Holmes on National Standards

July 19th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Paul Holmes makes a fascinating comparison in yesterday’s HoS column:

Well, how did it get to this? After decades and decades and billions and billions of dollars it turns out about a million New Zealanders don’t have the numeracy and literacy skills to make a living or make a go of life.

And the learned education experts, the principals, are doing their damnedest to undermine their minister who simply wants to introduce a system so that a parent in Masterton knows how their child is doing in relation to a child in Kerikeri.

I can think of only one reason they want to fight it. They are alarmed that we may be on the point of finding out.

And then after talking about Mel Brooks’ The Producers, he goes back to 1986:

It is a lesson for broadcasting interviewers and I learnt it myself during those bitter months back in 1986 when the Homosexual Law Reform Bill was exciting the most extreme debate up and down the country.

The Happy Clappy churches and the awful, proscriptive Dutch Reformed Church were passionately, almost fascistically, opposed.

They put up for interview on radio and television programmes all kinds of preachers and visiting “experts” who spoke with hellfire authority about the evils and what men would start doing to one another if the bill passed into law, as if it were going to make homosexuality compulsory. They quoted great tracts of scripture to back it all up. It was insane.

But I realised one morning in 1986, when I was interviewing one of these frightened, hate-filled types, that there was no point arguing on his territory.

Holmes has wonderfully compared the teacher unions to the anti HLR forces in 1986. If they complain too much, I am sure he will artfully point out he never directly compared them. Instead he just allowed the readers to connect the dots.

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54 Responses to “Holmes on National Standards”

  1. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    So What!
    The first part may well be correct. 20% is 1 in 5 kids leave school undereducated for the basics of living in society.

    But he (Paul Holmes) is no worse than educated people (who should know better) that behave like wankers by encouraging bad behaviour against people with ginger/red/auburn coloured hair.

    I don’t understand you DPF, you rightly out bad behaviour and social irresponsibility in so many ways.
    But you jump to the defence of people who choose a homosexual lifestyle or support it, but don’t for people who actually have no control over the hair colour they are born with?

    [DPF: Homosexuals do not choose a lifestyle. Did you choose to be heterosexual?

    And I do not encourage bad behaviour against gingas. I think they make lovely pets, that we should nurture]

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  2. Nick R (500 comments) says:

    Yes, it is absolutely inconceivable that the principals and teachers might have a valid reasons to lack confidence in National Standards, or the Minister for that matter. Clearly that is utterly impossible.

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  3. David in Chch (511 comments) says:

    C’mon, DPF! Are you really seriously quoting Paul Holmes? The man lacks any credibility. Regardless of whether he is right or wrong, he has no cred.

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  4. sarahk (5 comments) says:

    Back when my kids were in Year 1 and Year 3 we were concerned because the younger child could read and write and do maths better than the elder. At parent-teacher interviews we were told both were average and doing well. We called them on it but really, it wasn’t until Year 7 that anything concrete was done for the elder and then only after a battle. The younger child didn’t get any “enrichment” either until we started him at One Day School in year 6.

    Standards would have helped us immensely!

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  5. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,066 comments) says:

    After decades and decades and billions and billions of dollars it turns out about a million New Zealanders don’t have the numeracy and literacy skills to make a living or make a go of life.

    Does anyone know what Holmes is talking about here? It’s the premise of his argument but he doesn’t reference any study and the figures seem ‘unlikley’. Our schools and students consistently outperform those of most other OECD countries.

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  6. dave (986 comments) says:

    If you want to make a more useful comparison between Nat Stds and the HLRA, perhaps National Standards may assist some students ( low achievers) in particular subjects in a similar way that the HLRA assisted some people (homosexuals) of a certain gender – to live within the law.

    And Holmes’ reference to a million NZers is a bit like saying that 25% of the population are gay.

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  7. andrei (2,532 comments) says:

    Curious;
    It is right out of the Saul Alinsky playbook to demonize your opponents.

    It is interesting that conservative Christians are now the bogey man and are described as “hate-filled types“.

    Of course describing something as Hate Speech is a good way to silence your opposition and shut down debate. Indeed a Catholic Professor has just been fired from the University of Illinois for teaching Catholic Doctrine in a course on Catholic Doctrine.

    But is Millie Elder is a good example of Liberal upbringing?

    How might she have turned out if she had been raised in a proscriptive Dutch Reformed family?

    We will never know alas

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  8. mavxp (494 comments) says:

    Danyl – if you are going to complain about Holmes lack of referencing, you should at least give link to data/ reference for where “our students consistently outperform those of most other OECD countries”.

    I see pros and cons to National Standards. The pro’s are obvious – transparency, and an objective quality standard that enables targets (KPIs) to be set against -which managers love. The con’s are the fact that teachers performance and schools performance will be linked to how well they are achieving and exceeding the National standards – which without quality control & auditing will lead to widespread rorting of the standards to make it appear that children and schools are doing better than they are. Human nature. We have seen it with the financial system, with schools and hospitals in the UK (where such KPIs have been introduced on an immense scale by New Labour). Corruption which is endemic to human nature has led to such efforts becoming a complete farse.

    The Middle Classes, where they haven’t done so already, will desert poor performing schools, driving up housing prices in the parts of town where the good schools are located. This will lead to more stratification in NZ society than there already is – becoming less egalitarian, increasing inequalities. Do NZers really want that to happen? Has someone done a proper assessment of the downstream negative impacts of this policy? What has been put in place to stop the worst of these forseable negatives from happening?

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  9. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    @sarahk
    At year 1 and year 3 making measurements of kids is highly problematic – that’s why measurements don’t (now didn’t) usually start until year 4 (some year 3s were measured in some schools).

    Kids have to have some basic verbal comprehension, written comprehension and writing skills before you can test them. There are ad hoc sort of tests but they aren’t very rigourous – they are usually to short so that the variance (error) on them is high.

    National testing in Australia doesn’t start till late Year 3 (equivalent in age to early year 4).

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  10. Yvette (2,743 comments) says:

    Holmes states decades and billions of dollars have left about a million New Zealanders without numeracy skills to make a living or go of life, but claims education experts oppose the Minister’s national Standards, alarmed that we may be on the point of finding out – and does this in about 179 words.

    Well, how did it get to this? – Holmes doesn’t tell us [and needs to, because 1 in 4 of us are illiterate]

    But he explains in three or four hours his blank screen will “be adorned with neat, well-spelled, well-punctuated words, phrases, sentences and nicely contained paragraphs. I hope there will be order. They [sic] words might even say something with, I hope, minimal impediment of clumsy construction.” and then Holmes rambles about Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, with fictional rubbish about what they might drink, and doesn’t relate that to following comments about Happy Clappy churches and the awful, proscriptive Dutch Reformed Church’s passionate, almost fascistical, opposition to the Homosexual Law Reform Bill, but that given enough rope these people could hang themselves in an interview, and then does nothing to relate this to his opening paragraphs about literacy and National Standards - another 1149 words – all a bloody waste of time in reading them.

    The man is almost fucking illiterate himself.

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  11. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    DPF said Homes said that
    “After decades and decades and billions and billions of dollars it turns out about a million New Zealanders don’t have the numeracy and literacy skills to make a living or make a go of life”

    It’s also worth noting that 1 in 3 New Zealanders were not born in New Zealand (plus all resident non-New Zealanders) and it would be interesting to know how many of them had an overseas education as well.

    It’s silly to imply that the NZ education system failed so many when noone knows if the people without the right skills have even gone through it.

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  12. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,066 comments) says:

    Danyl – if you are going to complain about Holmes lack of referencing, you should at least give link to data/ reference for where “our students consistently outperform those of most other OECD countries”.

    Amazingly enough you can find this data on the OECD web site:
    http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/15/13/39725224.pdf

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  13. scrubone (3,081 comments) says:

    “How might she have turned out if she had been raised in a proscriptive Dutch Reformed family?”

    She’d be making her court appearances in Rotterdam.

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  14. James (1,338 comments) says:

    “It is interesting that conservative Christians are now the bogey man and are described as “hate-filled types“.

    Westboro Baptist anyone?

    “But is Millie Elder is a good example of Liberal upbringing?”

    Who knows?

    “How might she have turned out if she had been raised in a proscriptive Dutch Reformed family?”

    Possiblibly sexually abused by her Father,brianwashed with false guilt and shame re her femine sexuality,and a warped morality based on supposed “devine revalation” that actually comes from long dead old men pushing an agenda to increse their own power over others.

    But still….who knows right?

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  15. PaulL (5,982 comments) says:

    DIM, my recollection was that NZ schools on average performed pretty well. But that they weren’t good at serving those who aren’t average – the brighter kids get little extension, the weaker kids fall behind. My recollection was that the percentage of our children who are illiterate or innumerate was greater than many others in the OECD, despite our good average. I don’t have the figures to back this up, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them a couple of times.

    The question is whether the job of schools is to educate to the average, or to deal with variety. And, I will also note, some schools do this very well – the averages hide a lot of variability. So telling me that you’ve seen xyz teacher that deals with this very well is pointless, there are too many teachers who aren’t good.

    This also immediately leads for me into school choice. The reality is that our education system is a one size fits all, except where individual teachers are taking us beyond. Our children are not all one size, different kids need different sorts of education. Funnily enough, many parents (I’d even hazard most parents) know what their kid needs – some need a bit of discipline, some need encouraging, some need the freedom to explore, some need to be pushed to learn. Schools with different approaches doesn’t mean some kids getting taught well and some getting taught badly. It means finding a match between the needs of the kid and the style of the school – there is more than one right way.

    My belief is the system today is biased towards mediocrity. The structures aren’t enough, many individual teachers do more than the structure requires, but they aren’t rewarded for it – so we don’t have as many of them as there should be. That is the crying shame of our education system.

    National are doing something vaguely useful with standards, but the reality is they are too scared to try to deal with the underlying problems of an overly centralised and bureaucratic system.

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  16. Andrew Stevenson (2 comments) says:

    Danyl: You are quite right. NZ performs extremely well in PISA. Of the 57 countries participating in PISA 2006, no more than five countries achieved a result that was significantly better than New Zealand’s 15-year-olds.

    (In scientific literacy it was two countries, mathematical literacy five countries, and reading literacy three countries. In other words, you could say we are in the top six – or better – for those three elements measured.)

    PISA is a well-structured, large study and it is difficult to dismiss the results out-of-hand.

    While I think the standardised reporting of National Standards is a step in the right direction, another issue I am concerned about is “triaging” – dividing students into groups of “will most likely pass”, “will most likely fail” and “are on the fence.” Think about the implications of that.

    Does anyone else share this concern?

    Also, I am surprised that so many people don’t mind the ministry setting the standards without testing. As a scientist, this bothers me.

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  17. Yvette (2,743 comments) says:

    “Holmes has wonderfully compared the teacher unions to the anti HLR forces in 1986. If they complain too much, I am sure he will artfully point out he never directly compared them. Instead he just allowed the readers to connect the dots.”

    Holmes, as often displayed in his television interviews, was barely able to ask coherent questions, and may in fact be one of the greater influences in the dumbing down of New Zealand. Apart from indirectly suggesting “the learned education experts, the principals” may hang themselves if given enough rope, he actually says nothing about them apart from “I can think of only one reason they want to fight it [National Standards]. They are alarmed that we may be on the point of finding out.” – we are about to find out exactly WHAT?

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  18. scrubone (3,081 comments) says:

    “It is interesting that conservative Christians are now the bogey man and are described as “hate-filled types“.

    Westboro Baptist anyone?”

    Um, they support the Democratic party. So not exactly conservative.

    As for your rant, I would counter with an *actual* example of a reformed family that has produced Doctors, Lawyers and accomplished musicians all.

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  19. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Ya gotta wonder what this “Reformed” Church was like originally…

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  20. scrubone (3,081 comments) says:

    Put it away: Catholic.

    Suggest you read up on John Calvin and the reformation.

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  21. Pete George (23,293 comments) says:

    PaulL: The reality is that our education system is a one size fits all, except where individual teachers are taking us beyond. Our children are not all one size, different kids need different sorts of education.

    Is National Standards a one measure fits all approach? Is it the right answer to the wrong question?

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  22. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Scrubone – Well that would explain their hatred of the donut punchers then LOL. Kind of like zealotry of ex-smokers…

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  23. SouthernRight (54 comments) says:

    “James (828) Says:

    July 19th, 2010 at 10:31 am
    “It is interesting that conservative Christians are now the bogey man and are described as “hate-filled types“.

    Westboro Baptist anyone?

    “But is Millie Elder is a good example of Liberal upbringing?”

    Who knows?

    “How might she have turned out if she had been raised in a proscriptive Dutch Reformed family?”

    Possiblibly sexually abused by her Father,brianwashed with false guilt and shame re her femine sexuality,and a warped morality based on supposed “devine revalation” that actually comes from long dead old men pushing an agenda to increse their own power over others.

    But still….who knows right?”

    And this sort of person calls a Christian ‘hate filled’ – check out his rantings.

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  24. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    National are doing something vaguely useful with standards, but the reality is they are too scared to try to deal with the underlying problems of an overly centralised and bureaucratic system.

    Standards are just that, but need to be read with the caveat that within a cohort there can be a 2yr spread in development, so they may only be an avg.
    That said the premise that standards are the panacea is incorrect, but it is a start to overhauling the system.

    My lad joined the yr 8′s for maths from yr 5 for extension, only after we chased them on it.

    Even then they never told us about the extra work at his level he could do in his own class, supervised by his regular teacher, provided from the correspondence school.

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  25. Rufus (646 comments) says:

    Holmes is a dick. No such thing as the “Dutch Reformed Church”.

    There are however the Reformed Churches of NZ. Happen to have been set up by Dutch immigrants, but these days are filled with plenty of non-dutch as well.

    While I don’t agree with them on a number of things they’re mostly friendly hard-working people who raise good, sensible kids.

    “Hate-filled types”?!! They’re mostly lovely people, just coming from a very, very different worldview than Holmes. Great tactic – anyone who doesn’t agree with you is therefore filled with hate. As for interviewing them on their own territory – they’re fundamentally opposed to Holmes’ world-view – what does he expect? That they are somehow persuaded by his superior reasoning and come over to see the (his) light? What a muppet. Doesn’t understand them therefore hates them.

    Scrubone 10:39 As for your rant, I would counter with an *actual* example of a reformed family that has produced Doctors, Lawyers and accomplished musicians all.

    I could name quite a number of either doctors, laywers, musicians. Or tradesmen, business owners, lots of school teachers, etc. People I know. People I grew up and went to school with. People I still call my friends, even though I’m no longer a member of their churches.

    What’s your point?

    Rufus

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  26. PaulL (5,982 comments) says:

    Pete George: an answer constrained by politics and the (vaguely) acceptable. Giving choice back to parents would be a useful reform. Given that well has already been poisoned, I think the available options for the current government (without them spending political capital) are quite narrow. I suspect the intent of National Standards is to at least identify those schools and/or teachers that are clearly outliers. I presume that will then lead to some sort of societal clamour for action – hopefully a desire to do something about the worst teachers, and to reward the best teachers. Here, I’m expecting that the numbers are going to tell us that there are some teachers, irrespective of how you cut the numbers, who are simply hopeless. And some other teachers whom, irrespective of how you look at it, are clearly exceptional. I hope this will cut through the traditional teacher’s union objections, and lead to firing of the bad teachers, and pay rises for the good ones (irrespective of seniority).

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  27. Yvette (2,743 comments) says:

    “Holmes has wonderfully compared the teacher unions to the anti HLR forces in 1986. If they complain too much, I am sure he will artfully point out he never directly compared them. Instead he just allowed the readers to connect the dots.”

    I doubt few people will have read the whole Holmes article – it is basically incoherent.
    It was not about teacher unions, but rather the principals, and supposedly their union.
    [Holmes says "learned experts, the principals," - is that "learned experts, AND the principals" or "the principals" are "learned experts"?] – but, whichever, I doubt they will complain about Holmes, so his ‘artfulnes’ will go to waste. And Holmes should have made his dots a bit clearer if readers are supposed to connect them. In his entire article, Holmes uses the words ‘national standards’ once. QED.

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  28. Pete George (23,293 comments) says:

    I understand the need to try and identify and weed out bad teachers, as long as there are sufficient good teachers to replace them.

    But will they also weed out using the wrong teaching methods for some kids?

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  29. Mark Petersen (1,421 comments) says:

    Citing Paul homes, truely inciteful. Tolley has been inept in this process. National Standards are fine as a concept but what she and the MOE is trying to intorduce is barely comprehensible, untested and hardly national. There is no uniform testing process in our new national standards model. Any of three of four testing models can be applyed and interpreted by teachers. There does not appear to be a formal moderation process that applies some consistency across the country and from school to school or if there is it has been kept fairly quiet.

    Then there is the negative connotations for a section of students. There are in every society a group of students who despite trying their hardest are going to fall below the standards, in some cases well below. Despite their and their teachers efforts twice a year these kids are going to have their failure reinforced to them in plain language.

    Tolley needs to quickly address what she is going to do to support kids who are not able to meet the national standards now she has “outed” them.

    The Auckland principals do seem to have a point.

    No doubt there will be good outcomes in some cases from this policy but it is a process that needed to be properly tested and the bugs ironed out before being imposed on our kids.

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  30. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    PaulL (3,364) Says:
    ” I suspect the intent of National Standards is to at least identify those schools and/or teachers that are clearly outliers. I presume that will then lead to some sort of societal clamour for action – hopefully a desire to do something about the worst teachers, and to reward the best teachers. ”

    But children aren’t randomly assigned to teachers – the best teacher may be put in a poorly performing class on purpose. To get them anywhere near average may take a vast deal of work and committment. Why should they be rated as poor by a stupid system when they have obviously done superlative work.

    Some teachers have classes where half the kids who started at the beginning of the year are not there at the end. Those kids are going to score badly on any test, no matter the heroics of the teacher involved.

    It will be interesting to see if some teachers refuse to take some classes if their career depends on their grade. If they get a poor class they may switch schools to grab a better class.

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  31. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    And don’t forget the national standard focus on some pretty narrow teaching areas. If a kid is exceptional at science but isn’t reading well then he’s going to get “below standard”. How is that going to help his enthusiasm for science if he’s told he’s hopeless at school?

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  32. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    And don’t forget the national standard focus on some pretty narrow teaching areas. If a kid is exceptional at science but isn’t reading well then he’s going to get “below standard”. How is that going to help his enthusiasm for science if he’s told he’s hopeless at school?

    How is this kid going to get anywhere in science if he can’t read adequately? Is your solution to have no way of knowing that this kid has trouble reading all through school and then drop him into University-level science staring blankly at a very difficult textbook ?

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  33. RRM (9,637 comments) says:

    FREEDOM FOR ALL!

    EXCEPT HOMOSEXUALS, THEY SHOULD JUST GO AWAY. GOD DOES NOT APPROVE.

    /THE END.

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  34. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    Yvette,

    You are so right! I just read the article and cannot believe the man’s self-deluded arrogance about his own writing.

    And this final bit:

    “But if you ridicule them, bring them down with laughter, they can’t win. You show how crazy they are.”

    Works with anything if you don’t want to have an honest debate. Shows up the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the ridiculer.

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  35. MT_Tinman (3,043 comments) says:

    # mpledger (82) Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 10:11 am

    It’s also worth noting that 1 in 3 New Zealanders were not born in New Zealand (plus all resident non-New Zealanders) and it would be interesting to know how many of them had an overseas education as well.

    Statistics please.

    # mpledger (82) Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 11:50 am

    And don’t forget the national standard focus on some pretty narrow teaching areas. If a kid is exceptional at science but isn’t reading well then he’s going to get “below standard”. How is that going to help his enthusiasm for science if he’s told he’s hopeless at school?

    You are correct except of course that you’re also talking out and out crap.

    National standards in such a case will actually allow parents to know it is the reading that is below standard, not his thinking ability and ensure some form of remedial program is introduced.

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  36. Scott (1,736 comments) says:

    Actually agree with Paul Holmes on National Standards, they are a good idea. And I would like to know as a parent how my child is doing? I get reports right now from the local high school for 2 of my kids- with NCEA especially I have no idea how my daughter is doing? I want simpler reporting that lays out the facts.

    With regard to the rest of his column-what does homosexual law reform have to do with this subject?

    Finally James- Westboro Baptist church is a church in name only. It is actually a cult and the vehicle for the hate filled rantings of one man. I do not know of any Christian I have ever met who would be in sympathy with Westboro. Protesting at a dead soldiers funeral, especially in such a hate filled manner is appalling and I am sure we are all in agreement on that, whatever our religious persuasion.

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  37. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Only if all the New Zealanders that don’t have the numeracy and literacy skills had the skills to take a class action against the crown for failing to teach them the skills to make a living or make a go of life… now that Steven Joyce has admitted it.

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  38. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,066 comments) says:

    Actually agree with Paul Holmes on National Standards, they are a good idea. And I would like to know as a parent how my child is doing? I get reports right now from the local high school for 2 of my kids- with NCEA especially I have no idea how my daughter is doing? I want simpler reporting that lays out the facts.

    You may be disappointed to learn that National Standards is for primary schools. It won’t have any impact on high schools or NCEA whatsoever.

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  39. Rufus (646 comments) says:

    RRM 12:12

    …sigh…

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  40. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    Danyl,

    Scott is most likely referring to a third child (a daughter) who is in primary school.

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  41. kowtow (7,919 comments) says:

    I can prove how liberal I am by slagging off religious people. Helen C. did it to the crowd that had had enough. Called them extreme.

    Point is that these views (Christian)were mainstream not that long ago but since the late “60′s there has been a rapid fall in standards across the board.

    Talking of standards we really need them in primary and intermediates.

    Standards….I’ll bet those darned Dutchies don’t hand their underwear to each other in public eateries and then tell the story to some wenches mag!!eh Paul?

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  42. Yvette (2,743 comments) says:

    Holmes still suffers on paper what he did in television – that he think he is the bloody message, not just a messenger, and as the latter he is a fucking failure. You learn nothing from his article. After name-dropping Brooks and Bancroft [with asides which show he knows so little about them that he, by his own admission, is making stuff up], he then says he has discovered a marvellous point about interviewing over-vigorous opponents [like Bible-backed homophobes], but fails to apply this to what he is talking about. So as I said before – a fucking waste of about 1400 words - we know nothing new from Holmes. But, then we very rarely ever did.

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  43. Pete George (23,293 comments) says:

    Question: Does Holmes make sense?
    Answer: Um, er, dum-de-dum, ahhhh….

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  44. Yvette (2,743 comments) says:

    Certainly he does – as a consequence all the literate people here are honing in on why exactly school principals are attempting to undermine their Minister, rather discussing irrelevant pros and cons of Church groups.

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  45. PaulL (5,982 comments) says:

    Pete George: depends if we’re arguing about whether national standards are a good idea, or whether the detail of this implementation is a good idea.

    mpledger: I was assuming that even the government was capable of allowing for that in the standards. Surely at least one of the bureaucrats in Min Ed is capable of working out a measure that takes into account the type of school, type of class etc. My point is that even once you deal with those anomalies, there will be left a bunch of teachers that in every possible way are incompetent. At a minimum we could do something about them. And you’ll have a bunch of teachers that turn in outstanding results, irrespective of all the disadvantages they had. And we should reward them. The ones in the middle – probably needs a bit more detail. But once we start, then people will start asking for that detail.

    I haven’t looked into the detailed implementation, my impression is that many in the teaching profession are against the concept irrespective of how it is implemented. That is my problem – this isn’t a discussion based on merits of the idea, it is purely ideological.

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  46. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    PaulL: Go have a look at
    http://www.educationalleaders.govt.nz/Online-forums/Leading-change/National-Standards-an-election-promise

    about how the national standards are/were being talked about by a lot of people in the education field – although the discussion is mostly from 6 moths or so ago. You’ll see there is quite a lot of coherent and logical expressions of dissatisfaction with the standards and their implementation by people who know what they are talking about.

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  47. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    There is a Parliamentary Library Research Paper on national standards that is pretty good at getting the issues across
    From the Herald and quoting the report

    *”Schools may not have time and sufficient professional development support to become familiar with the national standards.”

    *”Students assessed as not achieving could lose motivation for learning, affecting their achievement.”

    *”Schools and teachers will need professional development assistance and support that may not be adequately provided for under the standards.”

    *”The standards have been designed and implemented in a short time frame that has not allowed a trial to determine whether they have been set at the correct level.”

    *”[League table information] does not help parents make an informed choice on what is a good school to send their child [to] and ends up unfairly labelling some schools.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10655408

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  48. BeaB (2,080 comments) says:

    Why do we allow primary schools EIGHT tax-funded years with almost total lack of accountability to produce semi-, sub- and functionally illiterate children doomed to failure at high school?
    Why do we fund a very expensive Education Review Office that ticks the boxes on low-level structures but does nothing to lift achievement for the individual student or the school or the system as a whole?
    Why do we tolerate an enormous, expensive Ministry of Education that employs an army of bureaucrats to make work for schools but still has done nothing about our shameful tail of under-achievement?
    Why do we allow teaching unions to call the tune and not see them as they actually are, lobbyists for their members’ interests?
    Nothing holds a country back more than school failure and we should all be up in arms about the wate of money and lives.

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  49. tvb (4,242 comments) says:

    I am not sure why he connected the HLF debate and teachers resisting National standards. The Teachers are a very conservative group of people who insist they know what is best regarding education even though failure in that system is obvious. I am not sure Anne Tolley has the political skills to head off the Teachers’ Union. She must succeed here and right now it is not clear she will. The Government needs to form a war cabinet to take on the Teachers. The Teachers need to know that Mrs Tolley will have all the resources of the Government to support her and that NOTHING will be ruled out, including taking the Union head on.

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  50. mawm (211 comments) says:

    <b.Rufus (146) Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 11:00 am
    Holmes is a dick. No such thing as the “Dutch Reformed Church”.

    Let me introduce you to Google. Search Dutch Reformed Church and whoopsy you get……

    Dutch Reformed Church – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Reformed_Church

    Silly to make a comment about something that you have no knowledge about.

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  51. Yvette (2,743 comments) says:

    Holmes’ article is still a fucking waste of about 1400 words – we know nothing new from Holmes and his level of literacy, regards communicating for comprehension, is questionable. He is still a dick.

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  52. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    So Holmes goes out on a strike for Anne Tolley?

    Who here is surprised? the man is a political puppet for goodness sake, he will say and do anything for a chance at the spotlight.

    What he fails to recognise in his petty opinion is that New Zealand is a healthy democracy and we are at liberty to question and challenge our “faithful minister’s”, to whom we elected. We should never be forced to swallow a proposal from the Minister without an appropriate consultation process, and our voices should never be silenced.

    Holmes is the perfect figure for education, his daughter is a great symbol for the type of product’s that our education system is producing. Does he really believe that national standard’s can change that?

    :D

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  53. Rufus (646 comments) says:

    Mawn 5:11

    Ok. So I’ll write it another way “No such thing as the Dutch Reformed Church in New Zealand.”

    Thought it was clear Holmes was writing with the NZ context in mind. And I answered in like manner.

    Happy?

    As for having no idea, I grew up in said church. You?

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  54. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Rufus 7:23 pm,

    Mawn 5:11

    Ok. So I’ll write it another way “No such thing as the Dutch Reformed Church in New Zealand.”
    Thought it was clear Holmes was writing with the NZ context in mind. And I answered in like manner.
    Happy?
    As for having no idea, I grew up in said church. You?

    I’ll second that, Rufus.
    A mate of mine also grew up in a Reform Church in NZ. And they are not called Dutch Reform in NZ – which I thought was the obvious point you made.

    Seems that Holmes is not the only one being a dick, eh Mawm?

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