Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Of Monsters and Old Boys

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  • The ex-expat,

    Actually I think the 'we need to let in more sons of old boys' actually means 'there be too many asians here.'

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I think it's more elitist than racist, as its mostly an exercise in cherry picking. There also seems something wrong in taking students who should have leadership roles in other schools and sending them to Grammar.

    This is a very important point. "Success" becomes the creation of deficit in local schools and the communities that rely on them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Roger,

    I don't believe that the decile-10 schools actually provide a better education or have better teachers.

    You are right - there is no causal link between the decile rating and the educational or teacher standards. The systrem measures the average incomes of families in the school zone (or attending the school).

    In some cases there may appear to be a link as as a really gross generalisation richer families tend to be more focused on achievement and learning support.

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2007 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Sorry Eddie, you left a wide open goal.

    I think Stephen and ex-expat might have a point, but I understood that one of the things the decile-10 schools spent our tax money on was sending scouts to various Pacific Islands to snag their best young rugby players and give them scholarships.

    (No scholarships for little bright kids who might help their countries by being teachers, doctors or engineers, of course...)

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

  • Roger,

    And hey... have a great 'social'. Shame that I can't make it!

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2007 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Eddie: private schooling isn't what it's cracked up to be, as far as my own experiences are concerned.

    From an educational standpoint, I totally agree. In that respect the private school I (breifly) went to was no better than the public. However, that's just one aspect. Private schools have a very strong social element, obviously aimed at entrenchement of class hegemony.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    ou are right - there is no causal link between the decile rating and the educational or teacher standards. The systrem measures the average incomes of families in the school zone (or attending the school).

    I know. But people like Rougham pretend their (alleged) success is due to better teaching and organisation, when in fact it's all down to the intake.

    What worries me is that NZ is moving back to selective university entry. If not halted, this could lead to the UK system where a self-sustaining system operates: "top" universities pick the students with the best grades, who then make the college look good (if my top ten university is any guide, the quality of courses has nothing to do with their success). Plus, of course, the private sector is able to produce students with the grades to get into the "best" colleges.

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

  • Eddie Clark,

    Private schools have a very strong social element, obviously aimed at entrenchement of class hegemony.

    Damn, and here I forgot to be indoctrinated. Me with my ritzy teacher parents. <obscure anne rice reference>Clearly I interrogated my schooling from the wrong perspective </obscure anne rice reference>.

    And Rich - one of the limitations of blog posts/msg boards etc is its hard to tell the difference between someone being tongue in cheek and someone being a dick. It appears I mistook "tongue in cheek" for "dick".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 273 posts Report Reply

  • Alan Perrott,

    speaking as one who only went to decile one schools, some of the generalisations being made here are making me queasy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 438 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    Alan - which ones? Genuinely curious.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 273 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    As I noted in the original post (written at great speed -- I'm relieved to return to find only a couple of errors in it), Roughan's cartoon depiction of teachers is remarkably offensive.

    It's also a spectacularly lazy means of argument. Rather than engage with what people with direct knowledge of the issue say, it's much easier to make a ludicrous caricature of them and argue with that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Alan - which ones? Genuinely curious.

    Me too. Which generalisations rather than which schools, I mean.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Alan Perrott,

    some of the anti-private school rhetoric regarding motivations of schools and parents is tending a little toward wolfy smith.

    it doesn't matter how high your horse is, the view is never black and white.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 438 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Since then 'bad' schools have tried all sorts of ways to get around this and keep these kids out of their schools while 'good' schools have taken the challenge to be more inclusive and skilled in their teaching to address the diversity of needs and learning styles of their students.

    Hell yes. There is, not far from us, a school in a very wealthy neighbourhood that has a nasty reputation for being actively hostile towards special-needs children. They really don't want them spoiling things.

    I don't think I'm using 'good' and 'bad' in the same sense as John Roughan.

    Heh.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    Thanks for that, Alan. As can be seen from my other posts in this thread, I agree with you.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 273 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Robeson,

    Picking up on Russell's thread- the description by Roughan is very perjorative.

    However is it not natural that teachers should take an interest in what they are teaching, as they are trained in education and working in the field?

    We are in the bad reruns again. The opposite of the idea is that a level of middle management should control education after setting a curricula based on the requirements of local industry.

    Or to put it in a perjorative sense- schools and education should be run by despots who care only for growing their fiscal and sporting fiefdoms, answerable only to the fat cat business dollars who fund them.


    @James Green. Accept the cherry picking argument as I had a close view of that in action.

    I think as well that they imply that because Maori and Pacific Islanders are dropping in enrollments at Auckland Grammar, they are falling behind in social development and educational achievement. Which might be the case or it might not be, but Grammar enrollments surely aren't the clincher.

    Since Feb 2008 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Actually I think the 'we need to let in more sons of old boys' actually means 'there be too many asians here.'

    Like David Do?

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

  • Russell Brown,

    some of the anti-private school rhetoric regarding motivations of schools and parents is tending a little toward wolfy smith.

    I personally don't have much of a problem with private schools. There can be advantages to being able to offer something genuinely different, and if there had been a private school that we thought would have worked for our younger boy (we looked) we'd have found the money.

    Hamish Keith's autobiograhy is also interesting on the way he felt that attending Christ's College allowed him a flexibility not available in the public system (at that time anyway). He was guided to do what he was good at.

    it doesn't matter how high your horse is, the view is never black and white.

    No, and I did try to make clear in the post that zoning creates some undesirable outcomes of its own. But Roughan's account of the open-slather years was, as someone noted upthread, a fantasy.

    I did also take umbrage at the fact that it came across as a promotional broadcast on behalf of one particular school.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I think this just signals a return to the old right wing 'attack the teacher unions' mindset of the 1990s.

    The strength of the teacher unions infuriated politicians in the 1990s seeking to implement a market model of education, full bulk funding etc. Much precious school money in those days went on advertising and flash things to impress parents, rather than basic educational resourcing.

    But NZ managed to survive that era with an intact and pretty equitable (on world standards) compulsory education sector and a centralised pay system, (at least for teachers if not for the much worse off bulk funded support staff), so teachers were in a strong position to fight for improvements in pay and conditions in the early years of the Labour govt. Nurses on the other hand, had been fragmented in the 90s so first had to fight to reorganise themselves in a MECA across DHBs before they had the collective strength to get their improved pay and conditions.

    The real challenge for the teacher unions is how to collectivise themselves across the sector into one big union, pre-school, primary, secondary and support staff, that could resist this new wave of attacks, and be a real force for good equitable and innovative education into the future.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I think as well that they imply that because Maori and Pacific Islanders are dropping in enrollments at Auckland Grammar, they are falling behind in social development and educational achievement. Which might be the case or it might not be, but Grammar enrollments surely aren't the clincher.

    I think people have also forgotten the reality of the school failures we were starting to see at the end of the 90s. There were awful situations. Although some schools (including our local intermediate) are facing the pressure of falling rolls, that's not happening any more.

    Our local high school Western Springs, also went through several years of roll pressure as the nouveau Grey Lynners decided to send their kids to Mt Albert Grammar.

    It did have to raise its game -- and even considered introducing a school uniform to meet parental expectations. But the current system allows for that anyway. The funny thing was that while Western Springs had academic results as good or better than other schools in its decile, it turned out that its students performed markedly better in their first year of tertiary education. It also had none of Mt Albert Grammar's bullying problems.

    I should note this isn't a go at today's Mt Albert, with whose alternative education programme our younger boy is enrolled. Even in just keeping away the truancy officer and giving us someone to talk to, it has changed our lives for the better.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    It appears I mistook "tongue in cheek" for "dick".

    Ooh er Missus!

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    Peter - quite. Lolz @ myself.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 273 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    even considered introducing a school uniform to meet parental expectations

    If a school doesn't have a uniform and a group of parents want one, what's to stop them all settling on one for their kids. Something like this?

    (Ok, I'm told that some schools have to have their kids wear uniform to stop them wearing gang colours. Worrying.)

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

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    and if there had been a private school that we thought would have worked for our younger boy (we looked) we'd have found the money.

    Did you ever consider The Rudolf Steiner School? Has some interesting concepts.

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

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Also, apparently this letter appeared in the NZ Herald:

    Sir,

    I recently found out that my old school, Auckland Grammar, which my sons now attend, is only classed in decile 10. I regard it as wrong that an excellent school like this is kept down with lesser schools in the same decile, especially with the amount we pay for the required flat in the Grammar Zone.

    Surely it should be given the additional recognition of becoming a decile 11 or 12 school. I find ranking it in this way as symptomatic of the dumbing down of the former Socialist government, which I hope our new ACT masters will be doing something to correct.

    CB, Remuera

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

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