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LB: The Destruction of New Zealand’s Public Education System

Written By: - Date published: 3:11 pm, March 27th, 2014 - 20 comments
Categories: education, Hekia parata, schools - Tags:

This post by bsprout was on LocalBodies during the weekend. It needs a wider exposure.

In 2008 New Zealand was internationally ranked in the top seven for educational achievement, and when you compared us with other countries that were also culturally diverse and were experiencing growing inequality we were extremely successful.

At that time our Early Childhood sector had received a much overdue boost in funding from the Labour Government after being underfunded (as a % of GDP) compared to other OECD nations for years. The sector was working towards a target of having 100% qualified teachers in all centres.

We were also in the process of implementing a new National Curriculum and a complimentary curriculum for Maori (Te Marautanga o Aotearoa). Teachers were excited about putting all their energies into the new ideas and approaches that were espoused in these co-constructed documents that had taken around seven years to review and write. Evidence, research and practitioner input had created something that would allow us to prepare New Zealand children to become resilient in a rapidly changing world.

We were just on the cusp of something great when an election occurred…

A National led Government was elected and New Zealand’s public education system came under heavy attack:

Despite the serious damage already done to New Zealand’s education sector this Government is not letting up, they will not be happy until they have complete ideological control and can shut down professional engagement completely. They are planning to do away with the current Teachers Council and replace it with a new authority (EDUCANZ) that will be led by those approved and appointed by the Minister only, with little professional input. The Education Amendment Bill (No2) is currently being progressed through parliament that will support the ongoing restructuring of the system.
Hekia Parata is also considering wiping the current support for lower decile schools and shift extra funding to those schools that perform well in National Standards. The head of the EDUCANZ transition board John Morris has recently produced a paper that suggests teachers should be paid based on the attainment of their students.
This government is destroying our amazing collaborative, holistic public education system that recently led the world. They are determined to implement systems that have failed spectacularly overseas. Professional knowledge based on evidence should lead education, not political ideology. What angers me the most is what is being denied to our most vulnerable children when they should be the real focus of spending and any systemic change.



20 comments on “LB: The Destruction of New Zealand’s Public Education System”

  1. Will@Welly 1

    Spectacular. Why take something so efffing amazing and completely bugger it, unless the filthy hand of money was at play??
    This Government will be remembered as a Government of Greedies, but when a replacement comes into power, will it have the fortitude and desire to change things. We saw that with Helen Clark. So many of the reforms of the Bolger/Shipley Government were allowed to stand, that this Government has been able to build easily on those “reforms”.
    Our education system was never perfect, but on the whole it worked. This Government has no idea what it wants, just the money – even if the system is rubbish. That is not good enough. Our children, and those who will follow, deserve better.

    • whatever next? 1.1

      the elite need the masses to expect very little from life, and be thankful for the opportunity to serve. Education would make that impossible, hence crap TV, and declining education. People who grow up now will know no different.

  2. Derry Gordon 2

    Not least in NACT motivation in matters Education is their wish to attack the teacher Unions – among the strongest in the country (by numbers and by percentage coverage). Their continued existence and strength really gets up the noses of conservatives!

  3. karol 3

    Excellent posts. And the most crucial data in the post is this:

    After five years under National, New Zealand’s international ranking plummets to as low as 23rd.
    Internationally regarded research reveals New Zealand schools are suffering serious harm under the National Standards regime.

    All the rest of the evidence shows what caused this to happen.

    Team Key are just not interested in having a well educated public.

  4. Tracey 4

    prince edward was a tutor at wanganui collegiate. he shoulda asked his mum to help them out.

  5. captain hook 5

    the new right is psychopathically against anything done by a government. They have imported this view from the idiotes in the U.S.A. where it is much easier to galvanise opinion against any government but they seem to be succeeding here because no one has the nous to go against them. At present the education system is being demolished by a gang of lowbrows who think they know everything just because they have some money. Infantilism to the max and the grinning apes in the media just sit back and let it happen under a spurious pretext of ojectivity. I’m disgusted.

    • Tracey 5.1

      except for tax payer funded bailouts and subsidies for corporates, the new right love stealing from the poor to give to tge rich

    • miravox 5.2

      +1 This government is totally focused on those education systems in the English-speaking world that provide excellent education for those who can pay the most, i.e. the US and UK. In the last couple of years reading some of the stuff that Michael Gove is putting in place is like reading a prelude to what will happen in NZ.

      The development and implementation of policy is so muddled I’m sure it would be quite easy to replicate this random policy generator for the NActs, However, it does hide the more serious calculated destruction of equitable access to good education for all children.

    • Johnm 5.3

      100% right captain hook

  6. RedLogix 6

    Wrong title.

    National’s education program has been a roaring success and is on a trajectory to achieve every goal they want.

    • JanM 6.1

      Very perspicacious, RedLogix, the right do not want an educated population. Being able to think critically is inclined to stop you voting against your own best interests

    • lprent 6.2

      Cynic. Perhaps they should articulate their goals? Something that they have been noticeably reticent about.

  7. ropata 7

    sysadmin: this needs to be a sticky for a few days, and replace the dotcom distraction

    • lprent 7.1

      I’d agree. I’ve been holding off putting it up since the weekend looking for a good time to insert it. However it has been a noisy week.

      • karol 7.1.1

        We also have some demos coming up tomorrow – TPP and the NZEI one for a Living Wage.

  8. Philj 8

    Thank you for your post. Glad my kids are through the education system. Sad for those currently in it. There is a murky scheme to smash the teacher unions, from above. Split them by paying the ‘elite’ ones more. Very clever. Then there’s National Standards, Charter Schools, more funding for Private Schools. The old sistem wurked finee fur me. Tho not purfekd.

  9. One Anonymous Bloke 9

    So, apart from closing Charter schools and ditching National’s standards, what will the next government do to repair this vandalism, and how will they punish the vandals?

  10. mac1 10

    Teachers are to lose their voice on the new Minister appointed Teachers’ Council. Students and staff lose their voices on University Council. Only the elite and their minions will be heard.

    Government is not of the people any more. It is “Government by the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%.”

    And Derry Gordon above…… yes, you are right. A new tactic from above to break the teacher unions which have been generally popular with the public and able to resist previous attacks.

    The outcomes sought are a compliant and tamed teacher work force, compliant and tamed students to make up a work force suitable to serve the elite and their needs and a union-free economy designed to allow the elite access to profit and power inverse to their numbers.

    The rest of us can join the precariat, living from week to week, entertained by Sky TV and sport, and educated just enough to be useful.

  11. captain hook 11

    The new right wont articulate their goals. They know that they are a cankerous growth on the whole of humanity and they like to keep thier goals secret or undefined so that they and their group know what they are talking about but everyone else is kept in the dark until they have manged to gouge the money from the public purse.
    And the thing is they think they can reserve education and other public goods for themselves exlusively.
    It was good to hear the Teachers Union making a noise about charter schools on the news this a.m. but they have to get the blowtorch out.
    If you read the sports pages you can get half a page asking all-blacks inane questions about their personal lives but in the op-ed or the opinion pages nary a skerrick of examination about the goals and financing of charter schools and the leeches behind them.
    The new right want FREEDOM from taxation but they also want FREEDOM to loot the taxpayer.
    They are as crooked as hell.

  12. captain hook 12

    I see heka paratai mouthng off in the dompost this morning. Here is a woman who can hardly read, doesn’t understand the meaning of a dialectic and has only one credo and that is my way or the highway yet she has the gall to tell trained teachers how they should proceed.
    Fair is foul and foul is fair.
    time she went and her dissembling dissimulations with her.

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