control. If you'd been a week earlier it would have been artistic and political worth or something else.

    [2] Unless you subscribe to some very harsh beliefs about the communicability of thoughts.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    WT, as they say, F?

    I don't even.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Middleton Grange is a fundy Christian School & the values they celebrate are the ones of their church and home life (these parents smack - Simon Barnett et al).

    The positive story for Middleton Grange is that they are from Year 1-13 and so have a strong family concept with most of the kids.

    And they have a great Cobb Building.

    It's not like Christchurch has a shortage of good state schools and it wouldn't be hard to get expelled by the sounds of it.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    National standards aren't about helping underachieving students...

    That's the sad truth.

    If it were, the govt. could fairly accurately map achievement against a range of socio-economic (and other) factors in order to best target help.

    Unfortunately, this would require both a lot of spending and spending on largely non-National-supporting groups.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    In my third year (mid 80s) at Vic I met a bloke from a prestigious Whanganui boys school. He was the only Vic first year from his high school to pass all subjects in the first year. Of course, after his first year he discovered drugs and when I met him was he failing spectacularly.

    And speaking of pratfalls from grace, no less than several of my final-year group were busted big time consuming hard drugs. And they weren't particularly hard up either.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I went to a party at a house owned by Middleton Grange once. Towards the end of the evening, me and my flatmate were waiting to get a ride back home, so we wandered down the drive to the street. It stunk of fags, which was kind of curious. My flatmate knew the guys who lived there pretty well, and he said yeah, because it's school property they aren't really supposed to smoke on the grounds. They've got to come out here when they want to light up.

    Which was when I looked across the road and saw the big sign saying Middleton Grange and it all kind of clicked.

    Very odd feeling.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The point is that Giovanni clearly thinks he can make decisions based on things like values. Now, there must be some way to get that information out of Giovanni's head and into the hands of other people who make decisions[2].

    You can expect a school to promote certain values, including the inclusion of children with special needs, and then to a certain, fairly limited extent, evaluate (not there's something social scientists ought to be good at) whether it has succeeded in doing so. But you won't be able to measure it in the same way that you measure literacy or numeracy. It's just not possible. However, that's not to say that having that such a requirement is meaningless.

    I think the requirement that organisations honour the Treaty is comparable. Remember when Winston used to routinely ask in the house what does it mean? He was playing with the fact that it is not always easy to tell, that it varies greatly between organisations, and yes, that in some cases it consists of a series of token gestures. Yet as a general principle is very valid and we ought to strive to apply it.

    Going back to schools, national standards - precisely because they are so easy to measure - will inevitably become the headline number at the expense of all the other things that a school might be doing very well or not at all. And that's just stupid.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    several of my final-year group were busted big time consuming hard drugs. And they weren't particularly hard up either.

    Of course not. They don't grow on trees* - you need to have money to pay for them. It's a bit hard to develop an expensive habit of anything when you're using all your student loan on rent and fees. I don't know if anyone's studied this, but I reckon you'd get two groups with higher levels of drug (including alcohol) consumption - those with lots of money from legitimate sources, and those with lots of money from illegitimate sources.

    *well, obviously some do.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    But just because Peters manages to clown around with an idea doesn't mean it is a bad idea. In general, more asking `what does it mean?' would be a good thing.

    Certainly the idea of getting 76% in morality is absurd. (The idea of getting 76% in literacy is pretty absurd as well for that matter.) But that doesn't mean you can't measure these things in some ways.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    Days like this on PAS make it all so much better reading informed comment on what has become an emotional issue that is going to have a huge effect on my work. Trouble is nothing is going to change. I could see it happening as soon as this policy was proposed before the election. The real concern for me now has been the sudden turn in the debate from children's learning and achievement to the performance of teachers and schools along with an all out attack on the NZEI(one of the biggest unions in the country). This to me is the real agenda for if the government were serious about raising the achievement of the bottom 20% they would be putting all the money set aside for the standards into these children. As it is there is I think $36 million set aside over 3 years to address the non achievers. Someone has done the maths and worked out that it equates to $138 per child over 3 years. That will buy half a days 1-1 assistance.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

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