A taxpayer funded union

August 29th, 2010 at 2:36 pm by David Farrar

The SST reports:

UNDER-FIRE EDUCATION Minister Anne Tolley has labelled a campaign against national standards a “silly political game”, and slammed the Principals Association for bringing “nothing positive to the table”.

National standards, implemented in primary and intermediate schools this year, rank all children above, below or well-below benchmarks in reading, writing and maths. Now the is canvassing for money to fund an information campaign against the standards, with the Auckland Primary Principals Association already pledging $60,000. …

The federation is funded from annual subscriptions paid by schools out of government funding. The Auckland primary principals’ group is funded the same way and president Iain Taylor said its $60,000 would help people “learn more about the flaws in the current national standards”.

Few people actually realise that the Principals’ Federation is in fact funded by the taxpayer.  Almost all schools pay the membership fee on behalf of the principal.

As a taxpayer, I’d like a refund please.

If principals see value in joining the federation, let them do so out of their salary – like most other unions.

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89 Responses to “A taxpayer funded union”

  1. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    president Iain Taylor said its $60,000 would help people “learn more about the flaws in the current national standards

    Any flaws that exist today will largely be in the minds of those philosophically opposed to national standards. Addressing/fixing any of those flaws would only result is more being fabricated in order to support their belief.

    We don’t expect instant perfection from students, instead applauding attempts at gaining knowledge and skills, and encouraging perseverance. Time for education ‘leaders’ to apply the same principles to National Standards and any subsequent new initiatives.

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  2. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    Who set this up and organised US to pay for it?

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  3. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Yes, I recall the Board I was on getting the bill for that one. Principals consider themselves akin to CEOs, and thus membershiip of a “professional association” ought to be part of their remuneration package.

    However:
    – they don’t want to be accountable to the Board for performance, as is a CEO.
    – the Board can’t fire them, or move at the AGM to cut their performance bonus, because they don’t get one.
    – the Board isn’t bulk funded for salaries and operations (the unions make sure that salaries are done in a cosy backroom deal with the Ministry) and thus can’t shift funds from some other executive perk to cover membership. They can only tap the operations grant, which is meant to pay for necessities for children’s education.

    Yet ry suggesting to a principal that they should maybe tap their own $100,000 plus salary (most principals get vastly more than the average NZer, unles in charge of a very small school) to pay for it themselves and you’ll be met with outrage.

    As with many thing, the solution lies with empowering people (in this case, Boards), but for all her big talk I don’t hear Tolley advocating this.

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  4. Honest John (191 comments) says:

    So school principals suck because they are paid by us to teach our kids, and they care enough about our children to oppose crappy educational policies that will lower the quality of service that teachers provide. hmmmm gotta work on that one fellas.

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  5. reid (16,611 comments) says:

    “…for all her big talk I don’t hear Tolley advocating this.”

    Tolley’s strategy appears to be: react when something happens. There doesn’t seem to be any plan at all to deal pro-actively with oh-so predictable reactions she’s been getting from the usual suspects. This says a lot about her political skillset.

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  6. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    crappy educational policies that will lower the quality of service that teachers provide

    National Standards are already providing parents with improved visibility of their childrens’ achievements and next learning steps. If teachers & principals feel threatened by this.. then good. If teachers don’t feel threatened, then that’s good too. So all good.

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  7. BeaB (2,141 comments) says:

    As usual primary schools treat government policy and taxpayer money as their own little playground. The sooner we separate the unions and the professional associations the better. Then, when the professional association supports or opposes something we could perhaps assume principals and teachers are speaking as professionals, not as unionists pushing their own barrow and protecting/ramping up their pay and conditions.

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  8. Trevor Mallard (248 comments) says:

    Might be a good idea to check the facts on this one DPF – my understanding is that the campaign is being funded by a one days pay levy by principals on themseleves..

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  9. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Why are schools paying union fees for headmasters? This should be a personal choice of the principal concerned and paid out of his salary if he so chooses. No taxpayer funds should be going directly to unions.

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  10. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    The problem is Trevor, that your ‘understanding’ rarely translates into cold hard facts.

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  11. roger rabbit (45 comments) says:

    Lets sack all principals, and with ann and roger mcclays input, import non english speaking cantonese chinese to run our schools with david farrar to select which chinese runs which school. If it dosnt work out there is a group of somalis living in the newtown mansfield street flats here in WGTN who could run the schools, THEY ARE CHEAP and probably on some benifit.Damn why educate our kids, all jobs have gone overseas to china so just teach them the revelate dole bludginging forms to fill out, scummy future dole bludgers, here is a future topic?????

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  12. mjwilknz (605 comments) says:

    @Krazykiwi, I am a big fan of greater openness and transparency and sceptical of union resistance to the incoming standards. Yet, a number of teachers I’ve spoken with are concerned about the way the standards will be implemented, quite aside from being resistant to greater openness.

    It must be very possible to have a sensible policy, yet implement it poorly. Don’t you think it would help if we listened to teachers’ (as opposed to unions’) concerns about it, just to make sure we’re not doing a bad job of these standards? Surely just because we disagree about the policy doesn’t mean we should ignore all concerns raised about it.

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  13. burt (8,293 comments) says:

    mjwilknz

    So how do we separate the teacher message from the union message?

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  14. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Is this the best you’ve got? Tolley is falling apart in front of us, education is a shambles, cuts to ECE will hurt right where we should be starting with education, and THIS is all you’ve got?

    Desperation, that’s all. Desperation.

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  15. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    And Jack clings on fondly to his signed photograph of the ‘Great Leader’, and hopes of shower pressure regulation.

    It’s all he has got. The wilderness years Jack, the Wilderness years!

    Suck it up BOY.

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  16. Red Sam (122 comments) says:

    The New Zealand Principals’ Federation is not a union. I imagine they describe themselves as a professional organisation, and like all professional organisations, they have a right to lobby the government of the day on critical policy issues that impact on their profession – much like engineers, pharmacists, dentists, doctors, lawyers, etc.

    The primary principals’ collective agreement, currently up for negotation, along with primary and secondary teachers, is negotiated between the Ministry of Education and NZEI. Most primary school principals (not so sure about secondary) also belong to the NZEI union. In fact, there are a number of principals on the NZEI’s National Executive, including the current President.

    And what about self-managing schools that neo-liberals constantly bleat on about? Don’t the Nats support Boards of Trustees spending operations grant money as they see fit? This Tolley character is shaping up to be the most controlling, autocratic, my way or the highway, nanny knows best education minister that the country has seen in years. I think the likes of Les Gandar and Wyatt Creech had a more open mind, even if they were tories – though I believe Creech was Labour in his early years.

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  17. wat dabney (3,804 comments) says:

    Here’s the deal, teachers: you surrendered any say in education the moment you organised to make schooling a state monopoly for all the rent-seeking benefits that your political clout can extort: from the higher salaries through to the job for life even for incompetents.

    Having sold yourselves to the devil you have to take the rough with the smooth.

    An all-private school system – the voucher model – would have no need of the national curriculum you find so objectionable, because poor schools and bad teachers would be forced out of business as parents exercised the freedom to choose a suitable school for their child, rather than having your cartel’s sub-standard offering shoved down their throats. But the state monopoly you forced on everone for your own pecuniary benefit has no such mechanism.

    Are we clear?

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  18. Eddie (288 comments) says:

    Let’s all remember that Iain Taylor is a card carrying member of the Helen Clark and Chris Carter appreciation society and I mean that in all possible interpretations.

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  19. mjwilknz (605 comments) says:

    @Burt,

    I guess that it’s up to the teachers to make their voices heard, if they wish to. My point is, just because we may disagree with on the general principal – that stronger standards are a good thing – we shouldn’t ignore everything the other side has to say: although they dislike the standards, they might be suggesting some sensible modifications to them.

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  20. db.. (86 comments) says:

    Trevor @ 3:59,
    Next move is to promote the “principal” to “Head teacher” or “Head of Department” depending on the size of the school.

    Then designate the administrative/ property/ other services, part of the running of the school to a non-teaching position, and make that CEO answerable to the school Board of Trustees.

    Teachers should teach, and ALL other non-teaching staff do the rest.
    That would ofcourse mean that the income stream for the school is not the business of the teaching staff.
    It may not be “bulk funding” but it will feel the same as.

    What the teachers have no cognition of, is the fact that their objective CANNOT succeed without a greater civil unrest by the parents, and that sector far outnumber the whole teaching profession.

    Be careful of what you wish for.

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  21. peterwn (3,294 comments) says:

    Same should go for the Business Round Table. If CEOs want to belong, it shouuld be out of their pockets, not shareholders’ pockets.

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  22. Doug (410 comments) says:

    Peterwn:
    Simple Shareholders have a choice, not to be Shareholders.

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  23. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Red Sam asks:

    Don’t the Nats support Boards of Trustees spending operations grant money as they see fit?

    That would require:
    a) A vision for this country and its education system that goes beyond wresting control from self-interested teacher unions and vesting it in uninterested bureaucrats so it becomes the Minister’s plaything;
    b) A spine;
    c) Acknowledgement that you don’t have to be a National MP in order to actually know something, and what’s more that parent Boards of Trustees have a far, far greater right than does the Minister or the bureaucrats or the union to detrmine how best to spend their tax dollars on their children’s education.

    This Tolley character is shaping up to be the most controlling, autocratic, my way or the highway, nanny knows best education minister that the country has seen in years. I think the likes of Les Gandar and Wyatt Creech had a more open mind…

    Agree with the first bit. As for the comparison, you obviously haven’t read my legendary “meeting Les Gandar” story :-D

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  24. Buddha (1 comment) says:

    The principals surely need to be heard from in this situation, the way they organise is a smokescreen from our rightwing friend, N.Z’s own Sarah Palin, David Farrar. National have such a bad education strategy, poor old Ann Tolley, doomed to fail.

    The irony is that all the education done on national standards show that it is an inflexible and outdated concept. The young mind is far more complicated than Ann Tolleys. They need to be given superior modern education methods. What education does Ann Tolley have and has she considered higher education for herself. Actually all of national could do with some basic history and finance lessons.

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  25. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    ‘As a taxpayer, I’d like a refund please.’

    As a taxpayer did you ask for a refund when Rodney spent tax payer money to attend a wedding in the UK with his girlfriend? Did you also ask for a refund when Bill English was caught misrepresenting his accommodation arrangement and double dipping from the tax payer?

    No – I thought not.

    More narrow minded teacher bashing from you DPF, one day you might realise that Tolley is way out of her depth and the sooner she goes the better.

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

    As a taxpayer, I’d like a refund please

    No problem, DPF. Tell you what, you divide the total number of individual taxpayers into 60 grand and I will happily send you a cheque, OK? Should be for about 3 or 4 cents, I figure.

    That way you can get your mind of your bank balance and put some genuine intellectual grunt into the issue – don’t worry, you can buy it!

    But my pick is that you will refuse my offer in favour of continuing your obsessive teacher-bashing.

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  27. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    @Krazykiwi, I am a big fan of greater openness and transparency and sceptical of union resistance to the incoming standards. Yet, a number of teachers I’ve spoken with are concerned about the way the standards will be implemented, quite aside from being resistant to greater openness.

    There’s a difference between constructive concern and militant obstruction. The union that most teachers belong to seems happy to mask or completely remove constructive concern, and ‘upgrade’ it to something altogether more confrontational. Perhaps it’s time for good teachers to remove themselves from NZEI’s Victorian-era advocacy model. That would allow the benefit of their professional expertise to be reflected back into the standards, and into their implementation.

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  28. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Luc, to complain about the entrenched historical selfishness of teacher and principal unions is not bashing, it’s addressing the facts. It’s standing up for the rights of children to an excellent education.

    Despite the PPTA’s sickening full page ad in last week’s Sunday Star-Times purporting to care about children, their hysterical reaction to any and every move to measure their members’ ability to teach makes it crystal clear that their primary interest is themselves.

    It would be good if someone was able to cross-reference the principals most against supplying performance information to parents with their schools’ performance in the league tables they so detest.

    It would be no surprise to learn that it’s the least competent principals who are doing most of the complaining.

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  29. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Same should go for the Business Round Table.”

    Peterwn is a typical dull and retarded National party supporter who hasn’t yet caught on that there is a difference between taxpayer money and private money.

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  30. tvb (4,487 comments) says:

    It seems the Teachers’ Union has been more effective at being protective towards pedophiles than has the Catholic Church. Perhaps the Church should learn a thing or two from the Teachers’ Union on how they do this.

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

    John, I hesitate to engage directly with a master propagandist as yourself. I accept that you do your job well, without any particular favouritism for political ideologies, but your job does not necessarily suit you to serious consideration of serious matters.

    Rather, you are expert in dog whistle politics. Your favoured modus operandi is exploiting the fallacy of the excluded middle. The either/or syndrome. As in: “You are either with us or against us” mentality. Or Iwi/Kiwi. Good for you, but don’t expect me to fall for that scam.

    Personally, although I am not a teacher, I know many and all that I know are primarily and sincerely concerned with outcomes, not incomes.

    Neither do I see any “hysterical reaction” by teachers or principals. The fact is that these two groups are part of an aging workforce who have seen it all before and are instead just resigned to doing it all over again in standing up to a naive and simplistic policy.

    John, internationally, our teachers can hold their heads high in terms of overall results. You can check that out for yourself on the OECD website. Your personal attacks on the teaching profession simply highlights your lack of substance and personal integrity.

    My understanding of this issue is this, and by all means prove me wrong: teachers and principals are not ideologically opposed to standards and measurements, but recognise how fraught such a system is with the wide variation in socio-economic circumstances of both schools and pupils. Therefore, such a system must demonstrate it takes all this into account.

    Instead, standards as bald as those promoted by the government would appear to be a stalking horse for closing down lower decile schools as a prelude to increasing privatisation of the education system, as is happening right now in the US.

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  32. Rich Prick (1,719 comments) says:

    Its all from the money-go-round after 9 years of Labour, we pay the union, the union donates to Labour, Labour buys property and we are forced to pay Labour’s rent on said property. Tithing to a church looks attractive by comparision.

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  33. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    And what would be wrong with privatising the education system Luc – even if the Nats did have the guts to do it, which they don’t?

    The same children get their food and clothes provided by private organisations, yet we’ve been suckered into believing that only state bureaucrats can be trusted to fill their minds with knowledge.

    This is plainly absurd, as the success of private schools amply demonstrates.

    I have the highest regard for good teachers and principals, and nothing but contempt for the dullards who do so much to make school boring for so many.

    Education was the reason I became interested in politics, when I realised that the ACT school choice policy could see chains of Auckland Grammars and St Cuthberts (ie the best of the state and the best of private) reaching into areas currently served by only mediocre state schools.

    That would be a good thing for people in Otara etc., wouldn’t it Luc? In Sweden, it’s the poor immigrant areas of Stockholm that are most grateful for the free school phenomenon (pretty much the ACT policy) which is now accepted by all but the Communist Party.

    I don’t see why this should cause you to doubt my integrity, whatever you may think of my ads.

    The question is, who do we put first: the teachers or the children? The PPTA and the Labour Party answer by their actions: the teachers. That is where you should look for integrity problems.

    I also know many teachers who are far more concerned with outcomes than incomes. My beef is not with most teachers, but with their unions and the bureaucrats who deliberately and quite despicably keep the bar low in education (presumably to keep children dumb and voting Labour).

    Many good teachers do not support performance pay because of the emotional pressure it would place on them. I can understand the pressure they must face to conform to the union view – teachers are sensitive souls, and the better ones are probably the most sensitive.

    But there are other good teachers who resent not being paid what they’re worth. More to the point, there are so many who do not become teachers because they see it as a low-status profession.

    I learned the other day that my own stepson (Year 12) has been tutoring some of the younger kids and found he really enjoys teaching.

    But when I asked him if he’d like to become a teacher he said, “Nah, the pay’s crap and people look down on you if you’re a teacher.” So yesterday he flew to Auckland for the open day of the Law School.

    However in Switzerland teachers are paid $120,000 a year. They’re also hired by the parents in the cantons, and presumably the chances of mediocre teachers being hired in those circumstances are slim. I understand there’s very little education bureaucracy in Switzerland.

    So I think if we’re talking about integrity, Luc, we need to reform the system to make sure the goal of educating our children as well as possible is paramount, not the self-interest of those employed to provide that education.

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  34. Rich Prick (1,719 comments) says:

    John, you are wasting your key-strokes, teachers are unionised, the dumbest will always be paid as well as the best. That is why all of their salaries are low. We can’t afford to pay the best good money because we would have to pay the worst the same. Unions … if you are good, why the fuck would want to be in one?

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

    John, thanks for your reply, but surely you are dissembling when you differentiate between teachers and their unions. I’m sure that degree qualified people are quite capable of ensuring they have representation they desire, so an attack on their representatives is an attack on them.

    There may well be nothing wrong with privatising education, as you suggest, but to do so by stealth is dishonest. We have a mixed system right now, and the ones most at risk from privatisation are those in the lower decile areas. That’s a fact. My daughter (nearly two) won’t be going to one of those schools, but she will (because like all Dads I think I have a very bright child!) suffer if the system is dumbed down to Tolley’s (lack of) standards.

    As I said earlier, go and check out the international comparisons and you will see we do very well. To say our teachers “deliberately…keep the bar low” just demonstrates your ignorance of the facts. That doesn’t mean we can’t improve, but it does mean we should applaud the profession for what they do achieve with scant resources and fully consult with them on changes.

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  36. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Anyone who’d like to check out our internationally competitive Universities should visit Top Universities. This is the global gold standard in university ratings. Their methodology can be seen here.

    Australia has 6 Uni’s in the world top 50. NZ has none, and only 3 in the top 200. Most of ours are slipping each year, but congrats to Canterbury which has soared from 333rd in 2006, to 188th in 2009.

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  37. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    I don’t think we should privatise by stealth, Luc – I think we should do so openly and proudly.

    The fact that you speak of about privatisation being worst for the poorest – how do you justify that? That’s not what happens in Sweden at all, as I said.

    And why would it? The rich can always buy the best education. The poor can’t. UNLESS they’re given the money the state spends on their child’s behalf and can take it to any school they like (instead of going where the state tells them – to their local state school).

    With each parent being worth the same amount of money, why wouldn’t an Auckland Grammar set up alternative campuses to cater for poor kids as well as rich Epsom ones?

    Or if not, then why wouldn’t a great teacher who fancies his or her chances of improving the prospects of poor kids set up a school in a poorer area? This is precisely what happens in Stockholm, encouraged by parents who finally have a shot at getting their kids a decent education.

    Don’t call me ignorant and lacking in integrity – you go and check the history of the so-called evil voucher system.

    See what the poor black parents in Washington DC think of their hero Obama for ditching the one education initiative that was actually working to lift their kids out of poverty.

    He did so in the name of socialism – a philosophy designed to keep everyone equally dumb and equally poor – a philosophy adhered to rigidly by our teacher unions.

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  38. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Don’t call me ignorant and lacking in integrity

    That is Luc’s MO I’m afraid John; behaviour commonly seen in kindergaten when toddlers don’t ‘win’.. and persists through into adulthood for many like Luc.

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  39. BeaB (2,141 comments) says:

    The point is yes we do well in international comparisons FOR SOME KIDS but not well enough for a large tail of under-achievement and too many school-leavers with low literacy. The state of our economy shows that we need to do much much better at educating and skilling our kids.
    The PPTA is claiming 4% (and free flu shots!) and has been offered 2.5% over two years. Do they really expect us to believe that for another 1.5% they are going to transform the education system?
    As someone said on the radio this morning they have the best part-time job in the world!

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  40. mpledger (425 comments) says:

    1) The voucher system gave/gvies good results because the parents who cared aboout their kid’s education got into the program. The parent’s who didn’t care about their kid’s education didn’t. It’s no surpise that the voucher kids did better – parental pressure on their child’s achievement. Once you randomise for enrolment then there is still improvement but that can be accounted for by the longer time spent in school at voucher school than non-voucher schools.

    2) If all the reseachers educated in NZ came back to work at NZ universities then I’m sure the status of NZ universities would raise significantly. However, (mostly) we couldn’t afford to pay them or pay for the costs of their research.

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  41. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    ” If all the reseachers educated in NZ came back to work at NZ universities then I’m sure the status of NZ universities would raise significantly. However, (mostly) we couldn’t afford to pay them or pay for the costs of their research.”

    NZ is a nation of bludgers criminals and sloths with an out of control bureaucracy, and a parliament of fools and self interested seat warmers that the citizenry is happy to elect term after term after term. Why should such an apathetic and dysfunctional and unproductive society be able to afford to pay them?

    Especially given that teachers pushing politically charged “educational” material are to a large extent responsible for NZ’s sad state of affairs.

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  42. RRM (9,998 comments) says:

    Minister Anne Tolley has labelled a campaign against national standards a “silly political game”, and slammed the Principals Association for bringing “nothing positive to the table”.

    Yep, any who oppose her are playing “a silly political game”. They couldn’t genuinely think the proposed standards are a bad idea. Stupid shrill bitch.

    In fact we’re starting to see a trend, so many of the Nat women ministers have this nasty “don’t disagree with me or I’ll f*ck you up” thing going on. Smear My Critics Bennett, Gonna Crush Cars Collins, and now “All opposition to standards is political union BS” Tolley. Sucks for everyone when women convince themselves they have to be mean to compete in a man’s world…

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  43. BeaB (2,141 comments) says:

    RRM You left out of your misogynistic rant hysterical, strident, aggressive, emotional, uppity, pre-menstrual, menopausal, lesbian, frigid – um, female.
    Keep them for next time.

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  44. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    A bit worked up there RRM?

    The campaign against National Standard is a silly political game waged by the stone-age NZEI who seem hell-bent on keeping parents in the dark about their childrens’ performance. They, like the Principals Association, have not brought anything positive to the discussion, just stonewalling objections.

    If you have trouble with strong, capable women then I suggest you get some help. This is the 21st century.

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  45. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    It’s nothing to do with being female, RRM. Paula Bennett, Crusher Collins and Anne Tolley are simply doing their jobs well.

    I was mad as hell with Anne for colluding in stymying the publication of league tables, but am mighty impressed with her staunch defence of standards against the selfish unions who pretend to be interested in kids, but aren’t.

    My billboard in 2005 which never saw the light of day was: What are schools for?/PPTA/ABC. Until the teacher unions are smashed, mediocrity will continue to reign.

    Now that the teachers have voted to strike, the government needs to go on the attack and explain the long history of teacher union selfishness, as well as their genuine desire to pay good teachers more. Key needs to stand up to the teacher unions and smash them – but to do it, he’ll need parent support.

    Will he follow this advice? No.

    So what will happen is that the kids will march with the teachers, and the parents will assume the teachers must have a case, and the government will roll over.

    Another win for the teacher unions. Another loss for the children of New Zealand.

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  46. dave (988 comments) says:

    principals see value in joining the federation, let them do so out of their salary – like most other unions.

    Except the NZPF is not a union. So let it come out of operating funds – like most other federation membership.

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  47. Mark Petersen (1,488 comments) says:

    National Standards
    The good

    A three way dialogue between the teacher, parents and the child which the school my children attend was doing in any event but it is a good process.

    Accountablility – there now is a measure of school performance that can create a level of accountablilty that we have not seek from the education profession before

    Focus – Making schoools focus on core subjects and make sure that young Jonny or young Susan can read write and count by the time they leave school.

    The Questionmarks

    What is the national Standard? Currently you can use variable testing methodology, in fact in some areas you can choose between three of four different test types. I personally struggle to see where National and/or Standard fits here.

    Who Moderates the assessments? – Based on what I have seen of the process the assessment is made by the teachers as to whether are student is either “at” “above” “well Above” “below” or “Well Below” the national standard.

    There is bound to be both school and nation wide variances is such a system. More importantly as these national standards are bound to become some sort of marketing tool for the decile 9 and 10 private schools who already exploit the NCEA league tables, without proper and effective external moderation there is more than a reasonable chance of pressure on some teachers to have a faily loose view of the standards.

    It is also a fair bet that the performance of schools will have a fairly direct correlation ith their decile rating. You do not need to be Einstein to figure that out. Where schools have a large proportion of below or well below students what additional resource is the government going to give these schools to address the inequity or are the measures to be taken by the government going to be purely punative by naming and shaming? this has not been made clear by Tolley so far.

    The Bad

    The areas that really concern me are;

    League Tables – To try to convince the public that League tables will not be promoted and exploited by the higher decile schools is naive.

    The negative and demotivational aspects of national standards.

    How do you motivate a child who is told every six months they are below or well below the standards despite trying really hard. It is not quite as harsh as being told your a failure or a big failure but not far away. There has to be better language to use here.

    My exposure to the education system is as a parent and as a member of a school board of trustees. In general terms the teaching staff I come across are highly motivated, very professional and do outstanding work. Based on the comments of the minister and some of the uninformed idealogical trash I have read in the comments on this and other blogs on this issue you would think we have a very poor education system and as a profession teachers are failing our children miserably. That is certainly not my experience. OECD figures consistently tell us that the NZ education system is in the top 5 or 6 on the OECD. I suspect our lawyers, accountants etc would dealy love to be rated as highly.

    Tolley’s problems as a minister are almost entirely self inflicted. Whether she is treated unfairly by the media she is portrayed as someone who does not listen to advice. from what I have heard of the principals argument is that they want to see National Standards tested before they are implemented . This does not seem to be an unreasonable request in fact it may seen particularly sensible to some.

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  48. mpledger (425 comments) says:

    ….. and Anne Tolley are simply doing their jobs well

    If you go to a meeting and use your speaking time to read a children’s story then that’s not doing your job well.

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  49. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    Mark Petersen, I think that is the most balanced, well reasoned, comment I have ever read at Kiwiblog.

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  50. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Why would it be wrong for successful private schools to trumpet their successes?

    By the same token, why would it be wrong for a Decile 1 state school that outperformed a Decile 4 school down the road to proudly proclaim that fact in its marketing?

    From memory, the most successful secondary school in Auckland by NCEA results, at least according to Metro magazine, is a catholic school in a fairly average area with a decile rating of, I think, 5.

    (Begins with M, can’t quite bring the name to mind – possibly Marist.)

    Now assuming the rating system was fair, that’s an astonishing achievement and the more parents find out about it the better. Clearly something is going on at that school that deserves to be rewarded.

    At the other end of the scale, the Hutt City Council recently petitioned the government to conduct an inquiry into the poor performance of the city’s state schools. Again, they could only realise the full horror of the situation by studying league tables.

    Don’t Hutt parents deserve to know the truth when the news is bad as well as good?

    League tables are a fact of life in all walks of life, and no walk of life is more important than our children’s education. Shareholders hold public companies accountable for their performance, sports teams live or die according to their win/loss ratio – why not schools?

    It’s not about bashing schools in poor areas. Clearly, the fair way to measure a school is in relation to other schools of the same type (for example, decile rating).

    For a Decile 10 private boys school, for example, to say it’s doing well compared with all boys schools would be an exercise in evasion. It bloody well should be beating the pants off other boys schools considering the fortune its parents pay to send their boys there.

    What those parents want to see is how it rates against all decile 10 boys’ schools, all decile 10 schools, and all decile 10 private schools.

    League tables should be produced to show these kinds of comparisons for all deciles and school types.

    Could someone please tell me what’s unfair about that?

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  51. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    John – because a sports team is not a school.

    Because teachers would start teaching to the test.

    Because schools self-assess and would distort results.

    Because parents would base their decision on which school to send their children to on a ranking printed in a newspaper and this ranking would not represent everything the school offers.

    I’ll put it in a language you might understand John: A Rich Education Not League Tables

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  52. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    “How do you motivate a child who is told every six months they are below or well below the standards despite trying really hard.”

    By enacting a plan to turn the child’s performance around.

    Being told you’re failing is upsetting, of course. But which is more cruel:

    1. To tell the child’s parents about the problem when the kid is still at primary school – so they can work with the child at home, find them a better teacher, or develop their other strengths.

    2. To keep pretending there’s no problem and dump that child into the real world five years later with no skills?

    To assume that an underperforming 10 year old is destined to always underperform is a defeatist attitude that good educators should not tolerate.

    We’ve had accelerated learning techniques for about thirty years now – why are these still not in schools?

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  53. mpledger (425 comments) says:

    John Ansell said:
    “By the same token, why would it be wrong for a Decile 1 state school that outperformed a Decile 4 school own the road to proudly proclaim that fact in its marketing”

    Because it’s not the school’s/teacher’s input that making the biggest contributor to a child’s success at the Decile 1 school – it’s being a child from a decile 1 area. If you take a class of decile 10 children and put that class in a decile 1 school than I suspect that you wouldn’t see them achieve at the same level. They’ll probably improve – greater resources, prestige – but not to decile 1 standards.

    “Now assuming the rating system was fair…”

    Yes, everything is predicated on the system being fair. There are quite a lot of ways in which the setting up and testing of national standards make it very unfair. There are a lot of ways good and honest teachers can be beaten by poor and unscrupulous teachers.

    The school now has to optimise two things – 1) report honestly to parents and 2) make a good showing in league tables. Which do you thing is better for the school to optimise.

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  54. mpledger (425 comments) says:

    >> “How do you motivate a child who is told every six months they are below or well below the standards despite trying really hard.”

    > By enacting a plan to turn the child’s performance around.

    What if there was already a plan in place? What if the child was already performing at the best of his/her abilities e.g. ESOL kids and kids with disabilities?

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  55. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Because it’s not the school’s/teacher’s input that making the biggest contributor to a child’s success at the Decile 1 school – it’s being a child from a decile 1 area.

    Not correct. A 1999 study in the Oxford Economics Papers (sorry, it’s behind a paywall) suggests that parental interest in a child’s education is four times more important than socio-economic background to that child’s final educational achievements. All parents, irrespective of their socio-economic situation, can spend time supporting their kids’ learning.

    Edit: ESOL/Special needs kids – there is provision for edge-cases like these in National Standards. Not sure of the detail. I’ll ask Mrs kk

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  56. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    In the end, politics is a battle between the pessimistic gloom-mongers who have eyes only for the losers, and optimists who believe we came into this world to do our best to fulfil our potential, and that anything is possible if we use our brains.

    So far, the optimists have carried the day and the human race has made astonishing progress – particularly lately.

    In all fields there are accelerators and handbrakes. For some reason, the education sector seems to be controlled by handbrakes. These people are traitors, and no government worth its salt should allow them to destroy its children’s futures.

    I applaud the great majority of teachers for the work they do. But it’s hugely ironic that they resist measurement while spending their days measuring their pupils.

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  57. BeaB (2,141 comments) says:

    That’s why John. They know just how shonky most of their assessments of kids are and fear the same being done to them.

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  58. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Ansell: By the same token, why would it be wrong for a Decile 1 state school that outperformed a Decile 4 school down the road to proudly proclaim that fact in its marketing?

    Pledger: Because it’s not the school’s/teacher’s input that making the biggest contributor to a child’s success at the Decile 1 school – it’s being a child from a decile 1 area.

    If you were at school, this would be a Not Achieved. You did not answer the question.

    Also, you make it sound as those league tables are something new. There have always been league tables and there always will be. And should be.

    It’s called transparency. The opposite is called hiding the truth. I think I know which most parents prefer.

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  59. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    ‘In all fields there are accelerators and handbrakes. For some reason, the education sector seems to be controlled by handbrakes. These people are traitors, and no government worth its salt should allow them to destroy its children’s futures.’

    Given up on reasoned argument have we John? Back to calling people socialists and traitors.

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  60. mpledger (425 comments) says:

    Ansell: By the same token, why would it be wrong for a Decile 1 state school that outperformed a Decile 4 school down the road to proudly proclaim that fact in its marketing?

    Pledger: Because it’s not the school’s/teacher’s input that making the biggest contributor to a child’s success at the Decile 1 school – it’s being a child from a decile 1 area.

    Ansell: If you were at school, this would be a Not Achieved. You did not answer the question.

    I though the answer was obvious – the league table is not ranking the performance of the school, it’s ranking the quality of the students it enrols. The inference for parents is that the school would do equally as well for their child if their child enrolled. Now that’s not likely to be true if a decile 1 kid doesn’t come into the school with the same background as a decile 10 kid.

    While I’m on a roll – my other objection is that the league tables don’t give the error (sampling and non-sampling error) of the league table value. I’ve worked a little with ranking data and my impression is that the variance of a rank usually spans about 3/4 or more of the ranks.

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  61. mpledger (425 comments) says:

    Ansel: t’s called transparency. The opposite is called hiding the truth. I think I know which most parents prefer.

    What if the league table hides the truth? Surely, spreading misinformation a bad thing too.

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  62. mpledger (425 comments) says:

    Me: Because it’s not the school’s/teacher’s input that making the biggest contributor to a child’s success at the Decile 1 school – it’s being a child from a decile 1 area.

    KK: Not correct. A 1999 study in the Oxford Economics Papers (sorry, it’s behind a paywall) suggests that parental interest in a child’s education is four times more important than socio-economic background to that child’s final educational achievements. All parents, irrespective of their socio-economic situation, can spend time supporting their kids’ learning.

    Me again: But parental interest, especially effective parental interest, is intertwined with decile status (which are both realated to parental educational status).

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

    Yeswedid 2.32pm

    A big tick!

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  64. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    mpledger:

    You still don’t seem to have grasped what I was saying. I asked a question about a Decile 1 school outperforming a Decile 4 school.

    Or to make it clearer for you: a school in a poor area outperforming a school in a richer one. (That’s a good thing, right?)

    You’ve now answered a completely different question of your own invention – twice. You must have been a teacher’s nightmare.

    And yes, I agree that if the league tables hide the truth, they need to be fixed.

    In Auckland, schools whose weaker students sat NCEA while their better students sat Cambridge or IB looked very bad in the Metro survey. Not fair.

    It would also be ideal to compare schools’ Excellence, Merit, Achieved and Not Achieved grades rather than just the totals of those who passed.

    Again mpledger, Luc and others: Decile 1 schools do not need to fear being compared with higher Decile schools, as no one expects much from them anyway.

    Their competition is other Decile 1 schools.

    If they can outperform higher decile schools, that would be the mark of good leadership and good teaching. This is what the Auckland Decile 5 Catholic school did.

    It was no surprise to me to watch the trans-Tasman netball test last night and see the Silver Ferns capitulate for the umpteenth time in the last quarter. This is what you get with a national attitude of ‘near enough is good enough’.

    Excusing losing is never good enough.

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  65. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    YesWeDid said: “Given up on reasoned argument have we John? Back to calling people socialists and traitors.”

    What is irrational about calling the teacher unions traitors?

    A traitor is someone who betrays his country. A teacher unionist actively campaigns against the children of his country by insisting that they be taught by teachers who can’t teach.

    What is that but a betrayal?

    And what on earth would be irrational about calling teacher unions socialist? It’s just a fact – one they regard as a badge of honour.

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  66. mpledger (425 comments) says:

    mpledger:

    Ansell: You still don’t seem to have grasped what I was saying. I asked a question about a Decile 1 school outperforming a Decile 4 school.

    Ansell: Or to make it clearer for you: a school in a poor area outperforming a school in a richer one. (That’s a good thing, right?)

    [My mistake – I find the decile terminology counter-intuitive – The schools with the least deprivation/highest ses are ranked 10 not 1. ]

    But to the point – unless we know the error (variance) on the ranks then any difference is ranking has no meaning.

    If 10 schools (out of 10 schools) get these scores 90.0, 90.1, 90.2, 90.3, 90.4, 90.5, 90.6, 90.7, 90.8, 90.9 out of 100 then their ranking will be 10 thru 1 but for all practical purposes there is no difference between them.

    But suppose the 10 schools really scored 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 95. The scores are now quite different but they would still get ranked 10 thru 1.

    On it’s own the league table has very little meaning.

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  67. mpledger (425 comments) says:

    Ansell:
    And yes, I agree that if the league tables hide the truth, they need to be fixed.

    Yes, but isn’t that what the teachers and principals are saying. We need more time to implement this properly. It’s all been rushed.

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  68. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    mpledger:

    But parental interest, especially effective parental interest, is intertwined with decile status (which are both realated to parental educational status

    Intertwined how? Are you saying that poorer people are less capable of encouraging their kids in their learning? Hope not, because that’s not the case at all.

    I have personally seen and worked alongside parents who would fit that lower socio-economic tag, and seen them encourage and support their children precisely because they wanted them to have more, to achieve more.

    Given encouragement, these parents can and will provide this support. Too many people preach the kind of class-hatred, victim-mentality that convinces parents that they’re hopeless, incapable and at the mercy of ‘the system’. Preacher Luc is case and point.

    The additional state funding applied to low decile school is huge, and Mrs kk sees plenty of these schools with truly outstanding ‘latest everything’ facilities, and others that simply waste their funding. A select few are using their low-decile premium to build vibrant home-school partnerships and these are typically schools where kids are rocketing ahead.

    National Standards will show up these successes and perhaps other school boards can take notice and emulate the formula.

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  69. mpledger (425 comments) says:

    The work I have seen is that maternal educational status is one of the strongest predictors of achievement at school. Since educational status is associated with getting a better paid job. And getting a better paid job means being able to live in decile 10 area. So all these things are intertwined.

    Do I think any parent can support their child? Of course, they’ve been through primary school. However, if a child brings home a reading book about Queen Victoria and the parent has studied Victorian history at university then the child is likely to gain more (on average) from that parent.

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  70. mpledger (425 comments) says:

    kk: National Standards will show up these successes and perhaps other school boards can take notice and emulate the formula.

    National Standards league tables may show successes. It may show the cheaters. It may show the schools who do nothing but study the literacty and maths standards.

    How will we know which is which?

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

    It was no surprise to me to watch the trans-Tasman netball test last night and see the Silver Ferns capitulate for the umpteenth time in the last quarter. This is what you get with a national attitude of ‘near enough is good enough’.

    So when we win, John, what’s the cause of that?

    You really are showing yourself up here, John.

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  72. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Would you rather have no tables and no idea, or tables which may contain flaws and quite a good idea?

    No-brainer in my view. Light is the best disinfectant, and errors would be quickly exposed.

    As for the scenario where there’s a narrow gap between first and tenth, school leavers fall ‘victim’ to exactly the same system when they try to gain entry to university. Some miss out to candidates solely on the basis of race, which I find appalling.

    Degrees of excellence are very slight, it’s a tough world – that’s why we need great schools.

    And thank you mpledger very sincerely for acknowledging your mistake. We all make them, I most certainly do, and had it been me I hope I would have shown the same good grace.

    Why I’m making a thing of it is not to embarrass you (quite the reverse, I admire you more now) but to say that you’re the first person I can remember on the blogs who’s ever done the decent thing when I’ve been on the right side of a dispute.

    I was beginning to think that all lefties were like glubbster and Helen Clark – totally incapable of admitting a mistake.

    I hope that came across right, because it was meant to be a compliment.

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  73. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Living in a decile 10 area does not assure good education, any more than living in a decile 1 area assures a poor education. So much of it can be determined by the attitudes of the student, as supported and encouraged by their parent(s). I say attitudes, because it’s perfectly possible for parents to encourage their kids without themselves being subject matter experts. I learned more calculus from my daughter needing help that I ever did at college.. so it was a brain-stretching bonus for me sitting down to help her

    NZ children are not starved of educational opportunities because of where they live or because of how much their parents earn. They are starved of choice by a zone system, starved of a new thinking by a Victorian-era union which is stonewalling change, and they are sold the class-hatred story that proposes lifetime of underachievement.

    Throwing money at the problem will do nothing to make it go away. We first need a cultural shift, one that sees all NZ really applaud excellent of academic achievement. Today this achievement is too often sneeringly attributed to rich parents, and that’s both incorrect and, critically, sets expectations of underachievement for the less wealthy.

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  74. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    A good point Luc, and you could cite the All Blacks’ comeback win against the Springboks to rub it in.

    I was really referring (and should have said) to the phenomenon of ‘scoreless netball’ designed to spare the feelings of losing teams. The Silver Ferns all too often crumble in the final minutes against Australia, that’s a fact is it not?

    Coincidence? Maybe. I note there’s no great tradition of scoreless rugby (men’s or women’s) – just a philosophy of excellence that’s resulted in the Black Ferns and All Blacks (in that order) being the most successful national teams in the history of world sport.

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  75. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Quite right krazykiwi. My wife grew up in a poor family of four kids in Taipei.

    Ironically both of her parents were teachers – good ones – but when her father died young, the system didn’t look after her mother as well as ours (yes I’m all for a hand up, Luc).

    She struggled with the grief and bringing up four kids on a low teacher’s salary. (Teaching in Taiwan is low paid, but much higher in status than it is here.)

    My wife remembers well the day she had to spend her last dollar and couldn’t even afford the bus home. That’s real poverty, with no welfare state to turn to.

    All her mother had to give the four kids was an education. She made that very clear and reinforced the point by getting the kids up at 4.00am to study if they had a poor result the day before. It was interesting to hear Barack Obama tell exactly the same story about his mother.

    Asian parents know the true value of education. The mothers, in particular, are inspiring.

    My wife hates me going on about it, so I hope she doesn’t read this, but I’ve come to realise that the academic success of Asian kids owes less to genetics or socio-economic status than it does to the high bar set for them by their teachers and mothers, and the willingness of those mums to make themselves unpopular to get the kids to clear that bar.

    If we Kiwi parents were prepared to humble ourselves and listen to how the Asian mums operate, our whole performance as a nation would improve.

    Sadly though, we’re more likely to resent the success of the Chinese and Indian kids than want to learn their secrets.

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

    John, I always just thought the Aussies played better at those times. Just like we play better when we win close ones.

    You argue like your billboards – either/or; a feast or a famine; no middle ground.

    Your comments on teachers and their unions are truly offensive, bereft of fact, and contribute only noise and filth to an important debate – like your billboards, really.

    KK: I can match you for anecdotal evidence from the sidelines, and your anecdotes are at odds to what I could produce, but anecdotal evidence does not rate highly, and one obscure study that we can’t read does not amount to conclusive evidence.

    The remainder of your contribution basically matches John’s. You guys come from a predetermined position, and only seek and accept evidence that purports to confirm that position.

    I heard a story today from a teacher’s staffroom chat, where they were puzzled as to what they have done to deserve all the filth that is thrown at them, yet they are the ones entrusted with everyone’s kids! I told him he should take his horns in tomorrow.

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  77. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, Kansas – 1895

    This is the eighth-grade final exam* from 1895 from Salina, Kansas. It was taken
    from the original document on file at the Smoky Valley Genealogical Society
    and Library in Salina, Kansas and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

    Grammar (Time, one hour)
    1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
    2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no modifications.
    3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.
    4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of do, lie, lay and run.
    5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.
    6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.
    7-10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

    Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)
    1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
    2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
    3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts. per bu, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
    4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
    5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
    6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
    7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $.20 per inch?
    8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
    9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?
    10.Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

    U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
    1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.
    2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
    3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
    4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
    5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
    6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
    7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
    8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865?

    Orthography (Time, one hour)
    1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic orthography, etymology, syllabication?
    2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
    3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?
    4. Give four substitutes for caret ‘u’.
    5. Give two rules for spelling words with final ‘e’. Name two exceptions under each rule.
    6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
    7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: Bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, super.
    8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: Card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
    9. Use the following correctly in sentences, Cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
    10.Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

    Geography (Time, one hour)
    1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
    2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
    3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
    4. Describe the mountains of N.A.
    5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fermandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.
    6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
    7. Name all the republics of Europe and give capital of each.
    8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
    9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
    10.Describe the movements of the earth. Give inclination of the earth.

    The top of the test states > “EXAMINATION GRADUATION QUESTIONS OF SALINE COUNTY, KANSAS
    April 13, 1895 J.W. Armstrong, County Superintendent.Examinations at Salina, New Cambria, Gypsum City, Assaria, Falun, Bavaria, and District No. 74 (in Glendale Twp.)”

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  78. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    A mark of assurance

    There is an emerging consensus that New Zealand needs a set of clear teaching standards to help improve teacher quality. This was a major finding of a report released last week by the Ministry of Education. The report analysed feedback from across the education sector on its discussion document, Becoming a Teacher in the 21st Century. It is very encouraging that the education sector is calling for better teaching standards, because setting standards is a way to ensure better quality teachers enter the classroom. This is vital for rebuilding teaching as a high status profession, and for helping to raise the achievement of every pupil.

    The Ministry’s proposals have been influenced by concerns from ERO and the New Zealand Teachers Council about the number of ineffective beginner teachers. The proposals concentrate on improving the quality of teachers when they enter the profession so that poor quality teachers do not slip through.

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  79. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    New teachers failing their students
    5:00AM Thursday February 21, 2008
    By Martha McKenzie-Minifie
    Teacher trainers are defending their standards after a major inquiry criticised the quality of new teachers – and suggested holding back full registration until graduates proved able to consistently raise students’ achievement.

    The parliamentary select committee inquiry said teacher educators should have to guarantee graduates could effectively manage students in a variety of learning environments.

    It is the latest in a series of reports that point to problems with some new teachers. A discussion document released by the Ministry of Education late last year claimed graduates were slipping into the classroom without the skills, knowledge and temperament needed to do the job.

    The latest document, which took two years and was sparked by a report suggesting one in five pupils was failing, said some new teachers seemed to be unfamiliar with common assessment tools.

    Tina Voordouw, principal of decile-one Rongomai Primary in Otara, said about one in five new graduates she hired were “disastrous”. While Ms Voordouw liked the “open minds” of beginning teachers, she said some had a poor grasp of English and others were not equipped to cope with the realities of teaching pupils struggling with basic living.

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  80. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Education – What Went Wrong?

    This address was presented at The Evolving Debates, organised by the NZITA, July 3, 2002. Topic: Education: Is this the best we can do? Agnes-Mary Brooke

    In essence – the Marxist-derived perspective of our education establishment views education primarily in terms of socio-economic discrepancies, of class conflict and advantage – not as preserving a valuable body of knowledge from many peoples, and races, passed down through Western civilisation. In what the Italian communist, Gramsci, prescribed as a Marxist agenda – i.e. “The long march through the institutions”, the education bureaucracy here, as in Britain, Australia, and other countries, became infiltrated by those who saw it primarily in politicised terms – as an area where the middle-class, or “higher socio-economic groups”, had an unfair advantage over poorer sectors.

    So, instead of working to make a quality education more widely available to all – as the Scottish did (the old socialists knew the greatest chance of advancement for their children was the best possible education they could give them) in an example of extraordinarily perverted thinking, our own Left-leaning educationists worked to remove genuine standards. Anything which offered a so-called advantage to the clever, the supposed middle-class, the hardworking, must go. The old proficiency exam was first. It used to test how well teachers were doing their job in primary school, and whether younger pupils had sufficiently mastered core subjects to advance to a more specialised secondary level. Automatic promotion replaced it. As a consequence, secondary schools are now awash with disruptive youngsters, many who can’t even read, speak coherently, write a cursive script, (how many youngsters do you know who can only print?) or manage basic arithmetical skills?

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  81. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Mediocre staff worry schools
    14 January 2003
    By MICHELLE QUIRKE

    School principals say they are being forced to employ mediocre teachers because there are so few applicants for vacancies, according to the annual Secondary Principals Association staffing survey issued today.

    Principals, who are struggling to fill secondary school teacher and middle management positions, said up to half the candidates they appointed last year were not regarded as being of a “high enough calibre”.

    By yesterday there were about 300 intermediate and secondary school teaching vacancies advertised in Education Gazette. The new term is due to start at the end of the month.

    Association president Bali Haque said often applicants had the right qualifications but lacked experience, and had problems with classroom management or relating to students.

    “Even three or four years ago they (principals) would have had a good enough field to get the best. Now they’re picking people they wouldn’t have otherwise employed. But it’s important to stress that it’s not all the (successful) applicants,” he said.

    The quality of applicants for management or teaching jobs in English, maths, science and technology was singled out as being worse than the previous year by the survey’s 144 respondents, with some principals saying the struggle to fill head of department roles was at “crisis” point.

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  82. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Only half of year 11 students passing first stage of NCEA

    10.05.2004
    2.45pm
    Only about half of year 11 students are passing the first stage of the Government’s main secondary school qualification — the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA), a new website profiling the nation’s secondary schools shows.

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  83. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    More than 40 percent of intermediate school children are unable to accurately place New Zealand on a world map.

    The surprising result comes from an Otago University study which quizzed over 2,800 children from 254 schools.

    Children were asked to drag a computer image of New Zealand to the correct global co-ordinates.

    Fifty-nine percent of 12 and 13 year olds could place the country to within a thousand kilometres.

    A third of eight and nine year olds achieved the same success.

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

    I see the government is trotting out selective information on the pay rise teachers secured under Labour, especially ignoring how they had fallen behind the eight ball in previous years.

    Anyway, our mate Trevor had got so offside with the profession that a commission was set up who determined the 4% per year for three years rise.

    That commission was headed of course by a true pinko, commie, toe-rag named Dame Magaret Bazely!

    If teachers allow themselves to fall that far behind again, they only have themselves to blame.

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  85. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Luc, your insults fool no one. They just confirm what we already know – that you are unwilling or unable to address the points made.

    Redbaiter has posted some good articles, which I hope you will read.

    The 8th grade exam from 1895 shows how far the Western world’s education standards have been dumbed down by generations of socialists.

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  86. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    “I heard a story today from a teacher’s staffroom chat, where they were puzzled as to what they have done to deserve all the filth that is thrown at them, yet they are the ones entrusted with everyone’s kids!”

    The point is, we parents only want good teachers entrusted with our kids, not dullards who can’t teach.

    Yet the union that they support forces our kids to put up with those dullards for as long as they wish to teach. How is that fair?

    If they do not want ‘filth’ thrown at them, they should not support their unions’ attempts to destroy our children’s love of learning by insisting that these poor teachers have jobs in perpetuity.

    And they should not complain about being measured. They expect the students they measure to knuckle down and get on with their work. Well, that is what parents (their employers) expect of them.

    If your friends are good teachers, they can expect nothing but praise from grateful parents. If not, they can quite rightly expect the criticism to continue.

    What are good parents supposed to do?

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  87. Pete George (23,676 comments) says:

    The 8th grade exam from 1895 shows how far the Western world’s education standards have been dumbed down by generations of socialists.

    Really John? What was the average school leaving age in 1895? What was the average qualification achieved? How did the range and depth of subjects compare?

    What are good parents supposed to do?

    Encourage inquisitiveness and learning in their children. Start as young as possible.

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  88. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    You’re talking quantity, Pete. I’m talking quality.

    On quantity of education, obviously the modern era is going to win hands down. But on standards of literacy and numeracy, I’d be surprised if you don’t agree that it’s the other way round.

    I agree with your last point.

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  89. tom hunter (5,049 comments) says:

    Slate, a media site hardly known for raging right-wing thinking (at least not to anyone to the right of communism), has published a follow-up article to the whole LA Times series on testing teachers results with students and publishing the results.

    The follow-up is not very complimentary about the response of the teacher’s unions:

    Duffy further grouched that the Times was “leading people in a dangerous direction, making it seem like you can judge the quality of a teacher by … a test.” [Ellipsis in the original.]
    Gee, Mr. Duffy, aren’t students judged by test results?

    The Times findings, which took bravery to express in liberal, union-enslaved Los Angeles, are hardly incendiary. The paper found that effective teachers “often go unrecognized”; that the school district does not act on the information it’s gathered to fire ineffective teachers because it basically fears the union; that the best teachers are scattered throughout the system, not concentrated in the rich neighborhoods or the “best schools”; that parents are denied “access to objective information about individual instructors, and they often have little say in which teacher their child gets”; that seniority determines pay and job protection; and so on.

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