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One in five children

Written By: - Date published: 6:18 am, March 22nd, 2010 - 27 comments
Categories: class war, education - Tags: ,

A tragic prose poem in far too many verses.

New Zealand elected a Government that promised to introduce national standards so that every single child could read, write, and do maths when they left school. That is what the country voted for. No matter what the briefings say, no matter what the Opposition may say now, almost one in five children failed. They failed under the previous Government.

The member should be well aware that across the population there is a range of levels of ability and that there are, conventionally, thought to be something like one in five children who may have difficulty even fitting into the discipline structure of a school, which makes it hard to learn.

One in five children suffer from a mental health problem, according to a new report. The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) says up to 20% of children suffer some form of mental problem, while 10% need professional help.

Prevalence statistics suggest that one in five South African children (aged between 0-19 years) has a mental disorder

For example, the 1999 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report states that approximately one in five children and adolescents in the U.S. exhibit the signs or symptoms of mental or behavioral disorders. ADHD is the most common chronic mental health problem among young children. It is characterized by an inability to pay attention (inattention) and/or hyperactivity

One in five children have some type of learning disability, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Learning disability is a broad term that can cover many disorders. It is defined by the National Center for Learning Disabilities as a disorder that interferes with a person’s ability to store, process, or produce information, and creates a gap between one’s ability and performance. Children with learning disabilities may suffer from problems with speech, language, reading, mathematics, concentration, or reasoning

According to the National Institutes of Health, one in five Americans is learning disabled.

One in five children in Australia experience some form of learning difficulty

Mental health problems in young people are increasing in frequency and severity, with one in five children and adolescents affected.

Even in high-income countries, it is estimated that more than one in five females experienced some form of sexual abuse as a child, and one in five children have experienced severe parental physical abuse.

A new survey by the Land Transport Safety Authority shows that nearly one in five toddlers are not properly restrained when travelling.

Although contact with the benefit system fell, as many as one in five children turning 15 in 2008 are estimated to have been supported by a main benefit for a total of seven or more of their first 14 years of life.

These shocking “third world” diseases are still with us today, at epidemic levels, because one in five children still live in poverty – and because for about a decade nearly a third of children did. For a generation of children, the damage from poverty to their health and development will often last a lifetime.

The report confirms New Zealand’s high rates of child poverty, and generally poor living conditions for children in low-income families. One in six New Zealand children lives in poverty, using the most stringent (50% of median income) poverty measure. Using a more realistic poverty measure of 60% of the median income, one in five New Zealand children live in poverty.

More than one-in-five children are living in poverty, the report says, putting them at risk of educational failure, undermining job prospects and making them more likely to suffer sickness, abuse, or die young.

Can it be mere coincidence that there are similar proportions (one in five) of New Zealand children in the Ministry’s ‘tail of underachievement’ as there are children in the greatest poverty that is, non-working, beneficiary-dependent families? Ministry of
Education propaganda forcefully reiterates the OECD line that teachers make the most difference to children in the classroom and therefore only teachers matter: when children fail, it is the teacher’s fault. While none of us would disagree that good teachers materially enhance young people’s life chances, it is quite something else to imply that the effects of child poverty are irrelevant to educational access, participation and achievement…

27 comments on “One in five children”

  1. lprent 1

    Anne Tolley would never admit that factors other than teachers cause issues with child education. That would involve her having to think, which is something that she does not appear to be good at.

    Great collection…

  2. Interesting that her comment that 30% of teachers are not up to scratch is in reality 10% or less according to the ERP who rank 90% of schools (which must mean teachers) are adequate or better.

    The proportion of the teaching profession she is slimeing without justification is … one in 5!

  3. prism 3

    One unruly child cost much time at a primary school I know of. The effective path to controlling him had to be worked out, and took time away from assisting the rest of the class’s learning. Only one teacher was able to control and settle him to learn and was his chosen teacher to co-operate with. I think he may have moved away to another school fairly soon, to no doubt go through a period of disobedience and being unsettled all over again. The constant moving of low income parents affects their children’s education badly. Housing and relationship difficulties can often be the cause.

    Teachers have long said they are expected to be part of the social welfare system which lessens their time for teaching. Besides unruly children they also have learning disabled children to advance, and the expectations of those parents and indeed all, that their child will have abilities enhanced to the maximum.

    Teachers are second favourites for everybody to pick on when there is any problem in society, the first being parents. Teachers are trained but parents often know nothing about effective parenting, coping with the needs of children at various ages, explaining expected standards and guiding their children and being good role models. Teachers can’t magically change the results for children affected by that lack of parental knowledge.

  4. prism 4

    I have taken this to the right thread.

  5. aj 5

    Is she one of the 1 in 5?

  6. I see a chorus of kids singing the classic UB40 song ‘one in ten’ with the lyrics changed to ‘one in five’…

    I am the one in ten
    A number on a list
    I am the one in ten
    Even though I don`t exist
    Nobody Knows me
    Even though I`m always there
    A statistic, a reminder
    Of a world that doesn`t care

    My arms enfold the dole queue
    Malnutrition dulls my hair
    My eyes are black and lifeless
    With an underprivileged stare
    I`m the beggar on the corner
    Will no-one spare a dime?
    I`m the child that never learns to read
    `Cause no-one spared the time

    …that should help sell the standards 🙂

    • Ianmac 6.1

      Pollywog: It is easy to identify the failures. Anne can. You can. I can. However neither you nor Anne has explained how National Standards will change the problems of your failures.
      My car is slow.
      I will test it to compare its speed with all the others on the road.
      Mmm It is slow just like I said. I knew that.
      How did comparing it with other cars cure my problem?
      Why not ask an expert to find a cure for my car and use the money saved from the testing?

  7. deemac 7

    from UK experience, many apparently educational problems can be solved by putting children in a secure housing situation. As has been said, substandard homes and frequent moves = educational failure.

  8. BLiP 8

    Speaking to a teacher friend over the weekend I learned of another concern: the non-English speaking children of immigrants and refugees. It usually takes these kids a couple of years to get “up to speed” by which time, under Chopper Tolley’s Nationalâ„¢ Standards they will have already been labelled failures and the overall results of the school suffered. At present, some of these kids add immeasurable value to the classroom and wider school bringing their unique cultural perspective, personal experiences plus they often set an example of how to make the most of education to their less grateful New Zealand cohorts. Yet, under Nationalâ„¢ Standards, these kids will now be considered an impediment and it will be in the best interests of schools under the scheme to avoid enrolling them.

    • Ianmac 8.1

      Too right Blip. Hey. How about an Entry Test of Reading/writing/maths Competence, and then not enrolling low achievers? Sort of like a Private School.

  9. Fabregas4 9

    I’ve been an opponent of National Standards. Quite vocal about it. Had a few letters published etc.

    I’ve been looking at the ERO Report ‘Reading and Writing in Years 1 & 2’ and had a couple of discussions with trusted ERO people about the use of the words “Adequate” and ‘Limited” in the key Figures: 1 Overall Quality of Teaching in Reading and 4: Overall Quality of Teaching of Writing’. They tell me that in reality ‘Adequate’ means Poor and that Limited means ‘Very Poor”.

    This being the case there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Add to this that they advise that they are experiencing a deterioration in the quality of teaching in both these areas then there is a big problem to be addressed.

    National Standards may not be the answer but, as an educator, if 30% of kids are subject to this type of teaching, and by extension 30% of Principals aren’t doing something about at, and by further extension 30% of Boards of Trustees are not doing anything about it then something certainly has to be done for our children. Something that ensures that kids have a greater than 70% chance of getting a fair go when they arrive at Primary School in New Zealand.

    If not National Standards then what?

    • Ianmac 9.1

      Easy peasy Fabregas4. Haven’t you been listening? The fact that we already KNOW there hard kids who fail to achieve means the testing is redundant. We have known that for decades. There will always be some who fail to meet averages because statistics need highs and lows in order to Average! National Testing won’t change that.
      In every class there are underachievers. With large class sizes it is harder to design and action specific programs to help.
      SO:
      smaller classes.
      Identifying specific problems
      Programs and people to carry out remedies
      Feedback to learners rather than pointless testing
      Getting parents to back the importance of the learning
      And so on.

    • Marty G 9.2

      Fabre. Why are national standards the answer to the misrepresented problem that not all teachers are amazing?

      • Fabregas4 9.2.1

        I don’t believe they are – what I am suggesting is that this is a real, serious, and escalation problem that needs to be addressed.

        • Fabregas4 9.2.1.1

          and that National Standards are a method of knowing which teachers,principals, and BOT’s are failing rather than lifting achievement. And that maybe this needs to happen.

          • r0b 9.2.1.1.1

            If we can rephrase that slightly — and that National Standards are a method of knowing which teachers,principals, and BOT’s have the most difficult task — then we’ve done away with the punitive framing.

            So we’re left with only the logical issue. Why do we need National Standards to tell us what we already know? ERO reports are comprehensive…

    • Draco T Bastard 9.3

      They tell me that in reality ‘Adequate’ means Poor and that Limited means ‘Very Poor’.

      Then why didn’t they use “Poor” and “Very poor” to describe it? I suspect that they used the correct word and that “adequate” in the report means “adequate” and that your “trusted” people are lying to you or you’re lying.

  10. The Baron 10

    … and yet five out of five children are effectively locked to their local school, rather than being able to choose a specialist education provider.

    Thanks zoning.

    The right way of solving this is to allow children, and parents, to take their share of funding to the school that is right for them – rather than pretending all schools are equal.

    Cue howls of outrage.

    • lprent 10.1

      Don’t be stupid Baron. If you take the logical extension of your argument, then what you wind up with is a lot fewer schools with more traffic getting kids to and from them.

      To ensure that local schools stay open, then using your market driven idea as a basis and assuming people who desire particular schools are willing to pay a premium, and that the taxpayers as a whole should not fund their lack of civic duty in helping their local school :twisted:.

      Only if the schools that are attracting large numbers of candidates from out of zone have the out-of-zone students being required to pay fees proportional to the number of out of zone students taken in. The money saved is then put into the schools where the resource’s are clearly inadequate because there is no out of zone demand. This will allow such schools to attract better staff and upgrade their resources.

      I’d anticipate it would result in what are effectively a number of semi-private schools with state funding limited to in-zone students, like Auckland Grammer.

      This stops the free-lunch approach inherent in your voucher type system. It also means that unpopular schools get resources to improve. It’d provide a continuum where parents can select how much they desire their kids to go to a school balanced against how much they pay.

      To ensure that the current government subsidies for private schools don’t distort the market, then all state subsidies should be removed from those schools and the funding dispersed to the worst schools under ERO supervision.

      BTW: I don’t advocate this approach. It is just a more efficient use of taxpayer funds to let the terminally fashionable use their own funds to place their kids in schools than your primitive approach.

    • prism 10.2

      captcha lucky
      A lot of parents like the approach at Catholic schools, some the generic Christian school, some like the one-gender option or the sports academy. But the right to be able to attend local schools should not be put aside in favour of others from outside the zone. Isn’t there some flexibility at present for parents seeking a particular subject or style of education?

  11. Bill 11

    A lot of reading in this link…thoughtful breakdown of reforms in the US by Mike Rose who “is on the faculty of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA and is the author of “Why School?: Reclaiming Education for All of Us.'””

    http://www.truthdig.com/dig/item/questions_education_reformers_arent_asking_20100318/

  12. Whatever happened to correspondence schooling ?…surely with the internet and a few committed parents, anyone could set up a primary school at least ?

    combine that with a secure log in tied to a freeview TV educational channel and (subsidised broadband) skype, we’d be laughing all the way to uni courses from home?

  13. Gramsci 13

    What people are continually ignoring is where the 1 in 5 figure comes from. It is from the first analysis of NCEA Level 1 Literacy and Numeracy pass rates. 20% failed to achieve these standards. This figure, however, is nearly seven years old. Have a look at the last Ministry of Education Annual Report to see the latest figures, although they now focus on level 2, showing that this has dropped to 16% and is trending downwards.

    Click to access EducationAnnualReport2009Full.pdf

    This is not because the Ministry of Education introduced national standards. It is because the Government decided to invest millions of dollars on training primary teachers in the early 2000’s to better teach these subjects. The results are starting to show through both locally and internationally and anti-educationalists like Tolley and Key should butt-out and let the teachers get on with it

  14. Linda 14

    I see Gramsci, so in 2011 when changes of early 2000’s really show results and it’s at 13% or less, Tolley will claim now only 1 in 10 (or more likely ‘Nat Stds halve number failing’). Very clever of her/Ministry to introduce a policy to allow National to take credit for something that would happen despite the policy.

  15. A Nonny Moose 15

    Here’s another interesting link.

    “Teacher’s heartbreak and anger at No Child Left Behind” http://www.boingboing.net/2010/03/22/teachers-heartbreak.html

  16. peterthepeasant 16

    Oh dear statistics, damned lies, lies.

    Statistical measurements, honestly done (rare), of sufficient size and integrity will throw
    up a “normal distribution curve”.

    One could claim 50% (gasp 1 in 2) are better at some things than others. Shock horror.

    If Tolley really thought something should be done about the “failing” 20%
    she ought to be asking questions like what are the criteria?
    Are these criteria relevant to the abilities of this 20 (or whatever)%.
    What abilities have this 20%.
    Where could that be employed?
    What are the underlying causes of the alleged “failure” of this 20%?
    How could those causes be addressed?

    The answer is National Standards? I do not think so.

    Ask Jackie Stewart.

  17. Ian 17

    The bottom line is National Standard offer little in telling anyone how well integrated a child is socially or emotionally.

    It is merely a vote winning ploy to the wannabe’s who would like to send their kids to private school but can’t afford to.

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