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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 clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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.

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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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    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    3 days ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    4 days ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    4 days ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    4 days ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    4 days ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    5 days ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    5 days ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    5 days ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    6 days ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    6 days ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    6 days ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    6 days ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    6 days ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    6 days ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    7 days ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    7 days ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour calls on all parties to end coat-tailing
    Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway is encouraging all parties to support his Bill to end the coat-tailing provision when it is debated in Parliament this week.  “New Zealanders have sent MPs a clear message. An opinion poll found more than 70… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government social sector reforms
    I’ve written previously about the major shake-up that is happening in the provision of government and community services. Yesterday, the Minister of Social Development spoke publically about what these reforms are likely to look like within MSD. There are major… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • PM must explain Saudi sheep scandal backflips
    John Key’s explanations of the Saudi sheep scandal continue to be riddled with inconsistencies and irreconcilable backflips, Labour’s Trade Spokesperson David Parker says. “Either he has been misled by his Minister Murray McCully or the Prime Minister is deliberately obfuscating… ...
    1 week ago
  • Independent investigation needed into claims scientists gagged
    Steven Joyce must launch an independent investigation into claims that scientists are being gagged, says Labour’s Science and Innovation spokesperson David Cunliffe. “When 40 percent of scientists say they are being gagged and can’t speak out on issues of public… ...
    1 week ago
  • Swamp kauri mining and exports should stop
    Seeing swamp kauri mining for the first time this week was a shock. Dark peaty soil had been stripped of its plant cover and giant excavators were digging into wet, swampy soil to unearth logs that had been buried for… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • MSD going down wasteful spending track
    The Ministry of Social Development is paying big salaries and forking out hundreds of thousands of dollars on management courses while at the same time looking to hand some services over to a multinational outsourcing company with an appalling track… ...
    1 week ago
  • South Auckland housing meeting highlights stark realities
    The stark realities of life for South Aucklanders in substandard Housing New Zealand and private rental homes were fully exposed at a South Auckland housing meeting today, Labour’s MP for Manukau East Jenny Salesa says. “Local people generously shared their… ...
    1 week ago
  • The Pope, the scientists, and the diplomats: getting there on the climate ...
    The Pope’s Encyclical on the climate: ‘On Care for Our Common Home’, has finally been released. Evoking St Francis before him, the Pope reminds us that “our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life, and… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party supports Gifted Kids Awareness Week 2015
    Providing high quality teaching that caters to the specific needs of every child is an enormous challenge, but there is no investment more rewarding for society. Gifted Awareness Week gives us a chance to think about how diverse the needs… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Truck sellers still getting away with rip-offs
    The Government has admitted its brand new lending rules are already inadequate, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesman David Shearer. “Gaping holes in the Responsible Lending Code – which came into effect this month -- mean the vulnerable will not be… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government Screws the Lid Down On Raw Milk Access
    The Government’s raw milk policy announced yesterday will make it more difficult for many consumers to access the quality product of their choice, and may even be setting up the raw milk sector to fail. The Government, in its paranoia… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Operation Desert Storm
    Blaming Saudi sand storms for the deaths of 70 per cent of Kiwi lambs born on a model farm meant to showcase New Zealand agricultural expertise is another part of the ludicrous attempt to disguise buying the cooperation of a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister, your expensive slip is showing
    A Minister's comments at a press conference in Dunedin today show just how easily costs can blow out at the Southern DHB, Labour's Acting Health spokesman David Clark says. "Fresh from criticising everyone from members of the Board that his… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bridges of Northland on backburner
    Transport Minister Simon Bridges today admitted no progress has been made towards his Northland by-election bribe of 10 new bridges and could only say they would be funded sometime in the next six years, Labour's transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • MP lets down Cook Island community
    The Cook Island community has been let down by National List MP Alfred Ngaro’s decision not to support a proposal that would have removed a restrictive residency requirement, Labour says. An amendment to the Social Assistance (Portability to Cook Islands,… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for a moratorium on all live sheep exports
    The events of the last two weeks have highlighted how weak our regulations around live exports are, particularly in relation to live sheep exports. We urgently need a moratorium on live sheep exports until they’ve been significantly strengthened. We have… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Weak growth highlights lack of economic plan
    Today’s weak growth figures are less than half of what was forecast in last month’s Budget and signal rough weather ahead, Labour’s Finance spokesman Grant Robertson says. “GDP figures showing the economy grew just 0.2% in the first three months… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori TV editorial interference scandal deepens
    The Maori Development Minister has misled a select committee and appears to have broken the law through editorial interference in Māori Television, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran said today. Labour has released emails between Te Ururoa Flavell’s press secretary and… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must act on energy CEOs salaries
    Energy Minister Simon Bridges must send a message to the Boards of the nation’s power companies that astronomical CEO salaries are not appropriate, Labour’s Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says.  “The CEOs are earning from $ 2.1 million to $1.3 million… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Black Caps backs South Dunedin flood recovery
     People dealing with the aftermath of the Dunedin floods will be supported by the boost from Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum and coach Mike Hesson who have put their weight behind the Dunedin Flood Appeal in a  video released this… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Continued pressure at heart of sacking
    News that the Government has appointed a Commissioner to replace the Southern District Health Board is hardly a surprise given the mounting pressure it has been under to do more with a lot less, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson David… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A whale of a spend-up at MoBIE
    The latest revelations of extravagant spending at Steven Joyce’s Super Ministry are just the tip of a very expensive iceberg, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. "New information shows the building comes kitted out with hair straighteners, while the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Will the Super Fund now follow its own advice and divest from coal?
    Whenever we’ve asked the New Zealand Superannuation Fund what they’re doing about climate change, they’ve said they’re waiting for the Mercer report they’d backed to come out. Well it’s now out and it’s unequivocal about the impact of climate change… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Police funding cuts letting criminals get away
    National’s cuts to police funding are making it harder to solve cases and letting criminals get off scot-free, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The Police Commissioner admitted today the best New Zealanders may hope for when it comes to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce admits tertiary education promise overblown
    Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce was today forced to admit the Government’s Budget announcement of a further $113 million for tertiary education was overblown and actual new spending is a mere $7 million, says Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson David Cunliffe.… ...
    2 weeks ago

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