Why we need to improve the school system

March 28th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Sue Fea at Stuff reports:

New Zealand needs to raise the academic achievement of its Maori and Pacific Island students to match those of Pakeha students, Minister said in Queenstown yesterday.

New Zealand had made significant gains, now ranked seventh internationally in Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) reading and literacy proficiency levels.

However, while Pakeha were ranked second in the world, Maori were 34th equal and Pacific students were ranked 44th, Ms Parata said.

As has been said before, our averages are good, but our tail is unacceptably low.

The Government was aiming to get 85 per cent of primary and intermediate school students at, or above, the national standards by 2017.

At the moment 76 per cent of children reached or exceeded the national standard for reading, 72 per cent of learners for mathematics, and 68 per cent for writing.

While some parties think the best way to lift achievement is not to monitor student achievement at all!

Ms Parata said she had told various iwi groups, “good on you, guys” for coming to Wellington to talk about land issues and fisheries, but invited them to come to talk about the education of their children or stay in their area and help support them in the education opportunities available.

“I say the same to Pacific churches and they are all responding.

Maybe we’ll see some Iwi invest in a charter school or two!

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42 Responses to “Why we need to improve the school system”

  1. Carlos (683 comments) says:

    Surely a significant part of it is cultural and if so then does Polynesian and Maori culture need to change?

    I’m going out on a limb here, but I’d say that Maori and Polynesian cultures don’t value Western education as highly as Europeans, Chinese, Indians, Middle Easterns, etc. Many of their parents don’t see the value in encouraging their kids into doing well in maths, business and science.

    I think charter schools may indeed get them to get higher test scores, but I don’t think that more Maori and Polynesians will get higher test scores in maths and science. Perhaps they’ll pick up their high scores in their native languages, arts and history.

    I’m not sure what the answer is to tell the truth. Others want to chime in?

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  2. wiseowl (893 comments) says:

    Ding dong.
    I get sick of hearing this ‘improve the school system’ refrain.

    Its the attitude of Maori and Polynesians that needs to change.
    Our education system is fine except for being captured by the left and its about time for an injection of realism.
    Saying the education system is failing Maori is back to front.This always seems to mean make concessions for Maori. Doesn’t wash any more.

    It is there.Confront it.Use it.

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  3. Tautaioleua (305 comments) says:

    The Ministry of Education says almost 61 percent of Maori students left school in 2011 with level two NCEA or better, that’s up from 55 percent the year before.

    For Pasifika students the increase was from 68 to almost 72 percent.

    Improvements have been also recorded in both ethnic groups for University Entrance.

    For Maori it’s up to almost 29 percent from under 24 percent in 2010.

    For Pasifika it’s risen from 30.5 percent to 34.4 percent.

    http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/news/nbedu/962235684-maori–pasifika-student-achievement-rates-improve

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  4. Tautaioleua (305 comments) says:

    Our students do better with their hands. It’s genetically proven. Historically, the bulk of our teaching was by example. A blackboard doesn’t work. Dictation doesn’t work. Show us how to do things and we might surprise you.

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  5. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    Carlos

    I don’t think it is right to say the Polynesians don’t value education ( as opposed to their cultural values of education).
    My wife is a teacher and has taught in both private and public primary schools. She has seen a huge number of polynesian children who are “pushed” by their parents to work hard at school. I realise this is all anecdotal and not the results of a study
    but I don’t think you can generalise like you have.

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  6. Lloyd (125 comments) says:

    I think we need to re-discover our value of education in the way it was embraced in the pre-European days. If you were selected for training as a Tohunga (a hell of a lot more than the witch-doctor image the missionaries painted them as) or for training to join a taua (fighting force) or for agricultural work, one standard and one standard alone was acceptable: excellence.
    If you were learning genealogies, they had to be word-perfect; if it was learning to swing a taiaha, the process of inculcating the skills began as soon as a toddler could hold a stick or a poi and again, the standard was never, ever, ‘that’s good enough, bro'; it was always excellence. The tribal members who worked in agriculture carried a hell of a burden; get it wrong and the potential for starvation loomed large and required out-of-season warfare to seize what was needed. My ancestors rowed canoes from Kapiti Island across to Onekaka (Golden Bay) to raise vegetables and to catch, prepare and dry fish, transporting it all back to Kapiti for winter. Any silly bugger trying to shirk was treated very harshly. For those engaged in that work, there was an expectation to learn, improve and to teach.
    What we need to discover is our old ways, not these bloody slack ones that have developed in the last couple of centuries.
    Some of the problems stem from poverty and deprivation; some from stupid choices. Many of the societal, behavioural and educational problems Maori have to deal with are shared by indigenous Australians, Americans, Canadians, Taiwanese, which would suggest that, despite the opinion of some, that colonisation is not the most wonderful thing that has happened.
    Nevertheless, our solutions will start with us, not with hand-wringers in government or reactionary radicals demanding a free ride. For my son, it involves teaching him the value of education (mainly by my example, rather than blather) and trying to steer him away from the poor choices made by too many of his relatives.
    We need to own the process, and the idea of a charter school might help. But not if the ‘near enough, cuz’ crew run it.

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  7. Lloyd (125 comments) says:

    @Carlos, your comment ‘I don’t think that more Maori and Polynesians will get higher test scores in maths and science.’ is crap. Maori can and do succeed in both and need to (and will) do better. To suggest that we can’t is just silly.

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  8. Carlos (683 comments) says:

    @Lloyd

    I don’t mean it is due to ability, but to attitude. Attitudes are vital. If attitudes improve then results should improve.

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  9. Manolo (13,767 comments) says:

    The young buggers will improve ONLY when their parents do the same by taking interest in their children. Not a day earlier.

    But didn’t the witch comrade Clark say there was no underclass in NZ?

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  10. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    good to see we are rating people by race again.

    how about instead of just giving maori cash, the govt tries a bit harder with people from low socio economic back grounds.

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  11. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    also, islanders face a lot more obstacles than the chosen ones.

    fuck all help because they arent maori
    english isnt the first language of a lot of the parents

    on the upside, they arent taught from birth that they were robbed of their land and that the government owes them big time.

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  12. duggledog (1,556 comments) says:

    But… but… in spite of spending pretty much the most on education per capita in the world, plus ‘Tomorrow’s Schools’ where No Child Would be Left Behind it was supposed to be fixed by now!!

    What the?

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  13. Lloyd (125 comments) says:

    I think that calling yourself ‘Dime’ is a statement of over-valuing. Try ‘pfennig’, it’s a closer approximation of value.

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  14. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    As pointed out above the performance of Maori and Pasifika students has been consistently improving over the past few years within the state schooling system. Maori already have special character schools and Maori language schools within the current system. So it isn’t fair at all to say they have no choice or to suggest the state system is rigid and resistant to change.

    It also is very unfair of Hekia Parata to compare our Maori and Pasifika students to students of entire OECD nations. She should be comparing them with other minority groups within those countries. I would like to know where Maori rank in comparison with Aboriginal Australians, Black Americans, Native Americans, Native Canadians etc.

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  15. kowtow (8,464 comments) says:

    Rephrase the sentence to “…..Maori and Pacific Island students need to raise their standard of academic achievement to match those of the rest of New Zealnd…..”

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  16. Tautaioleua (305 comments) says:

    And again, the improvements are a result of tailor-made curricula fit for each community. Most secondary schools here in South Auckland have rolled out trades academies with the partnership of MIT and more recently AUT Manukau. In addition, Hospitality & Catering departments are extremely popular here. The Manurewa High School’s Hospitality & Catering department was ranked ‘best in the country’ last year. Information technology (computers) has also been a huge hit for our Maori and Polynesian students. Each year, hundreds of them emerge from schooling in South Auckland set on a career repairing computers or designing software. Each of these subjects awards something like forty credits a year towards the NCEA syllabus. And you only need sixty or so to qualify for your NCEA level two and three. Therefore, students in these subjects are well on their way. And that’s not to mention the thousands more who go off to varsity for Physical Education and come out the other end as qualified PE instructors.

    It proves that Pacific Islander’s thrive in practical settings.

    Albert Einstein – “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

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  17. s.russell (1,642 comments) says:

    Cultural and family issues are important. If parents don’t encourage their children to learn and don’t push them to do homework then they are more likely to slip behind. There is not a lot that the education system can do about that.

    But that does not excuse us from doing what can be done.

    I see the biggest problem as being a one-size-fits-all mentality that “this is the best formula, like it or lump it”. Among other things this sees pupils advanced to the next class year after year regardless of whether they are able to keep up – with predictable results: the kids can’t handle the work, they become bored, they make trouble and they end up dropping out as soon as they can.

    The solution is recognising that some kids need a different style of education, and some need different content. For some (and I am not thinking just Maori or Pacific) putting them in a formal style class and drilling them in calculus is just totally counterproductive. But(for example) practical education in engineering (without all the Technology curriculum rubbish about design and project management) would be soaked up and result in kids coming out of school happy and with useful skills, instead of unhappy and with no skills.

    This is one reason why I think charter schools are such a great idea. They can provide a style of education that the state system refuses to provide and which will for some kids be far better.

    PS Lloyd: great post, thank you!

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

    The answer always lies at home and if the charter schools get the parents involved then full credit to them. The current state schools aren’t doing that job.
    I like the sound of that Tautaioleua. A couple of my sons are practical and I can see I’ll be putting them into apprenticeships rather than the rarefied air of colleges.

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  19. Komata (1,191 comments) says:

    Carlos: To a high degree I agree with you, ‘valuing’ education is the key. Ngata, Buck, Caroll and a few other Maori leaders very early-on realised that ‘the whiteman’s education’ was the key to the survival of their tribe and culture. To this end they actively encouraged their people to learn. That Ngati-Porou now has a very high level of education amongst its own, is indicative of this. HOWEVER, that is only one side of the coin. My wife (Maori) and myself are both ‘boomers’. and were both the recipients of a very good education (no details). As a result we did our best to ensure that both our children were the recipients of an education that was at least as good as that which we received. After years of following this policy (with excellent results BTW), you can imagine our amazement when our youngest came home from scondary school one afternoon and said that he wasn’t going to bother to learn anything from that day onwards. Apparently it was the prevailing sentiment amongst Maori kids of his age that it ‘wasn’t cool to be educated’ and that if he (and others) ‘learned Pakeha’ they would be beaten-up. We couldn’t believe it, so made discrete enquiries amongst friends who had kids at other high schools, and discovered that this was in fact the case. A senior teacher friend of ours confirmed it. Amongst Maori teenagers at secondary schools ‘Learning was uncool (with ‘Pakeha’ learning being especially so) ignorance was everything’ and yes, if any ‘Maori’ child dared to show they actually enjoyed learning (especially learning such things as good speech, how to read, maths etc – the esential things for survival in a modern society) , the result was ‘the bash’. We are still not sure exactly where this attitude came from, or exactly what motivates it. Jealousy? Envy? The much-vaunted ‘Level Playing Field’ in education which meant that ‘al kids were equal’ and which was designed to make Maori feel they were not ‘disadvantaged (whatever THAT term meant’?) The circumstances I have described occurred only a few years ago, yet casual observation indicates that in fact it may still exist. The reasons appear to be many, and the situation is not helped by ‘uneducated’ kids having children who will in turn be uneducated (unless by some miracle they have the strength of character to escape – or are helped bysome teacher who will stick their neck out to help them). A lack of books in homes (no, not comics, books), a preference to remain uneducated, a disinclination to BE educated, and a total indifference towards anything which might somehow advance them, all seem to contribute. What also doesn’t help is the patronising attitude that ‘Maori need special help’ to advance themselves. IMHO they don’t. Maori and PI people are bright, yet such programmes seem determined to reinforce the message that in fact they aren’t, by telling them reapeatedly and ad nauseum that you need ‘special reading and education progerammes’ ‘to get ahead and that without such ‘assistance’ you never will. A constant barrage of such messages, well meant therough they may be, reinforce the premise, that ‘hey, I AM dumb, and No, I can’t get ahead, I’m too thick’. Good intentions, bad reinforcements. Yet, to me, the biggest, and saddest thing of all is the total lack of leadership/encouragement by Maori ‘Leaders’ (Sharples, Hariwera etc) for Maori TO BECOME EDUCATED!! For unknown and incomprehensible reasons, such people seem content to permit the status quo to remain as it is – they certainly don’t repeat again and that education is the key for Maori to advance themselves. Given the Maori tribal heirachical structure, and Maori’s innate tendency to defer to ‘leadership’ in whatever form, this is probably not surprising. With that in mind, it is not too great a step to wonder if in fact this lack of encouragement for Maori educational-advancement is a 21st-century version of ‘Master and Slave’ ie WE (the ‘leaders’) ARE THE EDUCATED ONES, we know what’s good for you (we’ve been educated by Pakeha, you haven’t) and don’t you ever think you can be as good as we are, cos you’re not and if you do get to’uppity’ we’ll send the ‘Bro’s around to ‘deal with you’. We don’t want to let the ‘genie’ (of you being better educated than we are) out of the bottle. Overstated? Personal observation suggests otherwise.

    Ultimately, as Ngata recognised, education is the key to Maori and PI success, BUT its got to come from their current leaders. Significantly the leadership is very, very, very quiet on the matter. Perhaps they like it that way? Perhaps they are afraid of the threat which ‘pakeha education’ poses to their positions within their tribal and sociaetal heirachies? For tht I have no answers,, except to suggest that t’s possible. However, but no matter how long they stall, and DON’T actively encourage education, the ‘education’ ‘genie’ will eventually escape. It’s only a matter of time.

    And while nothing is being done to actively and conssitently encourage greater education amongst Maori and PI (to make them WANT to be educated), the ignorance grows, and our ‘New Zealand’ society suffers as a result.

    Vested interests?

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  20. Carlos (683 comments) says:

    @Komata

    That’s an excellent example of the point I was trying to make. You’re much more articulate than I am.

    I knew a retired teacher in the 90’s. He said normally 5-year old Maori kids were so keen to learn when they started school, but were bullied by older Maori kids and told that learning was the “Pakeha way” and that they should be Maori instead and not learn in school. To me that’s so bloody sad.

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  21. Tharg (15 comments) says:

    Oh David, come on you can’t fall for this comparing aggregated and disaggregated data can you? No-one denies that equity is the biggest challenge facing the education system – but this lame refrain of the Minister’s is incredibly poor use of statistics. Take out any low SES/disadvantaged group from any nation and they will do worse than the average – even Finland, Japan or Singapore. And what are the OECD’s policy suggestions for addressing equity? A broad curriculum that recognises lots of different types of learning – (we have that) don’t stream kids too early (we do that) don’t rely on choice and competitiveness to raise standards (this is what we’re heading for) and increase support to low SES students/families and the schools that serve them (which we barely do at all).

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  22. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    RightandLeft – that is truly bizarre. So it is okay for Maori to be 23.1% behind non-Maori at Level 2 NCEA so long as they are comparable with other indigenous populations around the world. Is that because you think they are genetically incapable? Is this a PPTA official position?

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  23. Graeme2 (102 comments) says:

    This quote is from an article by Fiona McKenzie “What is really happening in our schools” on the NZCPR site. The whole article is well worth reading and forwarding.
    “Our schools are being told:
    – The Treaty affords Maori a dual set of rights.
    – Schools must consult with the local Maori community about the school’s direction.
    – Te reo Maori should be promoted in school management (i.e. in day-to-day staff communication and admin), as
    well as teaching and learning.
    – All pupils need to learn Maori, gain knowledge and experience of important Maori concepts and customs, and
    understand and celebrate the place of Maori as tangata whenua.
    – Schools will learn to share power, control, and decision-making while validating the unique position of Maori and
    recognizing the contribution Maori make to education.”
    Comes from a Curriculum Review sent to schools from the Ministry of Education sent last year.

    If they want to drag all other students down to current Maori achievement then this may well be the way to go.
    If however they want to improve Maori achievement start treating them the same as everyone else, expect them to work as hard as everyone else and expect them to achieve like everyone else.
    Schools are currently expected to consult with the community and have boards of trustees with parent representatives I don’t see how power sharing with a minority group is going to help improve standards especially in science and maths.

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  24. wreck1080 (3,912 comments) says:

    I don’t know if schools can fix the problem with maoris.

    Until maori parents are prepared to help their kids with school home work after school and teach them basic numeracy/word skill at pre-school level I don’t think much will improve.

    Regarding ‘learning is uncool’. That attitude was common at my school too. More common among maori and white kids who were always in trouble.

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  25. OneTrack (3,092 comments) says:

    S.russell @1:43 “But(for example) practical education in engineering (without all the Technology curriculum rubbish about design and project management) would be soaked up and result in kids coming out of school happy and with useful skills, instead of unhappy and with no skills”

    So, what you mean is engineering without any engineering. Makes. Perfect. Sense.

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  26. Manolo (13,767 comments) says:

    Until maori parents are prepared to help their kids with school home work after school and teach them basic numeracy/word skill at pre-school level I don’t think much will improve.

    To be honest: Hell will freeze over first.

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  27. Komata (1,191 comments) says:

    Manolo:

    Re your response to: ‘Until maori parents are prepared to help their kids with school home work after school and teach them basic numeracy/word skill at pre-school level I don’t think much will improve’.

    A word of caution, FWIW: It’s the current crop of YOUNG maori parents (especially young females of Gen Y) who are the ones who seem to have the problem with a ‘lack of interest in ‘pakeha’ eduction’. Boomers, Gen X’s and some early Gen Y’s Oof all racial groups) still had the education ethic. It was those Maori who came after the ‘Tomorrows schools’ concept was introduced who seem to have abandoned any interest in ‘improving themselves’. Granted, this is a rather sweeping generalisation, as there are some who actually do manage to ‘break out’, without sitting and wailing about the unfairmness of everything. Good on them – they have done it through their own initiative and by their own hard work. Unfortunately, the ‘disinterested’ Gen Y ‘disinterested’ maori mums have now produced children who are not of course provided with any incentive to educate themselves. As a result the problem is now snowballing. Interestingly, these ‘kids of kids’ have not in any way be helped by the ‘dumbing down’ of the education standards; it’s still ‘pakeha education’ and as such abhorent. And as for books? TV, playstation, computers are sooo much better… Oddly, very few Gen Y maori seem to have been helped by ‘their own’ in situations where ‘the tribe’ has been given large treaty settlements; make of that what you will. The semi-literate, disinterested generation Y’s seem quite happy to believe that they are ‘educated enough’ and see no reason to alter that viewpoint. The rationale seems to be that as they know enough to complete the WINZ forms, what’s the use of any other knowledge. And if anyone dares to suggest that in fact they can’t get a job because of said disinterest or lack of education, there is always the ‘treaty’ and ‘racism’ to fall back on; it only takes a ‘suggestion’ of unfairness and voila, problem solved…(and it seems to work too).

    And as for the leaders…..?

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  28. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    As others have stated, DPF has it all backwards.

    Maori are highly over-represented in negative social indicators, for example child abuse statistics.
    Sadly, there are Maori kids who are disadvantaged from the moment they are born, because of their parents.

    Get all those negative social indicators sorted (targeting, monitoring/mentoring etc), so that those kids come to school on an equal footing, well fed and well looked after. Then you will see the improvements.

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  29. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    I should add, for some Maori kids school is their refuge.
    At home there is no food in the cupboards – at school they get fed.
    At home there is teachers that care about them and nature them – at home there is abuse and neglect.

    The problem isn’t the school system!

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  30. Graeme2 (102 comments) says:

    Perhaps if the money being spent on the treaty process, settlements, waitangi tribunal, legal aid etc etc was instead spent providing at least one good nutritious meal a day for every school pupil then at least hunger wouldn’t be a factor.

    Another idea might be to provide credits which could only be spent on food as part of the welfare system rather than just cash.

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  31. Komata (1,191 comments) says:

    But Graeme, that would be ‘discrimination’ and we KNOW that that isn’t allowed. (The fact that it is actually an excellent idea is of course totally irrelevant)

    bc: Exactly, but don’t you DARE tell Maori leaders that; they are either willfully blind or in conscious and deliberate denial, and will accuse you of being a racist for daring to even think that such things could occur. Anything to avoid the truth.

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  32. Harriet (4,969 comments) says:

    The rankings between whites and Maori/Poly are so far apart on the bell curve that the ‘schools/education’ can’t possably be the issue – as that is the one thing that they all have in COMMON!

    Doh…It’s the homelife ! :cool:

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  33. Harriet (4,969 comments) says:

    “…..reading and literacy proficiency levels……. while Pakeha were ranked second in the world, Maori were 34th equal and Pacific students were ranked 44th….”

    ‘Pakeha’ kids today in NZ have adapted to the ancient ‘cultures’ of Greek, Latin, and French – the Queens English!!

    Maori and Poly kids meanwhile…..are encouraged by the left to learn ‘their’ culture!

    They ARE the facts! :cool:

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  34. duggledog (1,556 comments) says:

    FWIW here’s another social indicator. The difference between Maori kids’ achievement and kiwi kids’ achievement is mirrored by the Asian kid’s achievement vis a vis the kiwi kids. At my kids’ school, the Asian kids shit all over everyone especially maths. And apparently they are the drop outs!

    Totally anecdotal, but I’m seeing it. Asians dux almost every year. Can’t skin a rabbit or surf though!

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  35. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Anodos,

    You seem capable of writing a coherent sentence so I have to assume you are being deliberately stupid. You know damn well I wasn’t saying Maori are inferior or that it was okay for minority groups to perform worse that the majority cultural group in any nation. My complaint was that the minister was not comparing apples to apples. She was comparing our lowest achieving ethnic groups to the entire populations of other countries, which is a very disingenuous way to present the statistics. It is disgusting that the Minister of Education has to constantly distort the facts to put down the system she is in charge of, just so that she can push through her supposed reforms.

    I usually give the benefit of the doubt to politicians I disagree with. I generally believe that they think what they are doing is for the best. But in this case I don’t believe that at all. I think Parata is just being used as a puppet by other members of Cabinet who are more interested in saving money and breaking union power than actually improving public education.

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  36. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    Another stupid post from someone with no idea about schools or education. I’d like a post which links social deprivation with educational achievement. A simple line graph will do. You will see the correlation immediately. Blame schools if you want, and if you just plain ignorant and/or stupid) but the reality is if kids come to school ready to learn, well supported from home and the wider community they almost invariably do learn.

    As for Charter Schools being the answer all evidence shows that they don’t do any better than other schools but that they also become captured by white middle class kids whose parents want their kids to go to private school but want the taxpayer to pay for it. The families of disadvantaged kids simply can’t be bothered moving them to a new school and so even if there was any benefit to those at the bottom (there mostly isn’t) they don’t get it.

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  37. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    RightandLeft – I must be stupid so help me out. What is it inherently about Maori that to a PPTA operative it is distasteful for their results to be compared with each and every population? Why do you consider that their starting point should by definition be inferior? Is that why you don’t consider that a system that places a significant and valued part of the NZ population 23.1% behind non-Maori doesn’t need reform?

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  38. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    Typical of Parata. A few statistics to highlight what she wants to happen but clueless as to how. Nz has been in the top ranges or Pisa for Some years. Nothing has changed there. What initiatives is national taking to improve the lot of the tail of predominantly maori and polynesian students. Act has thrown up the charter schools which have mixed results overseas so their contribution is somewhat dependent on whose propaganda you believe. National has brought in unmoderated national standards and novapay. Genius. So what actual meaningful changes have been introduced by tolley and Parata that are going to improve the classroom experience for kids? Not a great deal

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  39. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Anodos,

    We know that poverty is linked to poor educational achievement. We also know that Maori suffer from higher rates of poverty than Pakeha. So how is it fair to separate out Maori and then compare them to all Canadian students or all South Korean students and then on the basis that Maori do poorly by comparison declare the whole NZ education system must be changed? There is more inequality in the NZ system because there is a high level of inequality in our society as a whole. Not on the level of the US, but higher than much of the OECD.

    There’s only so much secondary schools can do. I still think the place to solve the inequality issues is in ECE. And by the way the PPTA is obsessed with improving Maori and Pasifika education. There are so many conferences and working groups dedicated to those issues they tend to dominate most meetings. Remember PPTA isn’t just a union, it’s also the professional association for secondary teachers. That’s why it is a very different entity to most other unions, which work for the sole benefit of their members and generally just seek to maximise their benefits and salary. PPTA spends more than half its time, maybe even 3/4 of its time, on professional matters looking to improve student outcomes and give teachers professional development.

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  40. UpandComer (536 comments) says:

    This govt, once again, is improving outcomes in the face of bullshit rhetoric from the left.

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  41. farmerdes (16 comments) says:

    Duggledog, the reasons Asians are good at maths has been well documented. It’s their work ethic and culture. Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, well worth a read.

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  42. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    And the ridiculous national standards policy was, it was said, to allow identification of those children needing extra attention and resources. Three years now and still waiting for that to happen. Rather Special Education and extra resourcing continues to be harder and harder to access. Nationals dismantling (they called it transformation!) of the RTLB Service has completely stuffed that for example and reduced funding for extra assistance for struggling kids. The dismantling too of centralized and targeted Teacher professional development is also having an affect. Nothing happens in isolation – schools and teachers don’t simply become bad – struggling kids don’t simply walk through the school gate and and begin to fail. But it is not simply their familiy and/or community backgrounds either. The policy settings determine what happens in society – we are reaping what we have sowed for about the last 30 years.

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