We need better teachers, not more teachers

July 6th, 2014 at 2:43 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

will fund an extra 2000 teachers under its policy to reduce primary class sizes to 26 students by 2016 and secondary schools to an average of 23 by 2018 – a step expected to cost $350 million over the next three years.

Labour leader David Cunliffe has announced the policy at Labour’s Congress alongside a suite of associated policies.

It will pay by scrapping National’s $359 million ‘Investing in Educational Success’ scheme, under which the best teachers and principals are paid more and used to help work with other teachers and schools.

This is a bad and disapponting policy, that flies in the face of reams and reams of international and national evidence.

Hundreds of studies have concluded that the quality of a teacher is the biggest influence on a child’s learning. The same studies have also concluded that the impact of is quite minor in comparison.

Labour’s policy is about politics, not education. Again there are hundreds of studies that confirm teacher quality is far more important than class size. There are meta-studies of meta-studies. This is not an issue there is serious dispute over.

Basically Labour has gone for quantity over quality, It’s one of their worst policies. Some of their stuff on 21st century schools is very good, but this aspect is basically appalling. Not the reducing class sizes in itself – but choosing to do that rather than fund an initiative to have great teachers share their success with other teachers.

Here’s what global expert John Hattie said on Q+A on this issue in 2012:

Well, we’ve certainly done many many studies looking at the effects when we reduce class sizes, certainly by the one or two that were suggested in New Zealand, and it’s very very hard to find that they make that much of a difference. The major question is why is it that a seemingly obvious thing that should make a difference doesn’t make a difference, and that’s what’s beguiled a lot of people over the last many decades. I think we have some good answers for that, but the bottom line is it hardly makes a difference.

SHANE Why is that?

PROF HATTIE Well, I think the major argument seems to be when you have teachers in class sizes, like, of 26, 27, 30 and you put them in the class sizes of, say, 18 to 23, and they don’t change what they do, that seems to be the reason why it doesn’t make a difference. So could it make a difference? Yeah, it probably could if we changed how we went about our teaching. But that doesn’t seem to happen. When the many many thousands, tens of thousands of teachers have gone from one size to another, they don’t change how they teach. So, no, that’s why it doesn’t make much of a difference.

A presentation by Professor Hattie here, find’s class size is ranked only the 106th most powerful influence on learning.  That’s 106th out of 130. Labour are putting  Now this is not his personal view. This is a summary of 50,000 individual studies and 800+ meta-studies.

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56 Responses to “We need better teachers, not more teachers”

  1. wikiriwhis business (4,019 comments) says:

    Better teachers in the small amount of schools we now have.

    Probably diminished more after the election. Who ever wins.

    Let’s remember, J Key told teachers to move overseas. Also to ready for the impact of new colonisation by learning Chinese.

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  2. All_on_Red (1,584 comments) says:

    2000 more Union fees. Cha Ching. Cunliffe has been bought and paid for by the Unions. So much for actually caring about what is best for the children.

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  3. gump (1,650 comments) says:

    Technically speaking, it’s possible to have better teachers and more teachers.

    The two policies aren’t mutually exclusive.

    [DPF: I agree, but they're scrapping the funding for better teachers to fund the more teachers policy]

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  4. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    We actually need both and the policy talked about better recruitment and training systems too. If teacher quality has dropped, and I’m not sure it has, it is because the free marketing of teaching training introduced in the 80’s which saw teacher training moved from colleges of education and universities to anyone who could put together a course. To re-establish teacher training at ‘proper’ institutions is a positive move.

    As for research, you are talking out of a hole in your arse again. There is no research that states what you do. You are misrepresenting the fact that teachers are the biggest ‘in school’ influence on learning – which is freakin obvious really. But it is way below socio economic status, cultural capital, and natural intelligence.

    One thing that is clearly stated in research is that quality and immediacy of feedback and instruction is a major influence on learning and that positive relationships between children and their teachers is important – both occurs more easily and more often in classes of smaller number. Take a look at any of the so called good schools and they will be trumpeting from their web sites about smaller class sizes. Indeed the school that Key sends (sent) his kid too does exactly that. Everyone knows this and this is why Paratas increase class sizes in state schools policy went so wrong a couple of years back. Ask anyone if they want their kid in class of 30 children or one of 26 they will tell you.

    [DPF: I've cited actual research. I challenge you to do the same before you claim I am talking out of a hole in my arse. I also suggest you be more respectful on MY blog if you want to continue here]

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  5. Captain Pugwash (98 comments) says:

    If paying “good” teachers more & increasing class sizes is such a great idea, then why do private schools like Marsden in Wellington, pride them selves on having small classes? Having had kids who have gone there I can tell you that the teachers were some of the best I have ever met. These same teachers have “scoffed” at the idea that class sizes could be increased with no adverse affect on the pupils. From what I was told by the head of the lower school, 25 children was the recommended maximum per class. Marsden preferred a maximum of 22 – 23 pupils per class. Many year 12 & 13 classes have only 6 pupils per class.

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  6. michael_s2 (3 comments) says:

    Any experienced primary teacher will tell you that optimum class size is 24. This allows splitting the class into equal ability groups for subjects such as maths, reading and allows closer supervision of those needing more help. A class of 16 is more easily disrupted and less likely to offer sufficient numbers of pupils with equal aptitude to allow streaming and one on one contact.
    The other problem is that whatever the nominal class size is schools will manipulate it. Junior classes in primary schools are already funded on a class size of 16 but by giving teachers release time etc they are always much bigger.

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  7. MT_Tinman (3,204 comments) says:

    More teachers = more union members = more money for Labour.

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  8. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    And when quoting Hattie did you consider this http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10624412

    Hattie was exiled to aussie when his ideas began to unravel and be opposed to the governments education drive to privitisation of the state system. Surprised that anyone from the far right is still quoting him.

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  9. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    Actually you haven’t cited anything rather you have misrepresented it. What you have done is stated your ill-informed opinion. That’s ok, but it’s in no way based on research of hundreds of studies as you suggest. It is based on your political agenda, again that’s fine but on this you are talking out of your arse as you inevitably do on all things education.

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  10. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    MT_Tinman beat me too it. Labour buying votes in the most expensive way possible.

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  11. gump (1,650 comments) says:

    @DPF

    “I agree, but they’re scrapping the funding for better teachers to fund the more teachers policy”

    ——————–

    I didn’t know that and I appreciate the correction.

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  12. Michael (910 comments) says:

    Back in my day (1970s and 80s) we had 35 in my class at primary school and 30 in secondary school. Don’t think we were disadvantaged by it. The biggest difference I have found throughout my life has always been the quality of the person leading. Be it a manager, be it a teacher, or be it the captain of the sports team I played for.

    I think National has got it right in terms of making excellent teachers get rewarded with stacks of cash – it’ll encourage the top ones to stay in the profession, and make top quality graduates think of teaching as a possible career with rewards comparable to the private sector.

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  13. big bruv (13,934 comments) says:

    Does anybody know what percentage of teachers are union members?

    If it is higher than the average when compared to other unions I suspect there is a fair amount of work place bullying going on.

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  14. Johnboy (16,666 comments) says:

    For a chap like me that has only been in a union for 4 weeks out of his whole working career of some 46 years I find it difficult to believe that folk like teachers, who regard themselves as fairly gifted and on a mission to improve the learning of young people, find it necessary to join a bloody union. Do they have no faith in themselves?

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  15. Johnboy (16,666 comments) says:

    I do wonder why really skilled operators like Airline Transport Pilots license holders seem to feel they should be in a union too of course! :)

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  16. wiseowl (899 comments) says:

    2000 more teachers and 1998 of them would be female.

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  17. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Big bruv,

    The union membership rate in secondary teaching runs at about 95-98% and I’ve never heard of anyone being bullied into joining. Most people join because they recognise the benefits like the private medical plan, better mortgage rates and right to a support person in employment disputes. Teachers in unionised parts of the US are paid much better than those in non-union areas, as is true of pretty much every unionised industry. Of course you can argue this is bad for the taxpayer or the students, but if you’re a teacher it wouldn’t be stupid to join a union, it would be foolish not to.

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  18. Johnboy (16,666 comments) says:

    Only if you are mediocre and have no pride Rightandleft! :)

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  19. Ross12 (1,432 comments) says:

    2000 extra teachers = 2000 extra classrooms. How much have Labour allocated for extra classrooms ? Probably it would be extra schools.

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  20. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Class size does in fact make a difference. Hattie found the most important in-school factor was students getting relevant feed-back on how to improve their understanding. Obviously when you have fewer students you are able to give more feedback and advice to each student.

    Also it is a bit rich for DPF to call this terrible policy based on Hattie’s meta-analysis when that same research ranked charter schools very low on the list. But there’s no mention of Hattie’s findings when DPF is promoting charter schools.

    I do agree that it shouldn’t be an either/or choice here though. Labour should not be scrapping IES for class size reductions as both are vital.

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  21. the fox (2 comments) says:

    We need a few good teachers with the cane to teach the next generation, as the last generation have lost respect for every thing, perhaps that or a good war to sort a few out and bring some descent values, respect and patriotism back to our young people

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  22. Grendel (1,002 comments) says:

    Most teachers believe that they would be able to teach better if the average class had 5 fewer students, and surprisingly they can name the 5 students.

    also, i can tell you from working in Teachers payroll, that many teachers felt very bullied about joining the union. when they talked to me, the payroll person, there was no one around who could make their career misery, unlike when they are asked by other teachers or union members.

    many teachers i dealt with would do whatever they could to avoid joining the union (i have clients now who are only members because its the only way to get promoted), and when there was a payrise that relied on being a union member, they would join for 1 pay cycle and promptly quit again.

    so i would be very careful about the union member figures the unions provide, as there are very brief spikes when there is something in it for the teachers.

    however if teachers want to earn more, they should just got work for the union, those guys pay themselves wayyyy more than any teacher earns. i imagine teachers would be horrified if they knew how well their dues lined the pockets of the union staff.

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  23. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    John Key in the Listener May 2005 in answer to the question “Why do you send your children to private schools?’

    “…their schools have smaller classes…”

    even the Prime Minister (who tried to increase class sizes for the rest of our children) knows Labours policy is sound.

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  24. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Hundreds of studies have concluded that the quality of a teacher is the biggest influence on a child’s learning.

    Hundreds of studies have concluded that the quality of a teacher is the biggest in-school influence on a child’s learning. Funny how we have to fix the no-doubt purely accidental omission of that very significant word every time you post on the subject, isn’t it?

    I guess if Labour’s policy was to boost numbers without also taking steps to improve quality, you’d have a point.

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  25. big bruv (13,934 comments) says:

    John Key will not say it, I even doubt that the ACT party would be brave enough to raise the subject but if we really want to improve education in NZ then the very first thing we should be doing is smashing the teachers unions.

    For over thirty years the highly political and ultra feminist teachers unions have been waging a war of political ideology on us. Their weapons of choice have been our kids. To achieve their goals they needed to do the following;

    1. Remove as many, if not all, Male role models from the teaching ‘profession’
    2. Remove any hint of competition from the teaching curriculum as girls do not do as well as boys in a competitive environment.
    3. Move from external exams to a year long assessment as a way of grading pupils, again this is because girls do better than boys when grading is done this way.
    4. Remove the prospect of any child failing in the system as this might reflect badly on those who cannot teach.
    5. Protect those teachers who are clearly failing in the classroom as these teachers are often the strongest supporters of both the ultra feminist and union movements.
    6. Remove as many, if not all, competitive sports from the curriculum, again these tend to favour boys over girls.
    7. Amend the curriculum so that young boys receive constant (and often subtle) reminders that females are superior and that men are to be feared.
    8. Introduce the concept of no responsibility into the life’s of our kids at a young age.
    9. Ensure that our kids are reminded over and over again that only the government can improve things for them.

    By and large the teachers unions and the ultra feminists have achieved their goals. Our education system is now almost devoid of male teachers, nearly all that remain have had to bow down to the ultra feminists to remain in the “profession”.

    To improve our education system we need to do a lot of work. Charter schools are only one part of the solution, the real war is still to be fought in the state class rooms. Men must be attracted back into the class room, if girls and boys learn better under separate education systems then so be it, have external exams for boys and year long assessment for girls, just do whatever is needed.
    Fight with the unions for the right to fire rubbish teachers, introduce strike breaking laws that will allow replacement teachers into the classrooms when the teachers decide to go on strike (as they will when the war starts). Introduce performance pay for the best teachers. Ensure that our very best are earning as much as the lowest paid MP.

    The government must pick this fight and they must see it through to the bitter end. We simply cannot allow the current system to continue, any government (be it left or right) who stands in front of us and says that we have a world class education system is telling you lies, do not accept it.

    We need to fight these bastards, and we need to win.

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  26. Johnboy (16,666 comments) says:

    No studies have ever determined that if teachers that had the gumption never, ever to join a union would be better teachers! :)

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  27. doggone7 (808 comments) says:

    kiwi gunner : “John Key in the Listener May 2005 in answer to the question “Why do you send your children to private schools?’
    “…their schools have smaller classes…” even the Prime Minister (who tried to increase class sizes for the rest of our children) knows Labours policy is sound. Vote: 1 5

    Thank you kiwi gunner. I mentioned today that the tides of criticism would be all over the Labour Party stuff when I heard it today. I said that those who constantly brag about their kids going to private schools for the smaller classes would still find something to whinge about. The down votes of your post say it all.

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  28. Fletch (6,410 comments) says:

    It seems like Labour is making promise after promise in the hope of wooing voters. Whether they can fulfill them or not, or where the money is coming from, doesn’t matter to them at the moment. Obama held up similar promises in the U.S with the likes of Obamacare, all of which were broken.

    Labour knows how to do one thing for sure – spend us into debt. I’m afraid the forward momentum of all National’s scrimping and saving will be reversed if Labour get back into power.

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  29. doggone7 (808 comments) says:

    Fletch: “It seems like Labour is making promise after promise in the hope of wooing voters.”

    A political party doing that? Are you sure? How could that be?

    Just a minute just want to check to see if our couple of local roads announced on the do-up priority list last week at the Nat’s conference are still all go!

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  30. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    I am not sure the better teachers are going to be too happy with this policy, although you will never hear that from their unions.

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  31. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    We are getting $17m deeper in debt each week under this lot and they have the cheek to ask how Labour will pay for its policies!

    In this case it is spending money better. The governments proposed policy will do nothing but put new cars in a few principals car parks. This policy will enable schools to put resources where they are needed and currently neglected – special education and the RTLB Service for example have been gutted over the last five years – services that directly target the kids who find school a challenge.

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  32. greenjacket (466 comments) says:

    In 2008 the Education select committee did a report on under-achievement in schools. They heard evidence from numerous sources, inc. from overseas, and their report concluded that the number one factor in improving student achievement was the quality of the teacher.
    This was a report written by a Labour majority on the select committee.
    It shows how far the current Labour Party has become hostage to the hard left.

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  33. Scott (1,805 comments) says:

    Big bruv, when you are not obsessing about religion you make a lot of sense.
    My 2 cents would be that labour is beholden to the teachers union. The teachers union wants more union members. Voila , we need 2000 more teachers! The teachers are happy, the teachers union is happy and Labour can count on more support from teachers and big contributions from the teachers union at election time. It’s a win win!

    But what about the kids?? Will it actually help them??

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  34. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Big bruv,

    Evidently you have a deep-seated hatred of unions that can’t be shaken by simple things like facts. But for those less dogmatic in their beliefs I’ll point out a few errors in your argument.

    1. First off the teaching profession has not been completely feminised at all. If you’re talking about ECE you’re right, and in primary women have a clear majority, but not in secondary. Half of all full-time secondary teachers are still men. And that percentage has not changed much for the last several years. There is no exodus of males from secondary teaching.

    Next, in your rally cry to smash the unions for standing in the way of raising teacher quality you have overlooked the fact that the secondary union, PPTA, has been openly supportive of the government’s IES programme to help the best teachers spread their expertise. And there are other areas like PB4L where they’ve found common ground with the government. In part that’s because unlike other trade unions the PPTA is also the professional association for secondary teachers with a duty to promote good teaching and better outcomes for kids written into the constitution.

    2. I don’t know what you mean here. Competition is alive and well in my school and there’s nothing in the curriculum banning it.

    3. The move to internal assessments over exclusively using exams has benefited boys more than harmed them. They have seen constant gains in achievement over the old system. In fact we now push boys hard to focus on their internal assessments because they do much better on those than end of year exams.

    4. Changing the wording from ‘fail’ to ‘not achieved’ was a silly PC charade and does nothing to conceal the fact that getting not achieved means you’ve failed. Everyone knows it and so no one is being protected by using the new phrasing.

    5. Do you have any real evidence to support your link between ultra-feminism, unionism, and being a failure as a teacher? And I don’t mean one anecdote about a useless feminist teacher you once had or met, I mean actual evidence that this link exists outside your own narrow experience.

    6. No more competitive sports? I don’t know where you’re living but my school and every other high school around it still have active rugby, hockey, soccer, basketball, volleyball and netball teams among others. All that’s changed is the diverse range of sports available.

    7-9. These points are clearly based on some bad personal experiences you’ve had with schools or teachers. If you have any evidence that the curriculum is actually written in such a way that it encourages boys to be told they are inferior to girls please quote it so we know exactly what troubles you. And please clarify where in the curriculum says only the government can help us as well.

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  35. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Scott,

    While I cannot speak for NZEI, I can assure you that the secondary teacher’s union (PPTA) does not contribute one cent to the Labour Party or any other political party for that matter. When you say “the teachers union” you should remember there is more than one of them, as well as several principals unions.

    Also the call for smaller class sizes is coming right from the teachers on the ground who have to deal with large classes, not from the union leadership.

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  36. big bruv (13,934 comments) says:

    Rightandleft

    1. Yes, I should have been more clear about that. I was referring to EEC. Thanks for pointing that out. Having said that, if you are going to implement an agenda designed to make ultra feminism the norm then what better area to do so than EEC.

    2. Of course there is nothing in the curriculum, that would cause howls of outrage, it is far more subtle than that.

    3. I think you and I will agree to disagree on this, everything I have seen points to the education system being change to suit girls at the expense of boys.

    4. Employers (well many of them) do not understand it. From what they say they have no idea what a good grade is anymore, that is what the system was designed to do.

    5. There are plenty of examples if you choose to look for them of hopeless teachers being protected by the union. A quick look at whale oils site will offer a fine selection for you to choose from.

    6. Again this comment was pointed at the EEC area, I repeat my earlier apology in that I should have been more specific.

    7-9. My evidence comes from being closely involved with a reasonable sized secondary school (1600-1700 pupils) and looking at the subjects they expected teen age boys to study. Your last point is silly, you know as well as I do that there is nothing in the curriculum that states that only the government can help, my point is that the inference is constantly there, again from my own experience I know of more than a few teacher who took far to much time pushing their own hard left agenda to year 13 school kids than they did about teaching the curriculum.

    Now rightandleft. Given I have answered your points can I ask you a question?

    Why is it that you feel the need to defend a system that sees one kid in five fail?

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  37. big bruv (13,934 comments) says:

    Scott

    “Big bruv, when you are not obsessing about religion you make a lot of sense.”

    Perhaps if you were to open your mind to the enjoyable atheist world out there you would realise I always talk sense.

    I like to combat evil, nothing in the world (even socialism) is as evil as religion, hence the battle goes on.

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  38. itstricky (1,851 comments) says:

    For over thirty years the highly political and ultra feminist teachers unions have been waging a war of political ideology on us. Their weapons of choice have been our kids. To achieve their goals they needed to do the following;

    1. Remove as many, if not all, Male role models from the teaching ‘profession’
    2. Remove any hint of competition from the teaching curriculum as girls do not do as well as boys in a competitive environment…
    ….
    …..

    Sh* – reminds me – must renew my subscription to Investigate this month.

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  39. Disaster Area (41 comments) says:

    I think that there is a bit of selective quoting of Hattie’s research. From what I remember (please note I don’t have his book in front of me) is that by itself reducing class size has a small effect. But what it allows the teacher to do is spend more time on other things which have a bigger cumulative effect on achievement.

    As for Union membership, it has pointed out that the PPTA does not contribute to any political party. Please believe me when I say that there is no pressure whatsoever to join the Union, however most people do for one reason: representation in the event of an employment dispute. And these do happen with regularity.

    National’s plan of paying some teachers more to work in other schools has been tried in the UK. Has anyone researched how well that worked? Again, has been pointed out, how would you feel if your child’s teacher was taken out of the classroom so that they can work elsewhere? Most teachers do not go into teaching so that they can leave the classroom. I’m sorry if this upsets some people, but most teachers much prefer to work by collaboration rather than competition. I will share my ideas and resources with anyone who asks. Why? Simple: if I share my resources, other people will share with me.

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  40. big bruv (13,934 comments) says:

    itstricky

    I don’t mind you disagreeing with me but please don’t associate me with a god nutter like Wishart.

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  41. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Big Bruv,

    The one in five failing stat has been debunked a number of times, including in a blog post here. The number was simply invented by the Minister a few years back and no evidence was ever provided to explain where that stat came from. In fact the number of students attaining Level 2 NCEA, which the govt has set as the benchmark for success in school, has been consistently rising for the last decade across all ethnic groups. We are on track to meet the govt’s goal of 85% attainment.

    Now if you are asking why a certain proportion of students continue to fail the system it is because we include in these stats recent immigrants and refugees with little English and who have often had little to no education before arrival here, or were educated in a completely different system. We also include children with severe learning disabilities and intellectual disabilities who take longer than the average student to reach proficiency. So we will never have 100% success, if you define success as earning Level 2 NCEA.

    Now do I think we can do even better than we’re doing right now? Yes I do, and I think IES is a big part of that. Sharing what works from school to school would be a huge step towards improving outcomes across the system and I applaud the govt for seeing that. But smaller class sizes to allow for more one-to-one feedback and support for students would also help. Even better would be more funding to special and alternative education, more teachers aides in the classroom and fully funded testing for students with learning disabilities. Right now kids with severe dyslexia can only get funded support if their parents pay for the testing to qualify. All too often the parents cannot afford it.

    Now I’m not a socialist but I do believe in kids getting an equal opportunity to succeed in life. And I think in this case both National and Labour have policies that would make a difference. I’d like to see them both implemented rather than having to choose.

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  42. Disaster Area (41 comments) says:

    Big Bruv: As a male teacher I have to say I do not recognise the education system that you describe. Perhaps you could give me some examples of the subjects that they expect boys to study.

    Also, is there not a contradiction between statement 4 and the ‘fact’ that 20% fail?

    Has been pointed out, there are a multitude of competitive team and individual sports on offer. Can you name me a single school that does not have a rugby team or a netball team?

    To say that there is nothing explicit in the curriculum with regards to the superiority of females is pretty much saying that this statement isn’t there. If it was, you’d have quoted it word for word, ditto the idea that only the government is the only solution.

    As for no responsibility or consequences, no student will get to the end of Y11, 12 or 13 without realising that their grades reflect on their efforts. After all, it’s their name on the certificate, nobody else’s.

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  43. big bruv (13,934 comments) says:

    Rightandleft

    “I’d like to see them both implemented rather than having to choose.”

    On that we agree.

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  44. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    DPF

    I think you missed the point. More teachers rather than better teachers is the best interests of the unions and therefore the best interests of Labour. The students don’t really factor into the equation when the money available to the union to donate to Labpyr is the main point of this policy.

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  45. Disaster Area (41 comments) says:

    Burt: the PPTA is not donating to the Labour Party.
    http://ppta.org.nz/resources/publication-list/2759-not-affiliated-labour-party

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  46. Bogusnews (474 comments) says:

    I agree with Michael.

    When I went to primary school we had just over 35. In addition, being a country school, we had a broad range of ages from primmer 1 up to standard 1. There was no illiteracy and we all learned fine.

    I get a bit dismissive of people blaming class sizes.

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  47. Bogusnews (474 comments) says:

    I also have to agree with a number of the points from big bruv.

    I did quite a bit of consulting work for the MOE. What I saw in the private documents was this:

    In the early 80’s boys occupied the top 60+% of maths and science positions, girls occupied the top arts and languages. The edu’s saw that girls did better in non competitive environments and went about changing the schools accordingly. This was one of the main thrusts of NCEA and a reason why they are so violently opposed to opening up children or schools being directly compared to each other . ever tried to make sense of an NCEA report? Employers can’t stand them.

    The second thing they did was give a directive to redesign Maths and science to make them “more interesting for girls” (quote from one of the documents).

    They succeeded. Girls are now outperforming boys in pretty much everything.

    I can understand why people get upset when they see this sort of direct influence on our education based purely on ideological grounds.

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  48. Bob (497 comments) says:

    I am not an expert on education. However I have had children and now grandchildren going through school. John Key might well have said class size influenced his choice of a private school for his children. With the funds available to private schools with massive fees they probably have the pick of teachers and the luxury of small class sizes.

    Two of my children went to the same secondary school being fairly close in age. They had the same maths teacher and both complained about her saying they couldn’t understand her. I now have a grandson attending primary school. Last year he complained about his teacher. He didn’t like her and didn’t want to go to school. This year a husband and wife team were trained in digital teaching overseas and now teach at my grandson’s school. My grandson is in the wife’s class and is enjoying school. That tells me the quality of the teacher makes a big difference.

    My children went to the secondary school which was regarded by parents as the best in the city. Parents outside it’s zone wanted their children to go there. We were fortunate enough to live in the zone. At least one other high school had periods of poor publicity in the local newspaper. I remember many years ago thinking our local obviously successful principal should have been in charge of all the secondary schools in town passing on the secrets of his success in spite of one poor maths teacher. So now I think National is on the right track paying them more and making the best use of the most competent teachers and principals.

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  49. Paulus (2,632 comments) says:

    Remember it is schools holidays currently so you can expect more National slanging at the present time by the Teachers.

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  50. doggone7 (808 comments) says:

    big bruv: “…again from my own experience I know of more than a few teacher who took far to much time pushing their own hard left agenda to year 13 school kids than they did about teaching the curriculum.”

    When you approached the principal and/or board of trustees about this, what did they say?

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  51. virtualmark (1,531 comments) says:

    So “smaller class-sizes” is the answer apparently. My kids go to a local state primary school. Probably average sized, perhaps a little smaller than average. Effectively the school has two class-rooms for each of years 1 through 6, dropping to one class-room for each Year level at years 7 and 8 when the private schools start to calve off quite a few of the kids.

    Pragmatically, delivering smaller class sizes would require either:
    Option A … moving to three class-rooms at each of years 1 through 6, and two class-rooms for years 7 and 8, or
    Option B … moving to five class-rooms across two Year levels for years 1 through 6 and three class-rooms across years 7 and 8, with more blended classes.

    Option A would require an extra 8 teachers and an extra 8 class-rooms. Option B would require an extra 4 teachers and an extra 4 class-rooms.

    Meanwhile Labour’s going to recruit another 2,000 teachers, who will be spread across the 2,300-ish schools around New Zealand. So less than 1 extra teacher per school.

    And there is neither the land, or probably the funding, to provide the extra class-rooms.

    Frankly, the quality of education policy would improve immensely in New Zealand if we sent the Labour Party politicians back to remedial maths classes.

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  52. virtualmark (1,531 comments) says:

    Meanwhile, in my kids school, there are 2 teachers who are well known through the community as being completely useless. The parents know this. The school knows this. Nothing can be done.

    But what does happen is that when parents find their kids placed into those teacher’s classes there’s a much higher incentive to pull your kids out of the school and send them private.

    Frankly, those two drop-kick teachers are about the best recruiting tools (and I use the word “tools” advisedly …) the local private schools have.

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  53. Lucia Maria (2,468 comments) says:

    BogusNews,

    The second thing they did was give a directive to redesign Maths and science to make them “more interesting for girls” (quote from one of the documents).

    That’s a really interesting comment. I’m going to file it away for when I talk to my son’s school about pulling him out of his maths class, which is just wasting his time, and getting him to study an alternate maths programme instead.

    Also, what the heck were MOE idiots thinking? Maths is interesting for girls, if they like maths. I was top of my year in Maths in 6th form in the 80’s because I enjoyed maths the way it was. Looking at what they’ve done to the curriculum now is just painful.

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  54. Disaster Area (41 comments) says:

    Virtualmark: if you have concerns about the quality of the teachers then you have a duty to report it to the school. Each school should have a complaints policy. I suggest you put your concerns in writing to the Principal, setting a date by which you would like a reply. If the reply is not to your satisfaction then you should then write to the Chair of the Board of Trustees. Be polite and be specific about what aspects of the teacher’s performance is causing concern.

    Trust me, if the teachers are as bad as you say then the school will want rid of them. Despite what people on here would like to believe, schools really don’t want teachers who generate complaints.

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  55. doggone7 (808 comments) says:

    virtual mark: “…another 2,000 teachers, who will be spread across the 2,300-ish schools around New Zealand. So less than 1 extra teacher per school. And there is neither the land, or probably the funding, to provide the extra class-rooms.

    Frankly, the quality of education policy would improve immensely in New Zealand if we sent the Labour Party politicians back to remedial maths classes.”

    The first statements are founded on lack of knowledge of how schools are staffed, how changes of pupil teacher-ratios work and thinking that 2000 extra classrooms would be needed. When the Labour Party politicians go back to remedial maths classes they should take with them all those who make fatuous, nonsensical statements for political purposes who don’t realise the depth of their lack of knowledge.

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  56. MH (762 comments) says:

    Pure and simple the answer is men teachers as role models. Some schools have no men in them at all and probably never will, some schools never see a European teacher and dion’t want them in “their” schools. Hence the disconnect we are all facing,whether we are “our people” or the rest, we are failing to mix together in society.

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