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The Standard

Policy on the hoof

Written By: - Date published: 10:08 am, June 19th, 2012 - 26 comments
Categories: education, john key, schools - Tags:

John Key wants to debate school league tables. Presumably he thinks that this will do the double whammy of getting middle class parents back on his side in the education debate, and distract from asset sales.

But he’s not checked with his Minister, or the Ministry of Education, or presumably read any of the official advice about how damaging league tables would be.

Ian Leckie of the Educational Institute was excellent on Morning Report this morning. He reiterated all the important points:

  • National Standards are neither National nor Standard – there is no mediating results between schools.
  • They measure only Literacy and Numeracy (and a specific test at that) – schools do much more than that
  • Results on National Standards do not reflect teacher or school quality. Educational achievement has a lot to do with where kids are at when they start school and the amount of support they get from their parents/guardians.

If you want to assess your local schools – supposedly the point of league tables – then, as Ian Leckie suggests, review the ERO school reports on how they’re doing. And go along and look at them yourself, meet the teachers and the head.

If he read the research and official reports, or even talked to the Education Ministry Key would know that league tables may well end up like the decile system. They’ll be a short hand, used by misunderstanding real estate agents, and they won’t actually reflect school quality. They’ll exacerbate white flight and further ghetto-ising of our suburbs as schools in poor areas are seen as bad, because the children don’t do as well there – whether the teachers are good or not. They’ll struggle because their parents are too busy scraping a living in Key’s ‘Brighter Future’ and they don’t have the educational background of middle class parents (and with the scrapping of Adult & Community Education won’t get it either).

But no, Key wants to ‘debate’ the issue, flying some high-level soundbites that sound good, without any deep thinking.

According to Key it will be better if the government compiles the list rather than newspapers (does he not have faith in the literacy and numeracy of journalists?). The research says that contrary to that, governments should be putting pressure on newspapers not to compile lists as it’s not in the interests of the country (what with the lists being so unrepresentative of reality).

But Key doesn’t need facts – he’ll find some other scientist who thinks differently (except he never actually does… Show me the Scientist…)

EDIT: Russell Brown also has an excellent post on this – h/t P’s b

26 comments on “Policy on the hoof”

  1. Bunji 1

    There is a table John Key should be look at though. The $1.5billion (and growing) list of schools that are leaky (thanks 90s National government!)

  2. lyndon 2

    I’d understood various noises around the election to imply they would look at this (going back on the prior assurances they wouldn’t). In the context, “Improve reporting of system-level performance, including investigating school level reporting.” would probably be an example of that. http://www.national.org.nz/PDF_General/Education_in_Schools_policy.pdf
    If they cared about the research they’d’a stopped earlier.

  3. But no, Key wants to ‘debate’ the issue, flying some high-level soundbites that sound good, without any deep thinking.

    I agree, there are growing signs that National doing things on the hoof without reasonable consultation (especially in education) – in fact at times without rudimentary consultation. That’s bad politics. Made worse when they try to push aside important issues that badly need wide consultation and discussion, like Super.

    If National continue like this I don’t see them surviving 2014 without an electoral hammering.

    • Dr Terry 3.1

      Pete, worse than “bad politics”, this is “bad ethics”. Does anyone imagine Key “debating” this? That would be highly unusual for him as one who cares not to “consult” even within his own Party. Key sure has a “thing” about education, he cannot leave it alone without still further assaults upon people who know what they are talking about. Perhaps just about anything serves as a distraction from the blighted asset sales. Key is not clever, but he is bloody crafty.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      Made worse when they try to push aside important issues that badly need wide consultation and discussion, like Super.

      You’re getting to the point that all you seem to do is try to distract from NACT+UF selling off our assets and otherwise screwing our society.

      Super is fine, it needs a few tweaks (A Universal Income would be better) but it’s fully affordable even as it is.

    • Sally Cron 3.3

      Let’s hope! Most of the Ministry are ex teachers who didn’t really succeed in the classroom.

  4. Pascal's bookie 4

    Russell Brown has a good post on the whole shambles. Comments too; worth reading:

    http://publicaddress.net/7963

  5. Kotahi Tane Huna 5

    This is an ideal opportunity to remind everyone what a fiasco National’s Standards are. The Fairfax strawpoll is running at about 50/50 for/against league tables – if that is reflected in the population at large that is great news: the reasons against them are not easily articulated in smiley wavy soundbites.

    A distraction from National’s sale of stolen property, or another front they cannot afford? This government’s incompetence is being exposed on all sides, and they have not the first clue what to do about it.

    First one to cross the floor wins a marginally better chance at re-election.

    • bbfloyd 5.1

      “win a marginally better chance at re-election”…. that would depend on whether the fourth estate is directed to attack them for “inconsistency” , or if they(media) decide their own best interests lie in jumping on the populist bandwagon i would have thought….

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 5.1.1

        I’m not sure opposition to asset sales constitutes a populist bandwagon, given the clearly defined case against them. The media will no doubt have its say – and influence – on the matter.

  6. vto 6

    Its clear to nearly every single Kiwi now that John Key is flailing, that he doesn’t have the skills or talents necessary to run a government, that he has simply been mistaken in thinking that corporate ways can be transferred across, and that all of the above means he is just blimmin’ useless and why the fuck is here really there? To tick off another of his schoolboy bucket list items? What a waste of space.

    And who is letting him wallow? Seems to me that others in the Nats must see al this and are not pulling either him or the organisation up by the bootstraps to do things properly. It is like they are letting Key and the organisation rapidly fail so that it can rebuilt again without the silly smiling man. Who would do that?

    • Dr Terry 6.1

      Key is still getting away with “fooling some of the people some of the time”. We have only to wait that occasion when he finally discovers that you “cannot fool all of the people all of the time”.

      • bbfloyd 6.1.1

        I think that should b “fooling some of the people all of the time”… the average fossilised tory tends to start frothing at the mouth whenever the word “labour” is mentioned…..

        these people would accept any old rubbish, as long as it is coming from the tory party…

    • bad12 6.2

      “The other’s in the National Party are letting Him wallow”, yeah true but while the factionalization of the National Caucus is a given Slippery is safe for now from the knives of the ‘brat pack’ because the ‘newbies’ know that without Slippery as the head salesman of both the country’s assets and National as a credible Government they are DEFINITELY gone in 2014,

      With Slippery leading the rabble, the backbench still see a slim hope, given yet another week of negative news and politics for and from National my pick is for them to be about 43%…

  7. I agree, Ben, considering all the areas that demand the Government’s attention (earthquake reconstruction, ACC, child poverty, unemployment), we see our highest performing sector attacked again with the bizarre suggestion of league tables for primary schools. As you say it could be just another red herring, but if introduced it will threaten our top five ranking educationally:
    http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/school-league-tables-lack-logic.html

  8. captain hook 8

    if kweewee and his govt were any good they would be bussing kids to higher decile schools so that the civil society could remain civil.

  9. bbfloyd 9

    But then they would be higher decile schools any more…once the realities of teaching children who come from homes without the sort of support the children who are already at those “higher decile” schools enjoy……

    No fault of the parents of those “lower decile” children…. It takes generations in most cases,to instil an appreciation of what is required to successfully guide ones children through the education process…

  10. BLiP 10

    .

    Yep -John Key bringing up league tables is probably a distraction. It could also be a typically nasty National Ltd™ sryle pay-back to the education sector for daring to unite. Not only was the government forced into a cowering backdown, Parata was also exposed as bumbling bimbo and no one paid nearly enough attention to John Key’s visit to see the Queen. Imagine what might happen if other sectors united, “better put a stop to that, pronto” would be any Tory’s gut instinct.

    And its not just the impending asset sales National Ltd™ want mums and dads to stop worrying about. There’s also:

    – Prime Minister John Key said he was less confident now than at the time of the May 24 Budget that New Zealand would get back into surplus by 2014-15

    – Exporter confidence in their order books for the next 12 months is at the lowest level since the DHL Export Barometer began in 2004.

    Consumer confidence is slipping in the face of the ongoing European debt crisis, even though people are feeling better off

    Only 35 per cent of financiers, local authorities and private investors who put money into infrastructure expect business to pick up in the next three years.

    – Forecasters expect weaker economic activity over the next two years than they did three months ago.

    – The quarterly survey’s index slipped 2.5 points to 99.9, the first time it has been in negative territory since the immediate aftermath of the February earthquake last year and before that March 2009 when the economy was contracting.

    – Confidence among exporters has slumped over the past year in the face of a strengthening kiwi dollar, a deteriorating global economic situation and rising fuel and raw material costs.

    – New Zealand consumer confidence dimmed in the second quarter of the year as people were content about the present, but increasingly gloomy about the future.

    – Departing Fletchers CEO, Jonathan Ling, told journalists at a media briefing this morning that general economic recovery is more like four or five years away.

    The John Key led National Ltd™ “rolling maul” of economic initiatives has come down to taxing paper-boys, putting the boot into teachers, sterilising beneficiaries, and selling New Zealand’s electricity companies in a collapsing economy. No surprise, then, that John Key is left with little option but to make policy on the hoof – he’s most likely not distracting New Zealanders but, rather, himself from having to face up to the fact that he doesn’t have a fucking clue what he’s doing.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      But he does have a clue as to what he’s doing – he’s giving all our wealth to the already rich, mostly foreigners.

  11. ianmac 11

    Russell Brown has written an excellent report on League Tables/Key/National Standards called :
    “Moving from frustration to disgust.” I bet our PM doesn’t read it else his boyish grin would freeze over.
    http://publicaddress.net/hardnews/moving-from-frustration-to-disgust/

  12. tracey 12

    geoff gave him a hard time but struck a chord when he suggested that key was back to sucking up to parents … more tyre kicking from key speaking on a portfolio he doesnt manage and knows piss all about…

  13. Georgy 13

    I’ve got an idea. lets have a debate on League tables. Lets start with the positive:
    [1]
    [2]
    [3]
    [4] etc

    Now for the negative
    [1] League tables produce misleading and inaccurate information
    [2] they do not lead to better schools
    [3] they promote social segregation
    [4] they favour the privileged
    [5] they compound the effects of disadvantage
    [6] they do not measure the ‘value added’ by the school
    [7] test and assessment data/results are influenced by a variety of factors, not all of which are within the control of schools or teachers
    [8] they do not distinguish the school contribution to the test results from that of other factors such as family background and resources.
    [9] league tables can camouflage underachievement among mediocre schools with favoured intakes
    [10] a school could perform badly in comparison with other schools despite high quality teaching and resources because it serves a less-privileged community
    [11] Comparisons of school results also lead to inaccurate assessments of school quality because the tests are narrowly based.
    [12] therefore comparisons of school literacy and numeracy assessment outcomes are misleading when interpreted as measures of school performance
    [13] higher performing schools become more popular they can adopt selective enrolment practices to further improve their performance
    [14] there is no possible way to control the variables in testing/assessment procedures. Therefore the data available to parents is not ‘true’ ie apples are not being compared with apples.
    [15] League table data do not show a childs ability in critical thinking, problem solving, creativity or their progress
    [16] League tables are based on high stakes testing where info comes from a very narrow range of sources creating a lottery of significant, serious, negative and unintended outcomes
    [17] Parents will base a wide range of assumptions on one single bit of info – a number – about a school

    • vto 13.1

      ha ha, good one georgy, but unfortunately this National government does not deal in facts or reasoned logic. It deals solely in ideology, like all extremists and nutbars. You just have to have faith. You need to believe. You must bow down to the God of right wing ideology – that great religion that brought us the great depression, the gfc, the finance company collapses, the 1987 sharemarket crash, the constant and rising level of unemployment, rising power prices, foreign landlords, cuts for public schools and increases for private schools.

      The Church of the National Party – nothing more and nothing less.

  14. North 14

    What the hell is John Key on ?

    Announcing significant education measures…….without a word to Minister Paratasite.

    She acknowledges that and reckons she’s “not at all surprised” that she wasn’t told or asked about it beforehand. Well that’s a worry in itself surely. Did he tell the inner-circle or was it his little invention after a hearty steak and kidney pudding dinner, followed by a call to his bro’ in Downing Street “LOL” ?

    This is freaky and shades of Muldoon when he was losing it in ’84 before the skinful of gin
    snap-election.

  15. vto 15

    Next thing Key will pronounce himself a Bishop.

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    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    1 day ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    1 day ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    1 day ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 days ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    2 days ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    2 days ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    2 days ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    2 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    2 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    3 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    4 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    4 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    5 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    5 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    5 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    5 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    6 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    6 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    6 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago

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