Secondary principals tell primary principals to grow up

July 25th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Secondary Principals’ Association president Tom Parsons said parents had been asking for detailed information about their child’s learning for a long time.

“Primary schools will get there with but they’re doing it begrudgingly.

“There’s a political agenda here and it’s doing the youth of New Zealand a disservice. They need to get real.”

I’m surprised this quote has not received more publicity.  The head of the secondary principals’ association has labelled the opposition to national standards as being about politics, not kids and explicitly says the opponents are doing New Zealand a disservice.

This is no surprise to me. I have been aware for some time that most secondary teachers think national standards are common sense and can’t work out what the fuss is. They’ve had NCEA for a decade with all the same issues over moderation.

But the real reason so many in the secondary sector support national standards is because they are sick of kids getting to secondary school unable to read, write or do maths. They are then the ones who have basically the impossible task of trying to educate a kid for whom it is almost too late. Identifying at an earlier stage that a student is well below the national standards for literacy and numeracy will allow intervention to happen while they are at primary school, rather than dumping an illiterate student into the secondary school system.

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45 Responses to “Secondary principals tell primary principals to grow up”

  1. edhunter (535 comments) says:

    Secomdary principals tell primary principals to grow uup??

    Really??
    Your takin da piss write?

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  2. Unity (483 comments) says:

    I think Primary School education is shocking from what I’ve been able to observe. Thankfully I no longer have children at school but it seems to have been dumbed down out of all sight and too many children are unable to do the basics in grammar, reading and maths. When I went to school reading, writing and arithmetic were vital and the main focus. The education system is doing our children a great disservice.

    The NCEA qualifications are ridiculous and prospective employers have no idea of what the child has achieved from what I hear. National standards are vital and must be brought into all primary schools.

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  3. David Garrett (6,951 comments) says:

    Unity: Not all schools. My two go to a country primary school where the standards are very high. My daughter has twice been in a competition in comprehension and spelling which is open to all schools in Australia and NZ. She has twice finished in the top 5%. Not bad for a country school with 300 kids.

    Having said that, the principal remains opposed to national standards….He has never been able to explain why in any way that convinces me..

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  4. kowtow (8,153 comments) says:

    I have had children associated with all levels of education in recent years.

    Over the past 10 years and in different parts of the country I have seen secondary schools boast about the literacy programmes they have initiated for incomers from intermediate.Necessary due to illiteracy.

    Question. How the hell can it be necessary for secondary schools at Year 9 level to have literacy programmes for children who have spent the previous 8 years in primary.What have the primary schools not been doing?

    It’s an absolute scandal that children are entering secondary school functionally illiterate.

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  5. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    @kowtow – “It’s an absolute scandal that children are entering secondary school functionally illiterate.”

    I agree.

    Among other issues, I’m 99% sure that our education system still uses the widely-discredited “whole language” method of teaching reading. The good old “phonics” method is vastly superior (as shown by Don Buck Primary School in West Auckland in a “Listener” article from 2000 that I still have at home). That school has a very diverse range of students but (because it uses phonics to teach reading) its results are outstanding.

    The late Doris Ferry got excellent results using phonics with children on the Kapiti Coast.

    I am certain that the only reason our dinosaurial Education Department still uses “whole language” is because it was created by a New Zealander – Dame Marie Clay. She has an *awful lot* to answer for (or would do if she wasn’t dead).

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  6. Harriet (4,766 comments) says:

    They can’t even teach kids to read and write —– you mean a huge government dept can’t even fucken do that at about $8000 per pupil per year ——- in about 6 fucken years?

    $50,000 DOLLARS????

    How much does a fucken degree cost?

    Privatise it.

    And when the kids already speak the fucken language!

    Fucken pathetic.

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  7. mikemikemikemike (323 comments) says:

    I couldn’t agree more. My kids are about to start school and we are trying to find a decent school to put them in (btw anyone have any thoughts on Owairoa or Mellons Bay primary?)

    The school behind me is a shocker, decile 9 but run by hippies and the people I know who have kids there are really disappointed in it.

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  8. BeaB (2,104 comments) says:

    EIGHT years to teach kids the basics and they still fail over 20% of kids who are then doomed to failure at high school. You don’t learn to read by the age of 8, usually you never learn.
    Primary schools are the scandal of our education system.
    Try battling your way through the clutter of a classroom festooned with artwork, Maori words, mis-spellings etc etc and find the teacher who is actually teaching kids the basics. I suspect most kids who grasp language and number skills do so mainly because of their homes not because of the nice but ineffectual primary school teachers dreaming up silly names for groups, writing incomprehensible reports and holding endless pet days etc.
    In my opinion, NO child should leave eight years of primary school functionally illiterate. What a waste of taxpayer money. What a criminal waste of human potential.

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  9. Judith (8,531 comments) says:

    kowtow (7,587 comments) says:
    July 25th, 2014 at 11:19 am

    To be fair, primary school teachers are faced with a lot of dilemmas that secondary teachers do not face, including in some instances actually potty training their pupils.

    By time a child reaches secondary school, all those things have been sorted, but at primary level, much time is taken up in addressing social and personal skills that some children don’t have, at the expense of others. This is one of the reasons why we see such vast differences in the level of learning. It only takes one very needy, perhaps unwell, personally immature student in a class of seven year olds, to throw the entire learning curriculum astray.

    I had a conversation a couple of years back with a parent whose child was in a class of 28. In that class was one child prone to seizures, and another prone to severe asthma. The amount of time spent by the teacher dealing with these two pupils was incredible. Not only was the time they had to personally give attention to the child, but the constant interruption and flow of teaching being interrupted was a negative as well.

    Add to that children that need to be ‘toileted’ (never been taught to wipe their own butt etc) and the rest of the kids in the class learn very little – as children tend to progress through primary school with at least some of the same students, chances are a pupils entire learning experience has been impacted by these other children’s problems for several years.

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  10. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Secomdary?
    Don’t you ever use spellcheck DPF?

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  11. Ed Snack (1,833 comments) says:

    Thor42, sorry, but the whole “whole language versus phonics” debate is almost an urban myth. Apart from some ultra-partisans applying there own agendas (which can happen anywhere) NZ has used a combination of Phonics and Whole Language for years. That recognizes that for different children, different things work. For all the fuss about phonics, whole language works very well, for some children. The idea being that what ever works is good, something I approve of.

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  12. CHFR (226 comments) says:

    David I have the same problem with my daughters school. Small country school and her only argument is that in her case a 5% failure rate at the school can be achieved with 1 kid. We have a number of problem children at the school but on the flip side we have a number of high achievers, my daughter being one of them.

    I just want to know where my daughter is achieving and where she has gaps so I can address them.

    Mind you if you focus on sustainability not maths and English then maybe that is why the primary principals are so dead set against them.

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  13. I Say Look Here (56 comments) says:

    Firstly, great to see some divergence of opinion in the education sector. That is refreshing.

    But I will stick up a little bit for the primaries. They are not all the same. No resistance at all to National Standards that I could detect from the principals and teachers at the local primary my two boys have just been through – in fact they seemed genuinely pleased to have them. A couple of them even confided to us how much easier they found it with NS to talk to parents of under-achievers in clear, objective terms.

    And now, at our local intermediate, the sentiment towards NS seems just as positive.

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  14. Fisiani (1,023 comments) says:

    We need to have to have a serious look at the delivery of primary education. Improvement will only come about by making a wide range of changes. The National Education Minister after September has to bypass the primary union which is dominated by fanatical Labour union hacks. We also need far more 1000 book children. This is a term for those children who have been read 1000 books before they start school. That’s right, read a bedtime story every night for 333 nights for 3 years from their 2nd birthday. Such children start school knowing that books are read from front to back, from top to bottom and from left to right and that the words relate to the pictures.They notice capital letters and full stops. Such children sail through primary school no matter what size the class. If you are a parent of an infant, I urge you to make them a 1000 book child.

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  15. Lance (2,620 comments) says:

    @David Garrett
    I can resonate with what you are saying. We shifted to the rural environment when I was about 9.
    Up until that point was achieving poor results at school at even attended remedial reading classes to try and catch up. Teased by other kids etc.

    The next 2 years at the local rural school with one brilliant teacher turned my academic results around. Many of the kids at that school went on a achieve great results academically after they proceeded through their academic life.

    He pushed the basics AND when other time was available he involved the whole class in discussions and problem solving, I had never seen this before and very rarely since, everyone had to offer an opinion. No wishy washy PC crap.

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  16. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

    kowtow: “Question. How the hell can it be necessary for secondary schools at Year 9 level to have literacy programmes for children who have spent the previous 8 years in primary.What have the primary schools not been doing?”

    I don’t know the answer. But I know of a school which had a programme dealing with kids with dramatic literacy problems, did intensive individualised teaching, tracked kids, kept data to the nth degree and over years proved their systems worked. So much so the Ministry of Ed gave them a dollop of money to extend it. So it became a “magnet” school for the district for a particular type of kid. Yes then of course the Ministry cut the funding so the school had to go cap in hand to pub charities types of outfits to continue.

    Now if they get ‘fly-off the handle’ sorts of kids who can’t cope in ordinary class situations and ordinary well behaved good family sort of kids who struggle with reading but need intensive help, who do you think gets the attention?

    Someone in our house works in a school (not me thank God) so my perspective might be skewed. I think that people like David Farrar should get out into schools to find what happens and why. He would need to go in with a ‘clean-slate’ mind so he could draw conclusions from what he sees and hears, rid of all the pre-conceived notions and free of the political bias. It would be good if in this country there were journalist who could do that and present a perspective free of all the infection gained from forums like this.

    David Garrett shows the fine line between intransigent mindless parroting of the cliches and acknowledging reality. He seemingly disputes Unity’s view “I think Primary School education is shocking” based on his experience with his own kids, then reneges on that, implying there is something wrong because “the principal remains opposed to national standards.”

    And for kowtow, (How the hell can it be necessary for secondary schools at Year 9 level to have literacy programmes for children who have spent the previous 8 years in primary. What have the primary schools not been doing? It’s an absolute scandal that children are entering secondary school functionally illiterate.)

    Maybe your kids weren’t in schools which had pupils who’d claimed all the Reading Recovery from six years old, had all the individual attention after that and still had reading ages less than 10. Those kids exist, that’s why my kids’ high school has special needs teachers dealing with kids who are functionally illiterate.

    Serious question; Are there kids who will not be able to reach a reading age (according to the standardised tests) commensurate with their chronological age? What percentage of kids? Are those kids ones who are easily identified as brain damaged or having some other learning disability? Are their kids who will have severe limitations on their ability to learn regardless of their ‘condition’ being identified? I don’t know about that stuff but even a simple look on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_disability shows it’s an interesting and complex field.

    And realities that are probably iIl-served by political blathering, posturing and hate directed at teachers. But why should rationality be involved? After all it’s education

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  17. dime (9,799 comments) says:

    Last night I heard some anti-national standards dipshit on zb.

    “so, 75% of kids are passing. we knew that before the standards came in so whats the point?”

    umm sorry? we are happy that 1 out of 4 kids cant fucking pass primary? so they cant read properly? jesus.

    nothing worse than lazy, low aspiration having teachers.

    if my staff were hitting 75% of target month after month, year after year and were happy about it.. guess where they would be? not working for Dime.

    Fuck, if Dime hit 75% of his targets, Dime will be making a huge adjustment in his lifestyle. Dime will be broke!

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  18. greenjacket (451 comments) says:

    My wife is a primary school teacher, and she thinks national standards are a vital part of her teaching. I think most of her colleagues think the same.
    The problem is that most teachers belong to the NZEI, in part because the standard of management in many schools (not my wife’s, mercifully) is often very poor because principals are good teachers rather than good people managers. At a neighbouring school, an excellent teacher of children became principal – and he was a disaster – he became a bullying dictator, the Board couldn’t get rid of him, and the teachers needed the union to represent them in endless disuptes. Given the possibility of having a poor manager, teachers predictably seek to have industrial representation.
    But most teachers don’t give a rat’s about the political agenda of the NZEI – most teachers are too busy teaching/marking/planning the next week’s class/dealing with problem kids, etc, to bother with the political crap of the NZEI. I don’t believe the NZEI is representative of their members views on national standards – it is more that the membership is apathetic and focussed on day-to-day stuff, letting the hard-Left leadership to run an anti-national standards line.

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  19. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    As a secondary teacher I can say I am regularly stunned by the students who arrive in Year 9 without basic literacy skills. How on Earth the primaries keep socially promoting children who have not gained essential skills is beyond me. I have more concerns about how numeracy is being taught than literacy though. Some of our recent results in international comparisons are very concerning. I learned the multiplication tables by rote when I was a kid and it didn’t hurt me.

    It is important that we don’t create a testing regime that narrows the curriculum or makes teachers focus solely on the test. We also need to have these national standards properly moderated or the data will continue to be meaningless. I’ve also heard feedback from academics that the current NS are not set at the right level and were put together too quickly. So I’d like to a see a thorough review of the NS regime and changes made to correct these problems. The fact that they aren’t actually national or standard right now is concerning.

    However at the same time we have to acknowledge that a big part of the problem is that primary teachers inherit difficulties the parents have created for them before the kids even start school. Many children start out 2 years behind their peers in the same class. I don’t see that as a reason not to have National Standards though, on the contrary I think it makes them vital. But we have to take that into account. League tables are equally pointless but secondary has had to put up with them for years, so I don’t have that much sympathy for primary schools. There are so many of them it would be very difficult to create an actual comprehensive league table anyway.

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  20. lastmanstanding (1,278 comments) says:

    The Teachers Unions are among the last of the 19thcentury cloth cap brigade hanging on for grim death to their power over parents.
    ]
    The fact is they don’t want to be judged on their results because they are scared witless they will be shown up for the morons they really are.

    And the supreme irony not lost on me or others is whilst part of their job is to judge others ( their pupils ) they refuse to be judged.

    Time to bust their Unions and pay non Union teachers who are prepared to be judged on their merits more and leave the Union teachers on their current wages/salaries.

    And don’t worry because they are incapable of getting another better paid job elsewhere.

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  21. Uncompetency (12 comments) says:

    @mikemikemikemike – I went to Pigeon Mountain Primary. Owairaka and Mellons Bay were both neighbouring schools and were both very well regarded (in fact I think Owairaka might still have the same principal as when I was a kid).

    The problem as I understand it regarding national standards is that many “good” primary schools have for years been teaching kids to the appropriate standards, either developed internally or in conjunction with other schools. As a kid I was always told where my reading, maths etc was in relation to what they “expected” of someone my age. National standards does the same thing but requires those good schools to essentially redevelop their entire assessment programme and squash it into the type of paperwork that the MoE wants. I can sort of sympathise with that frustration but at the end of the day if it is necessary to kick the “bad” schools into line, then it is a necessary evil.

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  22. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    Greenjacket,

    What many people not realise is that NZEI is largely run by primary principals, not the teachers. Their views are much more likely to reflect what principals, concerned with protecting their patch, care about more than the teachers. PPTA on the other hand is teacher-run and thus will have different views, such as the dispute over IES.

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  23. tvb (4,315 comments) says:

    Primary teachers are the dud teachers. They are highly political and are little more than a branch of the Labour Party, donate to that party and write their education policy. They are militant trade unionists. They budge from the community at large to support their schools. It is in the area of primary schools there needs to be some radical thinking. Years ago Primary teachers managed to get a pay rise to equate with secondary teachers but it made little difference. Essentially I have no respect for them and I certainly would not give one cent towards them when they come begging to send kids away to some expensive overseas holiday for the teachers.

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  24. Ross12 (1,377 comments) says:

    tvb –” Primary teachers are the dud teachers”
    This is a crap statement. Their union is dud but there are thousands of extremely good primary teachers. The union has tried to dictate for decades but that doesn’t mean all the teachers are dud.

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  25. Bill Courtney (161 comments) says:

    Very little that is new in this well-worn blog thread.

    As we now have 3 years of meaningless aggregated data, it is timely to reconsider the Open Letter penned to Anne Tolley in November 2009, by four academics:
    “Minister, in our view the flaws in the new system are so serious that full implementation of the intended National Standards system over the next three years is unlikely to be successful. It will not achieve intended goals and is likely to lead to dangerous side effects. We are very concerned that the intended National Standards system wrongly assumes that children are failing if they do not meet the standard for their age.”

    Given that David Farrar seems to be in love again with John Hattie, it is appropriate to note that he signed that letter!

    As is usual, very little thought is given to the issues around how the Standards themselves were set, including the fact that they were never trialled or tested in any way. This is in complete contrast to how the NCEA standards are developed! So, who really knows that the level set out in the Standards is “correct” anyway? Who really knows whether this fictitious track really leads to NCEA Level 2, or not? If the track had been set slightly lower, Parata would now be glowing in success. Set the standard level higher and the entire system could appear completely useless. But neither would tell you anything of value about the true level of achievement of the kids themselves.

    And, as we have noted on so many occasions, it is futile to assess every child against a “One Size Fits All” fixed standard that takes no account at all of their family background (when they start school) or their prior achievement level (as they work their way through the school). Many schools could be doing a great job of lifting student achievement during the student’s time in school and still look bad on their aggregated school-wide figures.

    And who knew this? Anne Tolley, of course (or at least Anne Tolley’s letter drafter did):
    “On the other hand, I am very much aware that aggregated data can potentially be accessed and used in unintended ways and, if used to make simplistic comparisons between schools in the form of league tables, can be misleading and detract from the overarching goal of promoting achievement.

    I acknowledge the concerns of the education sector about how data from the standards might be used. In response, I am working with those groups to determine the most effective ways of protecting the data and ensuring it is used for positive purposes such as school review and system improvement. As the first school-wide collection of this data is not required before 2011, there is time to sort out these important questions.” Source: Letter to Bill Courtney, dated 10 March 2010.

    Unfortunately, as is usual, politics has triumphed again – or has it??

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  26. dime (9,799 comments) says:

    “Unfortunately, as is usual, politics has triumphed again – or has it??”

    Bill wouldnt stoop to playing politics.

    Hows the hate group you run going?

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  27. David Garrett (6,951 comments) says:

    doggone: I have never seen so much verbiage which says so little…

    My point was that the principal at the local school is opposed to national standards even though he has absolutely nothing to fear from them…In addition to the outstanding students like my daughter – my son is down the Bell curve a bit – his school consistently gets very good results, both on national standards achievement and on their forerunner, which I believe were called Astle scores or something…

    In other words the principal is opposed to NS for ideological/ political reasons…

    Ross12: quite so….but part of the problem seems to be that the good teachers – of which I agree there are many – are not willing to stand up and be counted on this and other issues…they just let the union speak for them…

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  28. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

    David Garrett: : “In other words the principal is opposed to NS for ideological/ political reasons…”

    Presumptuous and arrogant unless he has told you that.

    The principal being opposed to National Standards doesn’t mean the kids doing well or not. If he did believe in national standards would your kids be even better? If he did not use that approach would the kids do as well? Did any kids do well in the type of school setting you describe before the national standards approach?

    That you write “both on national standards achievement and on their forerunner, which I believe were called Astle scores or something…” shows your lack knowledge. The schools in our area have consistently produced “good results” for generations and still do. Nothing to do with national standards.

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  29. All_on_Red (1,550 comments) says:

    Well I have a five and half y/o six months in and he can count to 100 and back, he’s reading and recognizing words and starting to write them. His peers are the same. It’s all about teacher quality really. And the Principal.
    They do National Standards too.

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  30. David Garrett (6,951 comments) says:

    Have you ever studied reasoning? As it happens the principal HAS told me he is opposed to national standards because it is National policy and he doesn’t like National….but one could have worked that out from the facts…

    I don’t think the local school’s good results have anything to do with national standards….as apparently you don’t think your local schools’ good results have anything to do with NS…but it is totally illogical to be strongly opposed to a measure upon which ones school measures up very well..

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  31. wf (415 comments) says:

    Miss Downs was ancient. She ran the New Entrant’s class at Lyall Bay Primary school. There was a mat in the corner where the ‘babies’ played with blocks and books and learnt to put their shoes on the right foot, and to go to the toilet. And listened to stories, and talked and generally got up to speed. And all the while her more capable students learnt the ways of school, and moved on into Room 1, usually in 4-6 weeks.

    No ‘social progression’ then, you moved up the ladder by achieving.

    Oh for the Good Old Days!

    I still can’t reconcile illiteracy with 6 years schooling – which I see each week at my remedial reading sessions.

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  32. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

    wf: “I still can’t reconcile illiteracy with 6 years schooling – which I see each week at my remedial reading sessions.”

    Are there kids who will not be able to reach a reading age (according to the standardised tests) commensurate with their chronological age? What percentage of kids? Are those kids ones who are easily identified as brain damaged or having some other learning disability? Are there kids who will have severe limitations in their ability to learn regardless of their ‘condition’ being identified? I don’t know about that stuff but even a simple look on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_disability shows it’s an interesting and complex field.

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  33. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

    All_on_Red:
    Are you putting the achievement of your five and a half y/o down to a quality teacher? Did the experiences he had before he went to school impact on his ability to learn?
    If some kid in his class could not do the things he could do would it because of there being a low quality teacher?

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  34. SPC (5,537 comments) says:

    Many primary and intermediate schools already had their own measurement of a child’s progress (and others were being required to develop them) – that they rated as superior to the national standards system.

    There was no opposition to there being a measurement system, just to being forced to adopt an inferior one and attempts to compare school results nationwide – that without moderation just enables gaming of the system.

    Nationwide systems are LCD and become politicised.

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  35. David Garrett (6,951 comments) says:

    doggone: Have you ever paused to wonder WHY we now have a major problem with kids going to secondary school unable to read and write? I went to an old fashioned primary school in Gisborne…both the Principal and his deputy were war veterans..and it showed in how they ran the school…It is a long time ago, and my memory may well be faulty, but I honestly cant remember having kids around who couldn’t read in standard three…and I can still remember the names of some of the “slower” kids (and of course the ones who were destined for the professions)

    And remember this was a time when kindergarten was not free (thus I never went to one) and the play centre movement was just beginning (in Gisborne anyway)…So, most kids didn’t go to pre-school, and I cant remember any who were illiterate by the time we went our separate ways at the end of standard four….I have no reason to think that Mangapapa Primary under the late Bill Bishop was any different from any other school from that era…neither better nor worse.

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  36. Judith (8,531 comments) says:

    All_on_Red (1,337 comments) says:
    July 25th, 2014 at 1:55 pm
    Well I have a five and half y/o six months in and he can count to 100 and back, he’s reading and recognizing words and starting to write them. His peers are the same. It’s all about teacher quality really. And the Principal.
    They do National Standards too.

    Whilst your child no doubt has a good teacher, the fact remains that your youngster obviously has an intelligent parent (probably two as like usually attracts like). His chances of learning quickly, and even having learned the basics before attending school are much greater. I am sure both you and the child’s mother (presuming you are male) have both spent time talking with your child and increasing their learning ability just by the level of conversation and perhaps reading, you have done with them.

    In my opinion a very big part of the child’s ability to learn comes from their home environment. Why our teachers should be held responsible for how well a child adapts to a learning environment is beyond me. IT is just more of the same – lets get other people to do what parent’s should be doing. Let’s make the gummit responsible for it – so I don’t need to bother (no I’m not meaning you AOR).

    A child who is read to, whose curiosity is stimulated, and who is taught the value of learning, numbers etc, before they get to school, will always out do those who know how to program their smart tv, and nothing else.

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  37. All_on_Red (1,550 comments) says:

    Doggone
    Did you have a low quality teacher? What don’t you understand about “His peers are the same” as in doing well.
    Some of these come from lower socio economic groups, a couple of Maori solo mums to be precise. It’s also multi ethnic.
    Ironically the Anaesthetists daughter is having trouble with counting…but is getting there.
    Regardless of background a quality teacher will help them but of course we are not all equal in ability and again a quality teacher will recognise that and provide assistance.
    Don’t you think teacher quality matters? I tell you something, poverty and poor background doesn’t matter. If the parents love their kids and work with them, then they do well. You don’t need money to do that. Libraries are free.
    Both my boys are doing well and I’m very glad they are there. Some teachers are absolutely fucking useless. They should be culled out.

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  38. nasska (11,105 comments) says:

    Why on earth are kids “promoted” up to the next level when they haven’t absorbed a fraction of what they have been taught in the previous year? Sometimes they may have lost too much time due to sickness, in cases poor teachers haven’t realised that they’re falling behind…..in some cases they’re as thick as fire doors & need more time.

    If we’re to consider educating a child as having them climb rungs of a ladder then small wonder we turn out illiterates after ten years when half the rungs are missing.

    Forget Kapa haka & the rest of the socialist feel good crap…..if a kid can’t read or write they’re going nowhere.

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  39. All_on_Red (1,550 comments) says:

    Thank you for the compliment Judith. I think that there are many pieces in the jigsaw which is education.
    Our teachers should be the best they could be and we need to have systems in place to achieve that, including getting the highest standards in places which aren’t perceived to be attractive to teach in.
    But there is no substitute for love and time spent by parents. It’s not hard if you have an unselfish attitude. I do think that being on welfare encourages selfishness and you may have a professional view on that.

    Edit to my last post. Some parents are absolutely useless and really shouldn’t have been allowed to have children, but how does a society achieve that?

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  40. Judith (8,531 comments) says:

    @ All_on_Red (1,339 comments) says:
    July 25th, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    I think our current welfare system encourages the narcissism that we all have to various degrees, but makes it prominent. When a person is active in the production of maintaining their own existence – whether it be growing a garden for food, or working for another for money, their worlds become more meaningful. When a personal existence is dependent on the production results of other people, there is nothing but the ‘self’ to think of – hence the narcissism or selfishness.

    When we work to live, we have to communicate, to have a certain pride in what we produce, and so on – but when what we live on is produced by others, and merely becomes a means to stay alive there is no pride in anything. One cannot be proud of their new shoes, if they had no part in getting them.

    So like you say, that does transfer IMO through to every aspect of their lives – either consciously or unconsciously – including parenting. A parent gains a great degree of satisfaction from seeing their child succeed, be healthy and so on – but when you know that nothing you have done has contributed to that, then the relationship breaks down.

    Our welfare system has a lot to answer for, and whilst not entirely to blame for the break down we see in many aspects of society, certainly plays a very large role, as far as I am concerned. It has effectively removed pride, and allowed narcissism (selfishness) to take over.

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  41. All_on_Red (1,550 comments) says:

    Outstanding comment Judith

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  42. Doctor Who (52 comments) says:

    Can the anaesthetist’s daughter count backwards from 10?

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  43. All_on_Red (1,550 comments) says:

    Dr Who
    She tries but never quite gets there.

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  44. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

    All_on_Red
    
“Regardless of background a quality teacher will help them but of course we are not all equal in ability and again a quality teacher will recognise that and provide assistance… Don’t you think teacher quality matters? I tell you something, poverty and poor background doesn’t matter.”
    Of course teacher quality matters – almost as much as parent quality. Does a child’s innate ability matter? Isn’t that what determines a child’s potential? You acknowledge we are not all equal. Are all kids capable of reaching the same levels? When they do not is it someone’s fault?
    I clearly remember being shocked visiting my daughter’s intermediate school in an on-going time frame and seeing (what I considered) quality teachers working one on one with 11-13 year olds and seeing the struggle those kids had picking stuff up. Stuff that our own kids could do when they were 5 or 6 and could pick up in a flash.
    Anyone would think from some comments here that in New Zealand schools it is common practice for kids to turn up at school, the teachers decide they have no hope in life, are too difficult to teach, do not make any effort to identify talents and limitations, and if they do try to teach them do it with no skill and then send them on.
    “Poverty and poor background doesn’t matter” ? They have an impact. Is there some sort of conspiracy all around the developed world that sees the areas with the poorest educational achievement those in the lowest socio-economic circumstances? Are those the areas which attract the worst teachers? Are those the areas where teachers have the lowest aspirations for their pupils?

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  45. itstricky (1,767 comments) says:

    Have you ever studied reasoning? As it happens the principal HAS told me he is opposed to national standards because it is National policy and he doesn’t like National….but one could have worked that out from the facts…

    And yet your first statement was “the principal has never been able to convince me…”. Full.of.it.


    I don’t think the local school’s good results have anything to do with national standards….as apparently you don’t think your local schools’ good results have anything to do with NS…but it is totally illogical to be strongly opposed to a measure upon which ones school measures up very well..

    Why? There are no logic rules that say anyone has to support measures that benefit yourself, if you think those measures are stupid and don’t apply, or work, for others. Unless you’re completely self centred, and only worrying about yourself, of course.

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