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Labour’s education reforms

Written By: - Date published: 9:08 am, December 9th, 2018 - 58 comments
Categories: child welfare, Deep stuff, education, greens, labour, national, nz first, Politics, poverty, same old national, schools - Tags:

The Government has kicked off a debate about the future of education with some radical proposals for change.

The proposals are recorded in the report prepared by the Tomorrow’s Schools independent taskforce.  One of those taskforces that the opposition loves to hate on the grounds that they are talkfests and will achieve nothing.

Well they better rethink because this particular report will cause fundamental changes to our education system if enacted.  And I hope they are.

The review comes with this video:

The report has identified eight key issues:

  1. The Board of Trustees self-governing model is not working consistently well across the country and some boards are struggling.
  2. The nature, type, provision, and accessibility of meaningful schooling for all New Zealanders is inadequate, and characterised by poor provision for Kaupapa Māori schooling and inefficient management of the network of schooling in an area.
  3. Unhealthy competition between schools has significantly increased as a result of the self-governing school model. It has also impacted on the ability of some students and whānau to exercise choice.
  4. Students with learning support requirements should have the same access to schooling as other students and it is clear that currently they do not.
  5. The quality of teaching is the major in school influence on student success but teacher workforce strategies lack the necessary support, coherence and coordination.
  6. Leadership is central to school improvement and yet there are few formal and planned structures to develop and sustain school leaders.
  7. The overall resourcing for the compulsory schooling sector is currently inadequate to meet the needs of many learners and those who work in it.
  8. A number of significant structural issues and policy settings make it difficult for the agencies to be as effective as they might be.

There are a couple of stand out proposals, the establishment of area hubs which will work with boards of trustees but take over more management responsibility, and the greater enforcement of  zoning arrangements.  The intent is that schools within an area should be more cooperative, poaching of students should not happen and kids should go to their local schools.

The proposals in relation to zoning include:

  • “All enrolment schemes are fair and equitable with the Education Hub having final decision making rights.
  • Limits are placed on schools recruiting out of zone students.
  • Limits are placed on the donations schools may request.
  • Schools which enrol international fee-paying students provide for them independently of government funding.
  • Students with learning support needs have the same access to schools as other students.
  • School provision, including opening and closure decisions are made based on community needs and equity considerations.
  • State-integrated schools are treated in the same way as state schools with regard to the operation of transport subsidies and enrolment schemes.”

This proposal will no doubt cause some angst at least amongst those schools will face the most adverse effects although the hub proposal has attracted the most attention so far.

The Headmaster of Auckland Grammar does not like the proposed changes.  From Radio New Zealand:

Auckland Grammar headmaster Tim O’Connor says proposed reforms to the education system are a direct and serious attack on state education.

The independent Tomorrow’s Schools taskforce has made recommendations on eight key issues it says will make our education system more fair.

They include changing school boards so they can focus on students, curriculum and assessment.

The taskforce said competition was damaging schools.

It recommended introducing 20 regional hubs that would run groups of schools, hire principals, and support teachers.

The union for school teachers, New Zealand Educational Institute, said the proposed reforms schools put children at the centre of education.

But Mr O’Connor said the proposed changes would set education back 30 years.

He said parents would be disempowered if functions of school boards were moved to education hubs.

“So they lose all governance responsibilities; they have nothing to do with school finances; they have nothing to do with school property.

“Effectively what they [the taskforce] need to be honest about is they’re not a board of trustees; they’re an advisory group at best.”

He said he and others would work to oppose the proposed changes.

National’s initial response is cautious although already you can see them building up a mantra that the reforms take away powers from ordinary hard working New Zealanders, just like those who are currently on the board of Auckland Grammar.

I am sure that Auckland Grammar with its surfeit of lawyer and accountant old boys will find the governance fine no matter what.  But it is the zoning where the interest will be.  And the right is getting its rhetoric ready.

Briar Lipson from the think tank, the New Zealand Initiative, is concerned that reducing competition between schools will reduce incentives for them to lift their performance.

“If we’re not careful, we will end up with a system that does not demand much of schools and students and disempowers the most important force for good in children’s lives, which is their parents and communities,” Ms Lipson said.

She would like to see mechanisms to allow good schools to take over schools that perform poorly.

The comment is resplendit with the market knows best propaganda.  More competition, not more resources is the way for schools to improve themselves and sort themselves out.

Strip away the rhetoric and the reality is that the market driven approach is failing our kids.  A 2017 article by Simon Collins in the Herald provides sobering reading.  It started with this passage:

Emeritus Professor Warwick Elley worries that New Zealand’s education system is failing an entire generation.

“I worry that it’s a dumbing down of a whole population of students,” he says.

When Elley chaired the international steering committee for one of the first world literacy surveys, in 1990, Kiwi students came fourth.

A decade later, when the Programme for International Students Assessment (Pisa) started testing 15-year-olds, NZ students came second only to Finland in reading, third in maths, and sixth-equal in science.

But it has been downhill ever since. In six three-yearly Pisa surveys, the most recent (2015) reported last December, each group of NZ students has scored lower than the group that went before them in both reading and maths.

Over Pisa’s 15-year history New Zealand’s average score for maths has dropped by more than any other country (down 42 points), closely followed by Australia (down 39 points).

Our average for reading has dropped by 20 points, a steeper fall than in all except three countries (Britain, Australia and Iceland).

Even in science, where we have had ups as well as downs, our average is down 15 points since 2000, although eight other countries including Australia declined more.

Of course it is too simplistic to blame one thing, tomorrow’s schools, on this decline.  Increasing child poverty and a more unequal society no doubt has also had its effect on the result.  But clearly our current education model is not working for all kids and we owe it to them to do better.

Get ready, I suspect this is going to be one hell of a debate.  But it is one that for our kids and grandkids we have to win.

58 comments on “Labour’s education reforms”

  1. Phaedrus 1

    As a retired primary school principal, I think you’ve summed up the issues very well. This report provides a very good way ahead and is probably what should have happened when the nonsensically named ‘Tomorrow’s Schools’ was imposed in 1990. Rather than implement a totally untried ideological agenda based on a neoliberal view of education, it would have been far more effective to modernise the existing system, which is what this report essential proposes – blending the best of the previous system and the best parts of the current system.

    The big and rich Auckland schools (and elsewhere) have a vested interest in the status quo, especially given the proposals in the report to tighten up on enrolment zones, those limiting their opportunities to ‘cherry pick’ their enrolment. Maybe a more open enrolment, allowing kids from less socially desirable areas to attend their schools, would reveal to the world that their educational programmes aren’t as flash as they tell us – there’s a lot of evidence that shows that biggest determinant of education achievement is the socio-economic background of the pupils.

    Similarly your observations about the makeup of Boards of Trustees is also valid. In my 20 year principal career I rarely worked with a competent BOT over four different schools and I maintain that is is common in most schools. The outcome, as this report highlights, is that principals find themselves doing just about everything for the BOT, on top of their primary responsibility of ensuring their schools provide the best possible education for their pupils. This is far more so in primary schools. As the report notes, primary schools receive far less administrative support than secondary schools, so jobs can’t be delegated.

    The removal of the Education Review Office, which has dominated the education agenda from the outset, in spite of changing government policies, will also be a major gain. Whatever system is set up to help monitor schools will be immeasurably better.

    Your last paragraph is spot on. We must win this battle to remove neoliberalism from our education system as it sure hasn’t worked. The recent findings that the quality of science in primary schools is dismal is a sign of this and I would maintain that if similar analysis was done right across the curriculum, we would find the same thing.

    While the old education board system was creaking badly, back then NZ primary schooling was seen as world leading and people came here to see what we were doing.
    Let’s go back to the best parts of those days so we can then move forward.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Thanks Phaedrus. My wife and two of my children are teachers so I get told in very clear terms what the current shortcomings with the education system are!

  2. Antoine 2

    I see many problems with the status quo, but it is not clear to me that the solutions proposed address the problems.

    If I was in charge, we would be:
    – throwing more money at the sector, to train staff better, pay them more and put more of them in schools
    – reducing the administrative overhead on teachers
    – abandoning faddish educational methods in favor of more traditional approaches
    – abandoning NCEA as an experiment that failed
    – finding better ways to deal with disruptive students
    – placing special needs kids more appropriately (which in some cases, means out of a mainstream classroom).

    Meddling with zoning or governance wouldn’t be on my top 10 list.

    A.

  3. Bea 3

    Once again millions of dollars and hours of time will be poured into changing the administration and the rules and providing jobs for thousands more bureaucrats to boss schools around.
    Change the few rules that need changing and pour the money, time and energy into the teachers and classrooms. That’s where real change happens. In fact, it’s the only place children actually get the benefit.
    One day perhaps we will train and pay teachers as though they are national treasures and no one will care about who is running the school.

    • Antoine 3.1

      Well said

    • Marcus Morris 3.2

      I taught in the secondary service for more than twenty years before Tomorrow’s Schools” was imposed upon us. I was never aware of thousands of bureaucrats “bossing us” around. There were small teams of inspectors (Usually very experienced teachers) who visited schools once a year and these morphed into advisors who gave advice and assistance whenever it was asked for. They could also advise Education Boards where they observed situations where intervention was desirable – and all this was free of charge to the schools.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.3

      /facepalm

      How are we to know what needs changing without a review?
      How are those changes going to be done without the bureaucrats?

      Education isn’t just rules. There’s also the training of teachers and research to find better ways to educate. That training and research is going to come from the Ministry. That’s more bureaucrats BTW.

      Simple fact of the matter is that we need the bureaucrats.

  4. JanM 4

    “Briar Lipson from the think tank, the New Zealand Initiative, is concerned that reducing competition between schools will reduce incentives for them to lift their performance.”
    Good grief, if ‘competition is all that’s keeping them up to scratch, there are some serious educational and philosophical problems in the system, aren’t there!

  5. patricia bremner 5

    The effectiveness of any Educational System is gauged by International rankings.

    A steady decline in our rankings for all levels of Education from preschool to university and post graduate levels has caused concern.

    Those who yell “Freedoms lost”, are really bemoaning lost earning capacity, and a rorting ability.

    They fear not being able to advertise educational prowess and the ability to select top students only, and “Devil take the rest”

    For thirty years we have eaten past Educational capital and reserves.
    We have slowly whittled away structures and methods which supported students with special needs.

    We lost training for teachers in situ, when NZEI Training courses arranged by local Resource Teachers were disestablished.

    Another problem was the retention of senior teachers with classroom management skills. Boards through narrow based hiring policies hired cheaper younger staff.

    Recruitment became unbalanced as fewer senior teachers were able to support all their younger colleagues with resultant churn, as the new recruits left through being overwhelmed by the task. Further burnout happened to the remaining shrinking senior pool.

    This caused wealthy schools to poach skilled teachers, through an ability to offer incentives.. smaller classes, non-student time, a vehicle etc. compounding the ills.

    Recently we see schools poaching students with the desired profile. Change is overdue.

    • mpledger 5.1

      The effectiveness of any Educational System is **NOT** gauged by International rankings.

      The international rankings are a load of crap for many reasons –
      1) countries game the system ,
      2) it doesn’t matter to the student so there is no reason to try hard. That makes a difference in Western Countries (kids from Asian countries still try as hard whether there is an incentive or not – there is an interesting paper on it),
      3) the tests don’t measure our curriculum,
      4) other systems are different, (IIRC) disabled kids in Japan get educated in the medical system so aren’t included, the USA educates all kids, citizens or not (which includes many ESOL kids),
      5) changes over time have to be considered in light of more countries entering the tests,
      6) the average age of kids are not all the same between countries – IIRC the USA average age is 4 months or so older on taking the test then the average for NZ kids, some Arab countries are 1 or 2 years olds and
      7) kids take the test in their own language so kids who have easier languages to learn have an advantage.

      • patricia bremner 5.1.1

        mpledger, much of this is true, but does not change the fact that in the 80s we were first equal with Scotland in Reading and comprehension, and did well in math and science problem solving.

        In the 90s this had begun to slip steadily and our University rankings fell as well.
        The last ten years have been disastrous, and the tests used were international over 14 year olds in many countries.

        We have to realise that the competitive model of the last 30 years caused inequities, with schools competing for staff and pupils. The wealthy began augmenting Public Education where they could gain from it, or demanding resources for their visions of Private Education from the Public Purse (taxpayer.)

        Meanwhile Special Education steadily became “Put your child into your Local School” not telling parents who did this, they had lost education until 21 for their special child. It became about saving government money, not what was best for the pupil.

        A more co-operative problem solving team orientated curriculum and recruitment and retention method is needed in the future. The education sector faces the difficulties posed by changing work models and the added problem of climate change.

        Curriculum development and training could be easier as schools in a Hub could share knowledge and expertise, running Science Fairs Problem solving sessions etc. Resource Teacher for the key Curriculum Areas could rotate round/through the Hub, keeping teachers up to date in methods and content

        The idea of Hubs makes sense in another regard, as local regions of NZ will face differing problems. For instance some regions will need evacuation plans in place for flooding or for others flash fires. Having schools under one planning Hub umbrella would assist with this, and the Senior staff would know each other and be better prepared in an emergency

        Resources for Special Needs students could be loaned or shared as could staff expertise.
        IMO this is a desirable model, not too large not too small in fact “Just right”.

  6. Cinny 6

    Awesome thread, fascinating comments, looking forward to reading more of others views.

    • garibaldi 6.1

      Yes Cinny ,this could be a major breakthrough but the cynic in me tells me nothing will come of it because this neolib govt is too scared to do what is needed and “big money” will fight it to the bitter end.

      • JanM 6.1.1

        “Big money” is not widespread enough in education to really put spokes in their wheels, except in ece which is another whole nightmare!

        • Incognito 6.1.1.1

          Education is Big Money and not the least due to the thousands of fee-paying international students.

      • veutoviper 6.1.2

        Education is not my area of expertise other than as an observer. While I am enjoying the discussion and comments by those much more expert in this area than me, I actually think that this government has already taken the bull by the horns and in just a year, has moved to make changes and has not sat on its hands as you suggest.

        The fact that they have now kicked off this debate that we are now discussing here is proof of this as having done so, they cannot now sit on their hands and do nothing.

        • gsays 6.1.2.1

          I am with you VV.
          Such a positive, cooperative, fiscally responsible, obvious and sharing solution.

          The idea that the tories would like to be bipartisan on this is also potentially exciting.

    • RedLogix 6.2

      I have to echo that comment cinny; this looks like a really positive reform and I look forward to it immensely.

      Both my parents were teachers in the era before and after Tomorrow’s Schools so I have some inside sense of what a corrosive impact it had. Not all of our educational decline can be sheeted home to it (after all Australia’s seen similar declines), but the experiment has been done and the results have been nothing like what it claimed on the tin.

      Moving on from this; the one very big outcome of losing the 2008 election that I still regret very much, was the failure to bring forward raising the ‘education leaving age’ to 18. This was a big lost opportunity and I’d very much like to see this govt have another go at it next term.

  7. dV 7

    This not directly related, but it is interesting in paralell.

    St Kents rugby team is being boycotted by other schools because they poach/recruit/bribe players from other schools to play for them.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=12172399

    The Herald revealed yesterday that 10 schools formed a coalition and agreed to boycott matches against St Kentigern because of their recruitment policy, which they deem to be morally and ethically reprehensible.

    St Kentigern revealed a few weeks ago that they had taken on five boys on full scholarships, all of whom played for first XVs at schools outside the Auckland area.

    he Herald revealed yesterday that 10 schools formed a coalition and agreed to boycott matches against St Kentigern because of their recruitment policy, which they deem to be morally and ethically reprehensible.

    St Kentigern College boycott exposes a ‘bad underbelly’ of secondary school sports, principal says

  8. Sanctuary 8

    The responses so far have swhown this will be a straight out class war fight between those who wish to entrench their advantage as early as possible and the rest.

    • Antoine 8.1

      Doesn’t sound that productive alas

      Wouldn’t it be more useful to skip the class war and get on with improving _all_ schools?

      A.

  9. barry 9

    It is clear the tomorrow’s schools have been a backward step.

    There are definitely more failing schools since, as some boards are struggling to get people with the right skills. The model has allowed the richer schools to flourish at the expense of the poorer.

    It has been a disaster for diversity and the higher needs students, as boards have managed their budgets by effectively excluding them. That is partly a reaction of squeezing funding.

    Application of curriculum has been patchy, with some schools refusing to teach controversial subjects like the NZ land wars. I don’t see any reason why educational needs are different between Epsom, Otahuhu or Tuatapere.

    People talk about choice, but every child should have the choice to go to their local school, mix with local children and get the same quality of education as any other child in NZ. Zoning is a blunt tool, but it comes closest to achieving it.

    There needs to be a place for experimentation and Kura Kaupapa, Montessori etc, but special character shouldn’t mean a lower standard for others.

    I think if we can agree on the 8 key issues, then the solutions should not be too controversial.

    • In Vino 9.1

      I agree, Barry. I feared at the time that what we were being fed (Change is good! Competition is good!) was harmful hogwash, but at the time almost nobody could foresee the outcomes, and those who did were drowned out in the media.
      What worries me now is that things have changed: back then all secondary schools in my city had a reasonable intake of all types of students in their zone, and the schools all had a range of able – less able students. That was then…
      Since the 1980s, our cities and suburbs have become fractured. Zoning will no longer work the way it used to because a school in a poor suburb with gangs, 90% solo parents etc will get only one type of student in its zone. And the school in Remuera will love zoning…
      Things are no longer the same, and a return to the old zoning thing will require huge help for schools on low-income areas, and I bet that the privileged will fight tooth and nail to prevent that necessary help.
      I think that controversy instigated by the privileged is likely to hamstring this new approach.

  10. Herodotus 10

    This to me is how to impose a “one size fits all”, and to destroy any innovation/opposition/ or to see alternative education systems that work – we will not allow leadership roles to remain beyond 5 years.
    So ALL schools will be funded alike and will offer the same educational, cultural, sporting opportunities. Really… so all schools will over the same range of subjects and qualifications NCEA,Cambridge, IB etc
    Any parent, teacher and observer will tell you that what school is perfect for one student will not be a good fit for another. Now we are to have a mono system ??
    “Get ready, I suspect this is going to be one hell of a debate. But it is one that for our kids and grandkids we have to win.” What happens IF what “WE” are prosing doesn’t work ??
    No wonder we are being told a lie of no extra money being available to pay the teachers it has all be siphoned to cover this experiment.
    Phase 1 :You Need Pay a Suitable Salary to retain and attract suitable talent – And Chis Hipkins is undermining everything before he even commences.😤

    • KJT 10.1

      We have a “one size fits all”.

      That was set in concrete by Nationals 3R’s approach.

      The model being schools like Auckland Crammer, who pick and choose their pupils, to give the illusion of being good schools. Despite being the most regimented and controlled, of our schools..

      If individual Teachers were free to choose what suits their students, then we would have variety and innovation.

      We already know it is the child’s fit with each Teacher, that determines results, not the school.

      Teachers should be chosen carefully, well paid and highly trained, in evidence based teaching methods, including serious classroom time (apprenticeship) , and then left to get on with it. Like Finland. Then. Bring back the school secretary, to do the administration.

      We have tried control by Bureaucracy, control by ignorant politicians, (and their business backers) micro-management, and control by local one issue groups of parents.

      Time to have stop the endless experiment, and follow what has been proven to work.!

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      This to me is how to impose a “one size fits all”, and to destroy any innovation/opposition/ or to see alternative education systems that work

      Can you point to any schools using an alternative education system that works. One that they developed themselves?

      Any parent, teacher and observer will tell you that what school is perfect for one student will not be a good fit for another.

      And I’m pretty sure that is nothing more than an anecdote.

      What happens IF what “WE” are prosing doesn’t work ?

      What happens if we continue on with the present failing system?

      We need to try something else because we’re not getting answers from the present supposedly innovative system. You know, the one that you’re so concerned about replacing.

  11. greywarshark 11

    I don’t know if someone has put up this link but add it as it probably adds to the discussion.
    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/377807/headmaster-slams-radical-proposals-for-schools

  12. greywarshark 12

    I wonder if reality rules will become a main theme of thinking about education.
    Perhaps – to meet the needs of integrating everyone into a system where the whole idea of traditional jobs and respecting long-term workers has fallen away, that what is needed now is life preparation where you learn everything you need to know in primary school and then look for apprenticeships, part time work, and do more education in block capacity. You have a regular morning per week as a teenager going to classes on the humanities so you can learn the wonderful heritage of humans and wonder at the heights and depths we can sink to. Know thyself will be important. Find your strengths and have time to pursue them along with what other work you may be able to get. Have intentional communities where
    everybody is respected and encouraged to add intelligent and practical views. Otherwise we will revert to patriarchy and the loudest and most cunning and brutal will set the tone of our society.

    Spending a lot of time learning non-essential information is misspent learning, as the whole idea at present is disruption so we are constantly being confronted with new things, ideas, ways of doing things. Learning to be alert to what disruption is current requires an agile mind, not one that is soaked in interesting but not immediately useful information. That is historic and can be pursued in the morning learning, which should go on for whole of life so we can share our human endeavours.

    Encourage reading of books and not rely on expensive machinery though everyone should know how to use it. The individual within a networked society can do amazing things. Surviving mentally as a hopeful, balanced co-operative humanin this disgusting neo liberal set-up we have adopted and which uses our education and intelligence as a weapon against us; that is a noble aim that education should be directing its attention to. That requires an overturning of the old order and systems though.

    Encourage both practicality and creativity and the golden rule of ‘Do as you would be done by’, kindness and practicality plus some other traits. Concentrate on being a wonderful human appreciating everything and not being a Mastermind who sits and plans and doesn’t give a shit about the lower orders who have less intelligence.

    • Pete 12.1

      I thought much of the spirit of what you say is in the NZ Curriculum. I thought it was being perverted by ‘accountability’ and not trusting professionals to interpret for their circumstances then deliver.

      What’s the ability to think and co-operate and organise and respect and respond and be creative got to do with it? We have been brainwashed into it all being about Hekia Parata’s 80 something% achieving NCEA Level 2. That determines failure and success, that determines good school bad school good teacher bad teacher. We want to see the marks sheets then we will give the very simple assessment of the very simple uncomplicated process of learning and schooling. Then we can tell the ones doing it who know nothing about it, what they should do.

      I wonder how the present boss in the Ministry sees things compared to how Dr C E Beeby would see them sitting in the same chair today.

      • patricia bremner 12.1.1

        Pete, Dr C E Beeby wanted creativity observation and discussion. He also favoured
        physical activities. He wanted children to have a variety of experiences and to be motivated to learn. Lockwood Smith brought in strands and artificially divided the curriculum that way. The new curriculum needs co-operative problem solving and study skills to prepare pupils to become life long learners in a rapidly changing world.

  13. Pete 13

    Two observations:
    Maths results over the years have been on a downward trend. How strange given the time and energy and commitment and money given to The Numeracy Project.

    Teachers running harder and faster for years and they look at the treadmill and find they’ve gone backwards.

    Secondly, some schools love their enrolment schemes. The rugby recruitment issue has been big in the news. I doubt many of the flash schools go right through the country signing up kids for Year 13 maths to boost their (the school’s) ranking and status. The cohort coming in has already been filtered and the recruitment process handed over to the vagaries of socio-economic realities.

  14. David Mac 14

    When 280,000 students are regularly absent from school are we re-arranging deckchairs on the Titanic?

    I guess there is: ‘Build it and they will come’…. Will the changes reduce or increase truancy?

    Any education system will hemorrhage value when bums aren’t on seats.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/105363770/rare-truancy-prosecution-a-case-of-last-resort

    • patricia bremner 14.1

      One of the failures of Tomorrows Schools has been the loss of The Visiting Teacher, who had the role of home visits to resolve truancy patterns before they became entrenched.

  15. I am delighted by this. AS a BOT member I am well aware that the principal does a lot of the work and we contract out things like appointment of the principal and property management plans to outside contractors. Much more efficient to have the government take these back. I am also aware of a $2million surplus in the account to make sure we have cash in case of emergencies. This would not be necessary if the government took responsibilty.

    I await similar reforms for ECE.

    • JanM 15.1

      “I await similar reforms for ECE.”
      Oh yes please, but that’s going to be a biggie because they’ve really let the cat out of the bag on that one 🙁

      • True but I am glad the review office is going. they were useless at assessing ECE. If the ministry takes responsibility for ECE and ensuring regs are followed it could be a really good step and some of the worst places might be at last closed down.

        • JanM 15.1.1.1

          ” some of the worst places might be at last closed down”.

          That would be at least a first step forward

        • solkta 15.1.1.2

          They were real crap at reviewing schools also. What we really needed was national standards for schools not kids so as to be able to make a meaningful comparison.

      • patricia bremner 15.1.2

        The Government gives free ECE hours, they could be increased and then all providers would have to work towards achieving an agreed standard.

  16. Aaron 16

    Surely the biggest sign they are on the right track is that the Principal from Auckland Boys Grammar doesn’t like it!

    As for his comment; “this will take education back 30 years”, all I can say is YES. That’s the point!

    I’m sure the proposals are actually vastly different to what we had 30 years ago but given that the education system has been proven to be better back then going back 30 years would logically be an improvement 🙂

  17. greywarshark 17

    I saw this in Open Mike and thought KJT’s piece would add something to the education comment on here. So here is a copy:

    KJT 9
    9 December 2018 at 9:23 am

    https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/12/against-teaching-kids-to-code-creativity-problem-solving.html?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits

    Agree totally with this article. Creativity, problem solving, communication, persistance and resilience will beat learning a narrow range of, soon to be, outdated, skills.

    Old style metalwork, woodwork and cooking taught me those things. Not coding.

    • Pete 17.1

      As long as the qualities you list, along with the some others, are able to be accurately assessed and quantified so they can be in the criteria for performance pay for teachers! No, sorry, too hard to do that, we’ll rely on an end of year test with results in percentages and the teacher of the kids with the highest marks are obviously the best so we’ll pay them the most!

      Funny how the loudest about performance pay don’t come up with systems which include and take into account the essential, vital things you mention, and delineate what a reasonable system would look like.

      And really funny how they say that that’s the principal’s job and the job of the professionals. You know, they same people they don’t trust and think they know better and more than.

    • KJT 17.2

      Another past one of mine.

      Privatised Education Strikes Again.


      “If the aims of National/ACT’s education policy were, genuinely, to to improve the learning, education and career choices for our children, including the ones that are failing at present, they would not be following policies which have signally failed to achieve any of these goals, anywhere else they have been tried.
      When you realise the real results of the polices that National, and ACT, want to introduce in other countries, you begin to see the real aims”.

      Despite the examples of failure with profit driven education, our Governments gifting of our money, to privatised education, continues”

      • greywarshark 17.2.1

        It continues, why? Because we have given up thinking for ourselves, asking what is the purpose of this and what do we want to achieve. Not look at what other countries (probably a USA State) doing and buying a program packet off the shelf. It’s male hysteria. There used to be a lot made of females getting over-excited, but the love of men for machinery, clever devices overtakes their brains every time.

        And the best use iof computers is for storing information, quickly retrievable, checking scenarios. Yet everything is secondary to using a computer. Dumbing ourselves down and building complex managers that are more rational than us, who are so irrational that we can’t stop building our own ‘death-ray machines.’

    • Draco T Bastard 17.3

      Old style metalwork, woodwork and cooking taught me those things.

      Didn’t teach me those things. Learning to code, on the other hand, did.

      Perhaps the problem wasn’t the subject but that teachers were/weren’t teaching those skills.

  18. greywarshark 18

    Over on The Future is at 9 One Two put up this link to The Conversation about the forces dominating our big city lives from the digital and analog divide.

    This is important in education – what we learn is being taken over by apps from the master manipulators.

    https://theconversation.com/are-the-tech-giants-taking-over-as-your-city-leaders-108259

  19. Herodotus 19

    Nothing in this video talks about: evidence based, what works, where what is being propose is currently working, so we can see what is being proposed. It is all “We believe…”
    Well there have been some Nobel prize winners who “Believed” and what they believed was found to be inaccurate or not true. I hope we are not seeing our Min of Education or Bali Haque become a Johannes Fibiger at the expense of a wasted generation.
    Not one comment on what any stake holder will see as benefits to these proposed changes. Be they be: students, parents, employees, etc. So implementing these proposed change, what, when should we expect to see benefits to our PISA scores to bee seen ?
    So no outcomes that we can expect, no accountability.
    Just Change for change’s sake.

  20. David Mac 20

    After our health I don’t think there is anything more important than education. I feel a MP/teacher pay parity platform would be an election winner.

    In this bipartisan world we all come together when we’re talking about our kids. Everybody wants the best for them.

    Want to drill into someone’s heart? There is no better pilot hole than their kids.

    In these days of the facts being a Google away I think quality education is all about capturing and fertilising imaginations. We should be way better at this. Teachers should be introducing a realistic hologram of Drake and his light-board, burning to show us how to ‘Cut the Chiz’ with simultaneous equations.

  21. Incognito 21

    From what I’ve read so far there are many good things in that report.

    It’ll be important to keep the community involved in schools. Many parents take BOT membership extremely seriously and they act as semi-professional BOT members and there are even ‘family dynasties’ in some BOTs (all of which can be a double-edged sword).

    I thought the phrasing of the fifth key issue in the OP was a bit suspect but it appears that MS left out the single quotes around <i<in school – it makes a difference IMHO.

    A last trivial and pedantic comment is that I like the caption phot but would like to add that Education is a Duty too.

  22. Jum 22

    I remember going to an education based election evening, pre 2014, and an act candidate talked about the parent as the customer and what they expected from education, and I couldn’t help thinking that act thought students were units to be bought and sold.

    • Pete 22.1

      Aren’t they?! The Act type thinkers also think the process for teachers and schools is to get the raw material and turn it into employable stuff like in a factory and turning it out is the same. You get the wood on Monday morning and start turning it into a table. And turning it into the product is the same all week. Regardless of what’s happening in the world or which forest the wood came from.

      And if you turn it into a good table you’re a brilliant craftsman. Of course you’ve discarded the flawed wood. You have a model table to pattern towards and they all have to turn out like that because they’re perfect. Strangely though when it comes to schools they don’t want everyone to end up the same. They don’t want everyone to be treated the same.

      That’s why with their mixedupness they end up with f’wits like David Seymour. His reaction to the threats his electorate feels from the review are going to be interesting. Maybe this review will make him stand tall on his hind legs with his picture of what education should look like and he will push for when he joins National in the next government. Do ya reckon he’ll have the balls to stand up and say schooling should be sold off?

  23. Incognito 24

    Who are going to be on those area/Education Hubs (assuming they are one and the same thing)? Community representatives, teachers, MOE appointees?

  24. Draco T Bastard 25

    This proposal will no doubt cause some angst at least amongst those schools will face the most adverse effects although the hub proposal has attracted the most attention so far.

    One thing that’s fairly obvious – charter schools don’t fit.

    Briar Lipson from the think tank, the New Zealand Initiative, is concerned that reducing competition between schools will reduce incentives for them to lift their performance.

    Have we seen any proof that competition between schools improves performance?

    No. In fact, we seem to be seeing the opposite. Competition between our schools has been detrimental to our education system.

    “If we’re not careful, we will end up with a system that does not demand much of schools and students and disempowers the most important force for good in children’s lives, which is their parents and communities,” Ms Lipson said.

    We didn’t end up with that before the failure that was Tomorrows Schools was implemented. We only saw it after.

    Increasing child poverty and a more unequal society no doubt has also had its effect on the result.

    The increased poverty, an inevitable result of the market reforms of the 4th Labour Government, is certainly a big issue. Being hungry all day, every day, is bound to cut into anybody’s capability to learn.

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