Education flaws: Just plain scary

Written By: - Date published: 3:06 pm, November 25th, 2009 - 24 comments
Categories: education - Tags:

Primary school education has been the focus of debate here in NZ with the introduction of ‘national standards’. Today we hear on RNZ that:

Four of the country’s top educational academics have condemned the Government’s national standards policy. In an open letter Education Minister Anne Tolley, four senior assessment academics say the brief time frame allowed for the development of the standards has resulted in fundamental flaws…

Personally I don’t understand what the rush is. Surely the education of young children deserves a little time investment. Do parents realise just how unpopular within the sector this election policy actually is?

Of course, if we want to see how badly education can go wrong try this article on how pre-school children are being tutored to get into kindergarten! From the NY Times:

Motivated by a recession putting private schools out of reach and concern about the state of regular public education, parents — some wealthy, some not — are signing up at companies like Bright Kids NYC. Bright Kids, which opened this spring in the financial district, has some 200 students receiving tutoring, most of them for the gifted exams, for up to $145 a session and 80 children on a waiting list for a weekend ‘boot camp’ program…

‘It’s the same phenomenon as with the SATs: a gradual rise in test prep, until it becomes the norm,’ said Emily Glickman, a Manhattan educational consultant. ‘Given that the demand for high-stakes schools outstrips supply, that’s what’s happening.’

I’m as keen as anyone on academic achievement, but it seems like there’s a slippery slope that you can start down without even realising it. What will the parents of the future be confronting?

24 comments on “Education flaws: Just plain scary”

  1. George D 2

    how unpopular within the sector this election policy actually is?

    In this Government being opposed by experts is a sign that you’re doing it right. Experts are “vested interests”, driven by ideology, you see.

    • Craig Glen Eden 2.1

      Oh yes people that are well educated spending hours with other educated people trying to improve how we educate or children to face the challenges of the modern world and getting paid stuff all to do it. Yup really vested interest!

      So based on your logic National should do the exact opposite to everything treasurey/ business and the banks suggest because that would mean they are on the right track.

      Please please George D tell me that you dont actually vote on election day and you dont currently hold a drivers license.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        I think there was a large dose of sarcasm in GDs post.

      • George D 2.1.2

        I was talking about the attitudes of Tolley, Brownlee, et al, who appear to value right-wing ideology over the research of those in their fields.

  2. Ag 3

    This is sadly becoming the norm. Education is now the object of competitive consumption. I guess it isn’t so bad, since people are spending more on education, which is better for society than spending it on designer clothes or kitchen remodelling.

    • Dancr 3.1

      I’d agree that people spending on education is a good thing – as a parent I want to support my kids. But the flow on effect of competition in education is that you get the ‘haves and have-nots’ – doesn’t matter so much when it comes to the style of your kitchen sink, but has the potention to make a big difference to the ability of our country to be productive in 20 years time.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      Spending more on education and getting less is better for society?

      • Ag 3.2.1

        It depends what you mean. People may well spend more on education and get less out of it for themselves. But the public benefit of increased spending on education, however small, is probably better than if the money were spent on luxury items.

        There are other concerns, such as that mentioned by the poster above, but the fact remains that private spending on education is better than private spending on jewelry.

  3. TightyRighty 4

    while it needs to be implemented correctly, study in the UK has shown that one in five children are leaving school without the three r’s. and that one in three school leavers are basically unemployable. they attribute this fact to a “stubborn core of teaching or teaching that is only satisfactory”. while im not saying the same thing is happening here, though evidence points to a trend of underacheivement at school, wouldn’t national standards enable us to spot the places where teaching is falling down and then remedial steps can be taken? or is it just that teachers want to maintain the status quo, and how dare parents and the government, who incidentally pay for most of the education, question their ability or methods? those bloody parents who only want to be able to judge how well their school is educating their little darling.

    • Pascal's bookie 4.1

      I reckon if a kid can’t read, it’s the sort of thing a parent might notice. But that’s just me.

    • Macro 4.2

      And the UK have had “standards” for years TR and what good has it done? Those who have been studying the effects of their “standards” have concluded that it has just the opposite effect to what was intended! But our lovely minister has heard it all before and she knows best!

      • TightyRighty 4.2.1

        they have had standards for years. and look what the benefits of a left wing government tinkering with education policy have bought? the fiscal fool, jonah brown and his cronies have ruined education in britain. no wonder one of the biggest high st chains has decided that one in three school leavers are to stupid to collect trolleys in a carpark when your idea of education effectively eliminates history from the curriculum. who ever wants to remember what left wing governments have done to their nation.

        • Pascal's bookie

          Yeah. What have they ever done for us?

          • TightyRighty

            sweet FA when it’s tallied up. short term electoral buy offs maybe, nothing at all of any long term benefit.

            • Pascal's bookie

              You’re right. They do need to spend more time teaching history.

            • TightyRighty

              not your version of it. history is written by the winners remember.

            • Pascal's bookie

              Yep. I don’t think we’ll be going back to the state of play pre the rise of the western left any time soon TR.

              You’re soaking in it, you should probably start paying attention to how it happenned.

            • TightyRighty

              i know how it happened. the thing that scares me is that you all like to call your movement “progressive”. how you can consider yourselves progressive when saddled with such guilt one could believe you were all raised in a catholic monastery and led by such nutters that the moniker of the loony left is justly earned.

            • Pascal's bookie

              More! Learned one, please.

              Not at all Loony, though art,

              A month with two moons.

            • TightyRighty

              clever, if smug. typical i guess.

          • prism

            pb Was that Haiku? \You are so clever, and smug!

  4. Becky 5

    I too am fine with educators trying to better our education system,
    as long as what they are doing is beneficial and not just a way to make themselves look good. I recently read a book titled, “Lives of Passion, School of Hope” by Rick Posner, which is about an alternative education system in Colorado that is actually very successful in producing well rounded children, who grow up to become very respectable and successful adults. This is the education I want to see in my kid’s schools.

  5. prism 6

    Education is a magic word to Decision makers. It is usually seen when developing countries improve it, their living standard rises. But if everybody aspires to top places leading to prestigious jobs there is huge competition which we see in NZ.

    I think the thinking goes – if there is a shortage of money the Dms are going to direct it where it will help their social class most – recently private schools have received more haven’t they? The superior persona of that class is maintained and they can continue to disdain the strugglers and fallers and grafters. So why bother with individuals’ learning, give them all the basics and if there is some cream it may rise to the surface and get a scholarship or an education voucher to one of ‘our schools’.

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