Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Tidbits ahoy

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  • insider outsider,

    Clarke et al who are worried about petrol prices should be even more worried.

    The govt is about to give your local council the ability to levy another 10c on petrol for local vanity projects... sorry that should read transport and infrastructure and other projects.

    That will go on top of the cost of carbon and the extra cost of biofuels that are also being legislated. The only way is up baby...

    nz • Since May 2007 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Let's see ... we have our #2 trading partner heading for the biggest recession in a generation, oil prices climbed 50% last year, our currency is gaining strength and pressuring exporters, food prices are on the rise, climate change is happening all around us, and interest rates are the highest they've been in years. Against this background, Key spends all his time talking about ..... taggers?!

    I think we can assume that since both the main party leaders devoted their opening speeches to issues around The Youth Of Today that their polling is picking this up as an issue.

    Another economic speech would not have cut the mustard. Nor would climate change. And that applies to both Clark and Key.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I think we can assume that since both the main party leaders devoted their opening speeches to issues around The Youth Of Today that their polling is picking this up as an issue.

    Good point. Interestingly, nothing much about mortgage-belt poverty (ie: dangerously over-committed homeowners, resentful as hell), which I've been hearing is coming through in polling.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    I wonder what the evidence is behind increasing leaving ages. I would have thought that if a person is flopping around and failing at school at age 16, that another year or two is probably just going to be more flopping around and failing. If a system hasn't worked for you for 11 years, is two more going to make a difference?

    There is evidence for the value of keeping kids in school, but only if they are achieving (as measured in terms of qualifications). Access Economics (Aus) estimated that increasing senior secondary retention rates to 90% will lead to a 1.1% increase in GDP, the report is here. There's all sorts of assumptions implicit in this modelling, and I think that some of them aren't all that robust, but it's not an unreasonable report/conclusion. The key point is, however, that the retention alone isn't the goal, the goal is achievement. In which case, I'd still argue for an education, not school, leaving age.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The key point is, however, that the retention alone isn't the goal, the goal is achievement. In which case, I'd still argue for an education, not school, leaving age.

    Yes, I'd be fully behind anything which made advancements on actual achievements. I'd just be worried that in 10 years we're going to be told that we've gotten much better at keeping kids in school longer, which presumably will cost a pile of money, and I wonder if we'd have made any difference.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Good point. Interestingly, nothing much about mortgage-belt poverty (ie: dangerously over-committed homeowners, resentful as hell), which I've been hearing is coming through in polling.

    Well, can you imagine a reality-based double act from Clark and Key (or English and Cullen) directed at the 'mortgage-belt' that wouldn't result in a political throat-slitting orgy straight out of Sweeney Todd? I can't, and very much doubt the merry little spin-elves of Wellywood can either ...

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

  • 81stcolumn,

    Smaller class sizes would be great. But so too would a greater proportion of teachers who inspire their students to want to learn.

    Which is in a roundabout way the point I was trying to make. You can't blame HE for uninspired students it's not fair. Primary/secondary has contact with students for eight years - HE gets them or 3/4 years after this - go figure. The loans system doesn't really help because its seen as free money buy many marginal students - but worse students feel as though they have already gained something by paying a fraction of the cost associated with their qualification.

    flexible innovative learning is a lot easier in smaller classes. Teachers can and will support individual learning where they feel able to do so. But the sheer logistics of this means that large classes forces a lot of cookie cutter learning and assessment that is largely unsupported. This is a problem at all levels of education.

    I strongly suspect that smaller classes would increase school retention; but because of the costs involved no government will go there.

    BTW. It easier to be inspiring when you can remember the names o everyone in your class.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    No speculation on how to fix the social development the 50 year old murderer and the people who think a clean fence is worth more than a life?

    Ali: If you can legislate against, or find a genetic marker for, callous stupidity I'll be very, very impressed. :)

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

  • Paul Williams,

    81st column, there's actually bugger all evidence for smaller class sizes being particularly effective. A trial in NSW was pretty inconclusive. BTW, speaking of NSW... who'd have thunk it. Hive-mind?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Paul - I would be very sad to find that this was the case. In the spirit of proper academic enquiry I would like to see how the study was done. What age groups sizes measures methods etc.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Surely, the report is online here. You might note that the results are largely described in terms of whether teachers, parents and principals agree with this statement or that... this is partly because the trial is still ongoing with respect to educational outcomes.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Finn Higgins,

    I'll tell you what, I would have been bloody suicidal if the school leaving age had been raised to 18 when I was a teenager. Me and structured general education parted ways for good at 16, and as far as I was concerned that was about.. uh.. four years later than I would have been happy with. I had an awful time with school, and compulsory education is generally very bad at dealing with exceptions who don't suit their environment. Education only really got somewhat more tolerable after compulsion ended, because the institutions started making an effort to acquire and retain students instead of relying on the law to mandate their presence.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    The overwhelming success of the class size pilot as judged by parents, teachers and principals would suggest that the reduction of class sizes is a matter for promotion of public education. The information contained in this evaluation should be widely disseminated as it demonstrates a valued perspective to a positive initiative in public education.

    Don't mean to be rude Paul but I really would like you to be more specific about which bit of this report constitutes bugger all evidence.

    I agree that the real benefit of this will only be seen later on and that the measure were poorly constructed/analysed. But I would hardly stand to say that this study constitutes bugger all evidence.

    Notwithstanding my own argument about the need for smaller class sizes at secondary as well. We seem to overlook the adolescence is a key developmental period in itself.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I stayed with extended family in Germany where they have had much older school leaving ages for a long time. I have to say it was bizarre to talk to a kid who was almost 20 but was still at school. It seemed like the system was denying him his adulthood. I was not that surprised when I found out last year he was running away with scientologists (who are all-but-banned in Germany). To take away the choice to just go out and get a job from people who are bigger and stronger than their teachers, and hate school too, felt very weird. I don't like the idea. To me our coming of age thresholds are all set way too high already.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Don't mean to be rude Paul but I really would like you to be more specific about which bit of this report constitutes bugger all evidence.

    Not at all, I kinda expected the question. My recollection of the study is a little hazy and I wasn't directly involved, although some of my colleagues were. The report does not directly estimate the educational effect as it is too soon and there are a number of other factors at play which make isolating class sizes difficult but your right that the report does say that all parties did perceive benefits.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Paul - fair call mate- its good to see some people are giving it a go. This is an issue that is quite hard to prove. As has rightly been pointed out - there is a whole world of difference between real social/educational benefits and liking the idea of having less work to do and more attention for my kids.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • ali bramwell,

    Ali: If you can legislate against, or find a genetic marker for, callous stupidity I'll be very, very impressed. :)

    heh

    for sure Craig. you are quite right. By way of explanation my sarcastic little aside (about the lack of comment and condemnation about the 'respectable' murderer's actions) was mainly because I was reacting about a tide of well-meaning intention towards 'the problem'..in the form of educating or disciplining or therapising a specific group of kids. IMO that callous stupidity that cant be legislated against is the missing part of the picture. Its all very well pouring oil and applying social bandaids on the obvious symptoms so we can all feel that Something Has Been Done. Even better remove the problem from view so we dont have to think about it anymore. literally clean the unsightly social garbage from the streets. But nothing changes while people, no amend that, not just people -people with legislative power and Public voice in the Habermassian sense- feel free to express a opinion that that boys life was worth less than property value. Its a basic condition of disenfranchisement, far more complex than poverty and yet very goddamn simple.

    I am so stinking mad Im not expressing myself very well.

    no jokes today, or sweet stories. maybe tomorrow

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2007 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I am so stinking mad Im not expressing myself very well.

    Hope this doesn't come across as a patronising pat on the head, but you're doing fine. A damn sight more measured than I've been on the subject -- between seeing that turd Christchurch City councillor and Annette King & Len Brown using Othello Drive and its residents as the backdrop for a photo op on the late news, I'm surprised the neighbors didn't call in a domestic. Got to remember the people in the telebox can't hear me. :)

    It would be nice if someone could just say Pihema Cameron's life had the same intrinsic and inalienable value, and it's abso-fucking-loutely irrelevant whether he was 'tagging' a fence or not. The man who has been charged with his murder is absolutely entitled to the presumption of innocence, until the charges are proven beyond reasonable doubt in a fair trial. But how about the presumption that that Cameron didn't ask to be stabbed to death?

    Think I'm going to have a day where I go sit on an relatively quiet section of Takapuna Beach with a book, and mentally de-tox.

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

  • Kumara Republic,

    Pihema Cameron was no angel, and probably never would have been. But Cr Corbett and others who endorse his killing might as well join the Scuderie LeCoq.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • geoff cush,

    I once spent an enjoyable afternoon talking to Duncan Fallowell in a flat overlooking the Notting Hill Carnival. He had just returned from newly liberated St Petersburg and was extolling the alacrity with which Russian boys had extended the spirit free enterprise to the market demands of western gays - recommended to me with the arched eyebrow of the English gent who suspects he may be shocking the naive young colonial.

    After 20 years in those delightful islands I lost count of the times I saw the narrowed eyes of some witty fellow watching to see if he had got a rise out of me with his devastating joke about sheep shagging - Fallowell is at least a notch above that. But we see in him how the ideal of the unchanging colony becomes ever more vital to the shaky self image of the modern Brit. As England becomes 'a transit camp' Englishmen rush to Christchurch to see if it lives up to its famous reputation of 'England Fifty Years ago' (No wonder he likes Heavenly Creatures)

    Of course 'England 50 years ago' is a criticism as well as a comfort, and theres the nub: the Brits have alway loved to despise us for being a poor copy of Britain. Now we are despicable on our own terms, much in the same way as they themselves are - conflicted and addicted, crime-ridden, tasteless, bad tempered and overweight, vandalising our treasures and iconising rubbish. We may even be ahead of Britain in these thing, and may come out the other end first.

    As for our romance with Polynesia - well may the Brits envy us for having a nicely-packaged pre-industrial culture on our doorstep. On the whole it seems more healthy than the current English preoccupation with their own ethnic origins. Since the devolution of the Celtic fringe, you can't turn on an English TV without seeing some tweedy archaeologist disturbing the peace of yet another Anglo Saxon burial mound somewhere in the South East. In the home of the industrial revolution, the flight from industrialism is rapidly becoming a scandal.

    On the evidence of the quotes released so far, there is nothing in Fallowells comments on us that we could not read in any Sunday paper ventilated by our own local irritants. The whole controversy, hate-mail and all, has something about it of a publicity campaign. At least we can look forward, I hope, to a recognition of our heroes of gender reassignment.

    When I met Fallowell he was best known for his sensitive book about the British transexual April Ashley. Having been disappointed by the ghost written memoir of legendary Wellington hostess Carmen, I would suggest to Duncan that if he wants to make it up to us and do something of lasting worth, he should get back onto ground where he knows what he's doing and give Carmen a call.

    Since Feb 2008 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • philredfern,

    Bravo, Geoff,

    Good to hear your voice again.

    Phil Redfern.

    Since May 2008 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • waimarie,

    As i am his aunty i would have to say he was no saint but to his father he was the world. As the media stated Pihema's father my brother was a parapalegic and although he tried in every possible way to give both Pihema and his sister as much happiness as he could, he believes he failed and we try as a family to support him but so much has gone on his life that its hard for him to make a breakthrough.
    So now we mourn over Pihema's death and it doesnt matter wether Bruce Emery is found guilty or not. Obviously it was his time only God can give and take life. It wasnt the best way to leave us but we know he is surely in a better place.

    New Zealand • Since Dec 2008 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

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