Class size backdown

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

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

Govt rethinks move to bigger class sizes

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

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

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

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

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

32 comments on “Class size backdown”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

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

    • Bunji 1.1

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

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

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

    • Enough is Enough 1.2

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

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

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

  2. Blue 2

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

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

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

    • bbfloyd 2.1

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

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

  3. Dv 3

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

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

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

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

  4. Newt 4

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

  5. stever 5

    What is it with all these task forces?

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

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

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

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

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

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

      • prism 5.1.1

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

  6. ianmac 6

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

    • ghostwhowalksnz 6.1

      Thats not going to be true either.

      Guess what, they havent taken into account zoning.

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

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

    • Hayden 6.2

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

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

  7. Kath 7

    Is this the United States government?

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

  8. Kath 8

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

  9. Ed 9

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

  10. Uturn 10

    An basic question about larger class sizes:

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

    • prism 10.1

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

  11. First question in Parliament should be:

    To the Minister of Education:

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

  12. The backdown begins:

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

    • Georgecom 12.1

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

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

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

  13. Dv 13

    Oops
    Bang goes the surplus in 2014!!

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

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

    FIFY

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

  15. Mel 15

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

    • prism 15.1

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

  16. Draco T Bastard 16

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

  17. Dv 17

    From stuff

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

  18. B.A.Debt 18

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

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

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

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

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

    Nationwide strikes!

    Sack Parata!

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Housing report earns Nats the red card
    National’s failure to acknowledge and fix the housing crisis will be their legacy. Labour will tackle the housing crisis head-on, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 days ago
  • Sluggish growth reflects nine years of drift from National
    Today’s GDP figures reflect an economy that the National Government has allowed to drift along on the basis of growing population rather than improving productivity and adding value, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is important to recognise that ...
    3 days ago
  • National’s campaign of deception an affront to democracy
    Voters this week have a clear choice between Labour’s optimism and honesty, or rewarding National’s campaign of relentless lies, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Day after day National has been deliberately spreading lies about Labour, our intentions and what ...
    4 days ago
  • National’s economy scorecard: D for drift
    New Zealand’s economy is failing the very people it is supposed to uplift, characterised by stalled productivity, exports going backwards and a Government content to let it drift, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “Voters have a clear choice ...
    4 days ago
  • Another day – another health crisis
    News today that the emergency department at Waikato has turned 180 patients away is another crisis for the Government and its besieged health system, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “It’s astonishing that the Government has had to rely on ...
    4 days ago
  • Labour will get tough on loan sharks
      Labour will take a tough stance on loan sharks and make sure that the Commerce Commission is properly resourced to protect Kiwi consumers, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson Michael Wood.   “People on low incomes must be protected from ...
    4 days ago
  • GP letter more evidence of failure in mental health
      A letter of complaint by medical practitioners to the Ministry of Health and Capital and Coast District Health Board underlines how badly patients are being let down by mental health services in Wellington, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “The ...
    5 days ago
  • GP letter more evidence of failure in mental health
      A letter of complaint by medical practitioners to the Ministry of Health and Capital and Coast District Health Board underlines how badly patients are being let down by mental health services in Wellington, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “The ...
    5 days ago
  • Tax cuts when kids go hungry shows National’s lack of moral compass
    National’s campaign of tax cuts that give $400 million to the top 10 per cent of earners, at a time when 120 Kiwi kids every year are being hospitalised for malnutrition, shows they have lost their moral compass, says Labour’s ...
    5 days ago
  • Freight being shifted off planes as fuel crisis worsens
    Export freight is being shifted off flights because of the Government’s failure to manage the risk of disruption to jet fuel supplies, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson Stuart Nash. “It has been revealed to Labour that non-perishable export freight is ...
    5 days ago
  • Apologise now Jonathan
    Health Minister Jonathan Coleman must apologise for his part in a $2.3 billion shortfall that has contributed to delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “All the Minister could say in an interview this morning ...
    5 days ago
  • National’s health report card shows need for new plan
    From increased GP fees, to kids getting sick from cold homes, to denial of important surgeries, National’s underfunding of health has hurt Kiwi families, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.   “It’s time to invest in the health of ...
    5 days ago
  • Eye clinic wait downright dangerous
    The fact that 9,500 Kiwis are waiting one and a half times longer than they should to get follow-up eye appointments is unacceptable and dangerous, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson David Clark. “These people are entitled to the reassurance that if ...
    5 days ago
  • National has serious questions to answer over Auckland fuel crisis
    Thousands of air travellers looking for answers to Auckland Airport’s fuel crisis should be demanding the National Government come clean over its failure to secure fuel supply for the airport, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “There are serious questions the ...
    6 days ago
  • Come clean on trade before the election
    In the two days before the election, New Zealand MFAT negotiators will attend a negotiations meeting in Japan on the successor to the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), now called the TPP-11. The negotiations are shrouded in secrecy but we ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    1 week ago
  • National unravels on transport
    The release of extraordinary information showing that the East-West link could be the most expensive road in the world, at $327 million per kilometre, shows that National is fiscally reckless and out of ideas on transport, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson ...
    1 week ago
  • Saudi cover-up a perversion of democracy
    The Government has been exposed as dishonest after it was revealed that  they were wrong to claim they paid out $11 million dollars to a Saudi businessmen after legal advice, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Parker.  “OIAs revealed on ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour supporting Te Reo Māori in schools
    Labour will support a future where New Zealanders from every background will have the ability to use Te Reo Māori in everyday conversations, says Labour’s Deputy Leader and Māori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “Labour will commit to a target that ...
    1 week ago
  • Is National planning a secret fuel tax?
    Sources suggest National is considering a secret fuel tax to fund its controversial Roads of National Significance (RONS) programme, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Michael Wood. “While the Government keeps up its stream of lies about Labour’s tax policy, sources indicate ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan for West Coast prosperity
    Labour’s regional development plan for the West Coast will build on its strengths in engineering and tourism, while delivering a much-needed upgrade to the Buller Hospital, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “Labour’s vision is for a thriving regional New Zealand, ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour committed to fair and progressive tax system
    Labour is committed to a tax system where everyone pays their fair share and where we start to address the imbalances that have fuelled the housing crisis, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson and Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. "Today ...
    1 week ago
  • A challenge to Bill English
    ...
    1 week ago
  • Flavell’s fake news an insult to Māori voters
    A desperate Te Ururoa Flavell has resorted to fake news about Labour’s position on his unpopular Ture Whenua reforms, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s tax cuts reckless and irresponsible
    It is time for Bill English and Steven Joyce to stop the scaremongering and lies, and front up to New Zealanders about the impact of their tax cuts, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Bill English has no credibility on ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Calculator shows Labour’s Families Package delivers
    Labour has launched a new online calculator that show how much extra families with kids will get from Labour’s Families Package, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “Families can go to www.labour.org.nz/calculator and see how much better off they ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Strengthening New Zealand’s identity through Labour’s media and film policy
    Labour has today launched its media and film policy aimed at strengthening New Zealand’s identity and providing sustainability for the industry, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to invest in parents and babies
    Labour will fund an additional 100 Plunket and Tamariki Ora nurses to increase the help available for vulnerable parents and babies, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “It’s so important that our children get the best start in life. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to build affordable homes and state houses in Hawke’s Bay
    Labour will build a mix of 240 affordable KiwiBuild starter homes for first home buyers and state homes for families in need in Napier and Hastings, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “In 2016, the populations of Napier and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour pledges more for Whānau Ora
    Labour will strengthen the oversight of Whānau Ora and provide an extra $20 million over four years to improve outcomes for whānau and families, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Kelvin Davis.    “We’ve created a new position of Whānau Ora Reviewer ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s housing band aid
    Throwing subsidies at an under-supplied housing market is one last desperate bid by National to be seen to do something about the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “First home buyers have been the collateral damage of National’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing, families, education and environment top priorities in Labour’s first 100 days
    Labour will take urgent action in its first 100 days in office to expand support for families and students, make rental homes warm and dry, find solutions to the mental health crisis and accelerate efforts to clean up our waterways, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour pledges to unlock funding for Te Hiku sports hub project
    The Labour Government will inject nearly $3 million into the Te Hiku Sports Hub project, to help realise a much-needed health and recreational facility for the Far North, says Labour Deputy Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s plan to get job seekers into better work
    Labour will provide real support for people looking for work by increasing the amount of money someone can earn before their benefit begins to reduce, reinstating training incentives, and putting a renewed focus on upskilling and training, says Labour’s Social ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour sets strong target and plan for climate action
    Labour will set a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and take the necessary steps to achieve it, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “Climate change is my generation’s nuclear-free moment. We have to take our place ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Are education cuts missing in National’s Fiscal Plan?
    National needs to explain why its plans for cuts to school transport have not been announced in its fiscal plan, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.   “Buried in the Pre-election Budget update is a $5m a year cut to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce must come clean on Health and Education funding
    Steven Joyce needs to front up to New Zealanders and tell them whether he will fund health and education to meet increasing cost pressures, or risk seeing services cut and costs increase for parents, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing crisis is National’s legacy
    Reports of tenants languishing in boarding houses for years because they cannot get a state house is yet more evidence National’s legacy is the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We used to pride ourselves in this country ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour calls for release of report into civil defence flaws
    The National Government must stick by its word given to other political parties and release a technical report before the election addressing critical flaws in New Zealand’s civil defence capability, Labour Civil Defence spokesperson Clare Curran said today.  “Cross party ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Credibility shot as Government runs out of steam
    New Zealanders are witnessing the desperation of a government clinging to survival, evidenced by policy on-the-hoof, dodgy maths and dirty politics, says Labour MP Phil Twyford. “New Zealand had been hoping we’d seen the end of dirty politics, but what ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Steven Joyce must apologise to New Zealand
    Steven Joyce needs to front up to New Zealanders and apologise for his patently false and cynical attack on Labour’s Fiscal Plan, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Every respected economic commentator has come out and said that Labour’s Fiscal ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Bill English didn’t answer because the Oreti is badly polluted
    Last night Bill English was asked by Paddy Gower in the Leader’s Debate: “Which river did he swim in as a kid, and is it now polluted?” Bill English named the Oreti River, but did not answer whether it is ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Nats put out dodgy numbers – again
    National’s promise to increase the number of elective surgeries to 200,000 is bizarre, given Jonathan Coleman has claimed 200,000 electives are already being performed, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s Award to encourage young people into trades training
    Labour will introduce a $2,000 award for the best pupil in vocational courses in each public secondary school, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “We know there’s huge demand for trades workers, particularly in the building sector, where construction ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Not another Nick Smith wild goose chase
    Only the election on September 23 can save the country and the RMA from Nick Smith, say Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford and Environment spokesperson David Parker. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government supresses Climate Change report
    The Government has deliberately sat on a critical Climate Change report for 5 months which they must now release, election or no election, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “I want the report released immediately, so that New Zealanders ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Joyce gets it wrong on Labour’s Fiscal Plan
    Labour’s Fiscal Plan is robust, the numbers are correct and we stand by them despite the desperate and disingenuous digging from an out-the-door Finance Minister, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Steven Joyce has embarrassed himself. This is a desperate, ...
    3 weeks ago