Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: School bully

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  • James Robb, in reply to Danielle,

    Absolutely right Danielle. Union-busting is at the heart of the Charter Schools assault - breaking up the single national pay scale is the great unstated goal. They already have in the state schools all the other 'choices,' except those related to union-busting, as Jolisa has pointed out.

    My earlier blog on that issue:
    http://convincingreasons.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/charter-schools-and-union-busting/

    Auckland • Since Dec 2013 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to JonathanM,

    Maybe it’s rose-coloured glasses, but it seems that with the cohorts since NCEA this is increasing?

    Sample size of one and all that, I was part of the first year of students at U.Auckland that had to undertake general education papers as a component of our first under-grad degree. In one of the classes were a bunch of architecture students, taking one of the only GenEd papers that could fit in with their timetable. One day we were having a general discussion about the paper and what people thought of it, and one of the arch students had a moan about how the paper wasn't relevant to their degree so why were they having to take it? It was a chemicals and materials engineering paper, so I would have considered it at least mildly related, but it was also just generally good to be learning things outside my degree. That "I don't need to know this to pass my core degree" attitude is what you're seeing more widely, perhaps? As a B.Arch student she only had to take one GenEd paper, too, unlike most under-grads who have to take two.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Life inside the exam factory - why British teachers are quitting in droves

    That is f'ing scary, as they say in the profession. Make me very glad I don't have kids, and even more glad that, unpleasant as my schooling was at times, it was not like that.

    That sort of nonsense is absolutely apalling training for later in life, because it actively discourages "do your best" in favour of "do what gets the appropriate marks". The more you punish the top scoring students the more all the bright students will decide not to inflict that on themselves.

    In those places I suspect I would have not coped very well. As it was I took a few days a year off through either stress leave or psychosomatic illnesses, depending on which side of that particular fence you sit on. Which I suspect I got away with because my marks were at the high end of acceptable.

    As it was I vigorously rejected the pressure to perform, deciding after a disastrous 4th form prize giving that I would not win any more academic prizes, ever. Which worked for me, but made some people unhappy. Fortunately I had some co-operative teachers, or I would have failed to hand in a lot more papers at "mock exams" (as it was I found that if I stared at answers too long I'd get confused between what was correct, what we'd been taught, and what was likely to be marked correct, so I'd often leave early).

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1229 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to JLM,

    How can we turn the ideas in this essay into an “elevator pitch” that will bring home the reality of what these changes mean

    Target all politicians. all Parties. bombard by mail. Request a response other than generic or threaten to continue to bombard them for answers

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

  • Alice Ronald, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    I did Bursary in '00, which I think made my year one of the last to do the whole "old system". When I changed degrees in '04, I joined a bunch of first-years who had gone all the way through NCEA. They were most surprised to discover that the final exams would cover stuff from the earlier sections - "But we've already been tested on that!" came up in one review session. Oh boy, the lecturer's reaction to that was scathing.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Also, vote. And talk to people about voting. We've got our triennial chance to effect change this year, but it's only effective if people actually get out and vote and encourage other people to vote.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Mark McGuire,

    The governments intention to reduce the size of University councils and to increase the number of ministerial appointees , despite considerable opposition, makes it clear that changes are planned for the university sector, too.

    The opposition is pretty much universal, too. Even Stuart McCutcheon, VC of U.Auckland, is opposed, and he's the epitome of a corporate honcho who thinks education is something you do by the numbers. I was listening to an RNZ piece late last year where every representative of tertiary education on the show was against the idea, from McCutcheon through to academics and off to a third group. Every single one of them said (paraphrased, obviously) "This is a bad idea, it is completely unsupported by the evidence, and you cannot run a university council as though it's a company board."

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Deborah,

    Also, vote. And talk to people about voting. We’ve got our triennial chance to effect change this year, but it’s only effective if people actually get out and vote and encourage other people to vote.

    Yes, of course . Vote. Ignore polls ,ask questions, look for answers. I fire emails off all the time. To receive answers allows one to feel connected. It's also really satisfying to hear questions you ask of mps getting trotted out at Question time. They are reading your concerns. They are doing their job. Keep on keeping on.

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

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Alice Ronald,

    “But we’ve already been tested on that!” came up in one review session.

    Fortunately I didn't ever encounter that. I was a late starter, entering uni at 26, so like you I came through under the old system (left mid-6th form, though) with all the attendant differences.
    Perhaps it was also that big age difference (27 vs maybe 20) that gave me the different perspective on the value of breadth of education, but it still bugged me (clearly) that someone who's going to university would have a mindset of "If it's not directly related, it's not relevant".

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I was pretty confident of two things:

    a) that the US model, or something like it, was indeed where the National/ACT policy was eventually headed...

    ACT has announced its opposition to incentive funding for schools:

    Hekia Parata’s idea of giving bureaucrats more power to calculate how much schools should be paid shows the worst of National’s centralising instincts, according to ACT leader Jamie Whyte.

    “Parents know how well schools are performing. It is also parents who pay the tax to fund the schools. It should be parents who have the power to influence school funding.

    “No government can collect and process as much information as parents already have, and no government can know parents' varying preferences for their children's education. The Novapay debacle showed that government struggles even to install a centralised payroll system. Why should anyone believe it can develop a centralised system for calculating school performance?

    “Schools should be funded based on how many parents choose to send their children there, and they should be able to use the funds as they see fit..

    “Under a bulk funding model, schools that attract students from high needs areas can still get a top up for doing so, but the most important drive for them should be attracting more students.

    “ACT is the only party that truly believes in parental choice and understands the funding policies required to achieve it."

    http://www.act.org.nz/?q=posts/nationals-bureaucratic-instincts-on-show-in-education-reforms

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    It’s very unlikely that NCEA pushes students to narrowly target learning to examinations more than School C/Bursary, in as much as they were high stakes one off exams, the classic situation for learning the test, focussing on exam prep and exam technique etc.

    And assessment should be integral to learning processes — thinking of it as something [unrelated] that comes after learning is absurd. Students should, ideally, be thinking about how they will be assessed, what the assessments are, what the learning outcomes are. It is part of learning, and learning to learn.

    Students face competing demands on time and attention, and if you treat parts of the material as secondary and don’t assess them, of course they will catch on and not care — the solution is improved course design.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    The scarey rationalisations of an ideologue

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2557 posts Report Reply

  • Baxterabout, in reply to Hebe,

    Why should teachers be insulated from the competitive pressures that every other professional operates under?

    I don't support linking funding to student achievement either, but your own ideologically driven theories may be just as damaging to educational outcomes as the agenda you claim the government is pushing. At least they have the guts to try and provide alternatives to those who for whatever reason fall through the cracks of the existing system. Lets also think about what practical measures (e.g. insulating homes and adequately funding immunisation programs and primary health care) National has implemented as opposed to the welfare that is according to the opposition the only available alternative.

    Parata's inept management of the Christchurch situation is not in and of itself evidence that other parts of National's education policy are flawed.

    Lets see how sypathetic you are to Cunliffe and his cronies when you're paying tax at internationally uncompetitive rates if he gets elected.

    Think very hard about that before you cast your votes too.

    Hamilton • Since Mar 2014 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    As someone who, as a university lecturer, has taught people who went through the old system and through NCEA, I have to say I was more impressed by the NCEA students than I was of students who came to uni from the old system. NCEA students tended to be more versatile in their thinking. Anecdotal data, I realise (spanning several years, mind), but sometimes changes to the nature of our schooling system are beneficial.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Baxterabout,

    Lets see how sypathetic you are to Cunliffe and his cronies when you’re paying tax at internationally uncompetitive rates if he gets elected.

    Given that NZ has one of the flattest, least-progressive taxation structures in the OECD, I’m really, really curious as to just what Labour have planned that will suddenly reverse our status. Our top personal rate is far short of any kind of OECD record, and would need to go to well over 40% to have any shot at being “internationally uncompetitive.” I see that you’ve swallowed the “Kiwis are over-taxed” line all the way to the swivel, despite it being totally unsupported by the facts. We’ve got a fairly flat, low-top-rate personal income tax structure, and our taxation burden is nearly at the bottom of the OECD.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Baxterabout,

    Why should teachers be insulated from the competitive pressures that every other professional operates under?

    What bullshit. Doctors don't operate under "competitive pressure".
    Find me a top-performing school system where teachers are constantly having their performance measured and calculated and their pay adjusted accordingly. Especially one where teachers' pay scales top out at not a whole hell of a lot more than the median personal income. Top performing would be one of the countries that scores higher than NZ on at least two of the PISA metrics, just to avoid doubt.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Baxterabout,

    Hell, banks don’t operate under “competitive pressure”. South Canterbury Finance sure wasn’t left to operate under “competitive pressure”.
    In our system, which I suspect might not be your ideal system, government has an obligation to ensure continuous, stable, access to certain services – including health and education. If there was any argument to support National’s bailout of failed financial institutions on the grounds of “maximising security and stability”, it applies even more strongly to the state education system.
    While we’re at it, in what way is a charter school that can only operate by subcontracting its teaching out to existing state schools offering any kind of acceptable “alternative” regarding educational outcome?
    … But you were just trolling, right?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1928 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    Chris Hipkins had a press release out in response to Hekia's comments by Sunday afternoon. He's pretty active on twitter education debates. He also has a regular enews called Education Matters. Today's one has quite a bit of policy.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Baxterabout,

    paying tax at internationally uncompetitive rates

    I think, rather than attempt to unpick any sort of meaning from this, let alone respond, I’ll just leave it standing, like a work of abstract art. It's inherent meaninglessness ensures that it only has the meaning that we ascribe to it, and in doing so we are forced to contemplate the nature of our own consciousness.

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

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Life inside the exam factory – why British teachers are quitting in droves.

    Weeell, I did link to that 17 posts up the page, so you're welcome :)

    But again, I recommend anyone who is interested has a read through the 'secret teacher' archive on The Guardian. Of particular interest are the 18th Jan and 8th Feb entries from this year.

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

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Baxterabout,

    Why should teachers be insulated from the competitive pressures that every other professional operates under?

    Funnily enough, there's a long list of organisations that got insulated from 'competitive pressures': Rio Tinto, Warners, SkyCity, MediaWorks, the Road Transport Forum, Anadarko, AMI...

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Baxterabout, in reply to linger,

    How convenient for you to label any views that differs from your own or the original opinion as trolling, how about a debating the issues instead of throwing emotive labels around?

    Hamilton • Since Mar 2014 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Baxterabout,

    how about a debating the issues

    Yeah, how about that? I've thrown you some issues, where's the debate?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Baxterabout,

    Just to pull one thing out of the morass of begged questions:

    internationally uncompetitive rates

    Is there any evidence that there is international competition in income tax rates? As far as I know, people generally do not make good on threats to move because of tax levels, neither is quality of life correlated with low taxation.

    Eg, if we look at Nordic countries vs the Anglosphere, the correlation seems to be that taxation is higher in countries with lower levels of inequality, better child health, yadda yadda…

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Mark-it forces...
    Jolisa - Brilliant!
    and other voices are echoing your call to action...

    We have traction...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

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