Hekia has gone rogue

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, October 5th, 2015 - 41 comments
Categories: education, Hekia parata, national, Politics, same old national, schools - Tags:

Spock_Parata

Jo Moir at Stuff has asked if Hekia Parata has gone rogue in announcing a change of the education funding formula. I am surprised she had to ask. The answer must be a resounding “yes”.

She did not sneak the announcement out. She went to the PPTA annual conference and at the same time she accused pretty well everyone present of being supporters of apartheid she announced that student academic progress was going to be at the forefront of the promised new funding policy.

From Stuff:

For more than two years the Education Minister has been vocal about her desire to give school deciles the chop, but just what a new funding model would look like has remained a mystery.

In 2013, Hekia Parata first criticised deciles as “clumsy” and sometimes used “to explain or excuse everything”.

By 2014, she was signalling the end of them when she said schools would only need to put up with deciles “for the present and for the near future”.

In between times, she had hinted at replacing deciles with academic progress measures, but by November last year she had ruled out any funding link to academic results.

Using student achievement data for school funding is  contentious because of the fear it would punish schools dealing with the most disadvantaged children.

On Thursday, Parata did the U-turn of all U-turns and told a room packed full of teachers that student achievement would “absolutely” be a factor in a review of the school funding system.

Finally, confirmation that student success would be front and centre of a new funding model that Parata wants sorted by the end of this parliamentary term.

As pointed out however there was a somewhat major problem with Parata’s announcement.  The Ministry was not aware of it:

On September 4, Ministry of Education deputy secretary Rawiri Bell said in a statement: “We absolutely reject any suggestion we are introducing performance-based funding for schools or performance-related pay for teachers. That is wrong.”

That is a difficult statement to get muddled – it couldn’t be clearer that the ministry has no plans whatsoever to include student performance in a new school funding model.

Of course this particular announcement fits into National’s desire to help its own.  Remember back in 2009 when National cut funding for night classes and very successful literacy and numeracy programmes so that $35 million extra to private schools?

The announcement has everything to do with politics and little to do with reality.  Cutting funding for the poorest schools may make the base feel better and it may allow the Government to save some money but if you needed the best measure of need then poverty and the decile system is it.  And pouring money into a system that can be easily gamed while ignoring the clear need that exists is a recipe for continued failure.

41 comments on “Hekia has gone rogue”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    a neighbour was at a NZEI conference in Rotorua recently and attendees all had strict instructions to behave themselves while the minister spoke and she coughed up the same line about deciles and education funding, the PM always seems to support old slapper features, so he probably well knows about Lady Gardiner’s latest wind up

  2. ianmac 2

    Formal teaching testing at Kindergarten level will no doubt be on the Parata/Key agenda to put funding/performance on the Agenda.

    Meanwhile in Finland:
    “When children play (in Finland Kindergarten), Osei Ntiamoah continued, they’re developing their language, math, and social-interaction skills. A recent research summary “The Power of Play” supports her findings: “In the short and long term, play benefits cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development…When play is fun and child-directed, children are motivated to engage in opportunities to learn,” the researcher concluded……..
    ….In fact, Finland requires its kindergarten teachers to offer playful learning opportunities—including both kinds of play—to every kindergartner on a regular basis, according to Arja-Sisko Holappa, a counselor for the Finnish National Board of Education……”
    http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/10/the-joyful-illiterate-kindergartners-of-finland/408325/

    • There’s a lot of very good research on the efficacy of play not just for children’s learning but for general performance, creativity, wellbeing, etc. of humans in general.

      The ‘problem’ for (free) play advocates, however, is that play is indeed ‘free’ and voluntarily chosen. This is a ‘problem’ not because it leads to chaos – far from it, it constructs (voluntary) order – but because not many social institutions (e.g., workplaces, schools, etc.) are willing for people to be that free – whatever their age.

      After all, institutions are set up to achieve particular purposes (e.g., make a profit in the short to medium term, provide a skilled workforce) so we wouldn’t want the uncontrolled freedom of people to interfere with the effective and efficient achievement of those goals.

      • ianmac 2.1.1

        There is a school of thought which argues that all you have to do is set clear objectives and children will respond with vigour and success. Behaviourism. Of course it is not how most people learn. Most people need a context and see a need to learn stuff rather than have stuff foisted on them. And what is worse only the very simple ideas can be tested and scored. Complex ideas, beliefs and learnings are deeply personal and defy a tick box test.

        So Parata, testing kids to determine funding is superficial and nonsensical. What each learns is idiosyncratic, joyful and defies testing unless you thin the tests down to some simplistic pointless exercise.

    • savenz 2.2

      +100 Ianmac

    • savenz 2.3

      More disgusting news to make an already horrible day with the TPPA secret magic beans deal being potentially signed and now more attacks on our vulnerable kids by the another disgusting Nat, Hekia.

      Getting closer to the Natz ‘final solution’ for the poor and pretty much everyone apart from the cronies and 1% that own all the wealth.

    • JanM 2.4

      And exactly what do you think happens here, ianmac? Have you ever read the NZ ece curriculum ‘Te Whariki’? It has been the envy of the world for years.
      Of course, it has been undermined to a degree with the enthusiastic take-up of daycares as cash cows, so there is a ‘charter school’ element in there. Nevertheless, the good centres, and Kindergarten Association kindergartens in particular, follow this curriculum with skill and understanding, on the whole.
      The curriculum for primary and secondary had been changed just prior to this government and to a significant extent it was based on ‘Te Whariki’, but it was almost totally undermined in short order by a failure to offer professional development so teachers knew what they were doing, and the introduction of the ghastly and counter-intuitive National Standards. After all, the Right do not want a genuinely well educated population (apart from accountants and HR wallahs) because, horrifyingly, they might be able to think for themselves 🙁

  3. On Thursday, Parata did the U-turn of all U-turns and told a room packed full of teachers that student achievement would “absolutely” be a factor in a review of the school funding system.

    Coming from most people, this wouldn’t be a contentious statement, because (uh, duh-uh) the biggest factor in pupil achievement is socio-economic status of the pupil’s family, so targeting student achievement would have to mean targeting poverty, whether via decile-based funding or some other approach. Coming from a Nat cabinet minister though, it means the usual plan to steal from the poor and give to the rich.

    • Good point Psycho Milt.

      I imagine that the funding formula won’t be ‘If children aren’t achieving well, provide more funding and resources’, it will be ‘If children are achieving well, provide more funding and resources’.

      After all, you wouldn’t want to ‘incentivise failure’ would you?

      • That will be their argument – the current decile system “incentivises failure,” because look, we give the most money to schools whose kids are doing badly. The money should therefore be redirected from these “failing” schools to “successful” ones where the kids are doing well. It’s an argument that gets rehearsed in Kiwiblog comments threads every time DPF does a blog post on charter schools. I won’t be at all surprised to hear it coming from a Nat cabinet minister’s lips.

  4. Hurrah! More selection of students likely to maintain results! More weeding out of ‘problematic’ students and sending them downstream to preserve a school’s good results! More credit cram courses do maximise results! More meaningless standards to increase ‘achievement’! More teaching to the test! Less encouraging of exploration and risk taking and thinking and learning from mistakes! Less focus on the means and more focus on the ends! More regurgitation off pre-taught answers and uncritical identification of text book, rote learned facts! Less understanding! Less critical thinking! More paperwork! More assessment! More marking! More stress on teachers and students! More product, less people!

  5. Melb 5

    Mickey, your summary on the front page doesn’t match up with the original (non-opinion) article.

    “Hekia Parata has announced that student achievement and not need caused by poverty will be a central part of any future funding system.”

    vs

    “We’re very much at the beginning of this process so no decisions at all have been made as to which variables and in what way they’ll be used but will student achievement and learning be one of them? Absolutely.”

    Parata has announced that this would be one of the variables in a review. She hasn’t said it would be a central part of funding changes. It’s quite the misrepresentation from Jo Moir.

    And further on, where do you get “Cutting funding for the poorest schools” from? To assert that is further misrepresentation, when it is only at the beginning of a review. Funding on achievement could easily be a mechanism to provide greater assistance to schools that are struggling.

      • Melb 5.1.1

        A school union jumps the gun in order to criticise the Government. Shock, horror.

        “‘It is counter-productive to withdraw funding from the very schools that require more support because they have a higher rate of disadvantaged and challenged learners,’ she said.”

        Yet gives no details of what funding is being withdrawn. Because they’ve just fired off a press release of rhetoric before any actual details have been discussed.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1

          “discussed”

          How did you arrive at the delusion that there’ll be a discussion? It’s embarrassing.

    • Kelly-Ned 5.2

      Simple.
      Natz are following the American patterns largely.
      There they take from the poor/low achieving and give heaps to the wealthy schools thereby reinforcing the inequities.
      There is no reason to suspect that this won;t be the pattern followed here.

  6. red-blooded 6

    Melb:
    1) The NZ Principals’ Federation is not a “school union”. It’s absolutely separate from the PPTA (Post Primary Teachers’ Association) and in fact competes and often disagrees with the Secondary Principals’ Association (which is part of the PPTA).
    2) Actually, school unions quite often agree with or promote issues which are educationally beneficial but which might be seen as competing with the vested interests of teachers and principals. The PPTA supports NCEA, for example, and this has hugely increased teachers’ workloads. The Principals’ Association has been commenting today and saying that we should rationalise our provision of schools, with more closures of small schools. This would help widen the curriculum and increase the depth of specialist teacher expertise for students who are currently at very small schools, while also cutting down on costs for things like maintenance and building redevelopment.

    And, by the way, if a group which represents specialists in the field is ‘firing off” a press release it’s because they know more than you or I what IS being discussed and they are making an effort to contribute to the conversation and forewarn people who may also want a way to contribute.

    “Results-based” funding is a self-reinforcing cycle. Decile-based funding is by no means perfect (it’s a pretty rough measure of community need), but it has been refined over the years and could continue to be refined.

    Parata may be the Minister, but she has no particular expertise in education and should not be allowed to go rogue.

    • Melb 6.1

      “The New Zealand Principals’ Federation represents more than 2,300 principals from the education sector.

      The Federation, which was first established in 1982, provides support and a professional voice for members throughout New Zealand, also information and professional resources, legal support and advice as well as a number of publications and a helpline.

      Our fifteen strong executive, work hard on behalf of members in a number of areas.

      These include representation on reference groups pertaining to education as well as regular meetings with the Minister of Education, the Secretary for Education and the CEO of the Education Review Office and lobbying where appropriate.”

      It’s a union for school principals, or, a school union. Like the PPTA are a school union for secondary teachers and the NZEI are a school union for primary teachers and ECE staff.

      I used the phrase “fired off” because it’s clearly been written up and released without any concrete information about what a new funding system will entail, because those decisions are still a long way off. If they don’t have any info to back up the claims then it’s simple scaremongering.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1

        What blithering idiocy. If the fuckwit doesn’t want people to comment on her witless gobshite she shouldn’t run her mouth the way she does.

        As for your complete ignorance of the consequences of the vandalism she’s proposing, I note that few share it.

        • Melb 6.1.1.1

          Well that was well-thought out and factual. I would really hope the school system has improved from the time you went through it.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.1.1

            You’re the one with the comprehension fail.

            The negative consequences of National Party education policy have been evident in the UK and USA for years. You’re either pretending ignorance of that, which makes you a low-life, or you haven’t a clue, which makes you irrelevant.

            Either you’re blithering out of bad faith and malice (that’s my pick) or you can’t be bothered doing any fact checking. Either way your opinions are toxic.

      • Kelly-Ned 6.1.2

        NZPF is NOT a union. It is a voluntary association of primary school principals. It does not negotiate with employers.
        As for lacking detail about any possible funding based upon student achievement there are only two options – both proven failed overseas.
        You either punish low achievement (which is well proven to be connected with poverty/impoverished upbringing) by taking funding from them OR you take money from high achieving schools to use in the support of low achieving schools.
        The former further disadvantages the the under-achievers whilst the latter dis-incentivises (if that’s a word) higher achievement. Therefore neither can ever have a positive effect on overall student outcomes.

  7. Sabine 7

    Well, the less the future unemployed know the better. Imagine they could read, write and do Math, they could not only complain in writing but do so eloquently and they could help Winz to get their benefits calculations right. That of course can’t be.

    But most importantly, 1 million people in NZ voted for it. So there. Its all good.

  8. greywarshark 8

    Military academies are what we need. Shape up or take a 10 km run with a backpack filled with bricks. Some of the top men in the USA went to military academies from say age 9, some earlier.

    The use of education as a carrot and a necessary exercise to an adult life with a bit of work is a way to bind people to the tax sucking-coffers of the state, You have to have education – it’s good for you and for the country’s progress and development statistics. But you have to pay for it, even if not learning anything that will be useful for a job with a living wage and hours. You may have all the skills needed but because employment results from the whim and vagaries of business people who have the brains and instincts of a group of jackals, you may always remain a bonded person to the state. You will struggle with an unpaid debt for education which has not been of value to you and for which there is no positive cost:benefit ratio. But that’s Alice in Wonderland life for you. Suck it up.

    http://societyandspace.com/reviews/reviews-archive/dienst-richard-2011-the-bonds-of-debt/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debt:_The_First_5000_Years
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debt_bondage

    I seem to remember CNNs previous owner Ted Turner had a father with rigid rules for punishment, and when he failed his own standards he asked his son to give him a few strokes with a blunt instrument. It’s that strict, no-nonsense approach that is needed to turn out obedient keen men and women as portrayed in the post ww2 book The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit by Sloan Wilson about the people who were the ground troops for a post-war conformist, even fascist state.

    The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956) – Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_in_the_Gray_Flannel_Suit
    The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, by Sloan Wilson, is a 1955 novel about the American search for purpose in a world dominated by business. Tom and Betsy …
    Gregory Peck tells about it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfrqYr58st0

    Tom Rath and his post-war corporate peers are more than just “suits;” they are
    the types described in William Whyte’s Organization Men,
    Organization Men, by definition, are not the workers, nor are they the white-collar people in the usual, clerk sense of the word. These people work only for The Organization. The ones I am talking about belong to it as well. They are the ones of our middle class who have left home, spiritually as well as physically, to take the vows of organization life, and it is they who are the mind and soul of our great self- perpetuating institutions.

    They are in effect the mechanism of the corporation, and spend their careers trying to
    move up the elevator into a corner office with a nice view of the city. Although Tom
    chafes against the organizations that he works for, finding himself dissatisfied as a cog
    within the clockwork of the corporation, he struggles to break free. His career may not
    be ideal, but since he was a young man, he had not been given the choice to seek another profession. Immediately after the war, his grandmother pushed him into working for upward mobility would bring him to the United Broadcasting Corporation.

    When interviewed for his job at the United Broadcasting, Tom cynically ruminates about applying for another position as an Organization Man:

    The most significant fact about me is that I detest the United Broadcasting
    Corporation, with all its soap operas, commercials, and yammering
    studio audiences, and the only reason I’m willing to spend my life in such
    a ridiculous enterprise is that I want to buy a more expensive house with
    a better brand of gin.

    http://www.lvc.edu/vhr/2013/articles/kelley%20final.pdf

    • Crashcart 8.2

      I kind of hope you are a little tounge in cheek regarding the military schools. Don’t get me wrong. Military based schools are excellent for people who are able to work in that culture. I am in the military. However there are people who definately don’t fit in to a military context and when you try and force them into that sort of regimented system it does not turn out well.

      • greywarshark 8.2.1

        That’s a very restrained answer from you Crashcart considering your experience.
        I believe that a military school should be for after a teenager has had a general education with a wide and rich education. I don’t believe children should be sent to boarding schools at an early age unless there is no alternative.

        So it is just not military schools that bother me, it is the lack of a wide and deep education. I think our present one is not all that good. The emphasis on obedience and military strategy and using threat or cunning to solve problems might be given precedence at military schools instead of that wide education. I also like philosphy, and problem solving as a way of encouraging thinking and brainwork, not learning to tick boxes as in National Standards. Education needs to be more than learning how to gain ascendancy. Better is how to use argument, discussion, listening and countering and understanding and trying for agreement all with the aim of not having armed confrontation.

        In law there were trained mediators being used a few years ago, but they can’t be used as much as should be because I never hear about them now.
        edited

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    It’s not just Parata that has gone rogue but National because we know that she would not have made such a blunt statement if she didn’t have the full support of the cabinet. They’re acting fully against the evidence solely to boost profit for their donors. That profit will come at the expense of all other taxpayers.

  10. Hekia Parata has not ‘gone rogue’ in a sense of suddenly having done something out-of-left field stupid or outrageous. She has continued on her steady and consistent path.

    When a MInister of Education decides that funding of schools is to be based on outcomes (using the reports from the PPTA conference as real), she proves her ideological approach overrides any intelligence and common sense.

    Quite simply Hekia Parata is a cretin, intellectually bereft and visits treason upon our children, present and future.

  11. feijoa 11

    It’s all part of the plan to have a robotic unquestioning population ready to work for the 1%

  12. AmaKiwi 12

    What organization or company would be stupid enough to put someone in charge of a department they have ZERO expertise in?

    Yet that is a fundamental principle of our system of government.

    Julie Anne Genter knows more about transportation than all the other MPs put together, but she sits on the sidelines while the morons screw things up.

    Ministers of education who have no university degree (Ann Tolly).
    Health ministers with no medical experience (not Coleman, but others).
    An obese Defence Minister while Ron Marks (SAS, retired) sits on the sidelines.
    An attorney general who has no law degree (Margaret Wilson).

    Our system is self destructing. Changing parties will NOT solve the problems. We need a 21st century form of government based on expertise, not ideology.

  13. Macro 13

    Born in Gisborne, Wilson received her secondary education at St Dominic’s College, Northcote. She graduated LLB (honours) from the University of Auckland. She has worked as a lawyer, a Professor of Law and Dean at the University of Waikato,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Wilson
    you might like to retract some of your previous comment.

  14. millsy 14

    Parata and the government clearly have an agenda to incease private provision of education and education services. Even to the point of outsourcing the classic kiwi school caretaker.

    It helps of course, that the fact that she is the first Maori woman education minister is repeatedly used as a stick to beat her opponents, and National is getting very effective at it.

  15. millsy 15

    And funding schools according to academic acheivement is pretty much asking for trouble. Especially in a deregulated schools environment like ours.

    You’ll have kids being shifted sideways to make the figures look good.

  16. humPrac 16

    Am I the only one who noticed her wearing a Star Trek uniform. Where is she going? Mars?

  17. ropata 18

    neglected schools are a sign of a society with no future.
    thank-you to all the teachers who have stood strong against tolley and parata’s attacks.
    kia kaha.

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