Union says supression of school information a bottom line

July 4th, 2009 at 1:20 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Federation president Ernie Buutveld warned would create a “blame and shame” culture, which could lead to schools being shunned and children feeling inadequate.

Principals wanted the performance data exempt from the . The issue was a bottom line, he said. “This can only impact negatively on our children.”

A bottom line. That’s fighting talk.

The more the unions demand that school assessment data be made more secret than SIS data, the more I want to see that data.

It is very sad that this is now the unions’ top priority in education – hiding assessment data from parents. I think it explains a lot of the problem we have in the education sector.

Trans-Tasman had a very witty peice on this on Thursday also:

Education Minister Anne Tolley has an intriguing battle on her hands – one which is going to make or break her as Minister, and possibly make or break the Govt. The battle over centralised reporting of school results, and the scare campaign over “league tables” has probably only just begun. The Principals Association, the Post Primary Teachers Association and the primary schools union, the NZEI, all came out bitterly against the proposals, as did the provisional wing of the teacher unions, the Party.

The provisional wing of the teacher unions – that is so damn apt.

The Government should stay absolutely firm on this. Certainly I hope the teacher unions see sense, but if they don’t – then Labour and the teacher unions have just handed National a battleground issue which will be hugely popular. Those on the side of suppressing school information will be amazed at how out of step they are with most New Zealanders on this issue.

What is most disturbing is the profound contempt it shows for parents and the public. Yes a league table can be a dodgy statistic. But hello there are many dodgy statistics out there. The job of Government is not to suppress information because it thinks people are too stupid to understand its limitations. You explain it. You put it into context. You provide further information.

John Key is a nice man, who would rather everyone compromise and stay happy. He doesn’t go picking fights to make himself look good.

In a way, it is a pity. Labour and the teacher unions seem to be auditioning for the role of Mrs Thatcher’s National Union of Mineworkers with their threats of refusing to report information, and that suppression of assessment information is a bottom line.

If I was a political Machiavelli I could think of nothing better than a year long stand-off against the teacher unions, and making the next election a referendum on whether or not teacher unions or the democratically elected Government gets to run the school system.

It is an issue on which you are guaranteed the support of every media outlet in New Zealand – except the education reporter for Radio New Zealand. This suppression of assessment data is primarily aimed at stopping the media accessing it.

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86 Responses to “Union says supression of school information a bottom line”

  1. calendar girl (1,177 comments) says:

    An appropriate issue for John Key’s Government to draw a line in the sand.

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  2. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “It is an issue on which you are guaranteed the support of every media outlet in New Zealand -”

    One would hope so of course, but I’ll only believe it when I see it, and even then I’d have to be cautious.

    I hope John Key and the Nats show some fight over this. They need to look up what Ronald Reagan did in a similar fight with air traffic controllers. Fired them, deregistered the union and seized their assets.

    Reagan was actually an ardent unionist, and understood the difference between unions looking out for their members interests and being used as fronts for left wing political activism.

    This is a management issue, not a union issue, and if the teacher’s union, that group of red flag waving leftist zealots who are most to blame for this country’s descent into the socialist abyss of crime and violence and drugs and dispirited youth, try to interfere, then Key should sack every damn one of them.

    I just hope National have the balls to go on with this, and don’t turn yellow at the merest frown of disapproval from Guyon Espiner and his mates, as they usually do. I reckon Ann Tolley has the guts. Its John Key and the rest of the party that worry me.

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  3. reid (15,981 comments) says:

    “It is an issue on which you are guaranteed the support of every media outlet in New Zealand…”

    Perhaps you’d think so logically, but remember that hysterical leftism runs rampant amongst NZ journos.

    I therefore predict the exact opposite and offer as evidence the ass-backward stance almost every NZ journo has taken toward the anti-smacking legislation.

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  4. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (856 comments) says:

    Excellent.

    Bring. It. On.

    If NZ is to stop being a low wage economy we need to up our skills. Its not about giving more money to deadbeat teachers or a curriculum long on “wellbeing” “self-expression” and “social equity” and short on history, civics and behaviour.

    I think this is an excellent issue for National to demonstrate they do actually care about the performance of the education system, and to side with parents against what is essentially a conspiracy to hide performance information.

    Ask yourself, what purpose does hiding information on the performance of schools and teachers serve?

    Is it in the interests of pupils?

    Is it in the interests of New Zealand society?

    Or is it in the interests of teachers to continue to enjoy their cruisy lifestyles.

    Ironically many of the teachers I know have stopped enjoying the job because NCEA is a treadmill, and the kids just don’t have any respect for authority anymore – and can’t be disciplined.

    Reaping what they have sown really.

    I would be sympathetic if it wasnt for the fact that we are growing a generation of kids who have no rules, and don’t value objective facts. and this sort of matters if we don’t want to be Australia’s Eastern Europe.

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  5. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (856 comments) says:

    I agree Reid, they have ALL bought into the referendum question is “confusing” meme.

    Well I guess it might be confusing if your educational attainment was NCEA English (deferred achievement)?

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  6. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    Newspapers print league tables of business performance every day, in the form of share prices. This obviously stigmatises some businesses, and fails to take in to account factors specific to particular industries. A low or decreasing share price causes people to judge the CEOs involved unfairly, risks making them unemployable, and tends to result in investors avoiding those shares to the detriment of the businesses. Additionally, CEOs who are forced to compete with each other to increase their share price won’t cooperate and share with each other, leading to a reduction in all share prices. Surely this cannot be allowed!

    I suggest that it be made illegal to publish any information regarding business performance, CEO performance, or share price. There should also be a system of renumerating CEOs based on years of service, rather than anything tied to share price or business performance. Only in this way will business be able to operate as efficiently as schools.

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  7. transmogrifier (521 comments) says:

    I’m a teacher and I think all information should be made available to the public. Anything else is cowardly excuse-making.

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  8. jcuknz (704 comments) says:

    Since children in the main have to go to their ‘local’ school and parents have no choice in the matter it suggests to me that the Teacher Unions simply don’t want anything to suggest how incompetant some of them are.

    >>Federation president Ernie Buutveld warned league tables would create a “blame and shame” culture, which could lead to schools being shunned and children feeling inadequate.<< This just foolish political scare mongering, demonstrates teachers failings in leadership. They object to winners and loosers, trying to protect children from the realities of life instead of preparing them for it.

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  9. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (856 comments) says:

    shocking really isnt it davidp

    fortunately Mr Weldon is on the case, and soon the NZX owned media will only report “responsible” information about firm performance.

    then our “senior business leaders” can get on with the job of improving our economic performance.

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  10. GMDI (71 comments) says:

    the only ones who need to be scared are the useless teachers and principals. so if eighty percent of principals oppose this, at least a large proportion of those are useless. and the rest are foolish. surely grounds for removal considering they are in charge of the nations childrens education.

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  11. The Silent Majority (85 comments) says:

    Here is one item you’d never read in the papers.

    “The Parents of School Age Children Association, the Post Primary Parents Association and the Primary Schools Parents Support Movement, all came out bitterly against the proposals to suppress the critical information they need to decide which school to send their kids to.”

    However, if the unions keep up their crusades against providing information to their customers, they might just find their customers start revolting en masse.

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  12. Twocan (24 comments) says:

    As the listener editorial of all places pointed out, the unions have the teachers and principals interests at heart when arguing on this. Shouldn’t we really care about what is best for the pupils?

    The unions are not lobbying for the pupils best interests!

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  13. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “I suggest that it be made illegal to publish any information regarding business performance, CEO performance, or share price. There should also be a system of renumerating CEOs based on years of service, rather than anything tied to share price or business performance.”

    Better still, why don’t we just make it like it is in the Soviet Union. Oh, wait….

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  14. Kiwi Dave (72 comments) says:

    As a former teacher, almost entirely in low-decile schools, I have considerable sympathy with teachers’ opposition to the release of school statistics as my experience was almost always that such information was taken at face value with little recognition of the anti-educational social difficulties outside the control of the school. Even teachers in ‘better’ schools, whom I expected to know about these problems, were sometimes quite ignorant and assumed that teachers in low-decile schools were either incompetent or unconscientious – of course, some were slack, but many weren’t. Motivated and concerned parents sometimes withdrew their children from my low-reputation school and moved them to more prestigious shools where, on the few occasions I learned of their results in national exams, they got what I had expected them to get if they had stayed. Yes – anecdote is not the singular of data, but it gives another perspective to lousy data and teachers’ fears.

    These days I work overseas in a school which appears to have a positive image in the community, and by my observation is run well with many able teachers, though its intake is very definitely from the lower end of ability, and the failure rate such that the senior school is largely drawn from high-prestige schools’ rejects. The fear of negative publicity from inter-school statistical comparisons is so great that a good deal of our students’ learning at some levels in some subjects is little more than practising exam passing skills, sometimes to the detriment of their education and very definitely at the cost of student enthusiasm.

    Having said all that, I still think the public’s right to know misleading information outweighs teachers’ rights to suppress that information and suggest that my former colleagues would be better off educating the public and the media about the limitations of league tables, and also being a bit more honest with parents about their children’s educational performance. Some correspondents on previous threads on education might like to think more carefully about how they would deal with the likely consequences of releasing misleading data for parents to act on.

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  15. transmogrifier (521 comments) says:

    @Twocan

    Trouble is, what is in the pupil’s best interests idoes not necessarily align with what those pupils or their parents want either. To me, education is an unholy four way tug-of-war between the goverment (via the curriculum and funding), schools, students and their parents and as long as there is shady book-keeping and a lack of accountability, education is going to stagnate as these four groups wrestle with each other.

    Along with the obvious concerns about the curriculum, the standard of teachers and the resources available, one cause of concern not often addressed is the lack of realisation in some parents about their role in the education of their kids, especially with regards attitudes.

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  16. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,065 comments) says:

    If I was a political Machiavelli I could think of nothing better than a year long stand-off against the teacher unions, and making the next election a referendum on whether or not teacher unions or the democratically elected Government gets to run the school system.

    Here’s the thing – this hatred and contempt for teachers is a fetish that’s pretty much exclusive to the far right. Most of the rest of the country admires them enormously – in public surveys they always rank up there with firefighters, nurses, doctors etc. And a teachers strike is arguably THE most inconvenient kind of strike there is, since it means that every parent in the country with a child under 14 – probably close to a million people – are effected by it. A fight with the teachers is a political nightmare for any government.

    [DPF: Disagree. You assume the issue does not matter. It does. A fight over not paying them enough or bulk funding could be a nightmare. But a fight over whether school assessment data is suppressed is a very different kettle of fish.]

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  17. petal (704 comments) says:

    “Federation president Ernie Buutveld warned: “This can only impact negatively on our children.””

    OUR children Ernie?

    How about I get to decide for MINE?

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  18. transmogrifier (521 comments) says:

    Yeah, it’s kind of disconcerting to see how often on these boards the term “teacher” is used in a pejorative sense.

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  19. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    David wants to smash the teachers like Thatcher smashed the miners, why? because he cares about education so much!

    Good luck running with that one Mr Machiavelli!

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  20. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    “Federation president Ernie Buutveld warned league tables would create a “blame and shame” culture, which could lead to schools being shunned and children feeling inadequate.<< ”

    Oh what a load of crap!

    “blame and shame” is that like what is happening to parents who properly discipline their kids?
    If you can’t monitor performance how the hell can you provide for all those poor “inadequate” children.
    Just reveals how left our education system has become:

    ‘we’re not going to tell you how well we are doing, cause you’re not smart enough to understand, and we know best anyway so just trust us and keep up the funding’

    If National don’t falter on this I would expect a dramatic improvement in my kids education very soon.

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  21. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Yeah, it’s kind of disconcerting to see how often on these boards the term “teacher” is used in a pejorative sense.”

    Yeah well, they’re not doing much to help that right now are they??

    Not that they haven’t deserved such criticism in the past, (as I said above and you must have missed), almost every problem that exists in our society today is down to the politicization of the education system, and its use as a tool of socialism rather than as a means to educate. Teachers have been complicit in this disaster.

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  22. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    “means that every parent in the country with a child under 14 – probably close to a million people – are effected by it. A fight with the teachers is a political nightmare for any government.”

    Well maybe Danyl is right.
    His beloved Labour picked a fight with parents and lost an election, I guess those same parents will be deeply concerned that those teachers teaching left wing ideology to their kids will be made more accountable.

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  23. transmogrifier (521 comments) says:

    My own theory is that the evolution towards a focus of self-inquiry in the national curriculum – that is, setting the students up as life-long learners and giving them the skills to find things out for themselves – has had two major unintended consequences that may overshadow the inherent benefits of the idea.

    First, it enables certain teachers to be quite lazy, simply allowing them to book a computer room and have the students “discover” things for themselves. Secondly, and most importantly, I think it has lead to a dramatic reduction in the respect for teachers from the students, and thus increased classroom management problems. Teachers are now seen less as fountains of knowledge and experience and more like glorified babysitters (ok, supervisors) who merely set a task and then allow Wikipedia to take over the actual teaching.

    I think both of these contribute greatly to the general increase in classroom management problems (along with some parents dumping the responsibility of teaching their kids manners and acceptable social behaviour on schools and then moaning when the teacher spends more time trying to get classes under control than actually teaching anything)

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  24. Manolo (13,396 comments) says:

    “David wants to smash the teachers like Thatcher smashed the miners,..”

    Only David? Heck, no! A lot of citizens would love to reduce / extinguish the power of the socialist teacher’s union.
    The “child-molesters of the mind” must be told they are not exempt from accountability and responsibility.

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  25. transmogrifier (521 comments) says:

    @Redbaiter

    Well, I think that a Teachers Union is necessary, without necessarily agreeing with everything they fight for. This would be one of the cases. But I think it is wrong to lump all teachers in with the action of their union, and I can’t see how denigrating teachers in general is going to help the problem, especially with kids picking up so many of their parents’ attitudes and beliefs

    (as a side note, I was on placement at a school a month or so back, and had an interesting conversation with a Year 10 kid, who saw me reading a book about Lange and Muldoon. He went on to talk about how great Roger Douglas was and how NZ was shooting itself in the foot by not taking his advice now, and how Sarah Palin was the victim of a media beat-up. It was an awesome conversation, one that you just love to have as a teacher, but the whole time, I couldn’t help but wonder whether he was your kid :))

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  26. Ross Miller (1,665 comments) says:

    Well, if you agree that the education system as it stands now is as good as it gets then you should support Labour and their union buddies and fight this to the bitter end.

    Ostriches of the world unite.

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  27. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    DPF- I don’t think using teachers as a political football, indulging in bashing their political association is a good idea. They have a very important job in our society, and often have to deal with some very difficult young individuals. they need our support.
    I acknowledge that they are not all perfect but I fail to see how individual test scores can give an accurate reading of their performance. The obvious suspicion of teachers and principals is that ratings will be a tool to be used to bash them. i would encourage the government to look at ways to develop more positive indicators of performance.

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  28. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Look trans, I’m sorry too that teachers are viewed as they are, and I’ll concede there are exceptions to the rule, as there always is, but the fact is that the NZ education system is a shambles and has been ever since it fell under the control of the socialist unions.

    You tell me they are not evil but I see them flying the Red Flag at rallies. Don’t you understand how disconcerting it must be to some parents to know their kids are being fed communist bullshit rather than educated?

    Also, the degree that the religion of environmentalism is being shoved down children’s throats is another outrage.

    And another outrage is the manner in which the schools/ teachers have usurped the parent’s role.

    They have no damn business doing these kind of things, but they do, and they keep doing it, so when they are as a consequence held in some contempt by the wider community, they only have themselves to blame.

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  29. transmogrifier (521 comments) says:

    I agree that test scores are the result of more than just teacher competence, but that’s not an excuse to hide those scores.

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  30. transmogrifier (521 comments) says:

    I think schools have taken on the parent’s role to a greater extent these days (and I agree that it is much too much), but I don’t think it is all willingly. There are many cases of parents expecting schools to do their jobs for them (as I mentioned before, manners, attitude towards learning, social interactions etc). Possibly this is the result of the education system intially steeping over the line and now being confronted with the consequences (I don’t know, really), but it is a problem.

    I think you overrate the extent to which liberalism is actively taught by the teachers in the classroom. I agree that the idea of environmental sustainability has no place as one of the Values that are supposed to be woven through all subjects (though it should form part of either science or social studies in a unit or two here or there, as it is an interesting topic, the friction between development and the environment) – and I do have some problems with the curriculum as it stands. But I have been to four schools, and there is quite a diverse mix of political ideologies. One school in particular, the social sciences department was almost evenly split between right wing (extreme in some cases) and left wing (again, extreme in some cases). Both sides were careful not to explicitly force their views on the students, though that’s not to say the students weren’t able to pick up on their opinions. I will say that their attitudes were a factor in how they approached things outside the classroom (and their opinions on certain kids), but at no time did I see a particular way of thinking imposed on the kids. They benefited from the mix, and so did the faculty.

    Also, related to the environmental angle, I have found that a lot of kids (being kids after all) their default position is pro-environment, and it is a lot of fun playing devil’s advocate with their embryonic understanding of how society works. But I don’t see their attitudes as being any indication of brainwashing. It’s what kids are like.

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  31. Viking2 (11,147 comments) says:

    http://www.nzcpr.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=360&view=next

    Scroll down to the first of these articles about accountability in education.

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  32. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    “Also, the degree that the religion of environmentalism is being shoved down children’s throats is another outrage.”

    My kids came home the other day all wound up about the polar bear bullcrap. I explained to them that polar bear numbers are actually increasing, I also explained that they are the largest most ferocious land carnivore and can rip the arms and legs off an adult in seconds.
    Put a different angle on the Al Gore bullcrap (proven bullcrap) of poor fluffy bears running out of ice our schools push non stop.

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  33. Deborah (156 comments) says:

    Just publish the tables, per decile. That way we can see if the achievement at say, a decile 3 school, is exceeding the achievement at say, a decile 7 school. It might also be useful to publish school’s ethnic mix, or maybe NZ-born vs new-NZer mix; we might expect that children of people new to New Zealand do less well at English language. That would give people enough informaton to make informed judgements.

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  34. bringbackthebiff (106 comments) says:

    Just a quick question. Suppression is a bottom line to what, their support of the govt. I don’t recall the Nats ever having socialist union support, or needing it. Secondly if Parents are in the main in support of access to information which may help them make decisions about their childs education, then what does the govt have to fear. If student teacher ratios are 25 to 1 a huge number of parents would have to be vehemently opposed to the making public this information, for the unions opinion to count for squat

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  35. transmogrifier (521 comments) says:

    As far as I understand, the polar bear population was in danger because of hunting back in the 60s, and since that was banned, their populations have increased dramatically, and for the first time recent figure show this increase has halted or even decreased. However, the reason for this decrease can’t be attributed to anything in particular.

    So of course, instead of investigating further, both sides of the political spectrum merely focus on the parts of the trend that fits with their pre-ordained decision about how the world works (or should work)

    LEFT: the decline is a tragedy! (ignoring the decade long increase) It’s because of global warming! (ignoring the fact it’s conjecture, and that it could just as likely be the population correcting itself)
    RIGHT: the population has been increasing for years! (ignoring the most recent figures and the fact the increase is due to protection from humans) We see polar bears everywhere! (ignoring the fact that the less food or habitat there is, the further bears have to roam, increasing the likelihood of encounters with humans independent of population change)

    Somewhere in there is a lesson worth teaching the kids, but I worry neither side care too much about it

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  36. tvb (4,210 comments) says:

    This battle is absolutely winnable for the Government providing it plays its cards right. I am not confident of this. I think the Labour Party and its Teacher Unions are far more skillful at politics than the Government. We will see. The Government deserves to win but politics does not have hollywood endings.

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  37. donkey (43 comments) says:

    When are we actually going to get a transparent government and departments?

    Lets give the ACT proposal a go, pay the money for the kids (bum on seat) to the school the parents choose.
    Parents move kid, monies go with their bum.

    That would screw the teachers and principals unions stranglehold on the process.
    Then we’ve go to get rid of the lefty Labour tyopes out of the education hierarchy.

    couple that with National Standards (whilst looking at the international markets) should be a goer.
    MikeNZ

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  38. dion (95 comments) says:

    > Teachers are now seen less as fountains of knowledge and experience and more like glorified babysitters (ok, supervisors) who merely > set a task and then allow Wikipedia to take over the actual teaching.

    Add a section on “farm livestock” to their teaching material. That’ll learn ‘em.

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  39. Anthony (768 comments) says:

    Of course many teachers are good and you can’t say the union leaders represent the views of teachers in general. When our local school was debating introducing bulk funding under the last National government, the principal supported it. The biggest loudmouth at the parents meeting who thought the whole thing was an evil political scheme (who I felt like punching in the nose but restrained myself) not surprisingly had a pommie accent – maybe he was sonic?

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  40. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    New Zealand needs to depoliticise (and by that I mean de-labour) its education system.

    Let the clean out of Labour apparatchiks from the MoE be the starting point.

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  41. Komata (1,113 comments) says:

    Perhaps I’m wrong, but as a parent and a person who wants teh best for my children, surely I have a right to know how my local state school is performing? For a school to cover-up evade and avoid giving-out that information to me would seem to indicate only one thing – namely that they actually have good reason to do so. If you are PROUD of what you do, don’t you want to tell everyone about it?

    Or is there something a bit more to this – a fear by individual Principals that they will be shown-up for having poorly performing schools, and that after this has been highlighted, the dreaded ‘Parental Flight’ will occur, with the ultimate result that the the Principal-concerned will ultimately loose their job.

    At its simplest, it would seem that this is NOT about the children, it is NOT about educational quality, it is not even about the performance of schools – it is purely and simply about naked self-interest, self-preservation and greed by persons who know they are incompetent, who KNOW their schools is doing poorly, and that there are memebers of their staf who are down-right incapable of teaching, but who haven’t the intestinal-fortitude (aka ‘GUTS’) to actually admit it! (or do something about it!)

    The pity of it is that the NZEI and PPTA, instead of working FOR the children and parents and trying to improve the standard of education in New Zealand by cleaning-out the incompetents, have chosen to do nothing. ‘Stuff the Children and Parent – we’ll look after ourselves’ seems to be their motto.

    And to think that, under Michael Joseph Savage (he of the original, real, people-supporting, caring, OLD-SCHOOL Labour-party, in case you hadn’t noticed) New Zealand led the world in Education – the PPTA and NZEI should be ashamed (but they won’t be. . . )

    Makes you want to weep doesn’t it?

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  42. reid (15,981 comments) says:

    “the PPTA and NZEI should be ashamed (but they won’t be. . . )”

    Of course not, because they actually think they’re doing the right thing.

    Which is why the term useful idiot was coined. Add that to teacher arrogance arising as a result of standing up in front of year tens and thinking if that’s the limit of educational achievement, I’m so much brighter than them, and you have our educational policy. Designed specifically for the lowest common denominator.

    And subsequently reinforced, refined and finally endorsed by some of the finest minds in the land who should and in fact, do know better but who never voice a word of dissent.

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  43. Brian Smaller (3,999 comments) says:

    Another good reason to have my kids in private schools. The government needs to stand firm and win this fight or even more kids will condemned to the scrap heap because of poorly performing schools. Of course, the other side of this is that well run and performing state schools schools will be able to shout their success.

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  44. Sonny Blount (1,845 comments) says:

    “RIGHT: the population has been increasing for years! (ignoring the most recent figures and the fact the increase is due to protection from humans) We see polar bears everywhere! (ignoring the fact that the less food or habitat there is, the further bears have to roam, increasing the likelihood of encounters with humans independent of population change)”

    Trans,

    Just to clear up your cliched assumptions.

    The right (or other objective observers) freely acknowledge Polar Bear numbers were so low due to hunting and without the restrictions on these activities the observed population growth mar not have occured. It should also be noted that hunting never completely stopped and something like 1000+ bears have been taken every year.

    What the massive growth in numbers through the 80′s and 90′s shows is that the stable population for Polar Bears may be near what it is today (if populations have stabilised which is unclear) and that under current conditions at least that population can be maintained.

    The link between a warming climate and less food for polar bears also does not make sense because warmer temps=increased plant gowth=more food for animals. It is worth noting that Polar Bear population growth correlates with global temp (sharp increase though 80′s and 90′s, stable in the 00′s), so if there are any negative forcings caused by this warming and supposed associated habitat loss, they are less than the natural conditions which allowed their population to increase 400% in two generations.

    “Somewhere in there is a lesson worth teaching the kids, but I worry neither side care too much about it”

    And that lesson is that sanctimonious fence-sitters spouting shallow cliches who fail to educate themselves will become victims of manipulative political agendas.

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  45. Tauhei Notts (1,612 comments) says:

    Several years ago I was on the Board of Trustees of an intermediate school.
    The teachers’ union woman, a delegate to our meetings, told us that the teachers will be going on strike and that will be for the benefit of the childrens’ education.
    I had never ever heard so much crap, so I remarked;
    “Teachers striking for the good of the childrens’ education was like fucking for virginity”
    The chairwoman objected to my obscene statement, and told me, after the meeting when were alone, that I was 100% correct.

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  46. Bob (481 comments) says:

    Nice man or not I think John Key can be strong and steadfast when he needs to be. I think it would be a big mistake to underestimate him.

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  47. transmogrifier (521 comments) says:

    Sonny – I was purposefully spouting cliched positions from both sides. That was kind of the whole point. I notice you didn’t comment on the rest of the post, which I think provided the balance.

    So, in sum, what’s the problem?

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  48. Sonny Blount (1,845 comments) says:

    Because your talking about science. It is easy to explain verifiable data as opposed to unverifiable conjecture.

    It is not a case of the left says this and the right says that. If you do that you are not doing justice to logic and facts.

    This kind of cop-out is becoming very costly for our society, as these kids are making decisions on these issues straight of school when they turn 18 and enter the polling booth. They are being targeted for their votes and they’re not being equipped to make rational decisions.

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  49. Sonny Blount (1,845 comments) says:

    “But I don’t see their attitudes as being any indication of brainwashing. It’s what kids are like.”

    You are underestimating the shear amount of obfuscation that people and kids are exposed to day to day.

    If you were to show a 10 year old a graph of the historical temperature of the earth and ask him/her what is going to happen to the temperature , 90% will tell you it is going to get cold soon. By the time those kids leave school at 18, I bet that number will be closer to 10%.

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  50. transmogrifier (521 comments) says:

    I’m not with you at all – it’s easy to obtain data, but it is devilishly difficult to assign causation to that data. My whole point is that the left and the right tend to focus in on the narrow range of data that “confirms” a causation (or lack of it) that suits their worldview.

    I wasn’t advocating teaching the kids what the left or right think. My comment about the lesson for the kids was in having them think for themselves and understand that environmental trends can operate on both the long and short term, and that it requires an objective outlook to be able to even get close to discovering causation and making decisions based on that.

    So, yeah, I still don’t see your point. I’m worried you are just irked that I don’t follow blindly what you seem to believe. Please tell me it’s not that shallow and that we are arguing about education still.

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  51. Mr Gronk (45 comments) says:

    I can see that school rankings – if ever made available – would have to be used with caution. For example, a comparison between Aranui High and Burnside High isn’t the most apt when it comes to measuring teacher ability and dedication. There’s the fundamental problem of a lack of a control system. About the only way I could think of around that one (and it would only work in the cities) is to “rotate” teachers between different schools, so that teacher performance can be measured independently of the socio-economics of the student body and the local community, and of the funding and support attracted by the school.

    On the other hand, the fact that some state schools do better than others is well known and has been for some time. I’ve heard that school zoning boundaries are often taken into account by parents when choosing where to live. So to that extent, school rankings would merely formalise what people already know (though they might correct the occasional generally-held but mistaken belief about which schools are good and which are bad).

    But I would love to know how, precisely, the Principals’ Federation thinks that making the data available is bad for students. Kids feeling inadequate because they go to “the wrong school”? I dare say kids don’t naturally feel inadequate – they get made to feel that way by others, who, if they can’t attack them for going to “the wrong school”, will be the sort to do so anyway for living in “the wrong part of town” or having “the wrong parents” or some other “wrong”.

    It does seem more about protecting teachers than looking out for the students. But, then, a union’s first job is to look out for the welfare of its members. If the teachers’ unions don’t put their collective feet down about this, there are, I imagine, a fair few teachers who would wonder what use their unions are.

    Having said all that – I still think the data should be available under the OIA, and the teachers are then quite free to point out the limitations of any league tables that are produced.

    I disagree that a fight with the teachers’ unions over this (or any other matter) is one which the Government will necessarily win. There are parents whose support for the Government in this matter will be firm and unwavering – and they’re unlikely to be fazed by teachers’ strikes. But there are others, I’m sure, who are either supportive of the teachers’ unions, or “fair weather friends” of the Government’s stance – the support of the latter evaporating after a few days (or weeks) of having to make “other arrangements” for their kids.

    If the Government does make this a hill to die on, I hope they’re looking around for places to get alternative teachers from in the event of a general strike. As well as reducing the burden of a teachers’ strike on the community, I imagine it would reduce the threat of such a strike, on the theory that nothing would cause a teacher to reconsider striking quite like the prospect of a reliever taking over your classroom…permanently.

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  52. Sonny Blount (1,845 comments) says:

    On a factual level it’s not left and right. Its correct or its not. Just because those labels are applied by political groups does not mean they should be allowed to prevent education of them.

    If polar bears are introduced as a topic at school. Kids should learn that they live at the north pole, eat seals, their population has recovered from hunting, and their habitat has been shrinking since we came out of the ice age. If those things are factually correct.

    It’s not ok teach that one group says ‘a’ and another group says ‘b’ if it can be established that one of these positions is factually correct. And a disagreeing point of view should not be sufficient reason not to teach something.

    If Christians believe humans were created in the Garden 5,000 years ago, and Science shows we evolved from amoeba. Should they both be presented in classrooms? No. The best scientific knowledge should be taught.

    There are many other areas including, health, economics, culture, and environment where scientific data should be sought out and taught regardless of the political sensitivities.

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  53. clintheine (1,563 comments) says:

    Lets remove all the nonsense for a second. What the unions are saying is that they do *not* want parents to know what schools perform better than other schools. That’s it.

    Now it sounds political. The unions, aka Labour, are against competition in schools and in all parts of our life as they prefer a universal system run by the Govt. If parents, ie taxpayers – had a greater say in education, they would pay good teachers more than bad teachers and parents would be able to send their kids to whatever school would give them the best possible chance in life.

    Labour and the teachers unions are against school choice and paying good teachers more.

    I’ll put my hand up and send a letter to John Key to tell them they ae onto a hiding. Who else is with me?

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  54. peterwn (3,168 comments) says:

    This requires a whole new approach from Government – lots more support for independent scvhools, allow de-integration of schools wanting to get rid of state shackles and introduce education vouchers.

    Then sell to the highest bidder Auckland Grammar, EGGS, Wellingtonn College, Christchurch Boys’ (it was originally a Presbyterian school), etc.

    Oh and bulk funding of course.

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  55. tvb (4,210 comments) says:

    I hope John has a plan over this. It would make me purr if John has decided to pick a fight with the Teachers’ Unions on an issue that is popular for the Government/ Parents and not liked by the Teachers Unions nor the Labour Party. But this needs planning, cold and calculating.

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  56. Red Sam (122 comments) says:

    I would have thought that what is important to parents is simply their own child’s progress and achievement in reading, writing and maths, and whether they are working towards, working at or working above the so-called national standard for their yearly cohort.

    If you read the national standards that are being proposed, then you’ll find they’re actually pretty flimsy. In fact, most of the children in my class at a decile 10 school are achieving above, and some significantly above, what is expected at the end of their cohort year. Wahoo, if you tories had your way, I would be receiving a performance pay bonus that would far exceed my already comfortable $60,000 plus salary. However, that sort of thinking is utterly ridiculous and denies the very hard work and commitment of teachers who are working in poorer areas with higher deprivation and/or with children whose learning is taking a little longer to fall into place.

    It’s already very clear that students from wealthier decile ten schools achieve at higher levels when compared to students in schools in poorer areas. There are variety of reasons for this, and this research is well documented the world over. League tables that are based on socio economic factors, such as schools and their deciles, will be very much identical to those based on educational achievement.

    Tolley, to give her credit, is not proposing a national test for each subject at each year level. Thank god for that!!! She’s learnt from the mistakes of the UK and other failed systems that are simply teaching to the test (at particular year levels) and are making school a very boring place for a lot of students. The data being collected by New Zealand teachers will be from various assessment tools that individual primary or intermediate schools already use. For example, teacher professional judegment and anecdotal observations, ASTTLE assessment (writing), STAR and PATs tests, reading running records, numeracy project diagnostic (maths) and other mathematics assessment tools, etc.

    In my view every state school needs to be a good school that caters for the educational needs of its local community. Rather than wasting time and money on national standards and league tables, and duplicating the work already done by most teachers, why doesn’t this Government focus on adequately funding the public education system (including high quality teacher education), cutting very high class sizes, and making sure teachers have the necessary resources to do their job. Well heated classrooms in every school in this country might be a good start!

    And if Tolley and Key want a fight with the NZEI and teachers, then I’ll happily take to the streets. So would a good chunk of my colleagues. When the primary teachers collective comes up for renegotiation in June next year, and Key and his lot say no to a pay increase, unlike the 4% increase we received the other day on 1 July, then you can bet that teachers will be up and arms and taking it to the streets.

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  57. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Red Sam,

    Your argument is a simple regurgitation of the union stance on pay.

    Why shouldn’t school and student achievements be published?

    All you continue to hear from the unionised teachers is ‘we’ll strike’. Well, how about you strike on your excessive summer holiday.

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  58. Sonny Blount (1,845 comments) says:

    “And if Tolley and Key want a fight with the NZEI and teachers, then I’ll happily take to the streets. So would a good chunk of my colleagues. When the primary teachers collective comes up for renegotiation in June next year, and Key and his lot say no to a pay increase, unlike the 4% increase we received the other day on 1 July, then you can bet that teachers will be up and arms and taking it to the streets.”

    Newsflash jerkoff. You work for us, the people of NZ who pay your salary. We voted in Key and Tolley to sort your shit out. We are not getting pay rises, we are losing our jobs. And I bloody well hope you don’t get your pay rise, and if you vandalise our communities by ‘taking to the streets’ I hope you lose your job too.

    P.S. My Mum, Dad, Uncle, Aunt, Godparents, and most of the adults I grew up with were teachers. I respect teachers but not jerkoffs like you. You need to stay away from our kids.

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  59. clintheine (1,563 comments) says:

    Says Red Sam who has sold his comrades out by teaching in a decile 10 school.

    I think you’ll find Red Sam, if you take to the streets the parents will not be standing alongside you. Once they see what you and your comrades are trying to do – feather your pockets instead of teaching kids then you will be running back with your little red tail btw your legs.

    And I doubt with that sort of mindset that you would get an increase. If you teach the kids the kind of shit that pours out of your mouth then I feel sorry for them.

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  60. Red Sam (122 comments) says:

    “Your argument is a simple regurgitation of the union stance on pay.”

    You’re a clever chook. I am sure that the over 90% of primary teachers who belong to our union will have a similar stance on pay and will also expect an increase on top of salary scale increments over the next three years. My own opinion, that’s right I’m not totally beholden to the union, is that I would much prefer if the government paid beginning teachers, teacher aides, administration staff and caretaking/cleaning staff more, rather than a hefty increase to those of us at the top of our scale, including DPs, APs and Principals. Those on low to average wages in our country should be getting significant increases, all tertiary students a living allowance, and those earning above $100,000 should be taking pay cuts and having their taxes increased.

    “Why shouldn’t school and student achievements be published?”

    Tell me what you expect to be reported in the papers and for what purpose? Will this enhance student progress and achievement? I suspect the answer is no. If you think poor levels of student achievement is the fault of teachers and schools, and not due to lack of resourcing/funding or social/family deprivation, then you might like to get out more. If teacher practice is slack, then individual school appraisal systems will pick them up. In fact, as a socialist, I’d prefer if the state inspectorate was reintroduced rather than principals and school management wasting their time in areas where they’re ill-qualified. They should stick to being curriculum and learning specialists, not managers!

    “All you continue to hear from the unionised teachers is ‘we’ll strike’. Well, how about you strike on your excessive summer holiday.”

    As you saw in the nineties when your lot were previously in power, and dear Lockie was the Miser of education, strikes do have an impact. If workers have anything dear, it’s our labour power. No point marching down Lambton Quay when the pollies and your mates in the Young Nats who work in parliament are having an excessive summer holiday break too. If you don’t like school holidays, then why don’t you put forward a remit at your next National Party conference (or join if you haven’t already) to extend school terms. Obviously you’ve never taught in a school at the end of a ten week term (there’s a reason why we did away with 15 week terms and the old three term year) when five and six year olds are tired and buggered and don’t want to get up early to be trucked off to school for six hours, five days a week. I’m there to teach children, not babysit while mum and dad are at work.

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  61. Red Sam (122 comments) says:

    “Newsflash jerkoff. You work for us, the people of NZ who pay your salary.”

    We as taxpayers actually pay the salaries of thousands upon thousands of New Zealand workers, which includes my mother, my father, many of my aunties and uncles, and also my godparents (from catholic to born again atheist). I only wish more salaries, such as those working for power companies, construction companies, roadworks, all ports and shipping, forestry, and telecommunications were paid from the state purse too. I live in hope that day will come again, but probably not in my lifetime.

    It’s not a particularly clever use of language to refer to someone as a jerkoff. Hardly offensive though. We’ve all jerked off and I’m sure you have too. Who cares.

    “We voted in Key and Tolley to sort your shit out. We are not getting pay rises, we are losing our jobs. And I bloody well hope you don’t get your pay rise, and if you vandalise our communities by ‘taking to the streets’ I hope you lose your job too.”

    I have been on heaps of demonstrations in my lifetime, and I’ll quite happily grab my placards and banners and cycle off to many more in the future. You may have voted for Key and Tolley (I’ve never voted for National or Labour), along with the other 1,053,398 people who voted for the Nats last year, but that’s not quite the more than four million who actually live in New Zealand. When National were in power in the late 1990s, unemployment peaked at 170,000. Therefore, it’ll be interesting to see how John and his cronies curb the current swell in unemployment that he and his capitalist mates have once again largely created.

    “P.S. My Mum, Dad, Uncle, Aunt, Godparents, and most of the adults I grew up with were teachers. I respect teachers but not jerkoffs like you.”

    What fine people your family are. I only hope you contribute to the social good of our society too, and don’t go around ripping off the working class and profiteering like the majority of your capitalist mates seem to do.

    “You need to stay away from our kids.”

    It’s a bit late telling me that now. Just lastly, what do you mean “our” kids? You might like to interrogate why you think ‘kids’ are a commodity or piece of property to be owned by “our”. Children actually have minds and thoughts of their own, and it’s their ability to critically think, explore ideas, discover and wonder that I have always fostered through my teaching practice. Sadly this will not be measured through Mrs Tolley’s narrow national standards.

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  62. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    More scintillating arguments from Red Sam that shows the teachers union cares about the kids (& their parents i.e. the customers) – not.

    Bring on the league tables & cut the dead wood labourite union hardcore out of the MoE.

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  63. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “We as taxpayers actually pay the salaries of thousands upon thousands of New Zealand workers,”

    No you don’t jerkoff. You’re not a TAXPAYER. As a public sector employee, you contribute nothing to the tax take.

    “I only wish more salaries, such as those working for power companies, construction companies, roadworks, all ports and shipping, forestry, and telecommunications were paid from the state purse too.”

    Why don’t you just fuck off to Cuba or North Korea. You can have what you wish for right now.

    “but that’s not quite the more than four million who actually live in New Zealand.”

    And that’s because not all of that four million have reached voting age moron.

    ” Therefore, it’ll be interesting to see how John and his cronies curb the current swell in unemployment that he and his capitalist mates have once again largely created. ”

    It was Helen Klark who had the cronies, like Owen Glenn, (or Jim Anderton and Sovereign Yachts) for just a couple of examples, and it was your extreme left lot that precipitated the current financial crisis by forcing banks to lend trillions in unsafe loans while simultaneously making an absolute ballsup of managing Freddie Mac and Fannie May.

    “I only hope you contribute to the social good of our society too, and don’t go around ripping off the working class and profiteering like the majority of your capitalist mates seem to do. ”

    Your actually the one ripping off the working class by forcing them to pay by excessive taxation exorbitant rates for their children’s education through an uncompetitive system that provides a piss poor product thanks to being monopolised by dropkicks like you.

    “what do you mean “our” kids?”

    He means he’s the father, and the kids are his sons and daughters you communist creep, and its not up to scum like you, full of lies, exaggerations, false allegations and stinking communist propaganda to assume you have any right to act as de facto parents merely because you are entrusted with their education.

    A task that you have been failing at miserably anyway for decades now. Smug arrogant loser. He’s right. You’re so stupid, and so thick, and so indoctrinated with such poisonous ideology, you shouldn’t be within a light year of any school or any impressionable young mind.

    Whatever examinations exist to admit to the teaching profession, they must be damned inadequate if someone as stupid and outright dangerous as you made it through.

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  64. Sonny Blount (1,845 comments) says:

    What’s good for you:

    “my already comfortable $60,000 plus salary”

    “the 4% increase we received the other day on 1 July”

    “primary teachers who belong to our union will have a similar stance on pay and will also expect an increase on top of salary scale increments over the next three years”

    Whats good for others:

    “those earning above $100,000 should be taking pay cuts and having their taxes increased.”

    Whinging is not a very convincing way to ask for a pay rise:

    “If you think poor levels of student achievement is the fault of teachers and schools, and not due to lack of resourcing/funding or social/family deprivation, then you might like to get out more.”

    “Obviously you’ve never taught in a school at the end of a ten week term (there’s a reason why we did away with 15 week terms and the old three term year) when five and six year olds are tired and buggered and don’t want to get up early to be trucked off to school for six hours, five days a week. I’m there to teach children, not babysit while mum and dad are at work.”

    “I only hope you contribute to the social good of our society too, don’t go around ripping off the working class and profiteering like the majority of your capitalist mates seem to do.”

    What would qualify me to be doing this, I am working class so I would like to understand what you mean.

    “You might like to interrogate why you think ‘kids’ are a commodity or piece of property to be owned by “our”. Children actually have minds and thoughts of their own, and it’s their ability to critically think, explore ideas, discover and wonder.”

    Which is how I thankfully learnt that socialism is dehumanising.

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  65. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    My 2 year old had a running race against me today on the way home, she ‘won’ shouting “I am the winner, you are the loser”, I high fived her, encouraging the winning drive.

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  66. Red Sam (122 comments) says:

    Redbaiter, as usual you launch into a vitriol and personal attacks, but not surprising when I’m entering the lions den and home of the vicious right.

    “We as taxpayers actually pay the salaries of thousands upon thousands of New Zealand workers,”

    “No you don’t jerkoff. You’re not a TAXPAYER. As a public sector employee, you contribute nothing to the tax take.”

    A completely narrow view. Public sector employees contribute more to a society than you’re likely to ever contribute. If you took away all the teachers, for example, and closed down all the schools then I think our society would be the poorer for it. Likewise with those working in public health.

    “I only wish more salaries, such as those working for power companies, construction companies, roadworks, all ports and shipping, forestry, and telecommunications were paid from the state purse too.”

    “Why don’t you just fuck off to Cuba or North Korea. You can have what you wish for right now.”

    No thanks. Being homosexual I’m likely to be imprisoned. I now look forward to your next set of personal attacks.

    “but that’s not quite the more than four million who actually live in New Zealand.”

    “And that’s because not all of that four million have reached voting age moron.”

    Okay, but non-voting age plus National/ACT voters does not equal over four million. The non-voters chose not to vote for a reason. Tweedle dee and tweedle dum choice in National/ACT and Labour.

    “I only hope you contribute to the social good of our society too, and don’t go around ripping off the working class and profiteering like the majority of your capitalist mates seem to do. ”

    “Your actually the one ripping off the working class by forcing them to pay by excessive taxation exorbitant rates for their children’s education through an uncompetitive system that provides a piss poor product thanks to being monopolised by dropkicks like you.”

    Actually, I have no say about the tax rates in this country. What party has been in power for a large chunk of the last 100 years? A good number of your ilk are enrolled in private schools anyway. You’ll be pleased to know that out of principle I’ve never taught in those schools so they’re safe.

    I don’t share your view that learning is a product, and thank goodness I don’t have to work with zealots like you. I suppose you’d advocate beating kids and other forms of punitive punishment too. You’ve got to love those libertarians and followers of freedom. They’re showing their true colours with the latest referendum. Sadly I’ve heard some kids saying that they’re still getting smacked at home. The current law isn’t actually strong enough!

    “A task that you have been failing at miserably anyway for decades now. Smug arrogant loser. He’s right. You’re so stupid, and so thick, and so indoctrinated with such poisonous ideology, you shouldn’t be within a light year of any school or any impressionable young mind.”

    You might like to talk with some of my former students and their parents, and a number of them will be your mates. I could rattle off a good number of parents, and now probably their kids, who are either members of and who have worked for you belovered ACT and National parties – one or two parents even as MPs. Unlike you, I’ll quite happily natter away to those on the other side of the fence. Many tories are actually quite nice people, and I’m even related to some of them. Just as some leftists can actually be quite vicious. I just don’t agree with the tory way and their economic and social policies.

    “Whatever examinations exist to admit to the teaching profession, they must be damned inadequate if someone as stupid and outright dangerous as you made it through.”

    A bachelors of education, a bachelors degree in sociology, masters in education, and a teaching diploma. A life long learner and still going strong. My academic record is actually something that I am quite proud of, having come from a poor-working class family in the back blocks of the South Island.

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  67. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “A completely narrow view.”

    But a correct one. You do not contribute to the consolidated fund as you claimed.

    “Public sector employees contribute more to a society than you’re likely to ever contribute.”

    A completely baseless allegation and weak smear. You would not have the faintest idea whether this was a fact or not.

    “No thanks. Being homosexual I’m likely to be imprisoned.”

    Well, so much for your great socialist states right?? You’ll be in the cells right next to those who advocate for democracy.

    “Tweedle dee and tweedle dum choice in National/ACT and Labour.”

    Yep, that’s why Labour and National harbour such hatred and fear of Roger Douglas and his policies.

    Actually, I have no say about the tax rates in this country.

    Except that you woudl no doubt increase them and that yo

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  68. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “A completely narrow view.”

    But a correct one. You do not contribute to the consolidated fund as you claimed.

    “Public sector employees contribute more to a society than you’re likely to ever contribute.”

    A completely baseless allegation and weak smear. You would not have the faintest idea whether this was a fact or not.

    “No thanks. Being homosexual I’m likely to be imprisoned.”

    Well, so much for your great socialist states right?? You’ll be in the cells right next to those who advocate for democracy.

    “Tweedle dee and tweedle dum choice in National/ACT and Labour.”

    Yeah right, that’s why Labour and National harbour such hatred and fear of Roger Douglas and his policies.

    “Actually, I have no say about the tax rates in this country.”

    Except that if you did you would no doubt increase them and that you admit you play as big a part as you can in influencing education policy. Attempting to excuse yourself from the systematic gangsterish left wing extortion that is applied to hard working NZ families who wish to EDUCATE their young does not wash.

    “I don’t share your view that learning is a product,”

    Of course not, for to do so would undermine too many of the fallacies illusions and distortions in your propaganda.

    “A bachelors of education, a bachelors degree in sociology, masters in education, and a teaching diploma.”

    Then there is obviously something very wrong with all of those systems and procedures. Most likely that they are administered by the same kind of jerkoff as you.

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  69. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Sorry for the previous partly duplicated post. Went through by accident.

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  70. clintheine (1,563 comments) says:

    And yet you spelt “beloved” wrong Teacher Sam. All that time in education and you’re betting the basics wrong.
    I am not one of these twats who corrects others spelling, but when I get lectured to by a teacher that he knows whats best for the children over the parents then it is open season.

    I can’t believe any school would willingly allow you to help shape kids minds. Although I know there is a fair smattering of teachers like you out there and I look forward to meeting you and your comrades on the streets.

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  71. Swampy (273 comments) says:

    What is a “general strike”? Oh, it just happens to be illegal under NZ law. Why does anyone believe teachers will go on strike because of this issue?

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  72. Swampy (273 comments) says:

    John Minto was a teacher until fairly recently, never forget it.

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  73. Brian Smaller (3,999 comments) says:

    FUCK. You people need to learn to use indented quotes. It makes reading your posts so much easier.

    Lesson:

    Use the Less than sign then the word blockquote and enclose with the greater than sign. At end of quoted text do same except put a slash in front of the word blockquote.

    Ryan Sproull taught me this and it change my blog-commenting life.

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  74. clintheine (1,563 comments) says:

    like this Brian? /

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  75. clintheine (1,563 comments) says:

    hmmn, I added that slash and it still came up. Interesting!

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  76. Sonny Blount (1,845 comments) says:

    test /

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  77. Sonny Blount (1,845 comments) says:

    Fantastic, thanks Brian, I’ve wanting to know how to do that

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  78. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    test

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  79. Red Sam (122 comments) says:

    “And yet you spelt “beloved” wrong Teacher Sam.”

    “I am not one of these twats who corrects others spelling…”

    We all miss the odd letter out when we’re speedily typing away, Clint. I’m no traditionalist when it comes to the odd typo and spelling or grammatical error. While self-correcting and editing is equally important, I haven’t got all day to edit bloody blog posts on Kiwiblog. No disrespect David. You missed the apostrophe in “whats” (should read “what’s”). And whose minds? Kids. Where’s your apostrophe again my boy? However, I understood what you meant and that’s what really matters here.

    “I can’t believe any school would willingly allow you to help shape kids minds. Although I know there is a fair smattering of teachers like you out there and I look forward to meeting you and your comrades on the streets.”

    My Principal, like many actually, is equally pro-union and beautifully left wing. It’s the self-interested neo-liberal or right wing teachers (not so much the old compassionate tory christians) who are usually more interested in standing on every else to get to the top, and who tend to put themselves before the kids.

    I actually doubt whether I have had much influence over how students in my class think politically. For example, a large chunk of them preferred Key and Hide over Clark and the Greens when we studied the election last year. Despite your conspiracy theories that leftist teachers are out to convert the hoards of young minds in our schools, I never tell students who I vote for and I certainly don’t tell them what to think. They just need to have the skills to read, write, debate and critically analyse, and then make their own decisions.

    “John Minto was a teacher until fairly recently, never forget it.”

    And a fine HOD science at a large Auckland secondary school indeed. Thankfully the teaching profession in New Zealand is filled with good hearted people like John and myself, and while some of you were possibly taught by my comrades, you probably didn’t even know it.

    Look forward to seeing you on the parliament of the streets, Clint.

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  80. Red Sam (122 comments) says:

    “What is a “general strike”? Oh, it just happens to be illegal under NZ law.”

    With any luck, a decent left wing government will change that law one day.

    Our law on the right to strike, as it currently stands, isn’t too far removed from the sorts of carry on in some of those authoritarian regimes that you and your ilk rightfully detest.

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  81. Brian Smaller (3,999 comments) says:

    Red Sam – your job is to teach what you are told to teach. If the government decides on a course of action for the curriculum you are obliged to follow it through – or resign. You don’t get to pick education policy except for at the general election.

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  82. Red Sam (122 comments) says:

    “Red Sam – your job is to teach what you are told to teach. If the government decides on a course of action for the curriculum you are obliged to follow it through – or resign. You don’t get to pick education policy except for at the general election.”

    Then obviously dear Brian you have no idea about the newly revised New Zealand curriculum, which is compulsory from 2010.

    There are broad learning intentions for each curriculum area and year, along with specific values and key competencies, but what we teach and how is entirely up to us and the team or syndicate in our schools. My only experience is in primary and intermediate schools.

    Do your homework before you start mouthing off. You’re stuck in the dark ages.

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  83. Red Sam (122 comments) says:

    And you lot will just love the values from the revised New Zealand Curriculum, which are to be encouraged, modelled, and explored. The values in the New Zealand Curriculum include:

    excellence, by aiming high and by persevering in the face of difficulties;

    innovation, inquiry, and curiosity, by thinking critically, creatively, and reflectively;

    diversity, as found in our different cultures, languages, and heritages;

    equity, through fairness and social justice;

    community and participation for the common good;

    ecological sustainability, which includes care for the environment;

    integrity, which involves being honest, responsible, and accountable and acting ethically;

    and to respect themselves, others, and human rights.

    These are all values that I am happy to live by and to encourage, model and explore with my students. Thankfully Mrs Tolley doesn’t seem to have a problem with this aspect of the revised curriculum.

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  84. The Caretaker (1 comment) says:

    I’ve read most of these posts and I’m seriously depressed.

    Let’s think about what this means for schools. According to most posters, schools now deserve to have a narrow range of high stakes compulsory assessments, to report against to the Ministry and have aggregated and published on the front page of the local paper.

    So I’m in a staff meeting in my school – briefing the troops…

    “Okay team, there are now just a narrow range of things that matter and can cause us any embarrassment when they publish our results. We are accountable and need to be measured. A top five ranking internationally counts for nothing. Now guys, we need to concentrate on just literacy and numeracy – so please don’t waste any time on these other subjects – they don’t get measured…

    Music – waste of time – they can buy CDs and it will be years before we realise that no-one cares and no-one can play an instrument.

    Art – it’s over-rated, and only for those with dosh.

    Dance, drama – they’re for just poofters – girls can do ballet after school.

    Gifted kids – they’re cool – they will help our stats and we won’t have to help them – means more time for helping the thick kids. They might get bored but they won’t publish boredom statistics.

    Sport – there’s always a sports club ready to extend them here – we waste sooooo much time going to tournaments and practice. We have tests to prepare for…

    Technology. Nah – it’s not tested.

    Thinking kids – surely kids who are well prepared to sit multiple choice tests can think. Waste of your time…”

    You see, you get what you measure. I’m pleased that you supporters of league tables believe that what made YOU special can easily be so easily measured. Your sparkling wit, your fabulous personailty, your ability to be organised, your employability.

    Not everything that matters ever gets measured. We do not produce widgets. We are not the stock market. We grow people, and they ain’t all perfect.

    BTW – check your spelling and punctuation – most of you wouldn’t make the grade.

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  85. clintheine (1,563 comments) says:

    Red Sam – on one side you have *some* teachers who don’t want to tell parents how good the school is. The same parents who pay taxes to get the education for their kids. The same parents who care about their children and want the very best for them.

    On the other side. Parents and consumers – in far greater numbers. They want to know these basic statistics. I support them and think it’s bloody selfish to assume that these numbers should not be made public.

    What do the teachers have to fear? Are the teaching standards *that* low that if the truth come out it would be shocking?

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  86. Red Sam (122 comments) says:

    “On the other side. Parents and consumers – in far greater numbers. They want to know these basic statistics. I support them and think it’s bloody selfish to assume that these numbers should not be made public.”

    Your ignorance is astounding, and like other National and ACT supporters, you seem to make populist exaggerations in order to capture votes and get the talkback lines running hot. Most parents I know are interested in their own child’s learning, not school-wide statistics. They are likely to be interested in how their child is doing relative to other students at their year level, but that does not involve publishing screeds of data to compare schools.

    You and your right wing zealots, such as Associate Minister Roy (thankfully JK and Tolley haven’t given her any air time during the nat. standards debates) and your mates at the Education Forum, are just using the whole national standards debate as an opportunity to push your ludicrous school choice propaganda, with the hope that a full on competitive war will one day break out in the public school sector. This isn’t going to happen sunshine.

    Teachers already report to parents on where students are at in relation to all curriculum areas. Admittedly, there are some schools that do this badly and the failure of some teachers to use plain language has been a problem. However, most report well and thousands and thousands of teachers spend hours writing reports and in preparing for teacher-parent (and often child included) conferences.

    For the last three years in my current school I have written extensive reports twice a year (students in my class), where I have reported on each student’s achievements (including levels and where they sit relative to their chronological age) as well as their next learning steps in writing, reading, mathematics, and other curriculum areas. I have also met with families (parent and child conferences) twice a year to discuss their child’s learning, where the child is at, and where they need to head – their next learning steps/goals.

    Great post The Caretaker. This is the big worry! With Tolley’s focus on a Victorian era curriculum, with a blinkered coverage towards maths and English, what will happen to the social sciences, Maori, other languages, science, technology, IT, the arts (drama, dance, visual art), physical education, health, and music? It’s like the return of Merv Wellington all over again, minus the silly raising of the flag each day.

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