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Class sizes don’t matter?

Written By: - Date published: 8:06 am, June 2nd, 2012 - 44 comments
Categories: class war, education, john key - Tags:

44 comments on “Class sizes don’t matter?”

  1. Carol 1

    Gone viral!

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10810207

    The Prime Minister told the Listener he sent his children to private schools for educational reasons, including smaller classes and better resources.

    It was not a direct quote, but a picture of Mr Key with the comment alongside was posted on Facebook yesterday and by last night had appeared on numerous blogs and been shared by more than 6000 people.

    Comments about it included labelling Mr Key a hypocrite for arguing now that increasing class sizes in the state sector would not affect standards of education.

  2. seeker 2

    Almost a direct quote

    “Mostly, he says, that decision was for educational reasons. Their schools have smaller classes and are better resourced than most state schools. ”

    http://www.listener.co.nz/commentary/show-a-bit-of-class/

  3. Bill English’s budget has caused a lot of upset in the education world. Intermediate schools; their teachers and the parents of the students who go to them, were dismayed to find that huge cuts were to be made to teaching staff and to the practical subjects offered. What reason could there be for such severe cuts to Intermediate schools? National has for a long time now, pushed the idea that bigger classes are better, that crowding children into a classroom will help their learning. Children at State schools that is. Not those going to private schools, where many of the politicians own children go. At the private schools, parents are promised small class sizes and the benefits that come from the extra attention their child will receive as a result. What I find difficult to understand, is how the Government can say two different things and expect us to believe them. Small is good for their children, but big is good for ours. I don’t believe them.

    Robert Guyton

    http://robertguyton.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/i-wrote-letter-to-editor.html

    • Bill 3.1

      “Small is good for their children, but big is good for ours.”

      :-) Privatisation is good for all people who want to make a buck. Our children, their children, all children…fair game. Now, whatyamean you’re a wee bit poor and can’t afford to send you’re child to one of the ‘more efficient by outcomes’ schools? You been making ‘bad life choices’ there? Oh well, them’s the breaks. Can’t have your bad choices and tall poppy syndrome ruining it* for the rest of us**, can we***?

      [* our opportunity to make dosh]
      [**mythical and all inclusive ‘us’ with the exception of you know who]
      [***the real ‘us’…us with the dosh and the itchy palms]

    • seeker 3.2

      I think Gabriel Makhlouf opined a great deal about class size,’master teachers’ and tradeoffs in March 2012.http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/media-speeches/speeches/economicleadership
      He should have stuck to what he had some knowledge of rather than fraudently trying to enter and pontificate upon the specialised world of Education by (ab)using his position of CEO of the national piggybank. We all know how the government listens to the treasury! The blind leading the blind.

      • DH 3.2.1

        It’s like being a fly on the wall at the mad hatters tea party. They bring in an import from a country in a worse financial state than we’re in and he has the gall to preach to us about education!

        They can’t even do their maths properly at Treasury. Anyone who has spent even five minutes talking to NZ teachers would know that an increased class size leads directly to an increase in their workload. That’s more marking, more assessment, more preparation, more parents to coddle etc etc.

        Teachers are going to demand compensation for the extra time, it may only translate into a few percent but that will negate any savings made from reducing teacher numbers. The next few rounds of teacher pay talks will almost certainly include demands for extra pay to cover the increased workload.

        Once again ideology trumps common sense.

    • Andy 3.3

      Read your Orwell. It’s called doublethink. Ignorance is strength.

  4. DS 4

    Don’t forget that private schools don’t have to jump through the unnecessary hoops involved with National Standards. The parents and presumably employers are quite content with the label of “private school”.
    Or that “smaller classes” can be part of the special character of private schools when they ask to be integrated.

  5. Brian 5

    I’m with you on this one John – sending your kids to school for “educational reasons” is definitely the best course of action.

  6. Nick K 6

    Mostly, he says, that decision was for educational reasons. Their schools have smaller classes and are better resourced than most state schools.

    The first sentence is a quote from Key. But the second isn’t.

    • North 6.1

      Nick K……..seems Key HAS NOT DENIED that he identified smaller class sizes and/or better resources as “educational reasons” why his kids were at private schools ?

      If he does not then we have on the table a direct reporting of his “……reasons”.

      So, until he does deny (in which case Listener writer Joanne Black’s interview notes/recollections would need to be consulted) I can only see your assertion above as a nervous spray of bullshit occasioned by the searing embarrassment you are feeling.

      Your idol has clay feet and the perpetual dribble spin which trickles down is washing them away ?

    • Penny Bright 6.2

      Browsing: Home / Commentary / Show a bit of class
      Show a bit of class
      By JOANNE BLACK | Published on May 28, 2005 | Issue 3394

      ” ……………..
      It might be sick, but it also might be why Key’s children – Stephanie, 12, and Max, 10 – go to private schools. Mostly, he says, that decision was for educational reasons. Their schools have smaller classes and are better resourced than most state schools. But he acknowledges that the connections children make are also important”

      THAT is the quote from the Listener article.

      Penny Bright
      ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’

      http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com

      • Puddleglum 6.2.1

        Thanks Penny.

        That seems to clear up the issue of whether or not the second sentence summarised his stated reasons. The third sentence reveals that, discursively, he was trying to avoid the accusation that he was sending his children to private schools so that they would make connections with the sons and daughters of the elite.

        By emphasising their ‘educational’ advantages, he was avoiding what he (then) saw as the more damaging, elitist implication of his decision to send his children to private schools. That is, trying to emphasise the ‘what you know’ NOT ‘Who you know’ advantages of private schooling.

        After all, he enjoys his reputation of being an ‘ordinary New Zealander’ and preserving that public view of him would have been paramount at the time.

    • redman 6.3

      Then let Key come out and say he would be happy for his kids to be in a class with 30+ kids in it, no teacher aid and one teacher.

      Lets see that statement from the PM.

  7. millsy 7

    Private schools exist only because parents dont want their precious little darlings to mix with dirty poor or brown kids. Nothing else. Unless those dirty poor/brown kids are good front-rowers for the first XV mind you..those Korean calculus whizzes make the test scores look good, but wouldnt know a scrum from a ruck.

    The increasing tendency for parents to send their children to wealthier private schools across town contributes to an ever incresing social stratification in this country.

    Back when I was a child, enjoying the blissful innocence of childhood oblivious to the unfolding chaos that was Rogernomics, my parents, sent me to a primary school and kindergarten that bordered a huge Housing Corp estate, known for its gang violence, etc, as did a lot of parents from that area, though my auntie and uncle, who lived just down the road, sent my cousin to a school in a more respectable area. Back then, even in the mid to late 1980’s parents didnt break their necks to send their kids to private school like they do now. And that primary school wasant a really bad school, it had some awesome teachers, and a principal who would personally visit the sick bay if a child was there to see if they were OK.

    Now I have at least 2 people from my work who live near that school who send their children to posh Catholic schools across town. No dirty poor kids for those darlings.

    As for class sizes, I really dont get why people think class sizes dont matter. I found that it was way easier to learn in a class size of 10-15, rather than a class size of 30-35, and that is right up to when I finished my degree.

    • Murray Olsen 7.1

      Spot on. It’s all about creating and demarcating an upper class in our “classless” Erewhon. The rulers who know all the right (wing) people and the ruled who get enough education to attend compulsory WINZ interviews where they’re probed, harassed and threatened. If they’re really lucky and not too brown, some of them might even get enough training to be waiters at the new Sky City Convention Centre on the odd occasion that someone has a convention there.

      • Puddleglum 7.1.1

        Hi Murray,

        Just wanted to say that is a very well-crafted comment. There are more insightful points – and implied points – in those few sentences than in many a long thread.

        Much appreciated! 

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.2

        some of them might even get enough training to be waiters at the new Sky City Convention Centre on the odd occasion that someone has a convention there.

        I’m sure John Key has promised to hold lots of tax payer funded events there.

  8. Wyndham 8

    The hypocrisy is further compounded by the fact that Key and Co. voted $35 million from the taxpayer to support private schools. No “user pays” dogma there.

    How do they get away with this stuff?

  9. ianmac 9

    Remember that it is not just Intermediates that will be hurt. Fabregas4 wrote a piece a few days ago showing how his 4/5 teacher contributing school will be seriously affected. At least 20? more kids than previously would be needed to get his 5th teacher. Can’t find his post. The Technology Centres are just a very public part of a very serious threat to younger kids.

  10. Dv 10

    Ianmac
    Here are a couple of examples I have found of the effects of class size.
    Thw key is the need for class sizes of 40 in some classes.
    I am absolutely positive the reseach did NOT model classes of this magnitude.
    It is these numbers that need to be kept to the fore.
    We need more example.

    Both are from teachers/principals

    BOTH have classes of over 40 in the new model.

    Example One
    Now
    Year 1 18 children (recommended 15) 18
    Year 2 22 24
    Year 3 22 (Beginning Teacher)
    Year 4/5 26
    Year 6 28

    We still have new entrants to come which will lift us to around 123 children by the end of the year. We are funded for 5 teachers after child 101, the 6th at 126.

    New
    After changes we will be funded for teacher 4 at 97.5 – the 5th at 125 – the 6th at 153.5.’

    So if we hit 123 children at years end we still would not qualify to be fully funded for teacher 5 meaning classes like this
    Year 1 18
    Year 2 24 (can’t in all conscience go higher for 6 year olds)
    Year 3 40
    Year 4/5 41

    Example 2
    1 teacher at my school is 20% of teachers! At each years end I have around 120 children. If I place 15 children in Year 1, then the balance of 105 children must be fitted within three classrooms. Quite frankly 27.5 children is too many in a Year 2 class – especially a rural, decile 1, 88% Maori school. So if I place say 24 in this room I have two classes of 40 left!

    • burt 10.1

      DV

      It would seem that in your example ‘bulk funding’ would probably produce better outcomes. How ironic is that.

      • ianmac 10.1.1

        I have a sneaking suspicion Burt that Bulk Funding will be on the Agenda and might well be behind the current pressure on Teaching. “Twist and screw them teechers so that a dose of Bulk Funding will be accepted.”
        Of course the money has to come from somewhere. Save money by increasing class sizes so that the money via BFunding can be spent by Schools to reduce class sizes. Brilliant!

    • North 10.2

      That’s why the liars are now casting the debate in terms of “maximum staff loss = 2 teachers”.

      It conceals in Ianmac’s example that in 40% of his school’s classes the pupil numbers will rise from 24 to 40 – a massive increase of 66%, just to hold ground in the other classes. Forget about your at first blush, seemingly innocuous “2”.

      It’s rank dishonesty anyway to bandy about any figure in a vaccum as they do with this “2” business.

      Be ready to be defamed and abused as incompetents when you can’t do the impossible teachers.

      Key and that Flash Potato Parata (Maori when it suits her but kupapa otherwise) are certainly King Canute when the prescriptions they invent fall to be met by others.

      They are disgusting, dishonest people (as confirmed by Key’s “educational reasons……”) who richly deserve from the public the exact same measure of contempt they offer to the public.

    • ianmac 10.3

      Thanks for that Dv. Have bookmarked this page because it should be a major issue and numbers are facts. Will publish in our local paper.

      • Dv 10.3.1

        Ian mac, the projected class sizes should be collected AND published across the country.

        burt, you are right. This could a trojan horse for bulk funding, but that has been clear fpr a while.

      • ianmac 10.3.2

        Have posted my letter to Editor using both sets of figures thanks DV and Fabregas4.

  11. burt 11

    I’m not actually surprised that this is posted with an author of ‘the standard’. I once questioned Mallard face to face on why his children didn’t go to their in zone school. His answer was quick and decisive – Don’t you dare bring my own family into a political discussion.

    Who put this post up, who’s going to put their name to it ? If it’s nobody then how about we also discuss why when Mallard supported school zoning as a policy for others his own kids were transported out of zone for schooling.

    All that aside. I think that as long as we have a state one size fits all school system for the masses that MPs should use it for their children. If they say it’s good enough for everyone else then they should eat it too. The same goes for the state health system – how many MP (from any party) have private medical insurance? How many of their kids wait 2-3 years for tonsillectomy etc.

    They need to eat their own dog food!

    • Dv 11.1

      Burt, I agree with the basic tennant of your comment, that MPs should have to live in the society they create.

    • millsy 11.2

      “The same goes for the state health system – how many MP (from any party) have private medical insurance? How many of their kids wait 2-3 years for tonsillectomy etc.”

      Probably why I wasant too keen on Cunliffe becoming Labour Leader. He said in a 2008 interview he had private health insurance.

      • Vicky32 11.2.1

        How many of their kids wait 2-3 years for tonsillectomy etc.”

        Burt, do you even understand why kids wait that long? In the early 1990s, my son had frequent bouts of ear infection and tonsillitis, and it was explained to me, that in contrast to my own youth, doctors now prefer to avoid tonsillectomies if at all possible. I was told that L., could have a tonsillectomy if and only if he had three bouts of infection within one calendar year – and he never did.
        Tonsils are now known to be an essential part of the immune system, and should never be removed until it’s absolutely necessary.

    • North 11.3

      Oh, the old diversionary chestnut from Burt……..”don’t bring my family into it.”

      Remember that in this issue Key is “bringing into it…….” every family in New Zealand with a child who will end up in an increased numbers classroom. What’s more he is engaging what amount to falsehoods to get the job done.

      If that in itself is not good enough to justify comment about Key being free to avail optimum educational circumstances for his family then his hypocrisy and his “Let them eat cake…” pose on class size, as evidenced by the picture and accompanying text above, certainly is.

      Strange though Burt that after blowing a valve about dissemination of the picture and text above you do for all money denounce Let Them Eat Cake Key’s going private by saying he shouldn’t be free engage that choice in the first place.

      I guess you’re terribly conflicted – a primal urge to engage apologism – fighting a searing embarrassment – fighting what might well be a vague shred of socialist principle.

      Have a cuppa and a lie down bro’.

    • Puddleglum 11.4

      Hi burt,

      I agree that MPs should take the consequences of the general policy decisions they make.

      As for ‘bringing his children into it’, I really don’t see it as a point about his children. I thought the point of raising this quotation was to show that Key’s stated beliefs about the educational value of small class sizes undercuts the claim that increasing class sizes (as a matter of explicit policy) will not effect the quality of children’s education.

      Whether in fact it does or doesn’t is not the point. It’s clear that, at least in 2005, Key believed that class size matters. Has he changed his view? If so, would he now caution people against paying money to have their children attend private schools on the ‘false’ belief that smaller classes were educationally helpful?

  12. Penny Bright 12

    Looks like John Key is going to be forced to do a big fat ‘U turn’ on increasing class sizes?

    Nearly 9000 Facebook ‘shares’ (as at 11.30am Saturday 2 June 2012)

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151003966976477&set=a.207470516476.164174.568131476&type=1&theater

    HYPOCRITE! SHONKY JOHN KEY! http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10810207

    Kiwi DIY ingenuity! An innovative way of coping with increasing class sizes…..

    http://www.trademe.co.nz/building-renovation/fixtures-fittings/handles-levers/auction-480723906.htm

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’

    http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com

  13. weka 13

    Would someone from TS mind clarifying whose image that is in the post? With The Listener header it looks like it’s something from The Listener. I’m assuming it’s not, but it’s a bit confusing at first, and even second glance. If it’s something someone at TS made, can you please credit it as such? (I mean credit it to TS, not necessarily an individual).
     
    It’s a good image. I just think this is another case of TS not being clear enough about who is the author of what. If people want to use that image elsewhere, it would be good if they knew who to credit it to.

    • Penny Bright 13.1

      Here you go Weka!

      “Would someone from TS mind clarifying whose image that is in the post? With The Listener header it looks like it’s something from The Listener. I’m assuming it’s not, but it’s a bit confusing at first, and even second glance. If it’s something someone at TS made, can you please credit it as such? (I mean credit it to TS, not necessarily an individual).

      It’s a good image. I just think this is another case of TS not being clear enough about who is the author of what. If people want to use that image elsewhere, it would be good if they knew who to credit it to.”

      TO WHOM TO GIVE CREDIT:

      http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151003966976477&set=a.207470516476.164174.568131476&type=1&theater

      Chris Glen

      So Mr Key, bigger classes are OK for kids from average NZ families who can’t afford private schools?

      Please SHARE on your Wall, your friends Walls and in your Groups.
      We all know about the ‘real John Key’, lets make sure others do too.

      This graphic was produced for Action for Good by me and not by the NZ Listener. Their logo is used as John Key’s remarks appeared in an interview published in the magazine in May 2005.

      John Key’s remarks sourced from: NZ Listener, May 28, 2005.
      http://www.listener.co.nz/commentary/show-a-bit-of-class/

      Photo Source: http://www.kingscollege.school.nz/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=26649

      ____________________________________________________________________________

      Penny Bright
      ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’
      http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com

  14. redman 14

    How typical of Key and his 2 faced scummy party. One rule for the plebs and another rule for him and his buddies.

    I see Whale Oil is saying the left are lying, making the quote up out of what Key actually said. Well here’s a question for Key then, would he be happy to keep his kids at their private schools, AND increase the numbers in those private classes to 30+ kids?

    Lets see a quote from Key to that question.

    • North 14.1

      Of course Key’s not here is he………fortuitously off to be Her Majesty’s most simpering and loyal servant at the Court of St James.

      Potato Parata must be ropeable. She’s conquered “Slap the Lippy”, got a handsome pass in “Hire the Limo”, here she is halfway through the “Smile and Wave” section of John Key 101, and blow me down the guy buggers off to mince and tap his way across the Buck House stage.

      Looks like a fail for Potato and a much flasher photo gallery on the prime ministerial Iphone.

      Joking aside – with heavy darts positively flying at home and remaining integrity and honour seminally at risk, Key should have been able, from London, to deny the “educational reasons…….” attributed to him. Were they deniable.

      He hasn’t. Bets on another case of Springbok Tour can’t remember durrrhh………? Or is the underlying hubris now so ingrained that he really don’t give a stuff ?

      I’ll be very hoha if Her Majesty gets a little too tipsy over the weekend and starts wavin’ that sword around. Nek minnit an impromptu job lot of unplanned knighthoods. Can’t you just see it ?; Key shoulder-charging people out of the way to fall under that sword.

  15. NattyM 15

    If class sizes don’t matter and the government really needs to cut costs, the next logical step is to cut public funding to private schools so that they too increase class sizes.

    • Dv 15.1

      WHY are private schools being penalised from getting the bests result for their pupils by having small classes?

      THIS is disgraceful and must not be tolerated.

      • mike e 15.1.1

        dv ant yes your understanding as those of your elitist cohorts will mean we will slip further down the economic ladder as a nation.So you are saying that large class sizes shouldn’t be tolerated at all even in public schools.

        • Vicky32 15.1.1.1

          dv ant yes your understanding as those of your elitist cohorts will mean we will slip further down the economic ladder as a nation.So you are saying that large class sizes shouldn’t be tolerated at all even in public schools.

          I fear Mik.e that you missed his sardonic point!

  16. Penny Bright 16

    Gosh – appears my reporting the FACTS have got a few bites?

    All good!

    ‘You don’t cop the flak unless you’re over the target’

    Keep going – you’re making my evening ………… :)

    Oh dear – seems I have kicked over a hornets’ nest on Cameron Slater’s blog?

    Funny the reaction some people have to the FACTS?

    Oh well – see what the response is to this next KICK………….. ? :)

    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2012/06/the-lies-the-left-tells/

    You have all checked out http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com ?

    Any considered opinions on when ‘shonky’ John Key is going to have to stop protecting ‘dodgy’ John Banks?

    Having held seven protests to date in the streets of the Epsom electorate, I can tell you that there are a growing number of voters who are concerned with John Key’s continued defence of the indefensible.

    Mind you – given John Key’s blinding hypocrisy and proven track record over Tranz Rail – it’s unlikely that he’s going to be able to ‘lead from the front’ when it comes to ‘honorable’ and ethical behaviour?

    Kind regards,

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’

    http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com
    http://www.pennybright4epsom.org.nz

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