Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: From soundbite to policy

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  • Max Call,

    except I don't think anyone here has discussed NCEA...
    I thought that the literacy and numeracy national standards test was for primary age children?

    Fruit Bowl of New Zealand… • Since Jun 2007 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I think you're right, Max, but the intent is a shift in the right direction so hopefully similar action may follow with the primary school testing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I expect them to be mature enough to take expert advice. That's all.

    Sacha: OK... I think it was Harold Macmillan who said "We have not overthrown the divine right of kings to fall down for the divine right of experts." At least there's one thing you can say for the Government -- they're on a three year, fixed-term contract and you can throw the bastards (and bitches) out on their ears with no right of appeal.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Ah yes, that was deceptively irrelevant of me. But if people want to see someone rant about the NCEA standards,they can do it here.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Max Call,

    Thanks for that link Lyndon.

    A lot of good points were raised.

    Also to add to that -
    some teachers I know are concerned that certain subjects are falling in popularity because (for example) they might offer 24 AS credits that take a lot of hard work to get a pass grade (A, M or E). Other subjects offer over 30 US credits that the kids can do almost standing on their head.
    The students know this and MANY choose their subjects accordingly.

    Fruit Bowl of New Zealand… • Since Jun 2007 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Max Call,

    (Note to above)

    This becomes increasingly evident by Year 13 as the students learn the 'system'

    Fruit Bowl of New Zealand… • Since Jun 2007 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • James Liddell,

    Also, and this is just my impression, there seem to be a lot more people from the secondary and tertiary education sectors in politics, than primary and early childhood.

    Jacqui Dean for Minister of Education (and Broadcasting, of course)?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    OK... I think it was Harold Macmillan who said "We have not overthrown the divine right of kings to fall down for the divine right of experts."

    True, but I think there's a difference in falling down "for the divine right of experts" and just giving due consideration to their advice when considering policy changes, especially when the policy change is not really urgent.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Frogblog may have a point on the ETS. The foresters are supposed to start January 1 and nothing's been "put on hold" yet.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    What a Tolley shambles. Surely there would have been consultation with someone somewhere before the decision was made?
    And this Tolley decision has nothing to do with consultation with Standards testing in Primary schools. And it should/must happen! Some one must have to produce a proposition which is credible and well researched in order to justify money/effect for the betterment of Primary School kids especially for the "tail end" kids.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    It's not a matter of abdicating decison-making - just of acknowledging when you don't know enough yet to challenge expertise. Nothing particularly earthshaking there, I would have thought.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    Rich

    AS: Maybe you could discuss what prevented you achieving literacy yourself?

    Block capitals should be used for abbreviations and acronyms. There is boldface and underlining for emphasis. You have to talk *about* something, "I'm talking having..." is not correct usage.

    Glass houses, etc.

    Are you genuinely trying to be a condscending asshat? If you are, you're doing a damn fine job of it.

    OH, AND I'LL USE BLOCK CAPITALS IN ANY WAY I CHOOSE, THANKS VERY MUCH.

    If you can't distinguish between the issues facing those who aren't functionally literate and my not meeting your grammatical expectations, I suggest you STFU on your snide personal attacks, and maybe pipe up when you actually have a useful contribution to make.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    D'you think Hilary's canvassing worked ?

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    St even says
    "One of the many crosses that teachers have to bear is that everyone who has been to school fancies themselves as an expert on Education.
    Strangely, the same people can eat roast dinners without feeling they have become experts in Modern Agricultural Systems."

    On the other hand most of us spent a 10-20 years in the state system and have a very inside view on how it used to be, faults and all

    One of the real ongoing troubles with Education is it tends to be run by people who liked school/or did very well at it, passed exams went to Uni, did honour degrees, phds and now have the levers firmly in their hands
    They quite frankly don't understand the rest of us and it is only recently that they have tried too
    Certainly been big improvements since I went to school when if you didn't fit you left at 15 and got a job

    I am not a big fan of testing ( I loved test/exams) as it really fails to give you a big picture but something is needed and boy do parents love to have something to rate their kids with

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    AS: I think that Rich was making a point that you have attacked the ideas on this site with wild illinformed angles. eg I think you said that half the adult population was unable to handle literacy/numeracy. You have been very critical of the "standards" in schools and say that you believe that there should be lots of testing/accountability and that would eliminate/reduce the above problems. You have written in very "loud" condemming terms. And probably ignored some really well thought out ideas. You are most welcome to your own ideas but don't be surprised if there are some who resent ignorance loudly stated. You sound angry but offer nothing that I can recall which might help the 20% tail. OK?

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    People who shout are always so appealing in public. My admiration for them and agreement with their opinions only grows in proportion to both their volume and persistence.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    It's the quiet ones you have to watch out for..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I just have visions of one of those yelly people on Cuba Mall.

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

  • A S,

    Ian:

    Suggest you read my initial posts. In case you can't be bothered, I'll summarise. The Bill as it was passed doesn't do most of the wild things claimed by posters. I also in my initial post that we have a literacy problem.

    I haven't seen anything posted that convinces me that we don't have a long way to go to improve literacy outcomes for kids leaving schools. After several attempts to be clear that basic literacy/numeracy isn't actually a very high expectation to have for kids leaving high school, I re-emphasised the key points I had made.

    I'll even say it again, I cannot see how trying to establish whether kids have literacy issues through testing is the awful thing an awful lot of posts make out.

    The changes to the Act in terms of testing might be bad, but they might also be a valuable tool for channelling support to kids who could really benefit from it. I'm inclined to think that on balance literacy testing would be a damn good thing, because if there are national reports about a problem published, things might actually happen in terms of a coherent response to fixing it. So in relation to your "not offering a solution" criticism, I don't think that I need to.

    Also, I don't think there should be "lots of testing" as you suggest, nor did I ever say that. That is precisely the misguided, and incorrect attribution that leads to a desire to use capital letters. I'm somewhat reluctant to try and justify things I've never said, so I'm at a disadvantage here.

    I've read a lot of speculation, a lot of selective interpretation of what the legislation actually says, and a number of what sound remarkably like conspiracy theories. While there are some well thought out points amongst it, most posts seem to be talking about legislative changes that only happened in peoples imagination.

    Sacha:
    Occasionally the quiet ones get sick of being quiet. Sometimes, shouting even works to clarify a point. Just a thought.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    Rich:

    You really don't have to try to convince me you're an asshat. Honest.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    AS That was a great response. I am doing something else at the moment but at a quick read we agree on a couple of things:
    There are too many kids who could do better. This problem must be addressed. Diagnostic testing would be a start but this is always being done in Primary Schools now. Guarantee that! The shortage of time, skilled personal, over crowded classrooms, etc etc means that known problems are not necessarily dealt with and seldom is it for the want of trying.
    So you could help by persuading the system to properly fund and resource the needs. At the moment you would hate it if your bright kids have their resources denied in order to supplement the Needy.Spread too thinly? Disaster for both top kids and bottom kids. Wasting money on another layer of testing which is already being done in a focussed way, is criminal. Cheers. Must go for now.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Occasionally the quiet ones get sick of being quiet.

    AS, I'm all for a bit of shoe-tossing every now and then. When there's a suitably oafish target. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    AS, I'm all for a bit of shoe-tossing every now and then. When there's a suitably oafish target. :)

    Must remember to keep a pair of slingbacks to hand for the next time I see this theocratic mouthpiece in the street.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Consequences –

    Speaking as one of those elitist, over-paid, curmudgeonly killers of creativity (academics) - I am going to offer the Turkey voting for Christmas line: There is no point in expanding or putting further funds into higher education as long as a culture of teach to the test/exam continues as it is or grows. Universities are beginning to fill up with students who feel they have purchased the right to be told the answers. TEC have made it pretty clear that in the long term they would like to see no more than 20% of students fail. This puts Universities in a very tough position; the easy answer given the numbers involved is to continue the “teach to the test culture” and cream off the most able for a proper (postgraduate) education. At which point this looks like and is educational inflation. The students would be better off elsewhere in society. Please be clear I am not advocating more selective HE, everyone should have the right to attend funded HE programmes at a time when it suits them. What I am saying is HE has little purpose or benefit for large numbers of students if schools are not allowed to educate students properly, which is most likely to be the case in a culture of compulsory testing tied to arbitrary standards.

    Educational philosophy –

    It is sad for me to see the extent to which “education” has given way to “training”. I tend to conceive of the difference in terms of goals for education in schools.

    i) One could argue the goal of education is literacy, numeracy and related skills.
    ii) One could argue that the goal is capability/efficacy with literacy and numeracy as a consequence.

    Each case has advantages and disadvantages but I am sad to see the second case lose so much ground in the modern age. Like Steven and a couple of others who posted in this thread I have a non-standard educational background. I left a privileged secondary education with what would now be regarded as poor literacy and numeracy skills. I now have substantial qualifications that speak to the fact that all I needed to do was find a reason to acquire literacy and numeracy skills. I would not exist in my current role if only case i) were enforced. What perplexes me above all is that I’m not really sure what will constitute literacy or numeracy in 50 years time and it may be a risky strategy delivering teaching on the presumption that I do.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I'm a bit concerned that Anne Tolley delayed the review of NCEA for a year apparently after meeting with Auckland secondary principals on Friday. This raises all sorts of questions - apart from how did she manage to have a meeting at all when her bill was going through urgency all day?

    Why wasn't she listening to all the other educational groups who have been meeting with her since she became education spokesperson after Katherine Rich stood down - many of whom advised her against the testing regime that was passed last week in less than 40 hours under urgency?

    Why is NCEA allowed a whole year for review while education testing wasn't even allowed a select committee hearing?

    What power does the Akld secondary principal lobby have? This is a very powerful group but they tend to come from the conservative end of education, high decile schools, those very concerned with zoning and compeitition between schools (mainly Auckland issues).
    They are certainly not representative of NZ wide schools.

    Is this going to be her main advisory group?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3227 posts Report Reply

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