Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: From soundbite to policy

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  • Jolisa,

    sagenz, I agree that NCLB is trying to fix a problem; a big one. 13% reading proficiency is horrendous by any standard.

    I'm just not convinced it's the way to fix the problem. The only people it's enriching are those who peddle the curriculum and testing materials.

    Maybe it is a FUCKING GOOD THING that teaching is focused on core things like Maths and English rather than feeling good about yourself. It is a FUCKING GOOD THING that the policy says NO child left behind.

    Jolisa - Do what is right for your child rather than what is politically correct for your political views and circle of friends.

    See, I don't think you can have it both ways. Obviously I want to do what's right for my kids. But if I and parents like me bail out of the public system (interesting stats from Paul re NSW, by the way), then we are leaving all those other kids behind, no?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    sagenz - the EFA was not passed under urgency.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • HenryB,

    sagenz:

    The fines are aimed at those parents who just do not give a f&*k.

    One of the points of a select committee process is to ensure that legislation does in fact end up doing what it is supposed to. If the goal here is to target parents "just dont give a f&*k" the process would have ended up with a robust defintion of what this might mean (and I'd have to say it ain't patently obvious to me with my experience of parents who have had children who have been truants).

    As people are pointing out, most of all this `urgency' is about impression management at the expense of democratic process.

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2008 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Maybe it is a FUCKING GOOD THING that teaching is focused on core things like Maths and English rather than feeling good about yourself. It is a FUCKING GOOD THING that the policy says NO child left behind.

    Sagenz you may like to know that, theses standards are already written into law. Maybe you should have done your homework before having a tanty.Surely you know what homework is?

    it is experiencing the system that makes you realise how shit it is. John Key grew up in a shitty area and went to state school. Helen clark was a boarder at a posh auckland state grammar school.

    So John keys State school was worse than Helen Clarks State school?

    One should say: but your good with your hands.

    And that was one of the thing that __really __annoyed me about this Education amendment bill. It was the assumption that all kids must be "successful". Creative isn't considered at all. Not everyone can or wants to do what Anne Tolley wants :(

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

  • Jolisa,

    And of course there is no research showing that homework enhances learning especially for the under 11's!

    Ian, you're so right. Although in our house the evidence suggests that it enhances one's ability to articulate arguments that will eventually get you an A+ in a stage one Education or Sociology paper. So it is educational in a painfully roundabout and redundant sort of way.

    This morning's take on things, after I tried explaining how and why the tests exist: "So if they just want to tick the box about whether I can read and write, why don't they just a) come to my house and I'll read them a chapter out of Harry Potter and show them my latest Nobbes and Dobbes detective story, or b) ask my teacher?"

    There's a fascinating article in the New Yorker magazine about what makes a good teacher.

    Highly relevant link, thanks George. Good old Malcolm Gladwell. I finally read the article this morning and it made me cry: the bit where they're observing the teachers and seeing whether they engage kids or shut them down, and how they manage kid energy in the classroom. It's so easy to get it wrong.

    His point on changing the recruiting approach -- a wide funnel and an aggressive winnowing technique -- and the payscale is well-taken, although I'm surprised he used money traders as his example. This is how universities staff themselves: of all the people doing doctorates at a PhD-granting institution, only a small fraction - a quarter at best - will eventually wind up with tenured jobs at a similar institution, and are paid a fairly decent whack for the privilege (although not as much as money traders).

    They're not necessarily the best at teaching - that's a whole other argument - but the aim is to offer nothing but the very best at the highest levels of education. It would be great if the same standard held for kiddos at the other end of the sausage machine.

    Which is not to say it doesn't, but the figures Gladwell cites on the difference between a crap teacher and an excellent teacher are really sobering. And you put an excellent teacher into a crap situation (test scores above all) and see what happens...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Did I hear right - the Fire at Will Bill will now come into effect on 1 March not 1 April because of an amendment by Act's David Garrett - so even earlier (or was that the Bail Bill?) Whatver, more chaotic unsignalled legislative effects.

    Yes Malcolm Gladwell is great. I heard him speak at a conference in the US earlier this year when he was arguing against sending your kids to elite schools and universityies.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    It would be a serious blow to education if Private Schools continue to be exempt from ERO inspection, and now excused from Testing Standards.
    Be very interesting to know exactly what the % of competency is. One could say 20% are below par but unless you can state what par is it becomes an arbitary figure perhaps set by politicians. There have always been kids who are going to score low because not every child is capable of being clever.
    Then take into account the starting point. Some kids come from low socio-economic families and their progress can be massive but way behind the priviledged. Imagine the exodus of teachers from low decile schools because they will be judged to be failures.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Obviously I want to do what's right for my kids. But if I and parents like me bail out of the public system, then we are leaving all those other kids behind, no?

    Go Jolisa. And how cool would it be if the Obama girls were enrolled in a public school?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    giovani: Or John Key's kids in State school?
    Bishop Paul Reeves is a past pupil of a State School and said he believed it was a great platform for success.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Kyle: One aim of the biofuels bill was really to promote a domestic biofuels industry. That aspect has worked, but now that industry is shutting down. So, National costs us jobs, and economic independence, to protect the profits of foreign oil companies.

    The second aim was to ensure the infrastructure to support biofuels was all solidily in place before we were forced to make the switch. That's gone out the window too. So it's short-sighted as well as bad for the country. But again, the profits of those foreign oil companies have been protected. It really shows you what National cares about 9and itsnot us).

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    If she had to take the Bill through a select committee and listen to submissions where those issues were raised, she might have learned something.

    But why on earth would she want to do that?

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Or John Key's kids in State school?

    Well, in NZ it's different: public schools kick some serious butt. It's not what I hear about the US of A.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    __The fines are aimed at those parents who just do not give a f&*k.__

    One of the points of a select committee process is to ensure that legislation does in fact end up doing what it is supposed to. If the goal here is to target parents "just dont give a f&*k" the process would have ended up with a robust definition of what this might mean.

    Ignoring my personal views on the truancy prosecution question, I find it interesting that <massively simplifying things> conservatives and liberals have swapped arguments for this debate.

    In the debate over section 59, conservatives were pushing for a definition that meant they didn't have to rely on prosecutorial discretion to avoid conviction for light smacking. Liberals were quite happy to use the 'it might technically be illegal, but good parents have nothing to fear' line of argument.

    It's now about potential prosecution of parents of school-phobics etc. And liberals want the law to recognise that certain actions shouldn't be illegal, and conservatives are happy to rely on the 'this is about sending a message to bad parents' line.

    Is anyone who has this inconsistency in his or her position concerned about this?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    how cool would it be if the Obama girls were enrolled in a public school?

    Don't they have top be? That's what happened to the Santos kids in The West Wing.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • richard,

    Well, in NZ it's different: public schools kick some serious butt. It's not what I hear about the US of A.

    It depends where you live. To a large extent, schools are funded by cities and towns, with input from the state and federal level -- imagine if your rates ("property tax") paid for your schools.

    And well-off town often have excellent public schools (and fairly hefty tax bills) -- these schools can be excellent, by any standard.

    But towns with higher levels of poverty won't have the tax base to pay for schools of the same standard, and may have more "problem cases" that will cost money to deal with.

    This simplifies matters, but the US public education varies dramatically from place to place.

    No Child Left Behind was an attempt to establish a de facto national standard (since it is tied to Federal money), but it is driven by testing and however well intentioned it might be, it has grossly distorted the "marketplace".

    It is not the intention behind NCLB that is the problem, but the implementation and unintended consequences.

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 268 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Graeme: The repeal of S59 did not want to put definitions in because this would give licence for some punishments to be interpreted as OK. ( Ideally it would read "No child should be hit ever.)
    For the Truancy thing there are good reasons for truancy like bullying, gay baiting, abject failure, and these things are not necessarily within the control of parents. (My youngest disliked College intensely and wagged some of the time. He is now just completing his degree over Summer School, in spite of College.)

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    And if we're after another gros lapse of process to go with the bills not being released: neither have the BORA vets. So, MPs are debating legislation with a potentiall serious effect on fundamental rights, while the usual crown law assessment highlighting points of concern is not publicly available.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Is anyone who has this inconsistency in his or her position concerned about this?

    I think it's more that I don't recognise the comparison.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    It depends where you live.

    Yes, I should have clarified: we live in a working class area, and the majority of kids at our school are from immigrant families. I was comparing like with like in that regard. (Although I remain largely ignorant of the situation in the US).

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    The repeal of S59 did not want to put definitions in because this would give licence for some punishments to be interpreted as OK. (Ideally it would read "No child should be hit ever".)

    There were some who supported an explicit ban, but I think most who supported the bill did not want light smacking to be criminal. They were okay with the final result despite the law's drafting, not because of it, but mollified by the promise that the police would not prosecute inconsequential offending.

    Why is that obvious caveat insufficient here? The law already makes truancy for good reasons illegal. This law just doubles the penalties, and allows the Ministry of Education, rather the schools(!) to bring prosecutions. It doesn't change the offence - exactly the same actions will be illegal after it as before it.

    You weren't prosecuted under the identical offence when it carried a $15 fine (max $150), why are you concerned that you would be now that it carries a $30 fine (max $300)?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It is experiencing the system that makes you realise how shit it is. John Key grew up in a shitty area and went to state school. helen clark was a boarder at a posh auckland state grammar school.

    Sage, you're just making stuff up.

    Key grew up in a nice area with a mix of state housing and a good private housing stock, and went to one of the best state schools in the country.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Drug companies make good profits. They do that by investing in expensive long term and high risk research. That means on average we all get to live longer. Their high prices are justified by that.

    And Sage, you're just repeating pharma talking points there. They actually spend way more on marketing and promotion (including all those "free" pens and conferences for doctors) than on R&D. The current generation of wickedly expensive drugs like Herceptin only continue that pattern. It's one of the highest profit margin industries, with admittedly very high capital costs.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I can see the equivalence Graeme is describing. However, I would have more confidence in the quality of discretionary enforcement if the new Minister in charge seemed smarter and frankly nicer.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Is anyone who has this inconsistency in his or her position concerned about this?

    I guess the difference is that you're fully in control of whether you smacked someone, and how hard. But you're not anywhere near as in control of whether a child is truanting. But point taken, procedural guidelines for the police to capture the spirit of the law are no substitute for laws that actually capture their own spirit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Key grew up in a nice area with a mix of state housing and a good private housing stock, and went to one of the best state schools in the country.

    Key and his mum benefited from earlier policies of building pockets of state houses in more affluent suburbs. It happened in Remuera too. In the late 90s much of the state housing stock in Christchurch's Burnside/Fendalton area was hocked off to developers, thanks largely to Shipley's "market rentals" driving tenants out.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

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