Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: From soundbite to policy

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  • Steve Parks,

    __I always think of lesbians.__

    We have a pill for that.

    That's alright. I'm okay with it.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    And I think from my quick read through this page someone's made this point, but the idea that National's election mandate is reason to rush all this stuff through is fatuous. Based on that reasoning, every party that wins an election has a right to push through all their policies under urgency.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    Or as Russell said: "Even if National has a mandate for its policy, it doesn't have a mandate to rush it through without scrutiny."
    and Jason toched on the same point also.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    Exactly - what I was trying to say.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    Oops. "...touched on the same point..."

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Martin,

    My special needs son requires a full time aide to attend school. At present he doesn't get this. The hours he does have are topped up with an ORRS grant. A contestable grant that may or may not be provided on an ongoing basis. He loses a half day a week every week now, and could easily lose up to two full days per week.

    Score me as another parent who condones their child's truancy. Fine me, jail me, call me names.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 187 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Score me as another parent who condones their child's truancy. Fine me, jail me, call me names.

    If you ever get any hassles, you'll let us know, won't you?

    You'll be aware that IHC has lodged a human rights complaint against the ministry of education on this very basis. Details on the complaint, and on how to join/support, here.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Score me as another parent who condones their child's truancy. Fine me, jail me, call me names.

    I hear ya. How does this little cracker from the new minister strike you?

    Tolley made no apologies for increasing the fines for truancy. "The maximum fine for (not) registering your dog is $3000. I think it is more important you send your children to school than register your dog."

    Frankly, if I wasn't somewhat responsible for keeping up the tone around here, I'd be unleashing some very foul language ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Martin,

    Yes thank you Giovanni, we are a part of that.

    Meanwhile at education HQ the folk are now busy deciding teachers will weigh the cow rather than feed it...

    It is all rather surreal...

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 187 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Having now read the Education Amendment bill, I can guess at least one reason for urgency; it avoids hearing the Education Department's advice. It is of course the Minister's perogative to introduce policy/legislation, but to introduce policy/legislation absent any official advice is generally risky.

    It's clear that National have tapped into a rich vein of concern about educational standards. I don't understand why there's such malcontent, it seems out of all proportion to school performance as measured by international studies, but I doubt this bill will achieve much. I suspect in a year's time few people will have been issued fines, fewer still will have paid them and the performance of the 'tail' will still be lagging. I wonder then what National's supporters will say?

    This is the change the country voted for?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Tolley made no apologies for increasing the fines for truancy. "The maximum fine for (not) registering your dog is $3000. I think it is more important you send your children to school than register your dog."

    I'm going to take a deep breath and a fistful of valium and give her the benefit of the doubt. Obviously, Tolley has a picture in her head of what every truanting kid is like, and honestly believes that truanting is always caused by lazy and neglectful parenting. She doesn't understand and genuinely hasn't thought about the needs of kids for whom conventional schooling simply doesn't work. 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.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Jean Hughes,

    I work with children who don't go to school - that includes don't, won't and can't. There are many reasons why children do not got to school - some of those reasons are the school including the buildings, the timetables, the teachers, the other students and the subjects. Other reasons are the children's personal circumstances - health of all sorts, abilities, caring responsibilities, household responsibilities, family support. Some reasons are from the wider community - legislation, attitudes. Fining parents without taking all these into consideration and providing alternatives is just another revenue gathering exercise, shabby and shallow and I think targeted at a certain stereotype of 'truant'.

    Would writing to the Governor General with concerns about the democratic process also be an option.

    Mangere • Since Nov 2006 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Peter: How do feel about some sort of annual test which measures your child against a hypothetical average?

    The only justification for testing children is that it is an appropriate test which does no harm, and only given if it will help the child to learn better. Standardised tests do not achieve any of the above.
    I think that in Scotland the Annual testing had to be done on a certain date. In some schools the Principal would encourage certain kids to take the day off. Better School scores. Less damage to kids who would already know that they were going to "fail."

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Rogan Polkinghorne,

    About as depressing as stupid people running the line that you're not a "real" Government because your support isn't over some arbitrary -- and remarkably mobile -- line. Sorry, Rogan, but you want to get your bitch on, I'm quite happy to repay the discourtesy.

    Chill out Craig, it's Friday afternoon! Do you need a hug?

    I wasn't commenting on National's lack of mandate (they're the Government, get over it), I was commenting on the overuse of that as a justification for the current Parliamentary shenanigans.

    I do find it humourous though, that your bitchings are apparently always welcome, but others (even in jest) are not...

    A-town • Since Nov 2006 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    She doesn't understand and genuinely hasn't thought about the needs of kids for whom conventional schooling simply doesn't work.

    I think you might have leant a little too heavily on the valium, that's some massive benefit of the doubt you're giving an MP who has been the understudy for the position of minister of education for quite some time. If she actually ignores these issues, as opposed to simply playing on the public's limited knowledge of what truancy means, then arguably it's even worse. I'll take malice over terminal stupidity, in cases such as this one.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    Score me as another parent who condones their child's truancy. Fine me, jail me, call me names.

    Pardon me if I've ranted about this before, but I can't let it pass. I've been down this path with my now-15 year old son. He was out of formal education for three years. you may well ask how this could happen - I did, lots. i did all the right things - consulted the school (where he was well-behaved & thought of) , went to Group Special Education, took him to counselling, Mental Health....A whole lot of meetings and form-filling and endless talk. No Do.

    I never saw a Truancy Officer the entire time. I was, however, harassed by the NETS service (non-enrolled truancy) constantly threatened with getting fined & prosecuted, threatened with Family Group Conferences as I am a single parent,so plainly getting my son to live with his father (who doesn't care and refused to visit or help in any way) was their answer. Threatened with prosecutioin if I left him home alone while I went to work and he was under 14.

    This year, after threatening the Ministry that I'd take them to the Human Rights Commission for failing to supply the education and the support for my son to get that education, that is enshrined in the Education Act, I finally got somewhere. Under a new scheme to support disengaged students in our area - the Manawatu Pilot Project - he was dual-enrolled at a high school and Correspondence School. He also, FINALLY, got assessed by a private psychologist who (surprise, surprise) classed him as Major Depressive, Social Phobic. I personally believe he is AS, but getting a diagnosis for that seems to be virtually impossible around here.

    He still won't go to school - I got him there for one morning - then he retreated into Recluseville for a month. Amazingly, he has done enough good work under this project to earn an Award for achievement and has just passed some Unit Standards for Numeracy. It takes an enormous amount of my time to push him through the work, teach him, support him,cajole him. Plainly I don't work fulltime.
    There are plenty more parents like me out there struggling and striving to do their best for their kids. It's options and support we need, not the Big Bloody Stick!

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Martin,

    How do feel about some sort of annual test which measures your child against a hypothetical average?

    I find it a waste of time Ian.I fully agree with your comments. I think a 'test' that gives an indication of one's child's strengths and weaknesses fine.That in turn gives teachers a point of reference and something to focus on. But Key has said that a testing system will be such that :

    Schools will have to explain to parents in plain English how their child is doing compared to these National Standards and compared to other children their age.

    Couple that with any sort of performance remuneration and teachers will be teaching on how to pass tests and that alone. Just as they do in the US because of the 'no child left behind' policy.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 187 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    that's some massive benefit of the doubt you're giving

    Benefit of the doubt can be hugely amusing. For instance, during the Civil Union debate Gordon Copeland said he didn't know any straight couples who wanted civil unions, ergo it was just sneaky gay marriage. So I wrote him a nice email explaining that my partner and I intended getting civilly unified, that I was sure he'd be pleased to know that and be relieved of the burden of ever being able to say that in public again. I also wrote to Ashraf Choudhary after the vote and thanked him for abstaining.

    I'm nice. It really throws people off.

    In fact, I think I'll go write Tolley a nice letter now and explain some stuff to her.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    But hey look on the bright side!
    You from the left now have the pleasure the rest of us have had for the last 9 years, of bitching about the Government

    That said I am less than happy with the present rush under urgency, I didn't like Labour making quite important constitutional changes without cross party support and I don't like this but hey we voted for them
    You know how it feels I am sure......remember last year

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

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Tolley made no apologies for increasing the fines for truancy. "The maximum fine for (not) registering your dog is $3000. I think it is more important you send your children to school than register your dog."

    ...
    Did you know the Council can have your dog put down for not doing as you are told. Create fear then control. I'm sure someone famous said that ;)

    I'm going to take a deep breath and a fistful of valium and give her the benefit of the doubt.

    And any select commitee would allow this also .

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

  • Peter Martin,

    A teacher writes of the No Child Left Behind
    policy, predicated as it is, on testing.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 187 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I also question the assumption that all parents want to know where their child academic ability falls in relationship to the whole population of that age.

    The parents I know who have wanted to know the results of PAT and other tests are those who have high achieving children and they want to be reassured of their brilliance.

    But children are individuals and all learn differently. What I have always appreciated in my many years as a parent in the education system are the teachers who would spend some time with me regularly (my primary school did this twice a year near the child's birthday and 6 months on) going through what my child was doing at school, what their strengths and weaknesses were (academically and socially), and their high expectations of future progress. Then, most importantly, what I as a parent could do to help.

    In all my reading about public policy there seems to be two common themes that lead to good outcomes in all areas: taking the effort to build good relationships, and high expectations of success.

    Good teachers already do this. But this new education bill seems deficient on both counts.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3227 posts Report Reply

  • Lx,

    Craig - I'm interested to know what you think of the government's early methodology. So far all the comments are expressing disappointment (that's the polite term, isn't it?) and I certainly agree, but I'd like to see your perspective.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    "The maximum fine for (not) registering your dog is $3000. I think it is more important you send your children to school than register your dog."

    Though National have always thought that registering dogs was very important. Didn't Stephen Franks want to take his dog to the Registry Office?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    The maximum fine for (not) registering your dog is $3000. I think it is more important you send your children to school than register your dog."

    I'll bear that in mind if ever my kids start biting the postie.

    I don't give a crap how my kid shapes up against other kids his own age. I care about how he's shaping up against his own potential and previous achievements.

    I wonder if the truancy fines are going to produced an increased interest in homeschooling? In my experience it's not all that difficult to get an exemption from enrolling your kid though I didn't homeschool for long enough to come under ERO scrutiny which might (or might not) be more of a hurdle.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

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