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Isolating change: the poverty of education

Written By: - Date published: 11:24 am, January 24th, 2014 - 59 comments
Categories: child welfare, class war, david cunliffe, education, election 2014, equality, greens, Hekia parata, john key, labour, Metiria Turei, same old national - Tags:

John Key has presented one great idea instead of a full election agenda: he has latched on to one aspect of education in isolation from the wider context.  This policy announcement is a desperate attempt to stop the decline in his government’s popularity and related growing discontents.  First he spoke a lot of untruths and mis-directions in dismissing opposition concerns with poverty and the increase in income inequalities.  (Polity exposes the lies.) Then he tried to paper over the election risk posed by his government’s failing education (and other) policies, by narrowing the focus of his election agenda onto one isolated aspect of education.

Key is aiming to parachute a very limited policy from above, into a complex situation.  There have been some very good responses to Key’s policy.  Most agree with supporting good teachers.  Most critics point to the ways in which poverty and inequalities impact on children’s learning.

University of Canterbury College of Education pro-vice chancellor, Prof Gail Gillon makes some comments at the beginning of an RNZ audio clip from this morning’s Morning Report. She says that for education and teaching to improve, social situations also need attending.  She is especially concerned about the impact on a child’s education, of poverty and related problems of health and housing.

The majority of the audio clip is an interview with Principal Ian Leckie, of Tahatai Coast School. He is concerned that the policy has been dropped on schools without warning. He welcomes some positive aspects of Key’s policy.  However, he is concerned it cuts across the work schools have been doing with the Ministry of Education and school trustees, over the last 10 years, to build a good teacher career structure and to ensure good teaching.

Leckie says Key’s policy misses the mark in raising student achievement.  It fails to deal with the main underlying societal issues.  He says that potentially, “the devil’s in the detail”, and there’s no indication of the detail for Key’s policy. The government has got the whole thing arse backwards – imposing the scheme from above, then planning to consult with schools, unions, etc.  They should have begun with consultations.

[audio:http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20140124-0712-new_policy_not_addressing_underlying_problem_-_principal-048.mp3]

David Cunliffe, also on Morning Report today, says that Key’s policy is “underwhelming”, and is a “six page apology for five years of Hekia Parata”.  Cunliffe says that, “at it’s very best, is a partial solution to how to make our schools perform better.” He says National is responding to a real risk for them in election year, because New Zealand is tumbling down the international education rankings.

Cunliffe is critical of the way National is suddenly jumping on board with something the opposition have been saying for years: that collaboration is important.  Meanwhile all the things that the National-led government has been doing have been taking education in the opposite direction, towards more competition: national standards, league tables, charter schools, cutting  professional development, increasing class sizes, etc.

Cunliffe says Labour wants to take a whole family view, taking into account socio-economic background.  Cunliffe says that Key focused his “State of the Nation” speech on one narrow policy, one idea, and failed to provide a full Statement by setting out his whole agenda for the year.  Cunliffe said he will be doing a true State of the Nation speech, giving an outline of Labour’s wider agenda.

[audio:http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20140124-0815-labour_says_national_education_policy_is_underwhelming-048.mp3]

Metiria Turei is also critical of Key’s education policy because it does not tackle the underlying problem of poverty and inequality.

“The OECD PISA report at the end of last year showed embarrassingly large differences between our children’s socioeconomic status and worsening educational achievement,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“Growing inequality in New Zealand is negatively impacting on our kids learning. Sick and hungry kids can’t learn. This policy does nothing for kids and families living in poverty.

“The best teachers and principals in the world can’t feed or heal the hungry and sick kids that show up to school each day.

“This real problem in our kids’ education achievement is not addressed by National’s proposal.

“This poorly thought out policy assumes that a possible improvement in teaching practice will address the driver of declining standards, inequality. It won’t.

Turei stressed the importance of tackling poverty and inequality on Newstalk ZB this morning:

“Unless kids come to school with enough food and are well and are well cared well [sic], they are not ready to learn. It doesn’t matter what the best teacher does. If they are hungry or they’re sick, they are not going to work.”

This transcript may have lost something in the translation from the spoken word – but the idea is clear.

Gordon Campbell has also published his usual quality analysis of Key’s education policy:

Even so, these matters are of less concern than how the changes are intended to fit within the government’s overall strategy for education.

To date, and as the charter schools experiment has shown, the government appears to have an ideologically-driven readiness to monetise and to atomise aspects of the existing state education system. In similar vein, yesterday’s changes can validly be seen as a performance pay scheme disguised as a rescue package for schools in need.

59 comments on “Isolating change: the poverty of education”

  1. geoff 1

    grammar nazi (sorry)

    right at the start
    “John Key’s has…”

    A few lines from top
    “The he tried ”

    also Ian leckie paragraph
    “He welcome’s…”

    • karol 1.1

      Thanks. Are the audio clips working for you? They just keep buffering for me and not playing.

    • Mel 1.2

      Exactly.

      I view this as part of National’s election year lolly scramble. Dropping in ‘change agents’ (Hate these business terms for human endeavours) has been shown again and again either to not work, or to fade over time.

      Politicians need to stop meddling in education, realise the pervasive effect of poverty on people, put in place steps to alleviate this, begin working together with each other (across party accords) and with teachers, if we want to make improvements.

      • aerobubble 1.2.1

        Isn’t it obvious it won’t work, I mean what principal of a school would seek to advertize their problems by having a ‘expert’ principal look over their shoulder. Sure where boards are at odds with their principal…

        …look its pretty clear National Standards means, for National, declaring which schools are bad and which are good. And so giving parents the choice of school, if they are wealthy enough to take their kids to the other side of town. Now why should this shock you, well clearly the underlying theme of us and them, of climbing zombie like over your neighbors, having status of better class of people who send their kids to a better school, all feed into the narrative, that
        profit at any cost. Its pure ideology, and Key admits as much by bringing up ideology as not the reason, because he knows the point hits home.

        Key does not want a efficient economy, because you see there’s a divergence between those
        who build the economy (who worry about the shrinking income tax base as boomer retire) who want more choice of employees (all better educated) and Key who need inequality.

        What is the Auckland school zone but another National party base ideological agenda, to make money out of schools. The whole point of measuring schools is to profit from them. But again the future needs a broader pool of varied skills and experience, so how is forcing everyone to pass the same metrics going to produce them. Its a one box mentality.

  2. Pasupial 2

    Thanks for this post Karol – illuminating as ever. I’ve been commenting in a similar vein over on Open Mike, but it’s starting to make my hand ache countering that PR campaign (a minor cut that has slowed my typing this week).

  3. Zorr 3

    The last thing the education system needs right now is more money at the wrong end. I can’t understand those who see a policy such as this and, because it’s a lolly scramble in their direction, can’t see past the sweets.

    What point is there to paying our educators more if:

    a) They’re teaching to the test – get rid of National Standards already

    b) They’re not getting paid – fix payroll already and get rid of Talentless2

    c) They’re not socially respected – our neo-lib masters have been deriding the teaching profession for decades now as they are a bastion of organized, educated unions and this has resulted in a community that is divided over our education system

    d) We have not yet returned to evidence-based education policy – we previously listened to our experts, can we have this back before we throw more money in a pit?

    e) Stop out-sourcing schooling – if we are to be paying teachers for performing, then they should all be required to be meeting the same goals (I smell a potential rort right here for state-integrated and charter schools)

    The list could continue ad infinitum – the amount of damage done to the education system is almost beyond measure these days. We need to reset the broken bone and put it in a splint while we heal, not this sticking plaster. Without comprehensive policy changes to back this up, this is nothing but flash and sizzle.

    • Chooky 3.1

      Good Post karol and Zorr +100

      Keys changes for education are most underwhelming…apart from the other factors which drive educational excellence and which the National govt has consistently undermined ….this is a USA Neo liberal inspired attack on teachers( it is being done in the USA)…blaming teachers by implication for for our unravelling international education quality and laying the ground for privatising and charter schools

      …..why not just bring back the old school inspectorate to advise schools and teachers? ( this inspectorate was made of very experienced older teachers nearing retirement and deemed excellent at their jobs and they didnt cost much more!)

      …. this would be without the huge cronyist monetary incentivist bribes to those Principals the Nact govt deems as ‘excellent’ to advise everyone else especially ‘under performing’ schools from low socio economic areas ( irony irony)

      …..the potential for a cronyist fascist top down education is here imo….….ie you are only an excellent Principal deserving of tens of thousands more in your pay packet if you are a Nact supporter and do not criticise the Nact govt ( and for God’s sake don’t even think about teaching critical thinking!)

      • aerobubble 3.1.1

        ACC Doctors. The pattern. Doctors chosen for their past results at getting ACC claims denied.

        Now the principals union welcomes the same practice of ‘experts’.

        Expects who will be selected on their ability to impose National Standards.

        Invariably impose upon schools who are at odds with their boards, or have fail to impose National standards….

        ..and then there’s the joke, that National will claim victory when they don’t spend all 300 million.

        Its just politics wrap in ideology wrap in politics.

    • Anne 3.2

      +1 Zorr

      Is it true that John Key used the term “the teacher industry”? If it is true then that says it all. It’s no longer a profession run by the government for the education of all children regardless of their background? It’s now an industry based on market-led ideology and the teachers are the human component in that market place bidding for the top paid jobs? So, what’s the price they must pay? Join the Neo Lib movement and pray openly to the NL god – money?

      And what of the children? Well, it looks like they are just the assembly line bits on the factory floor. The teachers will be competing with one another (instead of working together) to see who can push these ‘bits’ through to the other end in the quickest time possible. The winners get to be CEOs and Executive members of the “teaching industry”.

      And all this is disguised as a supposed upgrade to our system of education. Will there be a board of directors made up of NACT business tycoons and a few token educators known by the govt. to have right wing sympathies?

      That the teacher unions and related bodies have apparently fallen for it – blindsided by the offer of bonus salaries that most of them will never actually see? – just beggars belief.

      • karol 3.2.1

        Anne, it looks more like the secondary teachers’ union have gone for it, but the union for primary/early childhood teachers is less supportive of Key’ policy.

        • Anne 3.2.1.1

          Thanks karol. Doesn’t say much for the secondary teachers union. In some ways it doesn’t surprise me. Many of them do see themselves as a cut above their counterparts in the primary and early childhood sectors.

          I have a close relative in the early childhood sector. She’s not a political animal by any means but there’s no way she will have fallen for it!

      • Chooky 3.2.2

        +100 Anne

      • Hami Shearlie 3.2.3

        Yes he did call it the “teaching industry” Anne – that should have sent warning bells to all parents and teachers!

        • Will@Welly 3.2.3.1

          Then we are in trouble. Peter Marshall also referred to the Police as a “business”. Money, not justice.
          The teaching profession has been in trouble for a number of years. I personally have had 5 relatives leave the industry – one a very well paid, high flying principal, and off-hand, I know of around 6 – 7 trained teachers who have left the profession as well, citing stress and disenchantment. Too often today, teaching is an extension of the MSD, not education.

  4. Fisiani 4

    David Farrar puts it well. The response to John Key was overwhelmingly supportive but there were a few naysayers

    “The most negative of all was the Green Party:

    National’s announcement of four additional teacher roles won’t address the key reason for our decline in education performance, growing inequality, says the Green Party.

    “Growing inequality in New Zealand is negatively impacting on our kids learning. Sick and hungry kids can’t learn. This policy does nothing for kids and families living in poverty.

    Let’s put this one to bed. Even if this was true (it is not), this is an announcement on education, not welfare. Turei seems to say we should do nothing to improve the education system while some families are poorer than others. How depressing. I want to see more families doing better, but there is no magic wand. Getting people out of poverty is often a generational thing as you have to confront parenting skills, welfare dependency, employment, drug and alcohol issues, and oh yeah education.

    But let’s deal with the big lie. I call it a lie, because the amount of research on what influences educational outcomes is massive. There have been over 50,000 studies. Over 800 meta-analysis done involving 200 million students. Professor John Hattie has done a meta meta analysis of all these studies and identified 138 factors that influence educational outcomes. Not one factor, but 138. Greens think there is just one.

    Now socio-economic status is important. It definitely is an influence. There have been 499 studies that looked at its effect. But is it the biggest influence. No. Is it second? No. Third? No. Top 10? Still no. Top 20? Still a no. It is No 32 and home environment by the way is No 31.

    So the next time the Greens say the key reason for educational decline is poverty or income inequality, don’t beat around the bush. Call them a liar.”

    [karol: do you have your own views, Fisiani? Reposting an entire Farrar post, without any links to the original is not an acceptable comment. Are you capable of making your own argument, rather than just being a Farrar echo-chamber? Any further attempts at such parroting will be deleted. I will say that geoff’s recommended spell & grammar check extension is working. DPF also needs an editor.]

    • Hayden 4.1

      Greens think there is just one.

      Lie.

      For reference:

      National’s announcement of four additional teacher roles won’t address the key reason(1) for our decline in education performance(2), growing inequality, says the Green Party.

      1: “the key reason” necessarily implies that there are other reasons

      2: causing the decline in performance, not the overall performance

      On the other hand, maybe David Farrar is psychic, in which case I bow to his superior knowledge of what the Greens think.

      Edited: No [sup] tags.

    • Molly 4.2

      If you are going to refer to Hattie as not finding poverty a criteria in raising performance – you’d better have a look at the book.

      Very little searching can find a review with pertinent points:

      The commentary raises a number of concerns, including the fact that social effects and background context are ruled out.

      “(This) is not a book about what cannot be influenced in schools – thus critical discussions about class, poverty, resource in families, health in families and nutrition are not included – but this is NOT because they are unimportant, indeed they may be more important than many of the issues discussed in this book. It is just that I have not included these topics in my orbit,” Hattie says.

      The commentators however are very concerned about this attitude.

      “Hattie acknowledges the important role of socio-economic status and home background… but chooses to ignore it. That is his choice: but it is easy for those seeking to make policy decisions to forget this significant qualification,” they say.

      Professor Snook hoped the commentary would prompt John Hattie to discuss the issues it raised.

      “I would like to see a good debate on these issues,” he said.

      • Hayden 4.2.1

        You can see the full list here:

        http://visible-learning.org/hattie-ranking-influences-effect-sizes-learning-achievement/

        “Quality of Teaching” is #56 (assuming I can count, they’re not numbered), well behind “Pre-term birth weight” at #38. Can I assume that National will prioritise fatter (or skinnier, who would know?) babies before worrying about teacher quality? “Principals/school leaders” is at #74, so better ignore those, too.

        Other influences are listed as “Science”, “Mathematics”, “Whole Language” and “Drugs”; how the hell are those supposed to be compared by their position in the list?

    • Chooky 4.3

      @ Fisiani…you and Farrar are Key and Joyce are full of bullshit!

      …you are representatives and spinners of a most INEGALITARIAN right wing force originating in the USA which seeks to commercialise New Zealand education and turn it into a business.

      ….this is why John Key’s Nact govt and Ministry of Education and Treasury keep taking advice from private consultants with no education background but who are influenced by USA Neo Liberal private education buinesses eg USA Charter School businesses

      ….We dont need this commercial business model of education in New Zealand!

      Labour and the teacher unions should be listening to our own professors and lecturers in Education without a commercial axe to grind and who have years of international educational research annalysis under their belts

      ….what Nact is proposing, in paying certain selected ( Nact amenable) ‘excellent ‘ Principals tens of thousands of dollars more than their hard working peers….. will undermine our egalitarian education system…. into a fascist cronyist right wing commercial top down education system

      Hekia Parata is just a pawn in the game for these ideas and spinners …she is not the originator

      USA Professor Diane Ravitch is explicit on the strategy of undermining State education and Unions by blaming teachers for poor educational outcomes, while at the same time starving State Schools of funding and ignoring the fact that it is poverty which has the most major effect on educational outcome.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diane_Ravitch

      The National Party is following this agenda towards undermining quality NZ State Education and turning New Zealand education into a business for their mates.

      Lets hope a Labour /Green/Mana/NZF/Dotcom(?) 2014 Govt exposes John Key’s Nact lies about wanting an egalitarian education!

      …..and pours the money into upgrading NZ State Schools ( which have been starved of funds for the terms of Key’s Nact govt)…….and works towards providing a free high quality tertiary education( university , polytech, apprenticeships, internships) for all New Zealanders ….right up to and including PhD level

    • Hayden 4.4

      Also, since when is John Hattie the sole arbiter of truth? Is merely disagreeing with Hattie’s findings from his “meta-meta” studies, the methodology of which we don’t know, “lying” now?

      Anyway, I doubt Fisiani’s going to come back to defend Farrar’s lying about Turei’s lying, so it’s a bit of a moot point.

  5. Tombstone 5

    Key’s speech was complete and utter bullshit. If that’s an inspired leader then fuck me … we’re doomed! RE: Education – I’ll give you a sweetie if you give me your vote. BRIBE! I’m a Cantabrian – I’ll never forget what they did to our schools and the heartache they caused so many kids, families and dedicated, hard working teachers. I’d rather chew broken glass than give that knob my vote. Time for change. PS I grew up in a poor neighborhood – Key wouldn’t know the first thing about poverty and how it effects kids because if he did he wouldn’t be running the country as he is now and rewarding his fat little buddies at every given turn while screwing over everyone else to pay for it. The guy is a wanker. Pure and simple. Bring on the election!

    • Saarbo 5.1

      Nicely put.

    • Mainlander 5.2

      Speaking of bullshit nice rant, im impressed you never let the facts get in the way once

    • Tim 5.3

      +1.
      I’m also a Cantabrian (by birth). I’ll never forget what Brownlee and Co did to my city by way of his scorched Earth policy.
      A bit of a sidebar …. but Natzi’s are not only seeing it as a ‘tunety’ for soshul spearimentashun including edge ikayshun polsee, but since the damaging quakes, the ENTIRE recovery process is based on a ‘market rulz OK?’
      When New Zulluniz wake the fuck up (as they surely will) – some from the trauma of ongoing shaking, others from the anaesthetic of marketised esprayshnull hope and spin that comes to NO THING, I hope I’ve left the country because they’ll be looking for people to blame – and there are some pretty obvious candidates. (They’ll prolly be in some gated community somewhere with privatised skewer tee agents with Glocks at the ready)

      Interesting discussion on Natrad this AM with the most regular Gal interviewing Heck Yea, followed by an American guest (who to my mind, succesfully burst her Buble).

      Just as ChCh EQC recovery is an example to the world on how NOT to do things, so too will Heck Yea’s initiatives (pardon the abuse of the word) be an example with education.

      Never mind though aye? I gotta go aye! I think American Idol is on sumwhere on TV – and if not I’ve got a ‘choice’ of shopping channels to aspire over.
      GOD STREWTH …. I’m really going to get off my butt cos I want one of those new Plesma TVs – Rawdon and those sidekicks get my vote! (Aye!)

  6. captain hook 6

    so how much did donkeyote pay hooton for that little gem?

  7. Bill 7

    I can’t understand why no-one is calling this for what it is – there’s a goon squad about to set loose on the education system.

    National’s education policy has been about making education measurable in order to smooth the process of privatisation. And the teaching profession has resisted the whole shebang. So now, for rather more than a mere 30 pieces of silver, those within education who support the National party programme or those who can be bought, get to be enforcers.

    That’s all National’s policy is. The creation of an expensive corporate bureaucracy intended to enforce a measurable education system that can then be privatised.

    Yes, there is poverty and a whole raft of phenomena that impact on education. But for fucks sake, surely in terms of a reaction to National, there is a need to focus mercilessly on exactly what National are doing and call a spade a spade, no?

    • Chooky 7.1

      @ Bill

      the Teachers Unions have been bought or they are politically naive…..this sharing of expertise could have been done by bringing back the old School Inspectorate …without the cronyist tens of thousands of dollars rewards for so called ‘excellent’ Nact compliant Principals

      …it will not solve the decline of State Education in New Zealand …which has been starved of finance and support from this Nact Govt which is intent on rewarding privatisation of education

      Teachers unions should be listening to NZ University research education academic experts or overseas ones such as Diane Ravitch

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-ravitch/obamas-race-to-the-top-wi_b_666598.html

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diane_Ravitch

      ‘The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Undermine Education’ by Professor Diane Ravitch

    • karol 7.2

      Partly I think that the opposition parties don’t want to buy into the Nat’s framing – Key would like nothing more than for the election agenda to focus on their narrow education policy. Cunliffe is positioning himself for a much broader political agenda – setting his own agenda, and the Greens want to work with a wider framing around poverty.

      Other critics have commented on the corporatisation of education – see Gordon Campbell for instance on how Key’s education policy fits the National Party’s agenda for education (as linked in my post.

      • Bill 7.2.1

        Yeah, I’m not suggesting that opposition parties or anyone else ‘buy into’ National’s framing. I’m suggesting that in the narrow context of a response to this policy, that it’s simply ‘called out’ for what it is. Then let the Nats defend themselves against the accusation…the reality, if they want to.

        That doesn’t prevent more progressive or holistic approaches being put out there by who-ever. But it does kill Nationals b/s dead, as opposed to leaving it to swirl around in the general debate/discussion.

        edit – and should National persist, then every time they bring it up, instantly dismiss it as ‘the Goon Squad policy’ – or whatever other catchy, short and to the point phrase anyone cares to come up with.

      • KJT 7.2.2

        Couldn’t get it dumbed down and corporatised through the front door, so now we have stealth and bribery.

        More high paying jobs for the old boys club, and conformists, though, so all good!

      • BLiP 7.2.3

        Yep. John Key’s speech is the initial soft-sell approach to running education as if it were a business. As you (and Cunliffe) point out, this so-called “State of the Nation” speech was an opportunity for National Ltd™ to set the agenda for the coming year and outline its broad approach to delivering positive outcomes to society as a whole. Instead, there is a preamble of lies and platitudes concerning those broader issues before John Key goes into detail about how he is going to atomise education by “incentivising” component parts which are not, according to National Ltd’s own inadequate measures, delivering. Rather than a Prime Minister’s message, we had an incompetent and myopic CEO’s media-friendly end-of-financial year hip hip hooray with notification that management of the company’s Education outlet was being reorganised.

        The introduction of charter schools reflects the breakup of the electricity supply infrastructure with the creation of a “market” filled with competing units. The reality of the electrcity supply reforms, as it turns out, is that it allowed the private sector to move in and pluck jewels from the crown while also receiving massive tax-payer largesse. Expect the same in education.

        What makes John Key’s announced plans for education worse is that individual teachers and administrators have also been reduced to units of competition rather than a united whole cooperating to provide education. Its dehumanisation on an industrial scale in pursuit of neo-conservative outcomes based entirely on ideological magic-think. It makes me shudder to consider what the end product of this might be when children educated in such an environment filter out into wider society.

        • emergency mike 7.2.3.1

          +1 Bill and BLiP.

          After years of education cock ups and failures that have angered teachers NAct comes up with a brillaint idea – bribe them. “Lead teachers’, ‘executive principals’, ‘expert teachers’, ‘change principals’ who get $xxxxx mo money. Problem solved! Bearucratic corporate BS.

          These people are going to swan into low decile schools and turn them around with their awesomeness? On planet Key I’m sure that’s how it would work.

          Like Bill I’m a bit confused as to why more people aren’t calling this what it is: a clueless insult to our intelligence.

          And that the media it lapping it up as an ‘election year winner’ is sickening me more than usual.

          • Will@Welly 7.2.3.1.1

            When I heard this “announcement” was coming, I expected something along the lines of more Charter Schools. I tend to agree with most of the above comments in this panel (7). By paying some staff extra, is this the “old tory” trick of divide and rule in the education sector – whereby we’ll see the majority of those employed “chasing” the few positions that pay the extra. Will this “extra” pay be the “incentive” National uses later as part of it’s Trojan Horse to fully implement Charter Schools across the land? Part of the softening up process.

  8. KJT 8

    Because the corporate management model works so well………………………

    If it doesn’t work, add some more overpaid managers…………….?

  9. Tautoko Viper 9

    I recall in the 90s during the Bulk Funding trials (in which bulk funded schools were given a more generous allowance to make sure they were successful) being at a school at which the Principal and Board were pro-bulk funding. I have a paper with extracts from the SSC to the Schools Consultative Group titled Furthering Education Reforms. dated 1993 Subheadings were:
    “On the purpose of bulk funding as a cost-reduction mechanism”
    “On the intention to replace a national contract with locally negotiated site contracts.”
    “On the contractual model of education delivery” –tendering and bulk funding
    “On the purpose of advancing IT in schools.” ..”an alternative to books, equipment, buildings and teachers for the achievement of knowledge and skills.”
    I have no doubt that the agenda is the same, but couched in different language and using a different technique by using “change agents”. Did John Key say anything about more teachers, smaller class sizes, more teacher aides, more assistance for students with behavioural needs? The closures of the Christchurch schools were just a prelude to the main agenda of dismantling our state school system and kneecapping the Teacher Unions.

  10. chris73 10

    I think Keys got more up his sleeve that’ll catch Labour on the hop (again), I doubt many parents will think paying teachers more is a bad idea and the teaching unions seem to like it so its a slam dunk to Key and all the left can do is wail about poverty (which is more about welfare than education anyway)

  11. RedBaronCV 11

    Well I agree with those who see it as a useless level of overpaid corporate management as far as the kids are concerned. Once they have several schools under a group then they will pay their way by agreeing to bulk funding of salaries over the trustees heads (bye bye Parent boards) and then they will start cutting teacher wages. That’s how your average company works. FFS attack- go onto the front foot

    Why are the teacher unions so unable to see the end game?. And nobody on the left should say anything positive about this little lot. Ask JK why they don’t use the funds to lower class size & employ more teachers and bring back the specialist teaching they got rid of.

  12. Pasupial 12

    A fine piece of writing by Diane Khan (would quote, but don’t want to spoil):

    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/01/25/the-bully-needs-to-go/

  13. captain hook 13

    from what I hear on the public radio money is not the overwhelming consederation for teachers with satisfaction being tops.
    Typical of National that they think everything can be bought and paid for.
    Especially when they sold the countrys wealth producing assets in a one off to pay for this policy dreamed up by hooton and co.

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    3 days ago
  • Labour supports Spencer victory
    Labour congratulates Margaret Spencer for her tireless efforts in challenging the Government over family carer rights, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Annette King. ...
    3 days ago
  • US Warship visit welcomed by Labour
    Labour sees the United States warship visit as a red letter day for New Zealand’s non-nuclear status, which is core to our identity and has defined us a nation for 30 years, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Annette King. ...
    3 days ago
  • Time for honest dairy sector conversation
    ...
    3 days ago
  • What next? Dog kennels?
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett needs to explain why the Government thinks it is acceptable for it to refer families to live in garages and sheds, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This is a new low, just when you ...
    3 days ago
  • Banks bust a move, Government possum in the headlights
    Three of the big four banks have acted responsibly by bringing the shutters down on property speculators earlier than required by the Reserve Bank, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It’s a shame the Government isn’t as motivated to act ...
    3 days ago
  • Latest OECD dairy forecast raises serious questions for economy
    The latest global dairy price forecast shows that New Zealand dairy farmers will not reach a break-even payout before 2019 at the earliest, and will not reach the dairy price factored into this year’s Budget until after 2025, Labour’s Finance spokesperson ...
    3 days ago
  • National’s reckless, out of touch approach to economy exposed
    Today’s economic assessment from the Reserve Bank highlights the danger to the New Zealand economy from a National government that is recklessly complacent in the face of a housing crisis and a struggling export sector, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. ...
    3 days ago
  • GP’s visits get more expensive
      Visiting the GP is set to become more expensive after the Government ignored warnings that people were not receiving access to affordable  healthcare, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Over 400,000 New Zealanders who should be able to access ...
    5 days ago
  • Farm prices bear brunt of dairy downturn
    The slump in dairy prices that has seen farm prices drop to their lowest level since 2012 and down a third from their peak in 2014 will be of concern to farmers, banks and our overall financial stability, Labour’s Finance ...
    5 days ago
  • Reserve Bank “gets on with it”, National carries on in denial
    The proposal by the Reserve Bank to tighten loan to value ratios for investors shows they are prepared to do their bit to crack down on speculators, while National is still stuck in denial mode, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. ...
    5 days ago
  • Housing crisis holds up interest rate cuts
    The housing crisis that National still wants to deny is stifling the New Zealand economy, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The latest Consumers Price Index shows that all prices excluding housing and household utilities decreased 0.5 per cent – ...
    6 days ago
  • Housing crisis holds up interest rate cuts
    The housing crisis that National still wants to deny is stifling the New Zealand economy, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The latest Consumers Price Index shows that all prices excluding housing and household utilities decreased 0.5 per cent – ...
    6 days ago
  • Govt’s state house sell-off ramping up
    Government plans to ramp up the state house sell-off by selling another 1000 houses in 2016/17 will mean more families in need missing out, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “New figures show the Government plans to sell 1000 ...
    6 days ago
  • Govt’s state house sell-off ramping up
    Government plans to ramp up the state house sell-off by selling another 1000 houses in 2016/17 will mean more families in need missing out, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “New figures show the Government plans to sell 1000 ...
    6 days ago
  • National must reassure exporters on dumping case
        The National Government needs to show our key exporters that they are in control of any anti-dumping case against China before it damages some of our most important industries, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says.     ...
    1 week ago
  • National must reassure exporters on dumping case
        The National Government needs to show our key exporters that they are in control of any anti-dumping case against China before it damages some of our most important industries, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says.     ...
    1 week ago
  • Papers describe litany of incredulity
    Treasury documents which slate the Government’s plans for a national bowel screening programme confirm the proposal was nothing more than a political stunt to cover up underfunding of the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette Kings says.  The papers were ...
    1 week ago
  • Effect of rampant house prices widens
    The latest house price figures from REINZ show the housing crisis expanding throughout the country, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “We are seeing steep increases in median house prices in Central Otago Lakes – up 42.4% in the last ...
    1 week ago
  • Public invited to have say on homelessness
    People who are homeless, those who were once homeless, those working with the homeless and concerned New Zealanders are being asked to share their experiences and solutions to this growing issue with the Cross-Party Homelessness Inquiry. This inquiry was launched ...
    1 week ago
  • Sorry seems to be the hardest word
    An apology from Hekia Parata to the people of Christchurch is long overdue, Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. "As if the earthquakes weren't traumatic enough, Hekia Parata and the Ministry of Education then attacked the one thing that had ...
    1 week ago
  • Housing crisis affecting more than 98 per cent of NZ
    Labour’s new housing map shows the housing crisis is now affecting more than 98 per cent of New Zealand, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Housing pressures have seen house prices rise faster than wages in all but four ...
    1 week ago
  • Uber might not be a taxi firm but it must pay tax
    Uber needs to explain how it paid only $9000 in tax when it earned $1m in revenue and is one of the fastest growing companies in the country, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Uber New Zealand appears to be ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tax changes should have been made 3 years ago
    National could have avoided the international stain on our reputation from the Panama Papers if it had let IRD’s planned review of foreign trusts go ahead three years ago, instead of now belatedly acting because of the Shewan recommendations, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must stop state house sell-off
    The Government must immediately pull the plug on its planned sell-off of state houses in order to stop the housing crisis getting any worse, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “While Paula Bennett is putting people into transit camps in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Thoughts on Labour’s new housing policies
    The Labour Party launched its package of ideas to fix the housing crisis over the weekend. Their ideas match ours in many ways. This is good news, because it means that when we change the government we’ll be ready to ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    2 weeks ago
  • Thoughts on Labour’s new housing policies
    The Labour Party launched its package of ideas to fix the housing crisis over the weekend. Their ideas match ours in many ways. This is good news, because it means that when we change the government we’ll be ready to ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    2 weeks ago
  • Thoughts on Labour’s new housing policies
    The Labour Party launched its package of ideas to fix the housing crisis over the weekend. Their ideas match ours in many ways. This is good news, because it means that when we change the government we’ll be ready to ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing crisis drives household debt to record levels
    The Finance Minister must be woken from his slumber by Westpac’s report today that says house prices have largely driven household debt to record levels and are rising at a pace faster than other developed economies, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson ...
    2 weeks ago
  • English denies dividend decision made – Joyce should delete his account
    National must explain who is right in the Housing NZ dividend debacle, after Bill English said no decision had been made on a payment for the next two years, in direct contrast to Steven Joyce, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pressure forces Govt to make policy on the hoof
    Steven Joyce’s surprise announcement that Housing NZ will no longer be used as a cash cow has forced the Finance Minister to make one of National’s biggest ever U-turns, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “After years of insisting the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 10-fold more affordable houses under Labour
    New data showing homeownership rates continue to fall and more Kiwis than ever rent, highlights why Labour’s plan to build 10 times more affordable housing in Auckland is so desperately needed, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Labour’s Affordable Housing ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Out of excuses, Brownlee resorts to scare tactics
    Gerry Brownlee’s ridiculous suggestion that Labour would nationalise Christchurch’s east frame shows National has resorted to scare tactics to hide its failure to build desperately needed affordable houses in our city, Labour's Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods says. “Plans put in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National all at sea in face of Labour’s housing plan
    Labour’s comprehensive plan to fix the housing crisis has left National Ministers flailing about, contradicting themselves and simply making things up, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Steven Joyce has said in one breath that Labour’s plan represents a minor tweak ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s comprehensive plan to tackle housing crisis
    The next Labour Government has a comprehensive plan to tackle the housing crisis by building affordable houses and cracking down on speculators, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “The housing crisis is out of control and National has proven ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing NZ to look after people, not profits
    Labour will change Housing NZ from a corporation to a public service and use the dividends it formerly paid into the Crown coffers to maintain and build more state houses, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Housing NZ should ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government breaks rent subsidies promise
    National has broken a promise to subsidise the rent of 3000 low-income New Zealanders to make up for its state house sell-off, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “When John Key announced last year the Government would sell-off 8000 state ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Banks the latest to voice concerns over housing
    The Reserve Bank has revealed banks are becoming “more and more concerned” about the effects of the housing crisis, adding yet another weighty voice to the calls for action from the Government, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Reserve ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New official figures show DHB’s financial strife
    New figures from the Ministry of Health show 12 out of 20 district health boards have not been fully funded this year to cope with the aging population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.“The Ministry’s own figures to the Health ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Reserve Bank pleas for action from Government
    The Reserve Bank has stopped asking and is now pleading with the Government to take urgent action on the housing crisis, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Deputy Governor Grant Spencer is clearly deeply concerned about the housing crisis. The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to house 5100 more homeless a year
    There would be 1400 new emergency accommodation places – enough to put a roof over the heads of 5100 homeless people a year – under Labour’s emergency housing policy announced today, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Too many of our ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Chilcot Report shows Labour was right on Iraq
    The Chilcot Report released today shows John Key was wrong to call New Zealand “MIA” over the 2003 war in Iraq and Labour made the right decision not to send troops, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “At the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bigger class sizes on the way under National
    Hekia Parata’s refusal to rule out bigger class sizes as a result of her new bulk funding regime speaks volumes about the real agenda behind her proposed changes, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Hekia Parata has proposed that schools ...
    3 weeks ago
  • National refuses to put people ahead of politics
    National’s refusal to rise above partisan politics and support a parliamentary inquiry into homelessness is hugely disappointing, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This is such an important issue that politics should be put aside and parties should work ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minister in denial over Pacific home ownership fall
    As long as the Minister of Pacific Peoples continues to deny that Pacific families have had the greatest home-ownership falls under his Government’s watch, nothing serious will be done to fix the housing crisis, says Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Social Bonds experiment a failure
    The Government’s much vaunted social bonds experiment is a multi-million dollar failure, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “The news that the Wise Group has now withdrawn from the project to develop a pilot for mental health employment services, shows ...
    3 weeks ago
  • John Key must ‘get on with it’, not leave it to Reserve Bank
    John Key can’t just tell the Reserve Bank to ‘get on with’ fixing the housing crisis – he must act to tackle the rampant speculation in the housing market that has taken place under his watch, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson ...
    3 weeks ago
  • No gains for Māori while National in power
    The Minister of Māori Development needs to be honest with his people and admit his party’s ongoing support of the National Government has seen increasing inequality and decreasing prosperity for Māori, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.  “Te Ururoa Flavell had ...
    3 weeks ago

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