Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Hekia's waynebrave

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Wouldn’t it be great if the Correspondence School had the innovative capacity to do that ‘NotSchool’ stuff. There are many people out there who could provide input about how to do it well. That would be an educational project we could support.

    Yes. The good thing about it is that it doesn’t set up kids to fail. Correspondence School is essentially an earnest attempt to replicate mainstream schooling, which wasn’t what a child who had grown actively hostile to that system needed.

    You probably know that NotSchool could have been properly adopted here, but lost out in an internal political battle at the Ministry of Education. We were very fortunate to to find Jean Hughes, who was actually being paid to oversee British students (after-hours, taking advantage of the time difference) but was able to add our son to her roster. She’s an amazing woman who now drives buses.

    He didn’t learn a lot via NotSchool – he learned a lot more on his own by playing video games, to be honest – but it was at least a place that didn’t make his world worse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    But the only reason they’re doing online education, sometimes with phone and visit support from the folk at the Correspondence School, is because they physically can’t get to a local in-person school. If you grow up on a remote sheep station, their school might be an hour away, each direction. That’s obviously not practical, which is where the Correspondence School comes in.

    Online schooling is a product of necessity, not choice.

    I just want to note that this is not true. That is the traditional idea of who Te Kura is for, but it's not how it functions any more. My daughter did correspondence courses while enrolled at and attending her local school, because it gave her less time she had to be physically present in a classroom which, as for Russell's son, was Not Working and hugely stressful for everyone involved.

    (And actually, when I think about it, I did French by correspondence myself way back in the 80s while attending my local school, because I was the only student taking it past 5th form. I quite literally sat 6th form certificate French exams in a cupboard.)

    Some kids benefit enormously from being in a school environment. A few kids suffer enormously through it. Giving them the alternative of learning on line would be great. This just really, really isn't the way to go about it.

    And yes, they'd need some kind of supervising adult. When you have a special needs kid, you learn pretty quickly that two full-time working parents is never going to be a thing. What would be nice is some kind of universal allowance or benefit that would provide those parents with support.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Julienz,

    I believe we are talking about choice not compulsion.

    That doesn't affect the economics at all. Every child who isn't in state-funded education saves the government money up front, regardless of the quality of that education (just as every child in state-funded education costs the government money, regardless of the quality of the education). IMO Key et al are much more swayed by money now than any question about what happens to the poors, now or later. Your experience may be different.

    Likewise, without frequent checks, "home schooling" is going to be the first choice for the worst abusive parents, because it greatly reduce the number of people likely to ask "where is child X" with any authority.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Emma Hart,

    (And actually, when I think about it, I did French by correspondence myself way back in the 80s while attending my local school, because I was the only student taking it past 5th form. I quite literally sat 6th form certificate French exams in a cupboard.)

    Me too! Although I made the mistake of taking the grammatical option rather than the conversational option, which meant that although I had a working knowledge of the subjunctive I was pretty rubbish at communicating with people.
    I then went on to do 6th form Music by correspondence, for the same reason (the decile 1 school didn't have the resources to offer it to me). And it was excellent.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 822 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Me too! Although I made the mistake of taking the grammatical option rather than the conversational option, which meant that although I had a working knowledge of the subjunctive I was pretty rubbish at communicating with people.
    I then went on to do 6th form Music by correspondence, for the same reason (the decile 1 school didn’t have the resources to offer it to me). And it was excellent.

    I took seventh-form Latin via correspondence - our school only offered it through fifth form. It wasn't perfect - I struggled somewhat with the lack of direct feedback - but it worked, and I can only imagine online options would improve it. But you don't need an entire new provider for that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    One time a kid brought a horse to school, and we used it in bullrush.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • mpledger,

    The thing about online learning is that online testing goes with it. And with online testing it's very easy to build a database of information about a child and that database is valuable. Especially when joined up with enrollment info - religion, parent's jobs, home addresses etc.

    It's harder in school with pen and paper tests because someone has to sit down and enter the data, in the right format and add it to the right database. That's get really hard with lots of kids over many years.

    Since Oct 2012 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • llew40,

    I don’t have an issue with the idea of online learning, per se. After all, if we have genuine teacher shortages, for example in STEM (and some of the facts around number of science teachers in areas of NZ like, say, Northland, are appalling), then the idea of using tech to give more kids online access to some of the best Science teachers in NZ should not be regarded as a bad thing. But I think for the vast majority of people who benefit from social interaction and community, you will need a classroom to beam the lessons into and the wrap around coaching to go with the online teaching. But this need not be an idealogical or political discussion.

    Since Nov 2012 • 140 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Julienz,

    I believe we are talking about choice not compulsion. Nothing I have seen suggests that the Minister’s move to facilitate online education amounts to compulsory home schooling.

    Yes, I would have though the likelihood of more than a handful of parents taking up this idea (in addition to current homeschoolers) would be quite low. But the Labour Party, its shills and the teacher unions have presented it as - to quote Chris Hipkins - "a Trojan horse for privatisation and an end to free public education". Chippie has also added a nice bit of xenophobia to his messaging, saying the scheme would see "students sitting at home in their bedrooms with a laptop receiving their tuition from a foreign corporation". Of the horror!

    But for any of this to be true, it would require vast numbers of parents to opt out of state-run schools, bypass integrated or private ones and decide to do online homeschooling. If the Labour Party, its shills and the teacher unions really think this is remotely plausible they are revealing a stunning lack of confidence in parents' perception of the quality of state schools.

    This piece by a paid Labour Party strategist also mistakenly implies that distance education, such as that provided by Te Aho O Te Kura Pounamu, is about trying to duplicate the experience of a classroom, and doing so in perhaps a quite-close but nevertheless inferior manner. In fact, had Rob had professional or personal contact with Te Aho O Te Kura Pounamu or its parents, he would know that distance providers argue that what they provide is completely different from and - for some students - can be much better than the traditional model.

    I don't know whether of those claims are true: I guess they sound plausible. But, as above, it seems highly unlikely more than a handful of parents would choose this option anyway, unless you want to argue large numbers of parents are desperate for an alternative to the traditional model.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I just want to note that this is not true. That is the traditional idea of who Te Kura is for, but it’s not how it functions any more.

    Christ Emma. I hadn't seen this before I posted. It will do our reputations no good to be seen agreeing like this.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    As someone pointed out, offering an online option while reducing school support funding for older disabled students suggests another group who may be 'encouraged' to opt for the former 'choice'.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Sacha,

    As someone pointed out, offering an online option while reducing school support funding for older disabled students suggests another group who may be 'encouraged' to opt for the former 'choice'.

    Online learning is an adjunct to traditional learning, rather than a replacement for it. And there's the digital divide issue - would pupils be required or not to supply their own computer devices, which cost a whole lot more than a few pencils and sheets of paper?

    For learners with pervasive developmental disorders like ADHD or autism, a highly immersive approach such as that of a trade apprenticeship likely fits them best. Computers in the home can't necessarily replicate that, if the ultra-high dropout rates for MOOCs are anything to go by.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    computer devices, which cost a whole lot more than a few pencils and sheets of paper

    but much less than a trained support worker.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Attachment

    This morning's Tremain

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    unless you want to argue large numbers of parents are desperate for an alternative to the traditional model.

    The traditional model isn't an option any more, things have changed. It's quite possible that large numbers of parents will regard the Paratonline option as better than the current model, and both as vastly inferior to the traditional model. I/S shares my suspicions that this isn't about new and improved so much as it's about cheaper and easier.

    I have to ask, what makes you think Hekia Parata is a competent minister diligently working to make the NZ education system better for everyone?

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Moz,

    It’s quite possible that large numbers of parents will regard the Paratonline option as better than the current model, and both as vastly inferior to the traditional model.

    I make my daily obeisance to the deity who decreed my offspring were well and truly educated in more simple times and have, as yet, failed to reproduce themselves....this discussion is interesting...but mercifully remote.

    However, I did have a friend who was very active in the PPTA and also involved with the Labour Party. This was three decades ago, and even then such 'initiatives' by the ruling party were viewed with extreme suspicion.

    Nothing is as it seems.

    These two announcements....Parataonline and ECE Learning Support (at the expense of older Learning Challenged kids) coming so close together with the anticipated flurry of reaction from the sector can only mean one thing....

    Distraction.

    There is Something Else in the Government Pipeline....

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Online learning is an adjunct to traditional learning, rather than a replacement for it.

    That's right, there's only so much I can do with computers and books. Most of my learning requires tools. My daughter, who is way more "traditional" than I am, need a microscope amoung other bits of lab equipment, for one of her learning activitys. However, my Doc ranger friends seem to be doing a good job educating there children at some the most remote places in the country.

    I am now getting an online education right here at Public address .net, and it hasn't done me any harm. Which kind of contradicts what I said about the limits of books and commuters - my early education was loaded colourful paradox, which I just don't get well paid for.

    I'm with Tremain, I liked it better when Norman Kirk suggested alternative education, that's just me. My daughter was adamant she wanted to go to a uniform school.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Moz,

    I have to ask, what makes you think Hekia Parata is a competent minister diligently working to make the NZ education system better for everyone?

    I would not make any claim about competence, but I am sure her intention is precisely to make the system better for everyone, as it has been for everyone who has been Minister of Education in my lifetime . And the idea she is motivated by a desire to make things "cheaper and easier" (whatever that means) is certain to be arrant nonsense.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    the idea she is motivated by a desire to make things "cheaper and easier" (whatever that means) is certain to be arrant nonsense.

    It would seem from the "$883m for new schools & classrooms" budget announcement that you're correct that Parata isn't trying to make education cheaper or easier for the government, and doesn't anticipate a fall in the number of children physically attending schools.

    Or it might be that rather then being the product of a considered, costed, researched policy development process over some months (thus, starting before the last budget) this is, as Russell suggests, more of a fain-brart. I'm sure a simple request of her department, or if necessary a FOIA demand will shortly produce the extensive documentation required to produce this policy.

    You could also be referring to the charter schools program, which appears to be following the overseas route of being both more expensive and of inferior quality compared to public education. But to do that would raise questions over her "intention to make the system better for everyone".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • mpledger,

    @Matthew Hooton

    If parents, teachers and just about everyone have reacted badly to Hekia Parata’s online learning policy then she has only herself to blame. If she made the announcement with so little information than people are going to look elsewhere to see what she means.

    And if she used terminology that comes straight out of American educational policy around Online Charter schools then people are going to take it that she means to replicate American educational policy.

    American online schools has been terrible for the vast majority of students who enrol in them – IIRC only about 33% graduate from online schools compared to 80% across all schools. Huge number of kids enroll but never logon or only logon once.

    Parents Across America, a parent advocacy group, recently came out with these concerns about education by computer…
    ~~~
    PAA’s specific concerns about EdTech’s:
    - harmful effects on children’s mental and emotional development,
    - negative impact on student intellectual and academic growth,
    - damaging physical effects,
    - depersonalization and other ways of undermining the educational process,
    - questionable value and effectiveness,
    - continuous testing of students, often without obtaining consent from or even informing students or parents,
    - threats to student data privacy, and
    - hugely lucrative benefits for private companies.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    If people are "hysterical" as DPF claims than it's Hekia Parata's fault because it's her communication skills that have caused people to become "hysterical".

    Since Oct 2012 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    I would not make any claim about competence, but I am sure her intention is precisely to make the system better for everyone,

    Hmmm...according to the Font of All Knowledge, Parata has no teaching experience nor hands on experience in education administration.

    In fact, the only reference to "Education" in her Wikibio is regarding her sister Apryll (?) being appointed...

    as deputy secretary at the Ministry of Education.[16] Apryll's role makes her responsible for "performance and change", and gives her responsibility for making key decisions within the ministry. Post Primary Teachers Association president Robin Duff said the promotion "would have seemed more legitimate if the role had already existed".[17]

    Hmmm....I am not confident in her competence at all....and I question her intentions.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Ministers don't need to be professionally or academically qualified in their field, they just need to receive and act on a range of sensible advice. (Bill English isn't an economist, nor was Michael Cullen [he was an economic historian]. Neither Gerry Brownlee or Phil Goff have ever been in the military, and so on.)

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to mpledger,

    @Matthew Hooton

    If parents, teachers and just about everyone have reacted badly to Hekia Parata’s online learning policy then she has only herself to blame. If she made the announcement with so little information than people are going to look elsewhere to see what she means.

    Yup.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    they just need to receive and act on a range of sensible advice.

    ....from similarly experienced and qualified advisers like...

    Dr. Andrea Schollum, who signed off on the Regulatory Impact Statement for this COOL initiative.

    Dr. Schollum has extensive experience in...

    ..tourism geography. She emigrated to New Zealand from Germany in 1990, so she also holds a number of German qualifications in the area of business management and administration, and she worked in the private sector in Germany.

    Helpfully, the Ministry's website gives us access to many documents and publications including RISs.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason,

    The prime benefit to the government of this nonsense is that we're no longer talking about child poverty or homelessness.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 259 posts Report Reply

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