web analytics
The Standard

Class size backdown

Written By: - Date published: 9:07 am, May 29th, 2012 - 32 comments
Categories: education, national, schools - Tags: , ,

The impact of class size on educational outcomes is a political issue, and that influences and clouds much of the research on the topic. (I regard this, and other examples of the politicisation of science, as an absolute condemnation of our society, but that’s an aside for another day). None the less the balance of the evidence is clear – and blindingly obvious to common sense – smaller classes lead to better educational outcomes. And perhaps the government is coming to its senses on the topic:

Govt rethinks move to bigger class sizes

The Government has agreed to set up a working party to look at the effect of new class ratio formulas on intermediate and middle schools – effectively an admission it blundered on that aspect of the policy.

About 215 schools providing technology subjects (cooking, sewing, art, ICT, woodwork and metalwork) for other schools could be affected more adversely than the Government expected. …

But senior government sources are pointing the finger at the Ministry of Education for advising Ms Parata wrongly on the effect on schools with a large number of Year 7 and 8 pupils (form one and two). … She expected 90 per cent of schools to lose or gain one full-time equivalent teacher and 10 per cent more than one. But some intermediate principals have calculated they could lose as many as five and that has come as a surprise to the Government.

“What has become really clear in that is that the Year 7 and 8 have had a 10-year provision for technology, the provision of which was not fully modelled,” Ms Parata said. …

No points for making up policy on the back of an envelope. Credit where it’s due, however, for recognising that a mistake has been made, and starting the backdown process. Now if only the same mental flexibility could be applied to the government’s other educational bungles, like national standards, and charter schools.

32 comments on “Class size backdown”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Watch out for the classic ‘bait and switch’. To look reasonable and attentive, National might indeed backpedal on class sizes either wholly or partially – but you can be sure that they have another sucker punch planned as a follow up.

    • Bunji 1.1

      They’ll backpedal only slightly, to look ‘reasonable’.

      It’ll be some tinkering around the calculations on Technology teachers, some guarantees that schools will transfer some of their funding to technology schools etc etc, but the lots of schools losing 1 or 2 teachers won’t change, the larger class sizes won’t change, and the loss of unfundable subjects will only be slightly mitigated.

      Children are the big losers from this budget, and will continue to be.

    • Enough is Enough 1.2

      I agree CV. The same bottom line objective will still be achieved by these thieving fuckers.

      Like most things this illegitimate government does, this is all about transferring wealth to the private sector. With class sizes swelling to sizes where every single student will be disadvantaged, what options do parents have to ensure their kids get a decent education. They will part with more of their limited cash and send them to private educators. you know those ones who educate for a profit.

      This is the privatisation of our education system and is as objectionable as the privatisation of our assets.

  2. Blue 2

    “…that has come as a surprise to the Government.”

    “…the provision of which was not fully modelled.”

    In other words “we are fucking idiots who make changes to schools based on absolutely no understanding of the situation, with our eyes only on the bottom line.”

    • bbfloyd 2.1

      in other words “we are fucking incompetents who are paying consultants to formulate policy for us”… which will be why they were caught out on this bit of stupidity….ministers like “beachball” bennett, and perata don’t even make their own policy decisions, let alone try to understand them…

      the spin lines are provided by their media trainers, so understanding is unnecessary when all that is required is repeated misdirection, and complicit media outlets…

  3. Dv 3

    AND the head of the Ministry is from England, with no experience of the NZ system.

    I wonder if they have modeled and costed the provision of larger classrooms to take the 30 to 37 kids?

    Parata didn’t front on Morning report, because the task force is not set up!!!

    The composition of that task force will be interesting. I wonder if they will have anyone from the schools?

  4. Newt 4

    Looks to me like another case of setting up a working group to pay a small number of unqualified people a large amount of money to take up a lot of time and ease the pressure on the piss-poor policies that they are supposed to be ‘reviewing’ while coming out with even more ridiculous claims to make these policies look good by comparison!

  5. stever 5

    What is it with all these task forces?

     Surely it’s the ministry’s job to do research and report on it, and possibilities and probably results of possible decisions. The pros and cons so the minister can make a decision.

    What is a task force going to do that the Ministry hasn’t (or shouldn’t) already have done? And if the Ministry hasn’t done something, then why not get them to do it? Why the task force????

    And, of course, we have yet another whiff of a minister refusing to take the blame for the organisation that they head.  

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Surely it’s the ministry’s job to do research and report on it, and possibilities and probably results of possible decisions. The pros and cons so the minister can make a decision.

      That’s what you would think, yes, but we’re talking NACT here and they have to give their mates jobs so that they can have “research” that matches their ideology

      • prism 5.1.1

        DTB
        and they have to give their mates jobs so that they can have “research” that matches their ideology
        or ' they have to have "research" that matches their ideology which gives their fellow-traveller mates' jobs.' It's the same either way isn't it. The rightist-thinking mates blob out their honey dew and the pollies eat it all up, it's their lifeblood, the insects.

  6. ianmac 6

    From the Primary Contributing Schools point of view this has a sad twist. Full attention is being given (rightly so) to the Intermediate Technology losses which will overshadow the losses to Primary Schools.
    The local school only lose one or two teachers? That’s not too bad then, is it?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 6.1

      Thats not going to be true either.

      Guess what, they havent taken into account zoning.

      Some schools will be able to raise their roll to keep all their teachers

      Other schools will have their roll drop which will increase the fall in teachers

    • Hayden 6.2

      Our local school (year 1 to 8, so including intermediate years) is looking at losing six technology teachers and closing the whole technology centre. I think they serve a few other schools too.

      My eldest is currently in year 2, and the youngest turns 5 in October, so hopefully the next government can start undoing this damage in 2014.

  7. Kath 7

    Is this the United States government?

    Can’t be! They never listen to common sense or teachers when it comes to education.

  8. Kath 8

    Never mind. I see it is the Ministry of Education. Not the US. At first, I thought this had to be an article from The Onion because the US government never does anything that makes sense.

  9. Ed 9

    I had seen the decision to cut the technology budget as related, but separate to, the decision on class sizes. This makes it a blunder by the politicians which the government is now spinning to try and blame the Department of Education. Any cut to other allowances would have had a flow on effect on class sizes, and they should have known that. This is ministerial incompetence – which the media appear to be swallowing as ‘inadequate advice’ – with no proof of any such thing.

  10. Uturn 10

    An basic question about larger class sizes:

    When I was at school, the size of the basic desks allowed for some fairly restricted aisles. Once you moved on to technical drawing, science or art classes the use of space became even more obvious. Since my old school hasn’t been knocked down and replaced lately, how will they fit an extra ten to twelve desks in the physical classroom space without having students unable to reach them unless they clamber over the top? Standing room only?

    • prism 10.1

      Uturn What the Dept has in mind? is for students to bring their own cushion and sit cross legged on the floor. Obvious really. So practical – and the desks can be sold off and the classrooms will be so spacious.

  11. First question in Parliament should be:

    To the Minister of Education:

    According to the Ministry’s modelling which Primary Schools will have an increase in the number of teachers following the implementation of the Government’s budget?

  12. The backdown begins:

    “Education Minister Hekia Parata says no school will lose more than two full-time teachers (FTTEs) as a result of the policy changes in Budget 2012.
    “As we’ve previously said, about 90% of schools will either gain, or have a net loss of less than one FTTE as a result of the combined effect of the ratio changes and projected roll growth,’’ Ms Parata says.
    “We have examined the effect on the other 10 per cent of schools, and some would be affected more than we would accept.
    “Schools will be given a guarantee that their staffing entitlement will not be reduced by more than two FTTEs over the next three years as a result of the policy changes.
    “It is also not the intention of the policy to undermine the specialist technology provision at Levels 7 and 8. The Ministry of Education, together with the sector working group to be established by the Ministry, will ensure that technology provision continues.
    “Either way no school will end up with more than two FTTEs fewer than they currently have, because of these policy changes.”
    Any additional cost from these changes will be met from a contingency set aside by the Ministry of Education to manage the transition to the new ratios, Ms Parata says.

    • Georgecom 12.1

      “staffing entitlement will not be reduced by more than 2 teachers over the next THREE YEARS”.

      After those 3 years, what then. No guarantees about the effects of staffing reductions and bigger class sizes after that.

      If the government seriously wants to sort out this issue, reinstate the funding.

  13. Dv 13

    Oops
    Bang goes the surplus in 2014!!

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    Now if only the same mental flexibility could be applied to the government’s other fuckups, like national standards, charter schools, Roads of National Significance, selling state assets…

    FIFY

    Of course, none of that will happen as they’re implementing them through blind faith rather than than through considered positions.

  15. Mel 15

    Breaking News
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10809292
    Minister of Education announces the ‘good news’ that schools will now lose up to two teachers only. How dumb does this govt think New Zealanders are?
     
     

    • prism 15.1

      Mel Is there a reward for guessing (calculating) the right answer to how calculating this NACT pact is?

  16. Draco T Bastard 16

    Excellent post over at the Dimpost on class sizes and why the accountants have got it all wrong.

  17. Dv 17

    From stuff

    Oops
    Intermediate school teachers are considering strike action in response to the increased class sizes.

  18. B.A.Debt 18

    If I owned a childcare company, I’d be putting up my prices right now. Big classes = low-confidence for kids stuck in the crowd, and teachers with microphones like they have in China yelling out the model answers. You could get test results higher this way, through rote learning and forceful drilling.

    But the big question is, “is our ‘new way’ really working?” Is NCEA making more children incompetent than the previous system? Why does it seem that kids are getting dumber every year by doing all these ‘static images’ and ‘group-work tasks’ that amount to teachers not marking their work that often, especially their writing?

    In those rich children’s schools the teacher expects work often and they are expected to mark writing and mathematics more carefully. Kids in the worst schools are not writing at all and doing only the most basic maths. Of course science and technology is important for these kids with no educational background who will go on to be tradesmen, or unemployable.

    Teachers working hard? Yeah, but they’re all too often the lowest level graduates. People who either don’t or couldn’t make it in more highly competitive fields. This is all about salaries and status. We could have far better teachers if we literally tripled entry level salaries without bringing in degrading and wasteful government regulations and monitors. This would make education a more attractive field for the kind of people who are busily destroying the world as bankers.

    There is one solution. Teachers and parents strike together! Parents say, if the teachers won’t teach, then we won’t work!

    Nationwide strikes!

    Sack Parata!

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • More housing humiliation for Nick Smith
    Nick Smith has been completely humiliated once again – this time by Ngāti Whātua who have used his blunders to their full advantage to extract an excellent deal for Aucklanders that the minister would never have developed himself, Labour’s Housing… ...
    1 hour ago
  • PM must stop making excuses for offensive MP
    John Key must stop dismissing the highly offensive behaviour of his Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson and publically reprimand him, Labour’s spokesperson for Woman Sue Moroney says. “Maurice Williamson’s behaviour at an Eagle Technology dinner was completely unacceptable. ...
    2 hours ago
  • Charter application skew assists rich American
    The Government has skewed the latest round of charter school applications to assist an American millionaire’s goal of ‘revolutionising” New Zealand’s education system, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. ACT Leader David Seymour and Ngāi Tahu’s Sir Mark Solomon in… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Key’s refugee response at odds with Kiwi traditions
    John Key’s response to the current refugee crisis is out of step with New Zealand’s tradition of pulling its weight internationally, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 1999, under a National Government, New Zealand accepted more than 400… ...
    5 hours ago
  • Coromandel rallies against the TPPA
    On Wednesday, John Key visited the southern Coromandel area with local National MP Scott Simpson and was challenged by citizens who spontaneously organised protests against the Government position on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). I went down to Waihi… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    5 hours ago
  • John Key: where is your conscience?
    The Prime Minister’s refusal to raise the refugee quota in the face of an international humanitarian crisis shows a lack of empathy and moral leadership, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “There are times in politics when you are faced with… ...
    6 hours ago
  • Report highlights National’s poor funding decisions
    The Government’s poor coordination between its transport strategy and the needs of the regions has been highlighted in a new report by Local Government New Zealand, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Local Government was forced to write its Mobilising… ...
    1 day ago
  • Government wakes up to Opotiki Harbour
    John Key is expected to finally announce Government support next week for the Opotiki Harbour development, says Labour Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. "While it is astonishing that it has taken seven years for the Government to commit to this… ...
    1 day ago
  • New figures show speculators rampant
    New figures released by the Reserve Bank show there’s been an explosion in mortgage lending with most of the growth going to property investors, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Reserve Bank data shows mortgage lending was up 6 per… ...
    2 days ago
  • Spring is here – not pollen your leg
    It’s the first day of spring, and many people will be thinking about getting stuck into the weeds in the garden ready for planting. This year September is also Bee Aware Month. While there is a lack of movement from… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 days ago
  • Government must do more to help global refugee crisis
    John Key must urgently increase our refugee quota and let New Zealand play its part in helping address the tragic humanitarian crisis unfolding around the world, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The refugee crisis in countries like Lebanon and Austria… ...
    2 days ago
  • The latest equal pay case – Go the Midwives
    ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 days ago
  • Key’s threat to veto premature
    John Key’s threat that he might use a financial veto against the Bill that will introduce 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave is premature and based on inflated costings, says the bill’s sponsor, Labour ‘s Sue Moroney.  “The Government keeps saying… ...
    3 days ago
  • Reflections on the plastic bag tour
    After a marathon public tour around New Zealand that took me to 29 different places around New Zealand from the far north of Kaitaia to the deep south of Invercargill to talk about phasing out plastic bag use, I wanted… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    3 days ago
  • Labour celebrates Tongan language and diversity
    Tongan Language Week is a timely reminder of the importance and beauty of our Pacific culture, identity and language in New Zealand, says our first Tongan born, Tongan speaking MP Jenny Salesa.  The theme for Tongan Language Week in 2015… ...
    3 days ago
  • Privatising CYF about ideology not care
    John Key’s suggestions today that Child Youth and Family could be privatized will be a terrifying thought for New Zealanders already dealing with the mess created in private prisons and plans to sell our state houses to Australians, Opposition Leader… ...
    3 days ago
  • Govt must make most of Jetstar competition
    Government agencies should pledge to always buy “the best fare of the day” to maximise competition between Jetstar and Air New Zealand and ensure savings for taxpayers while boosting services to regional New Zealand, Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Phil Twyford says.… ...
    3 days ago
  • Time for inquiry into petrol margins
    It’s time for an inquiry into petrol companies as margins are once again at the high levels that prompted concerns late last year, says Labour's Energy Spokesperson Stuart Nash. "Over the December January holiday period, petrol importer margins jumped to… ...
    6 days ago
  • More talk as Auckland congestion worsens
    The main impact of the Government’s agreement with Auckland Council today will be simply to delay still further decisions needed to relieve the city’s traffic congestion, says Labour’s Auckland Issues Spokesperson, Phil Goff. “Government has been aware for more than… ...
    7 days ago
  • Serco inquiry extended
    A two month delay to the Government investigation into prison fight clubs shows the extent of problems within the Serco circus, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “My office received a tsunami of complaints so I’m not surprised the terms… ...
    1 week ago
  • Truck Shops ignore consumer laws
    A damning Commerce Commission report out today highlights the failure of the Government to protect poor and vulnerable families from unscrupulous truck shops, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson David Shearer. “The report found that 31 out of 32 firms it… ...
    1 week ago
  • Taihoa at Ihumatao says Labour
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has called on the Government to rethink its controversial Special Housing Area in Māngere. Auckland Council is today meeting to discuss the development which borders the Otuataua Stonefield Historic Reserve. This project is to get… ...
    1 week ago
  • Figures suggest National deliberately excluded farming
    Figures showing the dairy industry would be categorised as high risk if there were a further five severe injuries within a year, strongly suggests National designed its flawed system to deliberately exclude farming, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bleak report on the state of our children
    A damning conclusion by the Children’s Commissioner today that ‘we don’t know if children are better off as a result of state intervention, but the indications are not good’ should make fixing CYFs a top priority for this Government, says… ...
    1 week ago
  • Dodgy data used to justify axing KiwiSaver kickstart
    National’s agenda to run down KiwiSaver has become even clearer from a scathing critique of the Government’s justification for axing the $1000 kickstart, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Since National came to power they have not only continually undermined… ...
    1 week ago
  • Unsecure website risks Ashley MoBIEson hack
    Experts have raised security concerns that vulnerabilities in MoBIE’s half million-dollar website could lead to a possible Ashley Maddison-style hack, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “The real issue here is not what data is immediately available, but what… ...
    1 week ago
  • Democracy still the loser in Canterbury
    The Government has demonstrated once again how arrogant and out of touch it is in denying Cantabrians the same democratic rights as the rest of the country, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Environment Canterbury Bill which has been… ...
    1 week ago
  • Waiver cost still a mystery
    The Government still has no idea what it’s going to cost community and voluntary groups to get a waiver from the fees police will charge to carry out checks on their staff and volunteers, says Labour’s Community and Voluntary spokesperson… ...
    1 week ago
  • China exports fall 27 per cent in a year
    Exports to China have fallen by 27 per cent over the last 12 months - showing that the looming economic slowdown should have been expected by the Government, says Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark. “The Chinese economic slowdown should… ...
    1 week ago
  • National should support all families for 26 weeks
    Families with multiple babies, and those born prematurely or with disabilities, are the winners from moves to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks but the Government must give all babies the same head start in life, Labour’s spokesperson for… ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s health and safety shambles puts school camps at risk
    Reports that schools are considering scrapping student camps and tearing out playgrounds highlights just how badly National has managed its health and safety reforms, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Schools have been left completely in the dark about the… ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s asset stripping agenda hits schools
    National’s fire-sale of school houses and land is short-sighted, mean-spirited, and will have huge unintended consequences that we will pay for in years to come, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. Documents obtained by Labour show the Ministry of Education… ...
    1 week ago
  • Takahe massacre supposed to get all New Zealanders involved in conservation
    The Minister’s claim that a  botched cull of one of New Zealand’s rarest birds was a way of getting all New Zealanders involved in conservation is offensive and ludicrous, Labour’s conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson says.  “An email from Minister Maggie… ...
    1 week ago
  • Serco circus rolls on with revelations of fight club practice
    Further revelations that a Serco prison guard was coaching inmates on fight club techniques confirms a fully independent inquiry needs to take place, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The Minister’s statement today that a guard was coaching sparring techniques… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government targets put ahead of students’ education
    The Government must urgently reassess the way it sets NCEA targets after a new report found they are forcing schools to “credit farm” and are undermining the qualification, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “A PPTA report released today says… ...
    1 week ago
  • ER patients in corridors as health cuts bite
    Patients are being forced to wait for hours on beds in corridors as cash strapped hospitals struggle to keep up with budget cuts, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “People coming to the emergency room and being forced to wait… ...
    1 week ago
  • Not too late to fix Health and Safety for New Zealand’s workers
    The Government and its minor party supporters are showing an arrogant disregard for workers’ lives by not agreeing to a cross-party solution to the botched Health and Safety bill, Opposition leader Andrew Little says. “Yesterday I wrote to the Prime… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Council of Infrastructure Development
    Tēnā Kotou Katoa. Thank you so much for having me along to speak today. Can I begin by acknowledging John Rae, the President, and Stephen Selwood, the chief executive of the Council for Infrastructure Development. ...
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank points finger at Govt inaction
    In scathing criticism of the Government’s inaction, the Reserve Bank says Auckland housing supply is growing nowhere near fast enough to make a dent the housing shortage, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Reserve Bank deputy governor Grant Spencer today… ...
    1 week ago
  • Chickens come home to roost on climate change
    The Government’s gutting of the Emissions Trading Scheme has caused foresters to leave and emissions to rise, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods. “The release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Facts and Figures Report for 2014 on the ETS… ...
    1 week ago
  • Website adds to long list of big spends at MBIE
    The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s $560,000 outlay on its new website is further evidence of excessive spending by Steven Joyce on his pet project super ministry, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says.  “Hot on the heels of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Brownlee warned over EQC repairs but ignored them
    Gerry Brownlee was warned that EQC’s underfloor repairs weren’t being done properly by industry experts, the cross party working group and in public but he arrogantly ignored them all, says Labour’s Earthquake Commission spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.  “Today’s apology and commitment… ...
    1 week ago
  • Serco wants in on state house sell off
    The Government must keep scandal plagued outsourcing company Serco away from our state housing after their disastrous record running Mt Eden prison, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Today it has emerged that at the same time Serco was under… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Come clean on Pasifika education centre
    Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iinga needs to come clean and tell the Pasifika communities if he’s working to save the Pasifika Education Centre or shut it down, Labour’s Pasifika spokesperson Su’a William Sio says.  “I’m gutted the Pasifika Education Centre funding… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for NZTA to work on alternatives to flyover
    The High Court decision rejecting the New Zealand Transport Agency’s attempts to build the Basin Reserve flyover must now mean that NZTA finally works with the community on other options for transport solutions in Wellington, Grant Robertson and Annette King… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Shiny new system leads to record truancy
    Record high truancy rates shows the Government’s much-vaunted new attendance system is an abysmal failure, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Data released today shows truancy rates have spiked more than 15 per cent in 2014 and are now at… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Woodhouse wrong about quarries
      The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse was wrong yesterday when he said limestone quarries were covered by the farcical Health and Safety legislation, says Labour’s Associate Labour spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “He said he ‘understood’ limestone quarries… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taxpayers money spent on culling one of our rarest birds
    It beggars belief that four endangered takahe were killed by incompetent cullers contracted to the Department of Conservation and the Minister must explain this wanton destruction, says Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It must not be forgotten that there are only… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing NZ must immediately move family
    Housing New Zealand must immediately move a Glen Innes family whose son contracted serious and potentially fatal health problems from the appalling condition of their state house, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Te Ao Marama Wensor and community workers… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • No understanding of the value of overseas investment
     The Government has now admitted it has absolutely no idea of the actual value of foreign investment in New Zealand, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “It is crucial that the Government starts to understand just what this overseas… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere