Principals behind boards campaign

November 5th, 2010 at 4:42 am by David Farrar

Whale Oil reports:

I have been leaked emails show­ing the co-ordination and organ­i­sa­tion inter­nally of the so called Board of Trustees revolt. What is appar­ent is that this isn’t an action being orches­trated by Boards, it is instead being run by the and the unionised prin­ci­pals. The Boards seem not to have been informed let alone the par­ents of the schools named in the revolt.

Here are two emails from Perry Rush, Prinic­pal of Island Bay School. The first email makes it clear that Board Chairs may well have not been fully informed, or informed at all about the pend­ing action.

You can read the e-mails at Whale.

The principals of course are doing this during the working day, from work premises. In other words us taxpayers are funding their campaign.

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77 Responses to “Principals behind boards campaign”

  1. hubbers (231 comments) says:

    You’re up early David. This one must be really bothering you.

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  2. David Farrar (1,880 comments) says:

    More that I have an 0630 flight to Auckland!

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  3. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    And a pretty amateur hour campaign it has been:

    1) Propogate a bunch of crap into the MSM about how National Standards is evil (ably assisted by NatRad)
    2) Say that the MoE hasn’t provided tools for converting existing assessment framework score into National Standards (they did but pulled them because the NZEI packed a spaz that they weren’t consulted enough)
    3) Push a load of NZEI propaganda to BoT members

    All co-ordinated by some well known Labour supporters.

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  4. Viking2 (11,334 comments) says:

    I’ve said it before and I will repeat it.
    The Nats. need to sort the teachers out pronto or thew teachers will have the Nats dumped. Teachers are the Nats. Achilles heel. Always have been.

    Shatter the system by reintroducing individual contracts, more power to school boards, remove the right of school boards to have teachers/principals of same school to be voting members or worse chairman, they are the Boards employee’s after all.
    That’s some of the problem here. The board has people employing themselves.
    Free up the pay and allow boards to allocate a big chunk based on transparent performance.

    Stop pussing footing around with these people. Expose them to the same rigor as the rest of us and hurry up about it.

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  5. Viking2 (11,334 comments) says:

    Where is the edit button gone??????????? GRRRRRRR!

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  6. 3-coil (1,215 comments) says:

    Thanks Whaleoil – not really surprised by their actions though, the Principals have no principles.

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  7. Scumsucker (59 comments) says:

    ‘Stop pussing footing around with these people. Expose them to the same rigor as the rest of us and hurry up about it.’

    You mean, from John Key the socialist?

    Grow a couple?

    Pfffff.

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  8. Viking2 (11,334 comments) says:

    Its not I that needs them!
    The Nats. need them. Ryall is making a difference but Tolley hasn’t got what it takes. First she will have to rid the various education dept.’s of their chief’s and install new bosses with a kick arse attitude.
    Tolley hasn’t recognized that she is arguing with children posing as grown ups.
    Until she does and realizes that constant arguing with children only drives the mother to the mental home no progress will be made.
    Children need rules and constant supervision. Grown up children are just the same.

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  9. Inventory2 (10,246 comments) says:

    It’s totally dishonest for prinicpals to be hiding behind Boards of Trustees to push a highly political agenda. Big ups to the Whale for shining some light on it. Will the MSM? I won’t hold my breath.

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  10. Psycho Milt (2,401 comments) says:

    Maybe someone should tell DPF and Whale that the school principal is on the Board of Trustees and is as likely to be handling the admin of this campaign as any other member of the board – more likely in fact, given that they’re the board member with the job that actually involves doing something about shit like this, unlike the parent representatives.

    Must say though, I’m thoroughly enjoying how much the teachers are raising right-wingers’ blood pressure – hilarious stuff…

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  11. Doug (408 comments) says:

    This campaign just has to be political go read the Standard and it will prove the point.

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  12. James Stephenson (2,123 comments) says:

    Of course it’s political Doug. All this stuff about “labelling” children is bullshit. The long and the short of it, is that this gives a way of measuring not just the progress of children but the efficacy of teachers and that’s what the campaign is trying to stop.

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  13. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    They say you unconsciously imitate the people you mostly associate with. It seems school teachers are mimicking school children.

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  14. BeaB (2,103 comments) says:

    People go teaching because they have many childlike qualities – and generally that’s good and exactly the way it should be. We want people like tragically shot Rose Ives – full of fun and enthusiasm and affection for kids and her teaching subjects.
    But the downside is that some, on good incomes in secure jobs, treat schools and education as their own personal playground. Strikes, for instance, are fun for many teachers. They love standing on the roadside with placards and pretending to be part of some working class solidarity. Losing a day’s pay, if they do, doesn’t make much difference when the choice is a day off. Believe me, I know of what I speak.
    Even some BOT members make a sport of it.
    I think it is time the Ministry took a tougher line and was more rigorous itself. Its poor performance over the past few years is partly due to the CEO, dyed-in-the-wool PPTA unionist and former principal of a failing school (Green Bay HS – roll plummeted)

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  15. ianmac (26 comments) says:

    Sadly Whaleoil. You might notice that both of those e-mails start with “congratulations on making your decision.” They are e-mails written to BOT after they had decided to join in. This makes your e-mails completely irrelevant.

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  16. dave (987 comments) says:

    Ive written about this a bit too, here. The boards were informed. It is the 230 boards who signed the resolution, not principals. And it is the board chairs who were written to, each one giving consent to be contacted. To say ” the Boards seem not to have been informed” is just silly, as well as inaccurate.

    The principals can hardly be doing campaigning during the day if it is the board chairs that are being written to. And the emails went out after 7pm, and after 9pm, I understand, from Rush’s home address – so even the campaigners are not doing this during the day…. I’m not saying I totally support the approach, but I do need to correct a few implied errors in this post, and others.

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  17. RightNow (6,961 comments) says:

    Meh, at this point if I was Tolley I’d just start trimming school budgets in one or two specific areas and reallocate it back in the area of “costs for implementation of National Standards”.

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  18. ianmac (26 comments) says:

    dave. A fresh breath of sanity. You have clearly outlined in your blog the issues especially as it has become a political contest and few are writing about what the NS are able or meant to do. Just an attack forum.
    I imagine that here it will be hard to get traction but good luck!

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  19. ianmac (26 comments) says:

    RightNow. Do you know what the concerns are about implementing NS? There is nothing that you write which indicates that you do. Have a look and avoid shooting the messengers.

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  20. RightNow (6,961 comments) says:

    ianmac, I am aware of the concerns, I have been following the developments and am a parent with a child at primary school.
    In my opinion NS should be adopted by all schools and then once they are in action they can begin to iron out the wrinkles with input from all involved (parents included). The current action against NS is energy wasted, energy not going into helping the kids, energy not being used in a constructive manner to work towards making NS better. They will be implemented, and National have a mandate to do so. The action of some involved against NS is politically motivated, and is turning my opinion even more against the left.

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  21. RightNow (6,961 comments) says:

    BTW, if my child’s school refused to implement NS I would be withholding ‘voluntary donations’. Perhaps I should take more of an active role in this issue and campaign for other parents to do likewise.

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  22. Maggie (674 comments) says:

    More conspiracy theories. Hilarious.

    This issue will continue to haunt National till they stop dictating and start listening. First move: sack Anne Tolley, she’s arrogant and useless.

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  23. RightNow (6,961 comments) says:

    well Maggie, you’ll get your chance next election. Or will you?

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  24. m@tt (619 comments) says:

    Regardless of your view on the suitability or not of NS surely you’d all have to agree that Tolley and National have handled this like complete bumbling idiots. Why they didn’t take a breath early on and take some time to actually sell the concept to teacher and principals I will never understand.
    Hell, they could have given a 12 month ‘trial’ to at least deny the ability for that to be used as a non-implementation excuse.

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  25. ianmac (26 comments) says:

    Rightnow National Standards:
    1. Improve reporting to parents. Good call. Always room to improve. Most have.
    2. Help the failing kids. Great. Smaller classes, specialised help, facilities, community/parent help. (Funny that we already know that there is a group of kids who fail before NS?)
    You see RN? Great aims that every teacher and BOT would support.

    But wait! What if the National Standards are flawed? What if they do not come near to achieving the above aims. Worse. What say they not only cause harm to kids but bog down the staff with more beaurocracy ? What if the NS becomes bogged down as political issue. The kids?
    RightNow. You would benefit your kids by finding out if your school agrees with 1 & 2. (Probably Yes.) Then find out if the NS have the answers.

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  26. Monty (974 comments) says:

    RightNow – excellent idea – I will definitely be doing the same – but in a public forum. I am very happy to pay but as a parent a clear message needs to be sent to the schools that this boycott is unacceptable in so many ways.

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  27. Monty (974 comments) says:

    ianmac – if the schools do agree with 1 and 2 then why the resistance – because the only next extra step is moderating into a national standard – that being the case what is the bloody problem. This is a political battle driven by a union with an ideaological hatred of National.

    I hope Tolley really grows some balls and destroys the NZEI and the teacher unions for mucking around with my children’s education.

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  28. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Maggie, “This issue will continue till National stop dictating and start listening.” So, have you suffered from alzheimer’s long Maggie, no don’t bother answering you probably won’t remember.

    Would be interesting to know what electorates these schools fall into, what’s the bet most are in those that are Liarbore.

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  29. ianmac (26 comments) says:

    side show” Most of these protesting BOTs are in high decile very successful schools.

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  30. ianmac (26 comments) says:

    Monty: “that being the case what is the bloody problem”
    Well moderation has been denied by the Minister right through the process, even though she was asked repeatedly over months.
    And the vagueness of the criteria make it at least very difficult to present anything that could be moderated. Like saying “don’t go too fast.” Could mean anything depending whether you are an anxious mother Monty, or a racing car driver.

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  31. Maggie (674 comments) says:

    bob, instead of wasting all our time with silly nicknames, do a bit of research next time. Then you won’t make quite such an ass of yourself.

    All the teachers and principals want is for the government to listen to them. What’s wrong with that?

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  32. Maggie (674 comments) says:

    RightNow, I was a member of a BOT in NZ. I am now living in Australia.

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  33. big bruv (13,656 comments) says:

    “All the teachers and principals want is for the government to listen to them. What’s wrong with that?”

    Plenty is wrong with that, the government is not interested in hearing Labour party spin from a bunch of public servants who do not have the best interests of our kids at heart.

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  34. slightlyrighty (2,505 comments) says:

    Ianmac. If we already have a system that identifys children that are not acheiving at school, why are so many leaving primary school without basic numeracy and literacy skills?

    Why do principals want to modify the standards? A standard is just that. A Standard. It would be like saying that a child needs to be 4 foot 6 at eight years old, and to spare the feelings of a shorter child, we make 4 foot the new 4’6″.

    Now we know that a short kid may not make the grade as a basketball player, but could be a great wicketkeeper, if we help channel his abilities.

    By the same token, if standards identify a child who’s maths is not good, but we can help that child to have a sound practical grasp of basic addition, subtraction and measurement, we could have a great builder on our hands.

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  35. slightlyrighty (2,505 comments) says:

    Maggie, are you aware that the australian labor govt has introduced national standards (or a variant thereof) in Australia?

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  36. Monty (974 comments) says:

    In fact the teacher unions have frustrated the implementation of National Standards since day one. Why have the teachers not come and said what they will actually do to improve the literacy and numeracy of the 20% of kids that are failing. As reported in the Dom editorial yesterday

    “Inspired by education academic John Hattie, the Government, from the prime minister down, is anxious to change the fortunes of those who reach secondary school with poor literacy and numeracy skills.

    It was in an effort to fix that disgraceful situation that National vowed during the 2008 election campaign to introduce benchmarks in reading, writing and maths.

    But because it did not consult the unions in devising the standards, teachers have long threatened to frustrate their implementation. Now some schools have acted on those threats.

    Yet principals are public servants, obliged to follow the law. Further, their anti-national-standards campaign has a whiff of sexism about it. Anne Tolley is the first female education minister, and the federation campaign to denigrate her every move has not been pretty.

    It has also verged on the improper, given some heads’ dismay at the refusal of the School Trustees Association to allow them to use school funds to finance the campaign, which they acknowledge will be “long, dirty and expensive”.

    Do the trustees involved in what amounts to a campaign of civil disobedience know how far Mrs Tolley has gone to allay teachers’ and principals’ concerns? Are they aware that the first meeting of the standards’ advisory group, chaired by retired Victoria University professor Gary Hawke, had to meet without principals’ and teacher representatives because they arrogantly believed the meeting couldn’t go ahead without them? ”

    The teachers and the unions and their Lap-dog political party have a very odious agenda. It has very little to with the rights and wrongs of National Standards – and everything to do with political muscle.

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  37. Crumble (61 comments) says:

    @slightlyrighty What the? You think we should push kids into career paths at primary school? Let me guess… you are one of these people that believe only 10% of people need to be educated.

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  38. BeaB (2,103 comments) says:

    Oh dear, Maggie. They just want to be listened to. What are they? Infants?
    And for this reason they go on a rampage?

    Monty – you are right on the button!

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  39. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Mrs kk was delivering a professional development training session to the principal and DP at one of the ‘named’ wellington schools then day before the DomPost article. The bulk of her training material was on moderation of National Standards assessment activity, and the school in question is busy implementing the standards.. and seeking help when they need it.

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  40. Right of way is Way of Right (1,129 comments) says:

    Speaking as Slightlyrightly’s brother, (Yes, I am!!), as usual Crumble you have the wrong end of the stick and are beating yourself over the head with it! Both he, and I would like to see 100% of the children in this country educated to the best of their abilities, whatever these abilities are!

    I want to see an education system where children with differing abilities are identified EARLY, rather than the current system where a child is never identified as a ‘failure’ (to use the rhetoric of the left) until after it is too late to do anything about it.

    As to pushing a child in to a career path in primary school, that is NOT what these standards are about, they are about finding those children who, for want of resources or background, are struggling, and lifting them. It’s about finding the best value for money spend across education.

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  41. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    amen to that.

    With the best possible outcome for the child and their future. which means ours too!

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  42. Crumble (61 comments) says:

    @right of way is Way of Right I know that is not want National Standards are about I was just replying to how I read slightlyrightly comment.

    Students are identified early and, I can say many, are given the extra help needed but the issue is not identification, any school in the country can show you students that need help. Its getting the help is the issue. Alt Ed funding as been cut, not enough experts to go around, huge waiting lists for help. The list could go one and on.

    Best value for money? Would that be spending $35 million on National Standards to show us what they already know?

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  43. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    @RightOfWay – Completely spot on re failure. Failure is a constant throughout everyone’s life. The variable.. and the thing that determines the outcome for us and for those around us is how each of responds to ocassions where we fail.

    The very reason we should embrace standards (of any type) is that kids needs to learn how do deal with small failures early so they’re prepared for the bigger challenges they’ll inevitably face as they mature and gain responsibility.

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  44. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Would that be spending $35 million on National Standards to show us what they already know?

    So every teacher currently has a common understanding of expected levels of achievement in each subject, for each knowledge strand and across all of NZ’s diverse student backgrounds? Nope… I know this isn’t the case.

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  45. Crumble (61 comments) says:

    @kk National Standards will not do that either. I think I’ve heard of a document that might match that idea……let me think…..aw yeah the New Zealand Curriculum!

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  46. Maggie (674 comments) says:

    It seems people here take the attitude that they are okay with a dictatorship so long as its a National one. Nothing National does can ever be wrong.

    If teachers and principals with decades of experience oppose a government policy they are “going on a rampage”. If they ask to be respected and listened to, they are behaving like infants.

    When Key asks you to bend over and be shafted all you lot would ask is: “How far up do you want to go?”

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  47. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    @Crumble – have you read the National Standards documents? I have and rate them as excellent tools… on of many that shoudl be use in the classroom. However if you’re going to hold up the New Zealand Curriculum as sole guidance of classroom tuition, the I challenge you to look at the NZC’s definition of official languages in NZ. Go on.. it’s an entertaining read.

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  48. Maggie (674 comments) says:

    slightlyrighty, yes, I am aware of Australia, thank you.

    Monty, the DomPost is not known for its liberal thinking. The fact that a previous editor left the paper and went into Don Brash’s office as a spin doctor (a job he had been doing behind the editor’s desk for years) gives some indication of the paper’s politics.

    The teacher unions are the representative organisations of teachers, but industrially and professionally. In refusing to talk to the unions, Tolley was refusing to talk to the very people who were required to implement the new system.

    Tolley has no teaching experience, yet refused to consult those people who do. That is arrogant and stupid.

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  49. lofty (1,305 comments) says:

    Maggie if you don’t mind me asking,are you permanently domiciled in Australia?

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  50. RightNow (6,961 comments) says:

    ianmac – it is somewhat ironic that I should be arguing this subject as my kid is above average on all measures except handwriting (which seems to be quite normal for boys who apparently don’t develop their fine motor skills as early as girls).

    However, as my understanding of the situation goes, it seems that many kids (I believe it is around 20%) leave school without having reasonable abilities in the area of reading, writing and math. It is also my understanding that the best chance to lift the achievement of these kids is if the problem is identified and addressed early. In this respect I believe NS to be a positive step towards this goal. It is also my understanding that schools identified as having high numbers of students that are behind on their progress (tracked by NS) will actually receive more resources and attention to help those kids.

    So I agree with the principle behind NS, and wish to see them implemented.

    I do realise not everyone is happy with the way it is being implemented, however I am dubious about how many of the objections are pragmatic and how many are politically motivated. To that end my attitude is that schools should adopt the NS implementation and then work towards making them better.

    While a lot of different factions can provide a lot of different statistics and opinions as to why x should be done and z shouldn’t be done and a is wrong etc etc, I firmly believe a lot of time and money could be saved if every school just ran with it now and then worked together to make it better. The partisan combative approach is not going to help the kids.

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  51. Crumble (61 comments) says:

    @KK Yes I have read them, I’ve gone to BOT meetings about them, I’ve read the Ministry of Education info about them, I’ve talked to teachers who are implementing them, I’ve gone to a presentation by Lester Flockton on them.

    The NZC is not the sole guidance in the classroom but it is what students should be assessed against in relation to the AO’s so it does take up a big chuck of the guidance.

    Yes, I have read the languages page and I don’t quite see why it is entertaining.

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  52. artemisia (235 comments) says:

    Maggie (140) Says: November 5th, 2010 at 11:29 am ….. All the teachers and principals want is for the government to listen to them. What’s wrong with that?

    Well that is a once-over-lightly comment if ever I heard one. What a minority of teachers and principals actually want is for the government to agree with them, and delay introduction of NS until they are 100% perfect – iin the opinion of their minority group. That would be never. The Minister has offered to listen to teachers and principals by inviting them to contribute to improving National Standards. Ever heard the saying Ready Fire Aim? Point beng that it is more effective to steer a moving object than to wait, and wait, and wait until all the stars are correctly aligned.

    There have been many comments about teachers not living in the real world. I totally agree that some don’t. Where else would employees get away with refusing to implement selected policies of their employer?

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  53. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    For anyone interested, get a copy of Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns by Clayton Christensen.

    It’s an outstanding read, and the introduction itself is probably enough to induce spontaneous apoplexy our union leaders…. who seem hell bent on stonewalling change to maintain their self-ascribed significance.

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  54. ianmac (26 comments) says:

    RightNow: We do agree then and especially I like your: “It is also my understanding that the best chance to lift the achievement of these kids is if the problem is identified and addressed early. In this respect I believe NS to be a positive step towards this goal. It is also my understanding that schools identified as having high numbers of students that are behind on their progress (tracked by NS) will actually receive more resources and attention to help those kids. (Most schools would agree entirely except for the NS bit.)
    Except RN that those kids have been identified forever. The NS is a side-step towards this goal. It is like saying we are spending millions identifying a gap between NZ and Australian wages. Yes. Yes. Spend millions doing what we already know.
    But the question is what can we do about it? NS will not add anything to the current knowledge.
    You know that compared with say Sweden or Norway we have a huge mix in our population and a huge number have very poor English, plus poverty, over-large classes, lack of resources. Why not put your energies into persuading the Government to throw resources into solving some of these problems? Good luck.
    By the way did you know that many above average kids get missed in the special help stakes due to being submerged in over large classes and the huge focus on the failing kids just adds to the failure. Enough already. :)

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  55. RightNow (6,961 comments) says:

    “All the teachers and principals want is for the government to listen to them. What’s wrong with that?”

    Well, if it goes as well as when NZAE “just wanted to talk”…

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  56. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Te reo Māori and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) are official languages of New Zealand. English, the medium for teaching and learning in most schools, is a de facto official language by virtue of its widespread use.

    You’re probably right Crumble… there nothing entertaining about liberal white guilt as displayed in the NZC.

    Back to the NZC and NS …. In your reading of the NS documents did you see any subject material in there that wasn’t part of the NZC?

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  57. Paulus (2,586 comments) says:

    Problem is that the Ministry of Education senior staff actually support the renegade teachers, as many of them come from the teaching fraternity, – I was going to put “profession”, but there is no professional body or standards for teachers.

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  58. Crumble (61 comments) says:

    @KK Well…..that is true statement about languages in New Zealand. There is no law making English the official language.

    Off the top of my head I would have to say I don’t know.

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  59. ianmac (26 comments) says:

    krazykiwi. That sounds like NZ Primary classrooms! Where have you been? How about this line:
    “America has struggled for years to improve public education from the top via government policy. ” and with dismal failure.

    Our parallel: New Zealand has recently struggled to improve education from the top via government policy such as National Standards. A dismal failure?

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  60. RightNow (6,961 comments) says:

    ianmac – why is NS a ‘side-step’?

    If currently schools are not indexed against each other, and assuming there is a set amount in the budget to be dished out among them, how do we decide which school needs it more than another?

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  61. labrator (1,889 comments) says:

    It seems people here take the attitude that they are okay with a dictatorship so long as its a National one. Nothing National does can ever be wrong.

    You need to use a qualifier as you are also “people here”. Otherwise all of your points are invalid, unless all is fair in love and generalisations.

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  62. ianmac (26 comments) says:

    RightNow: Again if the indexing was reliable all might work as you say.
    A teacher neighbour of mine was working in a depressed area and identified 42% of the kids in urgent need of remedial help for reading. He used existing data available from PAT scores for example. Which year was that? 1972! (He didn’t get extra resources by the way.) The point is that then and now, reliable data is there already, so NS is a sidestep. And to list x number of kids as not achieving NS is a pretty blunt weapon for allocating funds, and worse if the criteria is vague and variable in accuracy.
    (Must get back to my book about Ireland, Muman, in the 7th Century.)

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  63. BeaB (2,103 comments) says:

    Gosh Maggie, if you don’t mind me saying, your comments seem a bit simple-minded. You do realise don’t you that government policy is worked on endlessly by analysts particularly within the Min of Ed. Anne Tolley didn’t dream this up all by herself.
    And there has been enormous consultation. Most policies are consulted to death. You have obviously never been in a meeting of educationists!

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  64. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    (Must get back to my book about Ireland, Muman, in the 7th Century.)

    Shit Ian, way to pull the classic “I’m getting owned in the debate, so I’ll make up a half arsed comment as a reason why I’m running away”….

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  65. ianmac (26 comments) says:

    Didn’t mean it as running away. Just that the trials of Ireland put a very different perspective on debates about NS. Yes?
    I do admit a feeling of despair because like many politicised issues debate is often confined to slinging insults and behaving like the Tea Party. Yourself excluded of course. I did try and deal with your points. What else can I say?

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  66. RightNow (6,961 comments) says:

    ianmac – I think it’s cynical of you to think that such a blunt calculation would be used “And to list x number of kids as not achieving NS is a pretty blunt weapon for allocating funds, and worse if the criteria is vague and variable in accuracy.”

    In my mind, the key indicator would be how many kids are lifting their performance, i.e. the change in achievement over a period of time. This would indicate the efficacy of the teaching at the school, and enable specialist teaching resources to be applied.
    However, that issue is after the fact. You have to get good data before you can apply good analysis. While NS may be rough at it’s conception, the point I’ve been trying to make is that once the tool is in place it can be refined with the input of teachers, parents and ministry staff to get it to where it needs to be.
    Even after a year of ‘trials’ there is no guarantee it would be in any better state than it is now (the cynic in me says that any improvements made as a result of the trials would be to the benefit of the teachers rather than the students), and every year that goes by is another year that a large number of kids may not be receiving the special attention they require.

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  67. Monty (974 comments) says:

    The Dom Post is reflecting the views of the many people I have spoken to about National Standards. The unions and the NZEI are right behind this treason. The names of the key people involved are Labour candidates. They are well resourced and militant.

    You ignore that National Standards were a major policy platform upon which National were elected. The teachers have no right to take the action they do. They are paid by the taxpayer and should be implementing the Law. And the latest boycott is a result of Principles taking this action without the full support of their Boards. I have written to the my local school and requested under the OIA all papers and records relating to this boycott.

    I have also asked for the records of consultation with parents on the boycott. Certainly with myself (and having 3 children at CQS) there was nil consultation. Given this is a major issue the school and the Board should have discussed with parents in the first instance. I will be demanding answers as to why this did not happen.

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  68. RightNow (6,961 comments) says:

    ianmac (sorry to keep you from your book, not that I think you’d let someone commenting on a blog influence what you decide to do)

    I just noticed your comment earlier in the thread that “Most of these protesting BOTs are in high decile very successful schools”

    That made me wonder – given that (I think) NS will allow for targeting of resources/funding to schools in most need, do you think perhaps the high decile schools might have a selfish motive for opposing NS? That they may believe their own funding may tighten if other schools are shown by NS analysis to be in more need?

    Is it really that the higher decile schools are trying to block this to maintain their funding?

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  69. Maggie (674 comments) says:

    lofty, I arrived in Brisbane about four months ago. At the moment it is likely to be a permanent move. Thank you for asking.

    BeaB, I don’t mind in the slightest. Face it, if you can’t recognise simple mindedness no-one can.

    As fort consultation 22,000 people marched against changes in Employment Relations law and 8000 made submissions. The National government ignored them. Just as it is ignoring teachers. This government has moved directly from election to arrogance. That move took Helen Clark nine years, Key is doing it in less than three.

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  70. ianmac (26 comments) says:

    “Is it really that the higher decile schools are trying to block this to maintain their funding?” Cut it out RightNow. You can’t be serious. Unless you are suggesting that money would be taken from successful schools to fund the needy! Robin Hoodish?
    The only reason that it is worth a mention was a response to the frequent accusation above, that this is all some evil plot from poor Labour areas, etc etc.
    And RightNow it was you who suggested that NS would be used to target funding!

    “In my mind, the key indicator would be how many kids are lifting their performance, i.e. the change in achievement over a period of time. This would indicate the efficacy of the teaching at the school, and enable specialist teaching resources to be applied.” Nothing wrong with that principle.
    The identifying happens now however. I was shown years ago the graphs charting the progress of my kids. Please use your energy to call for applying funding and resources to help all those who need and deserve help. Did you know that some kids start school with only one word sentences? Did you know that some kids stay at each school for no more than 6 months and even then often absent? Do you know that some kids speak little English? Did you know that some schools have a turnover of pupils as high as 50%? The change in achievement for these kids is such that they would be classed as failures before they start, yet teachers plug away and measure the growth in learning to speak, manners, cooperate, read a little but -miles below “average.”
    So far there is no word from the Minister about where or what will be done to help. Existing Reading Recovery? Existing Literacy Program? Existing Numeracy Program?

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  71. RightNow (6,961 comments) says:

    ianmac – “Is it really that the higher decile schools are trying to block this to maintain their funding?” Cut it out RightNow. You can’t be serious.

    – not completely serious (let’s say about 50%), but partly trying to illustrate how different spin can be applied.

    Unless you are suggesting that money would be taken from successful schools to fund the needy! Robin Hoodish?
    – well actually that is something I would endorse, assuming the total budget is capped. More where it is needed, less where it isn’t. Surely you don’t have an objection to that in principle?

    The only reason that it is worth a mention was a response to the frequent accusation above, that this is all some evil plot from poor Labour areas, etc etc.

    – frankly I don’t have the inclination to research the political trend in the areas these schools (the boy-cotters) are based, but wouldn’t be at all surprised to find they’re predominantly from Labour held electorates, and I doubt you’d be surprised either if that was the case. Not all Labour held electorates are ‘poor’.

    And RightNow it was you who suggested that NS would be used to target funding!

    – Isn’t that what was touted about NS? Am I wrong?

    The identifying happens now however.

    – yet we apparently still have the problem that some 20% don’t have a reasonable level of numeracy and literacy. So is it working?
    If we trial a system and we want say a 95% success rate, and it returns an 80% success rate, do we say the system is working as it should? No.
    And this is exactly what we have – a system that has been trialled live in the school system for years and currently has an 80% success rate.

    And broadly yes to all those following ‘do you knows’. Many of these kids are ‘in the margins’. Policy is usually able to be applied to a broad spectrum of the population and then we look at special action/policy for those deemed ‘in the margins’.
    The goal here is to lift kids achievements up, and along the way it may be that the truth has to be faced. By identifying them we can provide the specific help.

    damn, out of time, have meeting at pub in 15.

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  72. ianmac (26 comments) says:

    Cop out. How can you put a few beers ahead of the welfare of children. Shame :)
    “More where it is needed, less where it isn’t. Surely you don’t have an objection to that in principle?” So we should take funding from success. Mmm. How about increasing support for those bright kids in each class who are also badly neglected?

    The 20% is actually contested. Probably 7% depending what you count, of course.But in any case a natural curve of distribution would always have 20% below par. There will always be a group of kids who will always have difficulty learning for a multitude of reasons. Some of those can be remediated but as this has always been so. It certainly was in my day.
    “And this is exactly what we have – a system that has been trialled live in the school system for years and currently has an 80% success rate. ” Everyone would welcome 100% success (or maybe 110% ?) but you would have a unique result World wide. As it is NZ Primary School methods are exported around the World. So what counts as success? How do you measure it? It is quite possible that the data being highlighted by the NS fuss might throw up benchmarks which the Minister might regret. If the figures do not improve after NS then what would it say about NS? Oh of course. It must be the teachers fault.

    “And broadly yes to all those following ‘do you knows’. Many of these kids are ‘in the margins’. Policy is usually able to be applied to a broad spectrum of the population and then we look at special action/policy for those deemed ‘in the margins’.”
    Too true but what’s new? Schools have been underfunded for years. Special Education has had most of its funding withdrawn. What a big step it would have been to have spent the $30million on the known needs instead of National Standards!
    Enjoy your beer.

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  73. RightNow (6,961 comments) says:

    mmph, i’m in no fit state to be in control of conmputer

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  74. ianmac (26 comments) says:

    Raw egg and worcester sauce, or maybe a big pie?

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  75. RightNow (6,961 comments) says:

    Heh, actually I’m not suffering as badly as I could be, even managed to take the kids to swimming lessons this morning.

    I think “less where it isn’t needed” is not the same as “taking funding from success”. Bear in mind that I’m premising this on there being a fixed amount of money in the pot rather than having an ever increasing education budget (although I think education budgets should at least be adjusted based on changes in number of students and inflation). It would be nice to have more money in the pot for areas like education and health, but being pragmatic we have to increase the wealth of the nation to afford that. When we have a small group almost derailing a $2.8 billion film industry, other groups successfully blocking mineral exploration, other (and some of the same) groups wanting us to virtually cripple our farming export industries etc in various ways, it’s going to be an uphill battle. We shouldn’t count on budget increases in the near future.

    WRT to the 20% figure (contestable as you say, and depending on what you count) I don’t see why there has to be a significant number that don’t attain essential numeracy and literacy proficiency. I appreciate a small number may have specific impairments that may mean they simply can’t get there, and I’m confident that those particular cases are already identified now. But I see no reason why, even though challenging, we can’t lift the rate for the rest to close to 100% being able to read, write and count. And nobody loses in that situation.

    “It is quite possible that the data being highlighted by the NS fuss might throw up benchmarks which the Minister might regret.” – yep, and I would expect her (or any minister) to take such data on the chin and address the implications appropriately. I agree that Tolley hasn’t handled this well, I don’t rate her highly on her performance so far in this matter and I see it’s likely that Key now will get more involved. Perhaps we may even see a deal reached that allows NS to gain more widespread support among teachers.

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  76. ianmac (26 comments) says:

    You speak with wisdom on several matters which would see many from all sides agreeing. From the schools that my kids went to I think that they all aspired to reach the highest level. “I don’t see why there has to be a significant number that don’t attain essential numeracy and literacy proficiency.” How do you know that this isn’t already so? The world comparable stats show NZ is at that level. No1.

    But (there is always a but) what exactly do you expect would happen in a perfect world should National Standards be refined able to be accepted as a valid marker?
    All or most kids reach the “right level”?
    Funding/resources made available?
    Parents happy?
    Kids happy that they are no longer below par?

    What do you think?

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  77. RightNow (6,961 comments) says:

    “I don’t see why there has to be a significant number that don’t attain essential numeracy and literacy proficiency.” How do you know that this isn’t already so?

    If only we had some national standards to tell us ;)

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