Educational priorities

October 24th, 2009 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The new will narrow educational opportunities for children, says the country’s largest teaching union.

“It all adds up to teaching to a very narrow focus and ultimately narrowing educational opportunities for children,” said New Zealand Educational Institute president Frances Nelson.

The union has been opposed to standards since National announced their introduction.

The standards were part of National policy before the party was elected to Government. Despite almost a year of talks, the Government has failed to reach an amicable agreement with the teaching unions.

– which represents about 45,000 people in the sector – did not attend yesterday’s formal launch.

The union is holding a forum next month to work out how the standards will sit alongside “everything else we do in terms of teaching and learning and getting the best results for students”.

Ms Nelson said the national standards were causing upheaval and the main issue for the forum was to “ensure a focus on improved student achievement across the broader school curriculum not just in literacy and numeracy”.

I am genuinely confused here. If a pupil can not read or write or count, then what are these other areas of achievement they may be doing well in, that don’t need basic literacy or numeracy?

Ms Tolley said it was hard to understand how teaching reading, writing and maths would narrow education opportunities.

“If they cannot do these basics, that is when opportunities are closed off.”

Indeed.

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43 Responses to “Educational priorities”

  1. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    There is no excuse, this should already have been the norm for decades as shows just out of kilter the Unions and Principals are.

    A good case is the Autralasian exams, the report back shows where your child is in the stanine and on avg for the cohort.

    All the delaying is politics in the hope that their labour friends will protect them yet again.
    comply or be sacked.

    We should get this as a matter of course not from some Australian University.

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  2. Johnboy (14,876 comments) says:

    “I am genuinely confused here. If a pupil can not read or write or count, then what are these other areas of achievement they may be doing well in, that don’t need basic literacy or numeracy?”

    How about getting official acclaim from a public servant for copying dictation from your teech and posting it to the Mayor of W(h)anganui. Great achievement surely in this enlightened little land we have created specially if it comes with a diploma in tongue poking and eye rolling. Seems that kaupapa are exempt from meeting educational standards.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10604965

    Note—’Education Minister Anne Tolley said the standards would be introduced in all English-based primary and intermediate schools and would involve years one to eight.’

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  3. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Translation: The free ride is over and no one likes accountabilty when it is applied to them.

    There are a lot of very half arsed low skilled teachers out there who are going to be in some serious poopy because they signed up to be PC baby sitters for the state, now they’re being told they have to teach.

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  4. Southern Raider (1,534 comments) says:

    Principals Federation said although it would be nice for children to learn their 3 R’s, it has to be recognised they go to school for other reasons like fun.

    WTF?

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  5. Southern Raider (1,534 comments) says:

    How do we have the situation where a union can hold the future if a country to ransom?

    I expect this policy will fail as the union will actively work to sabotage it.

    Art and everything else is a nice to have. Every job requires a minimum level of reading, writing and maths. I was at Eden Park once and had to tell the young woman serving me beer how much change to give me.

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  6. labrator (1,744 comments) says:

    I would’ve thought by the time you get to school you’d be well on your way to basic numeracy and literacy. I found this speech at TED by Sir Ken Robinson very interesting and may be what some of the union is getting at. Our schooling system seems very stuck in the answers it was trying to solve at the time of its inception and hasn’t changed much since then.

    I’m all for a shake up of schools but when I hear that the focus is going to be on maths and science it seems a shame for all those children who will never be mathematicians or scientists. Perhaps we need a grade school which you must pass in terms of numeracy and literacy before progressing perhaps we just need a voucher system so parents can send their kids to the school which best suits their childrens needs and then schools can adapt to demand, not fit their outcomes to a mould.

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  7. peterwn (3,144 comments) says:

    They are behind the times. Where I came from, girls leaving school at 15 got ‘number please’ jobs at the post office and the boys worked on the council work gang.

    The former is a dead breed and the latter now need numeracy and literacy skills to pass NCEA units in wielding shovels, doing traffic control, applying for Council trenching permits etc.

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  8. big bruv (13,210 comments) says:

    Can anybody tell me why these standards are not being applied to Mowree schools?

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  9. Bogusnews (441 comments) says:

    While many people refer to National as Labour lite, it is things like this that show the fundamental difference between the party. Yes, there are many policies that are very similar, but the strategic thrust is fundamentally different. This is focused on accountability and achieving what is needed in the real world.

    Under the Labour regime, I read a high ranking educationalist say that the role of schools in NZ was no longer to teach children to read and write, but to “socialise” them (frankly, if I was dictator for a day that educationalist would be fired on the spot). So it is no wonder that they are up in arms on this and praying for the day when the status quo will be returned.

    Go National.

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  10. Johnboy (14,876 comments) says:

    Sorry apologies to Viking2 who posted the same as me but in more detail in general debate this morning.

    Still the more publicity given to the entrenchment of apartheid in NZ the better.

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  11. tvb (4,196 comments) says:

    Do not underestimate the Teachers’ Unions, they will do their level best to sink this reform, never mind the parents and public opinion. But if I were Ann I would hit them with something else like bulk funding. And give them a month or two to swallow that and then wallop them with something else, and then something else after that. Attack all their sacred cows one by one. I just loathe teachers, loathe them perhaps because I hated school and regarded all my teachers as losers and bullies.

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  12. Johnboy (14,876 comments) says:

    “and regarded all my teachers as losers and bullies.” Went to school in Wainuiomata did you? :)

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  13. Brian Smaller (3,983 comments) says:

    The Principals Federation should be told to shut the fuck up. Their job is to implement policy as directed, not make it. If they want a change of policy they should vote Labour at the next election (of course they already do). If they don’t like it, sack them.

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  14. Southern Raider (1,534 comments) says:

    Funny how Labrator thinks if you learn maths you need to become a mathematician.

    Here I was wondering why all the local builders could never cut amything to length or make a wall square. Guess they took art.

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  15. Minnie (96 comments) says:

    Both the Principals Federation and the NZEI boycotted the launch. That can only be seen as arrogant, as is much of the criticism of Tolley…”she’s not a teacher, so doesn’t have the skills.” It is an attitude that is now completely out of step with just about every other profession. The teacher’s unions just seem to be unable to accept that non-teachers should have any input at all.

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  16. Southern Raider (1,534 comments) says:

    Doesn’t it seem strange that in any other profession senior management aren’t allowed (and don’t normally want to be) involved with a union, except of course education and principals.

    I don’t think they actually represent a vast number of their members, just the old guard. There are many exceptional Principals who suffered under Labours “teach them socialisation” policies and these troopers just kept their heads down and did the right thing.

    A senior manager in any company is there to implement policy from the owners or Board. If you don’t like it fuck off.

    Time to start firing a few and set the right tone.

    The teacher union is a bunch of self serving socialists who have no interest in what outcomes the parents want. They are not their for themselves or the kids, but the parents. You send your kids to a particular school to get an outcome.

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  17. Southern Raider (1,534 comments) says:

    Minnie that is why Peachy should have the job,

    - the unions hate him and would be shit scared
    - the principals federation would have no comeback because he ran the biggest school in the country and his students had great success

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  18. labrator (1,744 comments) says:

    @southern raider No, actually I was thinking maybe they could teach building. The focus on mathematics is very narrow minded. I know many bright young things that suffered terribly in front of the blackboard when asked about trigonometry that they couldn’t visual is their head. Throw them in woodwork and nothing could hold them back. Now we force them to stay in school till they’re 16-17 and ask them to write essays about how the feel about things, why don’t we just apprentice them from a younger age or have a trades school they can go to? I’m against moulds which is what our schools are at present.

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  19. Southern Raider (1,534 comments) says:

    Please explain how you can do woodwork without basic maths?

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  20. labrator (1,744 comments) says:

    @souther raider I’m talking about the educational system in general. We have an almost fetishistic desire to teach science and maths. If you taught building, it’d contain practical maths. If I teach you maths, it doesn’t contain any knowledge of building. Some of the smartest, most capable people I’ve met left school at 14-15 (when you could), they went and did what they wanted to do and have been ridiculously successful at it. One even gained entrance to train as a Doctor but decided against it as his Bachelor in Engineering was enough for him at that time.

    I’m not objecting to introducing standards, I’m saying that schooling in general seems to be outcome based, not input based and no one seems to know what the outcome of schooling should be. Watch the video I linked to above if you’re interested.

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  21. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    So Clarence Beeby was wrong?.

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  22. excusesofpuppets (133 comments) says:

    I was watching Prime News last night. Did I hear right? Anne Tolley stated that NEARLY HALF of all New Zealand adults CAN NOT read or write?

    If I did hear that right, Where did that figure come from? Because that just doesn’t wash with me. If I heard it wrong, must go down to the dairy and get myself some cotton buds or something…

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  23. billyborker (1,102 comments) says:

    Well, she’s not wrong. Nearly half could encomapss anything from 49.9999% down.

    Puts me in mind of an old MD of mine. We were trying to bring in an investor, and when he asked how many clients we had (about 200 at the time) MD answered “between 7 and 8 thousand”. After the meeting I asked him how he could justify the number and he said he didn’t lie, as 200 is between 7 and 8,000.

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  24. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Could explain the leaky homes issue Southern.

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  25. jackp (668 comments) says:

    A teacher friend told me that the teachers are the most protected profession in New Zealand. When these standards come in, they will be exposed. This is why both the Principals and unions are fighting this. This to me is an indicator that the educational system here is lazy.

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  26. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    For protected read sheltered workshop.

    Several teachers I know are appaled by the standard of whats being produced by teachers colleges these days. Anything with a pulse.

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  27. Michael E (274 comments) says:

    When I left school my maths were outstanding, but my written english was pretty average. The people I work with who are supposedly more qualified than me can’t spell and can’t write coherent sentences.

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  28. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    I posted this on General Debate before I saw DPF had kindly set up this forum, so I hope he doesn’t mind if I post again here

    # Luc Hansen (253) 0 7 Says:
    October 24th, 2009 at 11:05 am

    The NZEI and it’s members need to have the courage of their convictions and stand up to the government. I for one don’t want my daughter entering a backward school system in four years time.

    Here is an extract from this article: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/richard-garner-a-study-that-should-sound-the-death-knell-for-league-tables-1803630.html discussing this report: http://www.primaryreview.org.uk/index.html

    “Professor Robin Alexander’s team has come up with an impressive analysis of what is wrong with our present system. Too much testing, too much concentration on the three R’s to the neglect of a broad and balanced curriculum, and too many “Stalinist” directives from ministers as to how teachers should teach.”

    This is scholarly research embodied in a comprehensive project employing 100 researchers. It is not gut instinct, seat of the pants, ideological whimsy as exhibited by Key and Tolley.

    I showed here a week or so ago how Tolley misrepresented statistics. I’ll dig it up when I get time.

    As the head of the NZEI pointed out, this initiative is from left field, a surprise sprung on a professional sector which has been carefully and methodically heading along a completely different path, utilising best practice from around the world. NZ can actually hold it’s head high in terms of country rankings in, for example, the OECD. More on that later.

    Teachers need to get involved in the debate. They should be here, now, getting their points across.

    End of earlier post

    Isn’t it interesting that I have had 7 bad karmas already?

    Since that post I have done a little research and now we can have a look at a some OECD indicators of education system quality, just in case facts come into consideration, for a change.

    The latest OECD education figures, contained it its 2009 “Education Report: an OECD perspective,” surveying 15 year olds, puts NZ ninth out of 24 (9/24) in mathematics proficiency, seventh out of 24 (7/24) in science proficiency, and fifth out of 24 (5/24) in reading proficiency (2006 data)

    On the other hand, our tertiary graduates are the lowest earners in the entire OECD (2006). And the premium for tertiary education over secondary school achievement only is the lowest in the OECD, a paltry 1.15, as opposed to the high of 2.19 in Hungary, believe it or not! And I won’t trot out the figure, it’s buried in the report somewhere, but we have a very high tertiary dropout rate. I’m not qualified to speculate why, but it has been suggested to me that we are sending to many to university.

    Further, as regards the recent debate on the cuts in Community Education, from the same report, this is relevant:

    Brain research confirms the wider benefits of learning, especially for
    ageing populations: For older people, cognitive engagement, regular physical
    exercise, and an active social life promote learning and can delay degeneration of
    the ageing brain. The enormous and costly problems represented by ageing
    dementia in ever-ageing populations can be addressed through the learning
    interventions being identified through neuroscience. Combinations of improved
    diagnostics, opportunities to exercise, appropriate and validated pharmacological
    treatment, and good educational intervention can do much to maintain positive
    well-being and to prevent deterioration.

    Note the “good educational intervention.” One can debate the value of some classes run under our soon to be moribund CE system, but we have taken the opposite tack to that recommended in this report.

    In fact, it’s a worthwhile project to examine just how many government policies are now taking us in the opposite direction of what the OECD considers as best practice. Anyone care to fund me to do the hard yards?

    You can see the report for yourselves here: http://www.oecdbookshop.org/oecd/display.asp?sf1=identifiers&st1=962009021E1

    I might just concentrate now on fact checking Tolley’s wild allegations and spurious statistics, but later – time to take a baby to a beach.

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  29. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    I have no idea whether broader and shallower or deeper and narrower is the best way to teach kids. But here is the point: neither does Anne Tolley or the unions.

    The problem with this argument between Tolley and the unions is its premise: that there is a single answer to a question so big and complex. Some kids will excell under one model and not the other. Other kids vice versa.

    How about not setting national curricula, not drawing any funding distinction between public and private, or religious and secular, or Maori and (non-racial? non-race specific?), and letting parents decide what works for their kids? That’s a system that works absolutely everywhere it is permitted.

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  30. transmogrifier (520 comments) says:

    Luc, regarding our high tertiary drop-out rate, I would guess it is because a lot of the kids arriving from high school have in no way been prepared (academically, or behaviorally) for tertiary study.

    Plus, tvb, I’m a teacher. It brightens my day to know I am despised sight unseen by some random fellow Kiwi. Enjoy your Labour Weekend.

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  31. transmogrifier (520 comments) says:

    Literacy and numeracy are vitally important and I just wish more families recognized this from a young age. I could read well before I ever got to school because my grandmother loved to sit down and read with me. It really is as simple as that sometimes.

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  32. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    :D

    Allow me to elaborate further on the issue of NZ Schooling, the current curriculum and the areas of reform that our country’s education system actually requires urgently.
    At 19 years of age fresh from Auckland Boys Grammar school, class of 2007 I can confirm that Maths, English and Science are completely COMPULSORY for all students up until the year 11 (or fifth form) – often til the age of 16. After this year students are given the freedom to branch off into their own preferred areas of the cirriculum to complete the remaining two years of secondary education.

    Maths, English & Science are rather strong at secondary level – my issue or concern would be how its being taught at the lower levels of Primary and Intermediate schooling prior to high school. During this period of schooling, students are given a very poor understanding of the three golden subjects and at most are taught the very basic introductions like vocabulary, comprehension, reading and writing – adding, subtracting, multiplications and divisions – the human body, energy, the environment and the solar system.

    All very important components no doubt – but clearly by increasing the capacity of the school cirriculum at the lower levels, students will know more for when they reach the higher levels and could therefore focus on the more complex and multifarious components of the school cirriculum.
    I believe this is the curriculum structure that most of Western Europe follows which clearly explains the decline in NZ Education standards as we moved away from that. Quite frankly New Zealand Students are learning far too less at the lower end of the schooling cirriculum and therefore miss out on greater opportunities at the higher level.

    This is also a leading contributor regarding NZ’s high tertiary drop-out statistics which clearly indicate that a number of NZ Students are ill equipped with the required level of education and intellect to commit themselves accordingly to the more advanced educational curriculum of university standards.
    More or less a reduction in the focus of sciences as a subject core is not the answer, the answer is increasing capacity load at the lower levels of the educational spectrum – allowing for greater opportunity at the more advanced stages. Clearly NZ is in short fall when it comes to the Science industries already, a continuation of this benefits no one.

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  33. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Trans
    It’s all well and good talking about those coming in at 5.
    But what about those going up from Primary into college and then college into tertiary?

    Our local school had a lovely bunch of Anglican biddies who made themselves available for reading recovery for the kids.
    They were stuffed around by the Principal and some of the teachers so that in the end they gave up.
    I think it was deliberate as i was privy to some behind the scenes info, bloody anti religion socialist with a “we’re the professionals” attitude.

    The local community has lost an asset that cost nothing all because of one principal and a delegate of the NZEI.
    Sod em I say let’s have standards, they should already being doing it as part of basic schooling esp as we pay their salaries.
    All I’ve heard is “we are in partnership with parents” blah de blah.

    That’s rubbish, My wife and I are the principals of our kids lives, access to them is through us, we decide.
    The teachers and principal are the hired help, specialist knowledge (for their system) just like our accountant, Lawyer and doctors, dentists are.

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  34. transmogrifier (520 comments) says:

    F.A.L.

    I agree with your assessment. In fact, I’ve talked to a number of Korean high school students living and studying here who are amazed at how low the level of maths being taught here, even at Years 9 and 10, is.

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  35. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    I appreciate the replies I have had to my earlier post, but I must say that each is lacking in one important area: evidence. That is, research and skilled analysis. Yet there is an abundant supply of this, as you will see below. To rely on anecdotal research when comprehensive data is available is just careless or, worse, evidence of an ideological bias.

    For example, ben favours parents as education experts. I don’t. I am well educated (university qualification) but no way do I consider myself an education expert. I look to the MoE, principals and teachers to guide me in what is best for my child.

    transmogrifier asserts that “literacy and numeracy are vitally important.” Who could seriously disagree with that? But I would add, so is a rich and varied wider curriculum that promotes the intellectual and social development of a well-rounded individual. Versatility and creativity (read the no. 8 wire mentality) are, after all, the great strengths of the kiwi character. Why are we so sought after as employees overseas? Why do we consistently punch above our weight in so many international arenas? Because we are practical, can think on our feet, have high levels of literacy and numeracy, and can apply those key competencies to a wide range of areas and disciplines.

    And transmogrifier has, as have we all, met international Asian students brilliant at maths. Trouble is, they are often nowhere to be seen in other disciplines. Why? Because their thinking skills have been so narrowly focused during their development.

    fale also makes general statements unsupported by evidence, aside from his account of the Grammar experience. He asserts, for example, that our education standards are declining when, in fact, all the evidence points to the opposite conclusion, see below. If you don’t bother to read it, bottom line is that our kids (0-17) are among the best educated in the world (read top 4 in the OECD).

    And we all take guesses at the causes of the high tertiary dropout rate, but no-one calls for actual research. Probably the most useful paper I completed at university was Management of Quality. In this paper I learned the truth about guesses, intuition, gut feelings, call it what you will. The truth is, it’s invariably wrong. Sorry guys.

    Now I’m going to present some real evidence about the New Zealand’s environment and education system for children aged 0-17.

    (Start of cut and paste)
    NEW ZEALAND  
    Country Highlights 
    OECD (2009), Doing Better for Children 

    Outcomes for New Zealand children are weak in several key areas, according to the OECD’s first 
    ever report on children. Co‐author of the OECD report Mr Dominic Richardson concludes that “New 
    Zealand needs to take a stronger policy focus on child poverty and child health, especially during the 
    early  years  when  it  is  easier  to  make  a  long‐term  difference.  Despite  a  relatively  good  average 
    educational performance, gaps in education between top and bottom performers are higher than they 
    need be. 
     
    New Zealand government spending on children is considerably less than the OECD average. The 
    biggest shortfall is for spending on young children, where New Zealand spends less than half the OECD 
    average.  

    ( Two graphs that don’t cut and paste, but the titles tell the story)

    1. Early childhood spending in New Zealand is half of that spent in later stages.
    2. New Zealand has the highest rates of youth suicide in the OECD

    Material conditions for Kiwi kids are relatively poor. Average family incomes are low by OECD 
    standards, and child poverty rates are high. The number of New Zealand children who lack a key set of 
    educational possessions is above the OECD median. 
     
    Despite their relatively poor material living conditions, Kiwi kids manage high rates of educational 
    achievement – the fourth best in the OECD. However, unlike the other three high performing countries, 
    differences between good and poor performers in the education system in New Zealand are average, 
    not low. 
     
    In terms of child health, New Zealand has the highest rates of suicide in the OECD for youth aged 
    15‐19.  Overall child mortality is also higher than the OECD average. Immunisation rates are poor for 
    measles (2nd worst in the OECD) and whooping cough (5th worst in the OECD). 
     
    New Zealand spends less than the OECD average on young children and much less than it does on 
    older  children.  Spending  more  on  young  children  is  more  likely  to  generate  positive  changes  and, 
    indeed, is likely to be fairer for more disadvantaged children. Based on international evidence, the OECD 
    concludes  that  New  Zealand  should  spend  considerably  more  on  younger,  disadvantaged  children. 
    Equally, the  New Zealand government should ensure that current high rates of spending on older 
    children are much more effective in meeting the needs of the disadvantaged amongst them.  
    (End of cut and paste) 
     
    So we perform poorly (no pun intended) in income and child poverty statistics, but perform very well in education outcomes.

    And it’s all the fault of our education system and our teachers, right?

    Yeah, right!

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  36. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    I promised earlier to dig up an example of Tolley’s dodgy stats. I actually posted about it on Red Alert here: http://blog.labour.org.nz/index.php/2009/10/07/ncea-is-working/#comments

    The main point is that Kelvin Davies wrote: “In 2006 twenty-five percent left school without a qualification, in 2007 it was eighteen percent and last year 16%. That’s a nine percent improvement over three years.”

    I pointed out that in fact it is a 36% improvement over the three years, using 2006 as the base year. In anyone’s language, these are huge gains.

    Even today, Anne Tolley is quoted as saying that 1 in 5 kids leave school without a qualification when the figure for last year was actually 1 in 6.25, and is obviously on track to be improved again this year. And as I have posted above, NZ is highly ranked in all the child education tables of the OECD in spite of our low incomes and low government spending.

    I don’t have access to the figures, but I would love to know the long term trends of leaving without qualifications from when I was in college in the late 1960s, when most kids seemed to leave at their 15th birthday (I was destined to be one of those but the Headmaster had a chat to my Dad ;-) ), many more left after School Certificate year, and the class was reduced to a decided rump for what is now 7th form.

    If anyone can help there, I would appreciate it. DPF, if he reads this, has my permission to release my email address to genuine parties (who probably don’t spend much time here due to the in-your-face-abusive-rabid-right so prevalent on this blog). Even I get sucked into that abusive mode sometimes, to my shame. But, hey, they are why I’m here. No point preaching to the converted ;-)

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  37. transmogrifier (520 comments) says:

    Interesting Luc that you mention Asians are “nowhere to be seen in other disciplines” except maths. Doesn’t seem to prevent a good deal of them from getting good jobs and doing very well in life. Not sure you were getting at there.

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  38. Clint Heine (1,563 comments) says:

    Well who is surprised…it’s a union saying they don’t like what National does. Gee….

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  39. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    A Teachers Union moaning when someone tells THEM what to do. LOL.

    Seriously, a good foundation in reading writing, arithmetic and natural sciences is going to get our kids ahead alot more than any cross cultural and ill executed ICT courses at primary school level.

    And the only way of knowing if the foundation is being delivered is by some form of measurement.

    Parents have the right to know whether their kids are reaching foundation levels.

    Teachers need to get with the program and make it work however I’m afraid that there will be a concerted program of non compliance by unionised teachers to the detriment of children.

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  40. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    We measure so many things in different parts of our lievs and society I really don’t see the issue here as we are talking about the next generation here.
    When they have left school and maybe substandard in areas that they need to build on it is so much harder for them to catch up, that’s not to say they can’t.
    Teachers and principals are our employees, they should be reporting back in a meaningful and coherent way as a matter of course, parents should not have to go the extra yeard to get the info they waqnt.
    This info should be able to be assessed against other schools and the cohorts norms and there shouldn’t be a problem as it should be in context.

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  41. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Just going through the report in yesterday’s Herald, and contradictions in Key and Tolley’s pronouncements are easy to find. I have already pointed out the misleading use of statistics. Since when does 1 in 6.25 round to 1 in 5? And the trend is clearly an improving one as NCEA continues to work its magic.

    But all you bloggers who seem to think that teachers don’t communicate to parents should study Tolley’s own words as reported by the Herald: ” Mrs Tolley said she had no problem with the amount of reporting on children as schools were largely doing it anyway.”

    So this is much ado about nothing; a dog whistle for the ill-informed?

    When you have the PPTA and the NZEI both voicing extreme disquiet, as education professionals, on the plan to narrow the focus of our schooling, no matter what your own personal prejudices tell you, it’s time to stop running to heel and start to do some serious listening.

    And two recent reports totally back up our teachers views. The OECD in particular mentions our NCEA system approvingly. This is hardly surprising when NZ consistently ranks highly in achievement levels, even though our childrens education is underfunded compared to other countries.

    Standardised tests have been proven overseas now as being counterproductive, and the blinkered ideological mindset of Britain’s politicians must be incredibly disappointing for British educations professionals, as it will be for ours.

    And the fact that kids now stay longer at school makes it even more important to provide a wide and varied curriculum.

    As an example of how there is always room for improvement, the OECD report is unequivocal on the issue of students repeating years: it is counterproductive for the kids and an unnecessary cost to the system.

    The Cambridge Report specifically damns the use of league tables, as advocated by MikeNZ. I urge Mike to take the time and read the report and browse through the OECD report. Links to both are above.

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  42. labrator (1,744 comments) says:

    In 2006 twenty-five percent left school without a qualification, in 2007 it was eighteen percent and last year 16%. That’s a nine percent improvement over three years.

    But what values do these qualifications have? We can give every student “thanks for coming” awards but it doesn’t mean they left school qualified.

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  43. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    :D

    Luc Hansen thank you for pointing out these very important resources, I will endeavour to read them for my own benefit.

    Forgive me for portraying an individual viewpoint that was clearly unaligned to the real facts & research, what I initially posted was NZ Education as I saw it – the Grammar experience was indeed valuable but my own personal experience of primary and intermediate standards left me feeling that there was huge room for improvement.

    Thank you indeed.

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