Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Moving from frustration to disgust

286 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 4 5 6 7 8 12 Newer→ Last

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I'm upset by losing our assets but we'll survive that

    Not so sure when electricity is utterly crucial for the 21st century industries that we need more of.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Frankly I’m upset by losing our assets but we’ll survive that – if we lose our education system we lose our future.

    I was thinking about this last night while I made dinner and came to the same conclusion. What is being threatened for education is much more frightening than asset sales. And then I got all angry again and had to play an angry song on the stereo.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Scott Chris,

    You can’t efficiently identify and assist under-performing students if you can’t measure them objectively.

    Seriously: you think this “long tail” of “under-achievement” in NZ schools is something we don’t know enough about and can’t identify?
    Jeepers. That’s almost as blind as thinking the Govt has a ton of money and smart initiatives to throw at assisting “under-performing students” as soon as they are identified. Try finding that in the budget :(

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Teachers already know which students need more help. A better question is why they aren't getting it.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    What is being threatened for education is much more frightening than asset sales.

    They are part of the same package of beliefs- but yes!
    And while it’s more ‘under-the-radar’ Stephen Joyce’s vision for tertiary education in NZ is every bit as narrow and ideological. Watch him try to get rid of university governance by elected councils.
    Govt appointed councils, stacked with the usual suspects from business boards, will be so much more ‘flexible’ and ‘able to respond to changing educational needs and priorities in the 21st century’.
    First three years: prepare the soil, swallow a few dead rats....
    Now it's 'business time'* :(
    *apologies to the Conchords. This time it's NZ getting f**ked, right?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Scott Chris,

    Ultimately both sides of the political divide want what’s best for the overall betterment of society in spite of all the hot air. They simply have different ideas as how to best attain that goal.

    If that’s the case, then why are the likes of Auckland Grammar cherry-picking and poaching the 1st XV prospects, and blocking out everyone else from the wrong side of the tracks? To make their “league tables” look good and preserve the sense of old boys networking. De-zoning was about parental choice in theory, but turned out to be school choice in practice.

    And I can safely say from my own private school experiences that wealth and intellect don’t have a proportional relationship.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • David Chittenden, in reply to DexterX,

    Great article Russell and great posts everyone. I can't believe how much some of you find the time to post ... :)

    The problem is not enough socialism for the rich, and not enough free market for the poor.

    I also think that it is a little more complex than this (as I know DeepRed does). It's a great line though and it certainly feels like that sometimes.

    But I'm also weary of our universal human failings and although this is a fantastic Internet forum I know I’m partly (mostly?) drawn because I’ll feel support for what I already think. We all to greater or lesser degrees try to be rational and ‘evidence-based’ but I read somewhere that neural imaging shows that we are only capable of thinking rationally for 3 hours a day (seems way too low I know!) For all the rest we are on some degree of autopilot. It’s biological and we mostly just look for errors in the patterns we are used to (think how much you actually remember from driving the route home from work). This is just to say that we have an excuse for oversimplifying!

    Ultimately both sides of the political divide want what’s best for the overall betterment of society in spite of all the hot air. They simply have different ideas as how to best attain that goal.

    But I don’t quite agree with is either. I think both sides have different ideas of what the better society is – as well as different ideas about how to get there. In the end, I think we (subconsciously?) want to live in societies where people have similar values to those that we do. Values research (articles, TED talks) shows us that people cannot easily hold ‘extrinsic’ (think caring for others, the environment etc) and ‘intrinsic’ (think money, beauty, status etc) values at the same time. To make a simple us vs them comparison, we can divide people into those that have a stronger set of intrinsic and those that have stronger extrinsic values. What is really scary, is that our increasingly consumer, advertising-driven, status-gained-through-money-and-looking-good culture is changing the weighting of individual and societal values. And the reason we need to keep money out of politics is that it brings a certain values set with it (along with other negative effects).

    But we all think we are right, and maybe I remember this research because it gives me an easy way to reaffirm what I already thought ;)

    Since May 2011 • 31 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    You can’t efficiently identify and assist under-performing students if you can’t measure them objectively.

    Seriously: you think this “long tail” of “under-achievement” in NZ schools is something we don’t know enough about and can’t identify?

    For more than 50 years it has been known and over the last decade or so, more and more precisely analysed. The catch for many kids is that once they believe that they must be "dumb" the less inclined they are to cooperate. Disruptive trumps "dumb." The bigger the class and the more competitive the class dynamics are the greater the risk of long term failure. Plus all the other factors like poverty, violence, overcrowding in home and classroom, disenchanted teachers, and so on.
    Needs smaller classes, better resources, trust in teachers, relevance for the child. Can be done but definitely not with bluddy League Tables.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • David Chittenden, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    And I can safely say from my own private school experiences that wealth and intellect don't have a proportional relationship.

    Actually they do. I've also read articles which show that those with more money have a stronger set of extrinsic values (my post above) and have a lower IQ. (Which is probably a good time to say that IQ is a rather flawed and limited assessment of intelligence, but I still like stating it!!!)

    Since May 2011 • 31 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    According to the last census, 21.5% of the population were under 15 years of age. Based on a population of slightly above 4,400,000 that implies around 950,000 children, around 63,000 in each age cohort. We know about one quarter of New Zealand children live near, on or below the poverty line - something which equates quite accurately with the much touted "one in five" children "failing" at school. According to my back of the envelope calculations*, providing a decent $2.50 breakfast** to the around 144,000 children who fall into this category would cost a paltry sixty million a year. To feed hungry children to get them to school, and help them learn.

    So here is my question. Instead of the government squandering millions of dollars over bitter fighting about national standards and all the antagonism over league tables and class sizes, why don't the government get some money (we are paying twenty million Euro or so for each new NH-90 helicopter, surely we could put one off for a few years) use it trial a school lunch program and see if that makes a material difference? Why?


    *let's be generous and say that is 18,000 kids near, on or in poverty in each age cohort. If we were to introduce a school breakfast program for these kids aged 5-12 that would be 144,000 kids getting a solid meal at school, assuming it cost $2.50 per kid per 162 school days.

    **$2.50 is a bit of a guess, based only on the costs mentioned on the indomitable and utterly charming blog of nine year old Martha Payne. Fonterra is already saying it going to start providing free school milk. Sanitarium and others (Harraways are still NZ owned and operated, I am sure they'd love a big government contract) would surely come to the party with food at cost.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Ian MacKay,

    Plus all the other factors like poverty, violence, overcrowding in home and classroom, disenchanted teachers, and so on.

    Too true. It’s not the teachers’ fault that social work has been foisted upon them by wider society. And as I’ve mentioned upthread, it’s unfortunately far sexier to attack the symptoms with Minto bars.

    Even in multicultural Oz, they're having the same issues when you substitute Maori & Pacific for Aboriginal, Middle Eastern and Asian.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • David Chittenden, in reply to David Chittenden,

    Actually, I think I have badly over stated that. Many with dominant extrinsic values are under-educated (for whatever reasons) and therefore understandably may have a lower IQ. I think I need to find that research again .... Apologies!

    Since May 2011 • 31 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    De-zoning was about parental choice in theory, but turned out to be school choice in practice.

    And by the time National was voted out, the real consequences were starting to bite. We tend to forget the disastrous state some of the "loser" schools were in by the end of the 1990s.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Great example of real choices being made, and foregone. The public need champions applying pressure to make clear what values and priorities drive such decisions. They sure as hell aren't based on evidence of what works best.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And by the time National was voted out, the real consequences were starting to bite. We tend to forget the disastrous state some of the “loser” schools were in by the end of the 1990s.

    The Americans tried compulsory bussing years ago to de-segregate the public school system, and ultimately failed after wealthier parents switched to the private system. Is there anything that can be done without being accused of PC gone mad?

    In a way, our ancestors escaped one class system, only to end up replacing it with another. It's the same throughout the New World.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I honestly don’t think you understand how national standards work in practice.

    Russell, from the Schagen article:

    National standards are driven by a commitment to help students get the reading, writing and mathematics skills they need so they can learn all the subjects in the New Zealand curriculum and gain worthwhile qualifications.

    The standards describe what a student should be able to do at each year level. Those students who aren’t at the standard are identified and provided with the assistance they need to make progress.

    If schools aren’t achieving those aims in practice then there is something wrong with that practice (but not necessarily the practitioners). Perhaps what you mean is that I don’t understand the social ramifications of this policy in which case I would also demur.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And then I got all angry again and had to play an angry song on the stereo.

    Just curious Russell , what was that song ?

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 510 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    The Americans tried compulsory bussing years ago to de-segregate the public school system, and ultimately failed after wealthier parents switched to the private system. Is there anything that can be done without being accused of PC gone mad?

    That’s easy, simply stop subsidising private schools with taxpayer dollars and see how many can afford the resulting astronomical fees.

    But the whole thing could more easily be dealt with by using the Tory’s weapons against them. Decile funding was supposedly introduced to help funding. Simply change the funding formula to be dependent on how accurately your school reflects the demographic, gender, social and economic make up of (for example in Auckland) a 8km catchment area. The more accurately you reflect your catchment, the more money you get.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Seriously: you think this “long tail” of “under-achievement” in NZ schools is something we don’t know enough about and can’t identify?

    No, I’m saying that your professional judgement (assuming you are a teacher) is enhanced when presented in an objective way.

    To illustrate my point Russel said:

    A friend of mine teaches at a Wellington school that has a good rep for teaching disabled kids

    Compare this anecdotal testimony with an alternative hypothetical description:

    School A has 1 special needs dedicated teacher per 10 s.n. children whereas school B has 1 special needs dedicated teacher per 12 s.n. children.

    Surely a sounder basis of knowledge from which to make an informed decision as to which school would be suitable for one’s child would be sourced from a combination of both anecdotal and empirical evidence?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    If that’s the case, then why are the likes of Auckland Grammar cherry-picking and poaching the 1st XV prospects, and blocking out everyone else from the wrong side of the tracks?

    Because they are acting self-interestedly as are the kids concerned. But that's beside the point. Grammar is not a political institution.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Scott Chris,

    Grammar is not a political institution

    You really think so?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Scott Chris,

    Surely a sounder basis of knowledge from which to make an informed decision as to which school would be suitable for one’s child would be sourced from a combination of both anecdotal and empirical evidence?

    But that's not what national standards measures. Not even remotely close.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Short caution re League Tables from CCSDisability Action

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Nearly three quarters of New Zealanders live in “main urban areas”. And if you live in Greymouth, you have three state primary schools to choose from. If that’s what you want.

    It can be a real problem for secondary schools in some areas, however. My partner grew up in Blenheim, where the secondary schooling options, short of boarding, were a) the girls' college and b) the boys' college. It doesn't leave a lot of options for anyone who fails to fit in at one or the other.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Tamara,

    My daughter's school has just cancelled the out of zone ballot for 2013. As for us, if we wanted to use an alternative school there is no other one within a child's walking distance taking out of zone. There is one small school without a zone nearby (short drive) but it struggles to build up its roll despite having a good reputation educationally. Probably "white flight" issue there. We are in Mt Eden. I don't consider that much of a choice. It's pretty tough to move house.

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 115 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 4 5 6 7 8 12 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.