It is about how big a change

June 2nd, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

I think it would be useful to compare the debate on , to the debate on the , specifically does impact on the quality of learning, and does the minimum wage impact on the level of employment?

The answer for both is yes. If you are from the left and say class sizes impacts quality of teaching but the minimum wage does not impact employment then you are a hypocrite.

Likewise if you are from the right and you say say the minimum wage does impact employment but class size does not impact quality of learning, then you are also being a hypocrite.

Let us take an extreme example for both, to prove out points. Would a child learn better in a class of one, with one on one teaching – or in a class of 1,000 people? Obviously in a class of one (all other things being equal).

Likewise imagine if the minimum wage was $10 an hour and $100 an hour. Could anyone dispute that at $100 an hour, we would have mass unemployment?

So there is no doubt both the minimum wage and class size can have an impact on the number of people employed and the quality of learning. However that doesn’t mean that every change you make has a significant impact, and that degree of that impact may be less than other benefits. Let us start with the argument over the minimum wage.

If the minimum wage goes from $5 to $6 an hour, there may be no impact on employment (as few people may have been employed at that level). Let’s say though it goes from $14 to $15 an hour, which probably will have an impact on employment. Why do the left say this should still happen? They support it, because they argue that if it gets a pay-rise of $40 a week for 150,000 families who have someone on the minimum wage, then that is a satisfactory trade-off for say 4,000 people losing their jobs. It is an issue of what do you see as more important – the level of wages or the number of people in employment.

Now likewise for class sizes. Of course a class of 1 would be far greater than a class of 1,000. But does a class size of say 27 compared to a class size of 25 make a significant difference? The international research is very clear that it has not. Now this is not an argument to have class size of 40 or 50 or 100 because obviously at some stage it will have more of an impact. Hence a private school with a class size of 15 can be better than say a public school with a class size of 30. But that does not mean that a difference between 25 and 27 will make any significant difference.

If it will not make much of a difference, you might say why not then stay with the status quo? Well the reason the minimum wages goes up despite some impact on employment is because it increase wages for those who receive it.

Likewise with class sizes, the benefit of a modest increase, is the funding it frees up for investing in teacher quality – something which has a far greater impact on the quality of learning.

The focus therefore should always be on the trade off. If in the minimum wage debate you focus just on higher wages or just on employment levels, you are missing the picture. Likewise if in the education debate you focus just on class sizes you are also missing the picture.

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54 Responses to “It is about how big a change”

  1. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Clap, clap…Brave effort DPF, but we’ll just see how the plan for larger classes fares.

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  2. Mellie (39 comments) says:

    Keep trying to repackage the dud policy of increased class sizes DPF.

    The public of New Zealand are not fooled. Taking teachers away from schools doesn’t change anything except increase the teacher workload for the remaining teachers in public schools, demoralise the teaching workforce and ensure that the children of the nation get less individual time than they do at the moment.

    Considering that the New Zealand education system is in the top four of the OECD, making such enormous and untested changes makes no educational nor economic sense. Instead of emulating those countries at the top of the OECD, this government is clearly gaining momentum to quickly spiral us down the rankings by copying failed policies from countries near the bottom.

    These sorts of policies send our best and brightest teachers overseas, and deter able graduates from entering the teaching profession.

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  3. trout (919 comments) says:

    This whole argument belongs in the past. If technology is properly used fewer teachers are needed. One very good communicator can give a lesson to 1000 kids and be backed up by tutors. Teachers generally overrate their own importance and run a line somewhat similar to that by run the Port of Auckland Union members – a belief in their indispensibility. My experience, my kid’s experience, and my grandkid’s experience leads me to believe that 50% of teachers are not competent to do the job. As to untested theories my kids were, and now my grandkids are, being repeatedly subjected to new systems devised by teachers that prove to be disastrous in terms of quality outcomes.

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  4. Henry64 (81 comments) says:

    At various stages of my working life I’ve taught English, trained staff in interviewing and management skills, instructed on firearms safety and weapons handling and also conducted one-to-one staff training in various jobs in both the public and private sector. I’ve also naturally been on the receiving end of teaching over the years.

    From my perspective as a teacher:

    The ‘class size’ during those times I’ve taught/trained has ranged from 1 to 40. The one constant has been ‘me’ the teacher/trainer/instructor.

    I’ve used a variety of different teaching/training/instructing techniques to achieve the aim of each lesson. The aim of any lesson or series of lessons is to effect change in the trainee(s)/students so that they acquire skills and or knowledge. They are able to demonstrate that new knowledge or skills in some way to test/prove their competence.

    In my experience the class size is only part of the equation that must be addressed by the teacher. The classroom layout, existing skills/knowledge of the learners, available teaching resources and different learning styles of the learners must be addressed when formulating a learning plan for each lesson.

    Teachers must not only be qualified but well trained, and that training should be on-going. Teachers must be supported in their role and also have their lessons observed by their peers. They get feedback on their teaching to ensure a high standard of teaching delivery and to enable improvement where needed.

    From my perspective as a learner:

    Teachers like learners come in all ranges of types and abilities. The ability of a teacher to teach well is essential.

    I did bookkeeping in the third form for one term. Just didn’t get it. Could never get Balance Sheets to balance or sort out Profit and Loss accounts properly either, felt like an absolute failure. This was in spite of getting help from the teacher.

    Fast forward 20 years when I did a computing course at CPIT. One of the papers for this course was basic accounting/bookkeeping. I felt a sense of dread when starting that paper.

    Thanks to an excellent teacher who could explain things clearly, give helpful tips and tricks to remember where what goes, I was able to finally master the subject, albeit at a basic level, achieving a merit pass. This teacher also gave me help but it was more effective than in my earlier experience.

    Well trained, well managed and well resourced teaching staff are the key to learners achieving good results in virtually any subject. The class size, if you’re talking about a variation of one of 2 students per class, is largely a moot point I think.

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  5. 3-coil (1,204 comments) says:

    Getting bogged down in the “class size” argument conveniently diverts the debate away from the “teacher quality” argument (as intended by the teachers, unions, and other assorted anti-government groups).

    We had a child (in a class of 25 with a great teacher) who was full of enthusiasm and got top grades.

    The next year – same subject, same school, class size 16, but a different total drop-kick teacher…same child totally disillusioned, barely made pass grades. That idiot teacher had a hissy-fit mid-year and threw 8 of the students work folders (with all their work in them) into the rubbish skip – apparently because they were left in the wrong cupboard in the classroom. The poor kids were left rummaging through the rubbishskip looking for their work, but it had gone to the landfill a couple of days earlier, so for them it was a total disaster.

    So our experience in this case was: smaller class size yet totally useless learning experience – because of the totally useless sub-standard teacher.

    Teacher quality trumps class numbers everytime. The schools and unions are squealing about class-sizes to distract the public away from their protection of the under-performing teachers, and using our children as pawns in their political game. They will happily sacrifice the education of our children (note: not “their children”) as collateral damage in their quest to undermine the National-led government – that is how low they are.

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  6. Robinson 666 (115 comments) says:

    Oh cut the crap about funding better quality teaching. Its all about cost cutting and that is plain to see. These are austerity measures without them having to mention the dreaded “austerity” word. The economy is in the shit.

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  7. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    What is the funding formula and how exactly has it changed? Can someone link to the funding formulas both past and present?
    Jk says the class size is up to the principal and board as year ones are funded 1/15 at the moment yet up to 1/35 is the norm.

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  8. Inky_the_Red (744 comments) says:

    I look forward to a private school advertising “enrol you children here we have the largest class size in the country’

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  9. JC (933 comments) says:

    The biggest difference you can make is to boot the disruptive out of the class and out of the school. Don’t abandon them but put them in a special school geared to handle such issues that a 20 something female teacher can’t.. and shouldn’t have to handle.

    JC

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  10. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Jk says the class size is up to the principal and board as year ones are funded 1/15 at the moment yet up to 1/35 is the norm.

    Yes Monique, it is the school that sets the class size. So if they are funded for 1:15 and the classes are 1:35, then it does make one wonder if perhaps some schools are setting class sizes higher so that they can divert some of the funding to other areas. (More admin and other ‘back-office’ resources perhaps.)

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  11. 3-coil (1,204 comments) says:

    Oh cut the crap about class sizes. Its all about protecting incompetent teachers and that is plain to see. These are anti-National government attacks without them having to mention the dreaded “National” word. The teaching “profession” is in the shit.

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  12. Inky_the_Red (744 comments) says:

    If the government truly wanted better teachers it would pay the profession more to attract better professionals

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  13. Kimble (4,408 comments) says:

    Oh cut the crap about funding better quality teaching. Its all about cost cutting and that is plain to see. These are austerity measures without them having to mention the dreaded “austerity” word. The economy is in the shit.

    Not wasting money is not the same as austerity.

    You would lose you shit completely if you actually ever saw an austere budget. You would equate it to the Finance Minister gassing the poor.

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  14. Mellie (39 comments) says:

    @3-coil

    Denigrating teachers only drives great teachers out of the profession and drives future candidates into other careers.

    Let’s be clear – increased class sizes leads to increased teacher workload.

    Increasing workload does not equate to increased achievement.

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  15. Mellie (39 comments) says:

    Ian Guy in the New Zealand Herald responds
    01:49 PM Friday, 1 Jun 2012
    David speaks encouragingly of ‘improving teacher quality’, yet it was his party of choice who in 2008 systematically made redundant, without any fanfare (as they were spread far and wide) around 100 university based staff who were employed to support schools to develop curriculum around health, science, physical education, etc.

    You cannot have your cake and eat it Mr. Farrar; you cannot reduce professional education and expect an improvement in performance; innovation does not happen magically overnight.

    Compare and contrast the professional development that hospital doctors receive – 16 days paid leave per annum and a budget of $14K to do as they please – does that actually bring about significant service improvement, or keep happy an essential group of staff?

    Yes this is the same government that got rid of the school advisory staff who supported teacher development.

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  16. Scott Chris (5,974 comments) says:

    If you are from the left and say class sizes impacts quality of teaching

    Um, ‘class sizes’ is plural, therefore you’ve added a superfluous ‘s’ to impacts.

    I guess the point I’m making is that when you live in a glass house, it pays not to throw stones. Fact is, most people’s grammar sux.

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  17. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Um, ‘class sizes’ is plural, therefore you’ve added a superfluous ‘s’ to impacts.

    Scott Chris, did you think that was somehow necessary to your argument?

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  18. m@tt (609 comments) says:

    The question is whether the decision to save some government pocket change with this policy is wise.
    With the unfiscally neutral tax cuts in the very recent past it’s a hard sell to say we have to lose teachers in the name of austerity.

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  19. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    There is some guy at Auckland university (Prof Hattie sp?) who the teachers quote a lot about all sorts of things – except his finding that class size doesnt matter a lot.
    His finding (as theyve found in all other countries) is the BIGGEST impact in the class room is the quality of the teacher.

    Why the government cant run this policy is beyond me. They dont seem to know the numbers properly (and not only on this one ) and they are alwasy seem to be backtacking. Im starting to think that they couldnt sell sex in a brothel…..

    Just as well we arent all expecting really big ideas from them. So far they are very dissappointing

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  20. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    m@tt,

    I would rather my child had one very good teacher, who was receiving ongoing professional development, than two average ones.

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  21. Yvette (2,744 comments) says:

    Increase class sizes
    Makes teachers redundant
    Against – Lotto’s chance of bad teachers being those to be dropped
    For – avoids paying ANY teachers for higher performance

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  22. Mellie (39 comments) says:

    @bhudson

    This government got rid of the Schools’ Advisory Service which was made up of around 100 university based staff.

    Are you aware that the government plan is to use the money that is currently spent in classrooms on pre-service training and on school leadership – that is not teacher professional development.

    Further to this, smaller class sizes would give that one very good teacher more time to interact with your child. That is why private schools advertise their low student to teacher ratios as educationally advantageous.

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  23. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    The public are not fooled because they all went to school and experienced poor teachers and good teachers.
    I had a disastrous teacher at primary school, which forced my parents to send me 100 miles away to a different school so I could be taught properly. He was a bully and picked on students he did not like. We all know these people and they are around today. To add a couple of students per class to achieve an increase in teacher quality, in the greatest financial crisis since the great depression, is not too much to ask.

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  24. Northland Wahine (655 comments) says:

    What makes a good teacher? Someone who is able to engage with their students? Someone who doesn’t engage as well but knows their “stuff”?

    A quality teacher will recognize when a student is struggling. That teacher will focus on the student to lift the student to an acceptable level. The more students you have in a class in this situation, the bigger the negative effect, could be. I’m not saying its a given…but surely it’s a possibility.

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  25. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Further to this, smaller class sizes would give that one very good teacher more time to interact with your child. That is why private schools advertise their low student to teacher ratios as educationally advantageous.

    I agree with your first point there Mellie, but, as with everything in life, there is a trade off. In order for more of the total funding available to be put towards maintaining and improving the quality of the teacher, there is a trade-off in class sizes.

    Setting aside the issue with technology classes at some intermediate schools, the proposed new ratios are very reasonable. More so considering that will enable more funding into quality of teaching.

    As to your second point – the parents are paying for their children to sit in smaller classes. Are you suggesting that parents with children in public schools should be able to pay a premium and have their children in smaller classes also?

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  26. dave53 (85 comments) says:

    Gosh David, more stuff from the National Research Unit.

    Your blog is so full of it these days.

    You used to be quite original.

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  27. Kimble (4,408 comments) says:

    Increasing workload does not equate to increased achievement.

    Why waste your time saying this, when no one else implied anything like it?

    Further to this, smaller class sizes would give that one very good teacher more time to interact with your child.

    Similarly, that’s a basic assumption. It isnt a new argument. DPFs post was about that very thing. The difference between 1/30th of a teachers time and 1/35th isnt that much.

    That is why private schools advertise their low student to teacher ratios as educationally advantageous.

    They advertise their smaller classes because people like smaller classes. But that is just perception. The ACTUAL difference it makes can be very different.

    Can you go through this thread and list all the people saying that class size makes ZERO difference? I mean, who did you think you were educating with your post?

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  28. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    The main issue as I see it is the separatism..Bigger classes for everyone else, small classes for Te Reo schools. Two tiers seem to be developing everywhere under this govt. Now we have first and second class educational systems. There should be a hue and cry.

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  29. nasska (10,897 comments) says:

    Let’s face facts. The teachers’ unions are anti National & are determined to make as much noise & cause as much disruption as possible while they wait for their comrades in the Labour Party to get back in. This government could double salaries & halve class sizes & still the socialist pedants would bleat.

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  30. OneTrack (2,810 comments) says:

    If the lefty teachers unions could get over their ideological opposition to streaming (as many people of my generation grew up with, without apparent harm), they would find that bigger class sizes would be much more manageable, especially compared to the current free-for-all that many of them currently have to work with.

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  31. Mellie (39 comments) says:

    @Kimble

    The increase in class sizes under the policy is far more than DPF is indicating ( from 25-27). In order to retain their technology teachers, for whom all funding is to be lost, a large number intermediate schools might be looking at class sizes of around 40.

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  32. adamsmith1922 (890 comments) says:

    When I went to school all of my class sizes were 30 or over.

    I was very fortunate my schools, public sector not private, had quality teachers not people with political agendas.

    The problem is the govt is poor on giving facts due to a poor Ministry of Education and the media allow the teacher unions and their acolytes to make all the running with massive amounts of disinformation.

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  33. Henry64 (81 comments) says:

    Class sizes of 40 are quite manageable with the right teaching techniques. The next issue is whether classrooms can accommodate that number of students

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  34. Mellie (39 comments) says:

    @Henry64

    Can you please clarify which teaching techniques were you thinking of as quite manageable for 40 eleven and twelve year olds?

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  35. transmogrifier (522 comments) says:

    As a teacher, my opinion is that the single most important aspect in the raising of achievement is the quantity and quality of feedback, followed closely by setting up a classroom environment which inspires students to actually put effort into their work prior to feedback and to pay attention to the feedback they get and use it to improve themselves.

    The first thing requires one significant resource: time. Time to mark those essays with comments that are actually useful for the students, rather than just a score in the corner. Time to get around the class and check that the students have got your point, or to help those who are behind. Time to plan suitable activities each and every class that allow for the “engage, learn, process, assess” cycle to be completed until learning has become cemented. An important secondary resource is, of course, teacher enthusiasm to actually do it. It’s not intellectually hard to tell a kid what they need to do to improve (if you don’t know, you shouldn’t be a teacher), but it takes effort, and not all teachers can be bothered. I know, I’ve seen it.

    The second aspect, the classroom environment, requires two things. First, training. Training on behavioural management, activity design, lesson routines, time management and so on. In my opinion, teacher training focuses too much on the theory of educational development (an interesting topic that should not be neglected, of course) and not nearly enough on actual, practical guides on how to set up a class. For most of the training, it was kind of like “Well, Researcher A thinks this about how learners learn, and Researcher B thinks this about cognitive development, and there is no right or wrong on this, blah blah blah”, when I, as someone new to high school teaching, was just begging for a lesson on “How to handle a misbehaving kid: 10 things you can do” or “Ten great lesson openers” etc. That’s the kind of stuff I wanted to learn (and still do, as you can always do better)

    The second requirement for the classroom environment is for the teacher to be inherently inspiring. This is my weakest point – I’m not really an outgoing, get the class sparked just by being myself person. I wish I was, but I’m not, but I can make up for this by being fair, kind, disciplined, professional and especially by doubling up on all the skills mentioned above.
    I won’t say I love marking essays, but I get a sense of satisfaction in doing that work soley because it might mean someone else will be able to use that to be a little bit better. That is the only spur I need to do that….along with, as any other working person, a pay-packet that I think accurately reflects (a) the work I do and (b) the skills that I have to offer to other employers.

    Anyway, what I’m trying to say, is that the classroom size vs. teacher quality is a false dichotomy, because teachers like me are going to find it harder in a larger class to give the level of feedback I think is necessary, whereas a naturally inspiring teacher (the kind we should look to attract and educate in the other aspects) might not find it any different.

    But my guess is that by increasing class size, the main upshot will be the increased workload squeezing out those teachers like myself who aren’t naturally “inspirational” but put in a hell of a lot of hard work, leaving behind the well-liked, respected learners who can just command a classroom with force of personality AND (most significantly) the worst teachers who, let’s be fair, aren’t going to be any more inconvenienced by ignoring 30 students than they were when they were ignoring 28.

    So for that reason, I’m opposed to the general increase in class sizes as a blanket policy, though I have no problem with individual schools setting their own sizes and letting us teachers decide where our talents would best lie.

    I’ve already done that – I’m now teaching in Korea at the university level (private school! Hiring based on evaluations! THat shit doesn’t scare me). Slightly better salary, fewer classes, fewer students (and way more vacation time, of course) and a lot more time to correct those essays that I think are essential for my students to learn. I’m actually happier in this job, and think I’m actually making a difference, given my skill set.

    I plan to come back to NZ in four years, cos I love the place, of course, and get back into high school again. Hopefully at the right school with conditions that suit me. But I’m not looking forward to being labelled as a left-wing lackey by many on here who look down on teachers as a general rule – and who for some reason think that teachers’ opinions on teaching are inherently flawed and thus should be ignored. Most of us know our shit…it gets tiring everyone assuming we don’t.

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  36. adam2314 (377 comments) says:

    Clap..Clap is the start of the first reply..

    Clap ..Clap is increasing.

    Just cut the benifit and see how that comes out in your statistics ..

    MORE PEOPLE WORKING FOR A LIVING..

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  37. adam2314 (377 comments) says:

    Why are people taking the minimum wage ???..

    Because . No matter what they have been lead to believe..

    THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE WORTH !!!..

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  38. adam2314 (377 comments) says:

    Having thrown the stick at the Hornets nest..

    Will await the abuse from the drones of this world.. :-)

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  39. Henry64 (81 comments) says:

    The sorts of techniques for teaching large classes? Just off the top of my head, things I’ve done that have worked well -

    As with any lesson – be prepared. Arrive early and have everything organised in advance.

    Make sure you change the pace of the lesson and activities frequently. Hit the main points early on. Grab their attention with some kind of warm up activity. Something energetic that will engage the whole class. Once you’ve set the scene you can increase the interaction level with group activities, working in pairs, on their own and then swap their work with a partner and compare. All interactive activities are to a set time frame.

    Move from lecture style (key points only) to discussing a powerpoint slide, bring in video or audio clips as relevant and then back to group discussion, quizzes or problem solving activities in pairs or groups. During interactive time you can move around the classroom to monitor students and give help where necessary.

    Mix up the groups frequently so that strong students and weaker students can mix and to keep the class energised. Include humourous items where appropriate and relevant. Include some quiet individual work as appropriate.

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  40. Mark (1,429 comments) says:

    Trying to build an analogy between the minimum wage and class sizes. That makes the class size debate crystal clear. David I think you need to accept a few things, one is that this policy has been a PR disaster for National. Behind the health of their kids, for every parent the education of their kids is of critical importance. John Key who in the past has been pretty good at having a handle on public opinion before he releases policy has missed the bus on this one. The next point is that we have every private school in NZ, the very schools that the majority of this government caucus sends their own children, telling us that class size is an important factor in educational achievement. (the hypocrisy is palpable) Principals, teachers and the School trustees association are all expressing their outrage at this policy and after the event the government figures out for many schools it is simply unworkable.

    It is not as simple as 23 v 27.5 kids per class, it is the balancing of the other programmes within the teaching hours allocated that will suffer the most. Already schools have classes with over 30 kids but it is reading recovery, maths recovery, maths extension and music that my daughters school is going to struggle to maintain.

    The very programmes that address the tail of kids this government keeps banging on about are now at considerable risk unless we can find the funding from elsewhere to maintain them.

    The quality argument is at best spurious. There is no certainty that the teachers that are dumped will be the poorer teachers and the quality ones will remain. What magic wand is going to make that happen.

    This is nothing more than a funding cut to front line teaching to save money for other things that the government wants to fund in education. The pity is they are not honest enough to simply say that. It is ridiculous policy from the kids point of view and the idiotic arguments put forward by the government trying to dress this up as a panacea for teacher quality defies belief in its lack of logic.

    I suggest that you get out and visit a school or 2 and get to understand the impact that this is going to have on the programmes that they run. You might even get a feel for the commitment and quality of the teaching that is delivered. Strangely puts us in the top 6 or 7 countries in the OECD. It is always good to strive to improve but if you read the comments on this blog at times you would walk away thinking we have a disaster out there in teaching. The teachers I have met are committed, professional people who do a great job. I have yet to have any concerns about the teachers my kids have had in their schooling so far but maybe I am fortunate.

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  41. Kimble (4,408 comments) says:

    Whats wrong with taking back some of the money that was thrown at teachers by Labour, the money that lead to no improvement in outcomes?

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  42. cows4me (248 comments) says:

    Your are struggling Mark. I remember when I was at school (primary rural) we had 30 – 40 in a class. I will admit I’m not rocket scientist but I can give most kids a run for their money . I have taught kids but my attitude is they are their to learn, I don’t take shit. My wife works at a regional school their biggest problem is discipline. as far as I’m concerned the teachers only have themselves to blame. Most are liberal two bobs who voted to outlaw corporal punishment, their chickens are coming home to roost.

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  43. Fentex (909 comments) says:

    The proposition that class sizes and mandated minimum pay rates have identical logical relationships with everything that inter-relates with them is preposterous.

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  44. Kimble (4,408 comments) says:

    The point was clear, Fentex.

    If you apply the principle that the starting point and size of the change matters for one but not the other, you are being selective for the purposes of your argument, making you a hypocrite.

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  45. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    What ees zis left vs right you speak of? My point being that it is ideological head butting. I think it is a fallacious argument that holding opposing views from the political spectrum makes you a hypocrite.
    Approaching each idea on merit and proven economic trains of thought I would have to say the the minimum wage should be cut completely. If there is a minimum wage for youth there should be no reason why you shouldn’t a minimum wage for senior citizens, women and gays. Conversely if there is no minimum age then every individual in society would pull a job on merit and demand for the prefession not because they’re only a stevedore so we should feel sorry for them and pay them more than teachers.
    However, I do believe that there is class size that is optimum and that range is 15-30 to one. Class size is important yes, quality of teaching is important yes. But we shouldn’t be punitive; every member of the teaching profession should have access to ongoing personal development – however when National Standards was introduced we had numbtits like Tolley threatening to pull professional development in order to whip the schools into compliance.
    The real important factor in education is that they are actually in a classroom setting because they learn more from their peers learning and making mistakes than other factors oftentimes. You provide a good teacher equipment and a community that backs the school and they will learn.

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  46. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    I love the way people who don’t have kids like to break this kind of thing own for us. It doesn’t render their arguments totally redundant, but but certainly helps to explain why they can be so glib about other children’s futures.

    I’d suggest, that if there was enough money in the kitty every one of us with kids would subscribe to the Key formula, which is, to paraphrase:

    ‘… better resources and smaller class sizes.’ (Key, J. Listener, 2005)

    But of course, he has kids and therefore knows what is best for them. Interesting isn’t it, that he made no comment in 2005 about quality of teaching, then.

    The impression I’m left with is that the government gets more of a hard-on about spending up large on a world cup than it does investing the same kinds of money into our childrens’ education.

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  47. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Apologies for the missing question mark in the above post – I’m sure I can blame this on a teacher somewhere. . .

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  48. Bogusnews (455 comments) says:

    I think it’s a valid point to say that this is a distraction from the real point, which is the quality of teachers and performance based pay. I think the teachers will know that generally the public is not that opposed to paying better teachers more, so focusing on this is a nice distraction.

    When I went to school, it had a total of just over 70 students (little country school) in two class rooms. So we had about 35 per class, and each class had a very wide range of ages (primmer 1, 2, 3, 4 and std 1 in one class and std 2 up to form 2 in the next).

    There was no illiteracy, everyone could count etc. I suspect a major contributor to the class size problem are the unfortunate changes to society more than anything. Removing corporal punishment didn’t help either.

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  49. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    ‘… better resources and smaller class sizes.’ (Key, J. Listener, 2005)

    Thanks Lee C, I hadn’t realised just quite how much of a hypocrite he is.

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  50. Mark (1,429 comments) says:

    cows4me (194) Says:
    June 2nd, 2012 at 10:30 pm
    Your are struggling Mark. I remember when I was at school (primary rural) we had 30 – 40 in a class. I will admit I’m not rocket scientist but I can give most kids a run for their money . I have taught kids but my attitude is they are their to learn, I don’t take shit. My wife works at a regional school their biggest problem is discipline. as far as I’m concerned the teachers only have themselves to blame. Most are liberal two bobs who voted to outlaw corporal punishment, their chickens are coming home to roost.

    So bigger class sizes and beating kids is the answer. Outstanding.

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  51. Fentex (909 comments) says:

    If you apply the principle that the starting point and size of the change matters for one but not the other, you are being selective for the purposes of your argument, making you a hypocrite.

    That might only be true if the two things are so alike that changes in them must have the same effects, which means the point is predicated on an assumption that changes in class sizes and mandated minimum wages have identical logical relationships with everything that inter-relates with them, and that is preposterous.

    Economies for instance contain many elastic relationships that tutoring is unlikely to mirror, and a person might think that inflationary pressures are acceptable consequences of policy where they don’t find children excluded from benefitting from attention acceptable.

    I do not argue that changing minimum wage requirements has no effect on employment but merely that it is preposterous to demand everyone accepts the same predicates for two different decisions in two different fields where they may have different ambitions.

    Policies after all do not stand in isolation – a committed communist seeking a totalitarian state isn’t being hypocritical if they want the enslaved proletariat well indoctrinated as well after all.

    It requires a preposterous pile of presumptions for the claim of hypocrisy to stick for supporting one but not the other of these two policies.

    And there’s more – a person could believe, for whatever reasons, that class size matters but for certain values it doesn’t matter too much as well as believing that minimum wages have a band in which they have a positive effect on economies (and therefore emplyment in general) but that more or less than their theories limits is undesireable. Then they may, depending on current levels, support moving one or both up or down and not be at all hypocritical for choosing different values or directions for either.

    The decisions are well removed in subject and circumstnace and it continues to be preposterous to demand that they are so similar that a person must hold the same opinion for both or be a hypocrite.

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  52. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Fentex
    I doubt many took DPF’s rather desperate effort very seriously, but thanks for the thorough demolition.

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  53. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    Kimble (3,206) Says:
    Whats wrong with taking back some of the money that was thrown at teachers by Labour, the money that lead to no improvement in outcomes?

    ~
    NCEA past rates have gone up and up and the kids doing NCEA now are the ones at primary school when Labour was in government. And the NCEA level 2 pass rate is the benchmark that the National Government has been setting as the goal for all the changes they’ve made in primary schools.

    From http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/102368/ncea-pass-rates-continue-to-rise
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Pass rates for the NCEA qualification continued to rise in 2011 …
    Pass rates increased at all three levels of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement, reaching 82% at level 2…
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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  54. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    It’s interesting to see that DPF favours intervention in the economy by way of a minimum wage and by taxpayers funding private schools.

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