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Schools stand up for education

Written By: - Date published: 8:28 am, November 3rd, 2010 - 70 comments
Categories: education - Tags: ,

Back in June I wrote about the news of the first few schools standing up for the education of their children, and refusing to participate in National’s flawed, damaging “national standards” process. That post finished: “It’s good to see teachers putting the welfare of the children first, and refusing to participate in a process which will do no conceivable good, and may do considerable harm. Dunedin, Invercargill, Auckland – who’s next?”.

Well now we know who:

Rebel schools: We won’t set standards

More than 200 schools are refusing to introduce part of the Government’s mandatory national standards next year after voting “no confidence” in the system.

Boards of trustees of at least 225 schools – out of a national total of 2018 – say it is time to take action against the standards, which they say are “flawed, confusing and unworkable” and need to be completely reviewed.

The article concludes with a full list of the schools, spanning the length and breadth of the country.

National’s response is as predictable is it is disappointing. They are trying to spin this boycott as “a political action” led by Labour activists, pushing a “union agenda”. Bullshit. This is a grass roots movement of community boards, standing up for the education of their children. They have a mass of educational evidence and professional opinion on their side. They are defending an education system that is by some assessments the best in the world. Anne Tolley and the Nats have precisely no evidence to support their position, all they can do is repeat threats, slogans and lies. That is why the Nats are losing this debate.

So, 225 schools so far, and counting. Who’s next?

70 comments on “Schools stand up for education ”

  1. graham 1

    less than 10percent of schools
    how many are controled by labour party members on the board like helens mate simon?
    again bring it on mainstream nz want to know about their children you are making nationals job easier for 2011

    • Pascal's bookie 1.1

      less than 10percent of schools

      Ms Tolley wants a word with you RE: fail.

      Also, I strongly doubt any government would want to get into a knock down and sack them fight with more than ten percent of the parent elected school boards. You can quote Bush’s ‘bring it on’ all you like, but you might want to remember how that worked out for him.

    • r0b 1.2

      See reply 2.1 below.

    • Marty G 1.3

      just failed the national standard in statistics there, graham.

      225/2018 = 11.5%

      And that’s only the ones that have formally rejected the standards.

      • the sprout 1.3.1

        maffs is hard, eh graham 😆

        • Colonial Viper

          This is where I use the old Right Wingers’ line about how facts are oh-so-inconvenient.

          They are, aren’t they, graham? 😀 😀 😀

          And that’s only the ones that have formally rejected the standards.

          Exactly. Informal rejections should easily double that number.

          Oooohhh that makes it almost exactly 1/3 of schools! Maffs ain’t that hard. And I learnt that without any National Standards 🙂

      • graham 1.3.2

        i am sure you got a hard on to point out it wasnt 10 perent but 11.5
        my god what a w**ker

        • Colonial Viper

          less than 10percent of schools

          Nah you’re the w**ker for writing that, when you clearly had no idea and was making shit up.

          Inconvenient things eh, these ‘facts’?

          • graham

            bullshit now you are making things up
            Most of you leftwing knobs here remind me of my brother
            he went to varsity got a Phd
            Then moans that his brother who used the ito route out earns him threefold each year and has a nett worth 50 times more
            what a f***king loser he is

            • Colonial Viper

              Since you made that 10% number up out of your ass I reckon its quite likely that you’re making all the rest of this up too.

              bullshit now you are making things up

              Mate you know that anyone can scroll up and see what you wrote earlier in the day, right?

              out earns him threefold each year and has a nett worth 50 times more

              Dude you measure your self worth with money and you’re still this angry? What gives?

              • graham

                i saw that the figure was appox 10 per cent from the same data that you worked out it was 11.5 percent knob
                i could be arsed getiing my calulator out to get the right figure because i am not a knobhead like you
                if it ment dollars to me then i would work it out to the last cent

                get a life

                • Colonial Viper

                  Hey you said it was *less* than 10%, not me.

                  You are the big money man, I’m real surprised that you can’t you tell if a number is bigger or smaller than 10% by just looking at it? You know, $20 from $200 that kind of thing.

                  If you had got your PhD I bet you would be able to tell.

  2. Fisiani 2

    That is why the Nats are losing this debate.

    90% of schools are implementing National Standards.
    90% is losing?????
    Sounds like you would not pass the maths national standard.

    • r0b 2.1

      Yes losing. 10% of schools in revolt is the biggest education revolt I can recall in this country, ever. And the 90% complying? Well

      Schools warned to report on standards or lose funds

      The Minister of Education has warned schools they will miss out on extra resources if they do not provide national standards figures to the ministry.

      Compliance under duress is not “winning” the debate — it’s a sign that you’ve totally fucking lost it.

    • lprent 2.2

      Besides that is just the boards of parents. Most boards will have ticked the box for proformas sake and a lot of them won’t be making any effort to implement these silly standards.

      Then of course there are the teachers and principals who won’t be making any effort.

      The problem for National is that they they haven’t been able to convince virtually anyone in the schools that this is a workable idea. It looks simply like National wanting to fufil a badly thought out paragraph in their pre-election ‘policies’ for not other reason than their bloated egos.

      Consequently they’re getting a massive civil disobedience grassroots movement against implementing something that doesn’t appear to have any benefits to either the kids or the parents and causes a whole pile of extra work for the schools and teachers. Needless to say there is no extra budget for extra staff for this so the time taken comes out of things that might actually benefit the kids.

  3. Roflcopter 3

    I’m sure National are more than happy for the left to make this an election issue next year.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Interesting, I think Labour will be more than happy to make this an election issue as well.


  4. The schools declining to impliment the bogus National Standards are mostly from mid to high SES schools, they are not of the demographics typically associated with Labour – quite the opposite, most are from middle New Zealand, National electorates.

    A very clear indication of just what a monster screw-up this scheme has been from the start. Perhaps if National hadn’t tried to steamroll this through and instead took the time to consult with the stakeholders and experts, they wouldn’t be in quite the mess they’re in now.

    National’s arrogant, self-serving politicking with children’s education is a bloody disgrace. No surpise that their National Standards are a fiasco.

  5. ianmac 5

    Mrs Whatshername Head of School Trustees Association was very forward a few months ago saying that 90% or so of Boards support National Standards (about 12 out of 15 I think who replied). But now she bravely says that she is keeping out of the issue because she is just there to help BOTs to get training on how to run BOTs. What a woman!

  6. toad 6

    Seems that Farrar has run out of arguments on this one. All he can come up with this morning is to attack the Chair of Balmoral School’s Board for being a Labour Party member.

    • Bright Red 6.1

      It’s a sad day when being poltiically active bars you from expressing political opinions.

      Of course, Farrar is a paid-up member of National who usually fails to mention that when in the media, so the hypocrisy is pretty rank

      • grumpy 6.1.1

        No problem with expressing opinions if you are politically active – it just detracts from the original argument if one is seen to have another agenda.

        • the sprout

          I guess considering how politically active Farrar is, his views therefore don’t count for shit.
          In which case being politically active is immaterial to the validity of his views…
          In which case considering how politically active Farrar is, his views therefore don’t count for shit.
          In which case being politically active is immaterial to the validity of his views….
          …and so on.

          I think that’s called a paradox… sympomatic of his deeply flawed reasoning.

          • grumpy

            I agree that Farrar’s views on anything political need to be considered with regard to his political activity – it’s the same for this guy.

            • lprent

              Next you’ll be arguing that because I went to Balmoral that obviously explains that they’re a ‘leftie’ school and a hotbed of revolutionary thought.

              But the problem is that in the 40 years that I’ve been associated to one degree or another to the school either through attending or having the families kids attending, I’d have to say that they are anything but. They’re just solidly pragmatic and mostly interested in making sure that they give the best education possible. Hell my old man did his time on the board and I think my sister did as well. Both are about as centrist as you can get.

              For that matter, thats where I’d put Simon from what I know of him.

              Basically you’re talking shite…

              • grumpy

                You are talking from the perspective of one who knows the guy and shares his politics.

                The rest of NZ just see a Labour activist.

                It’s about perspective.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  “The rest of NZ just see a Labour activist.”

                  Doubleplusgood duckspeakers bellyfeel goodthink of david farrar sho nuff there grumpy. But that ain’t ‘the rest of NZ’ by a long shot.

                • lprent


                  I’ve barely talked to the guy over the last decade or so that I’ve known him. But I suspect that I’m generally to the right of Simon from when I’ve heard him speaking. But he would be a good representative for my old school from what I have heard. Solidly middle class family guy, pragmatic, professional, and extremely hard-working.

                  Basically Farrar knows jack-shit about Mt Albert (and very little about anywhere else from what I see). After all I seem to remember that he was confidentially predicting that Mt Albert could fall to national at the by-election. For that matter he seemed to think that Aucklanders would like being shafted by Rodney over the super-shitty and gratefully vote in a right leaning council.

                  He knows jack-shit about Auckland, Labour activists or my old school and its parents. Only a fool would take the political penguin seriously…. Are you… ?

              • graham

                It is what the rest of new zealands sees that counts
                Just another labour party member pissed off that helen lost

        • ianmac

          Hope that it is not a political agenda as the case against National Standards is universal. I guess the supporters of the change are really supporting a failing National Minister. This would seem to be the case judging from comments on for instance the Herald “What are your views.” Or here on the Standard for that matter.

  7. Crumble 7

    A very quick look at were the schools are in relation to National or Labour seats based on this list http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10684972

    Southland/Invercargill- National Seats
    Otago- 9 schools in Labour seats/2 in National Seat
    Hawkes Bay- National Seats
    Waikato/Hamilton- National Seats
    Not to sure with the Tai Tokerau if they meant the Maori Seat which is held by the Maori Party or Northland/Whangarei which are both National Seats.

    Wellington, Auckland and Canterbury will be done later today.

    • the sprout 7.1

      nice work Crumble

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      I hope a campaign is underway to convince schools which are quietly against NS to stand forward month by month with the others who have registered their formal opposition. The schools who have come forward in their opposition should put together a short and tightly argued position document and fire it out across schools and parents throughout the country.

      The document should have clear requests for specific actions and changes from the MoE, and justifications.

      This campaign should go on well into the new year.

    • Lanthanide 7.3

      For CHCH, just check which of the schools are in Brownlee’s electorate (whatever that is, I didn’t even know he’d won one) and the rest are labour/left.

      • NickS 7.3.1

        Ilam, which is has large low income and state housing areas (Brownlee’s office is actually right in the middle of one these bits), but with quite a lot of upper and middle class areas as well.

        Mostly it’s lower-middle class schools, aside from Fendalton, Ilam and Medbury, possibly Elmswood as well, are all upper decile schools, if my memories of biking around the area and other bits serves me right.

  8. Me 8

    My local school is implementing national standards but under protest. They have made it clear to the parents that they think the standards are flawed, will not improve outcomes, and should have been trialled first.

    This is a high decile school in a solidly blue electorate (John Key’s own).

  9. Fabregas4 9

    My school is part of this list and I’ve been involved in some capacity in a fair few of the schools on the list. What should be most clearly understood is that they are, in the main, high performing schools. Parents want their kids to go to Sunnybrae School or Kauri Park on the North Shore for example. These are schools, like mine, which have nothing to hide from this – in fact were the Standards workable and made sense, they would star in a league table or the like. Simply though they are good schools because they are thinking places, committed to children, who have considered what has been forced upon them and seen that it will add nothing and subtract a fair bit – not just from their schools but education in New Zealand. If they don’t stand up to this nonsense – on behalf of our children – who will?

    • lprent 9.1

      The same with my old school from decades ago that are in the list. It is/was a pretty good school both then and now (some of the kids from the family have gone through it more recently). We’ve had family on the school board and in the earlier parents association.

      If they haven’t taken it up after they have done a close inspection – then you can assume that the policy is shite and adds absolutely nothing or is a negative to the kids.

      My quick glance though the list of schools distaining from this daft policy shows that most of the names I know are in the same kind of league – pretty good schools with good teachers and active boards.

  10. toad 10

    NZ Herald are currently running an on-line poll: Do you have confidence in the National Standards requirements?

    Currently running 55% “No”.

  11. Tiger Mountain 11

    As I said months back NS is a classic slowburner and backside biter for National. Simon of Balmoral school has attracted some attention, well how about Taipa Area School in Te Tai Tokerau, one not on the list of NS refusers, Principal is Pateriki Toi a tory supporter and John Carter brown noser so go figure. Hopefully the BOT can be turned around there too. More power to the BOTs, I agree with CV above. The NZSTA seems a bankrupt Tolley support group.

  12. tc 12

    Gone from nanny state to ‘Do whatever the F we tell you’ state…..muldoon would be proud of his little proteges, they possess the atitiude but lack the intelligence and know how of their idols.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      muldoon would be proud of his little proteges

      I’m not so sure he would be proud. Although he went about it all the wrong ways he did try to make NZ a more industrialised nation, more technologically and energy self sufficient as well. He definitely had a plan and thought big *ahem*

      The current lot just suck. Almost worse than nothing.

      • KJT 12.1.1

        Muldoon was not all wrong. Although he turned out to be almost as much a disaster as Douglas, his motivations were to do his best for NZ.

        Douglas should be in jail for criminal negligence.

        Key is a charismatic mouthpiece handpicked by the banking sector to screw us over after Brash turned out out be unelectable. Muldoon would have told the bankers to f off.

    • ianmac 12.2

      True tc. “Don’t you dare ask why! Do as I tell you – or else!
      “But the research shows……”
      “Shutup you little stirrer. When I say do it, just do it with out questioning my God-given Authority. Got that?”

  13. ianmac 13

    Reading Recovery Report 2009/10
    The early-intervention programme, in use since 1984, provides intensive, individual help to children who are falling behind in reading and writing after one-year at primary school.

    Education Minister Anne Tolley said Reading Recovery had proved effective in lifting student achievement. As a result it was an “integral part of the support offered to students identified through National Standards as needing extra help”.
    The cheeky lady! She is claiming that National Standards are responsible for a successful program which has been running for 26 years! You and I know that students are identified by running the “6 year old net” and other observations from dedicated teachers.

  14. Mark M 14

    Got any kids ROB.
    To many political hacks are entering this debate purely and simply from an anti National bias.
    The fact that children can leave school without achieving much seems to either bypass these people or they dont care.

    90% of Schools are supporting the standards so perhaps the parents who are anti standards could take their children to the striking schools.

    Will be interesting to see what the rolls are like in a couple of years time.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      The fact that children can leave school without achieving much seems to either bypass these people or they dont care.

      Well pretty much everyone agrees that having children in this situation is not acceptable.

      But NS is predicted to do NOTHING to improve this or the teaching of children in order to push up educational outcomes.

      That’s the crux.

  15. popeye 15

    @ Mark M…

    I love your blind acceptance of the claim Mary Chamberlain has made that 90% of Boards support the Standards just because 10% were in this group today. Checked out her claim mate…cause if you look a little closer you might find that it is a tad thin to assume that just because 10% of Boards came out today means 90% think the opposite. Lets think of a few possibilities for the 90%….
    1. Didn’t know about the group….didn’t get an invite
    2. Scared as hell of the bullying and sacking
    3. Deeply concerned but do not want to break the law
    4. Yet to meet to consider the initiative
    Do you want me to go on…..

    If 10% of all schools were gathered up by an informal network at grassroots level then imagine what this figure would look like if legimatized by some sector organisation.

    The paint ain’t dry on this one. If I were Tolley, I’d be worried…big time!

  16. NZ Groover 16

    As a parent I don’t understand how you would’nt want to know how your child is not meeting standards. No parent would call their child a failure and every parent would want to do everything they possibly could to help their child overcome any problems. I’d rather find out as soon as I possibly could if their was a problem.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      Teachers can tell if your child is struggling in class right now, and they can tell you right now. All without National Standards.

      National Standards are a distraction from helping that child.

      • NZ Groover 16.1.1

        How is telling me my child isn’t meeting standards a distraction. Your synopsis relies on the discretion of the teacher…….how do you measure that?

        • Colonial Viper

          Yeah what popeye said.

          • NZ Groover

            I’d rather hear your opinion

            • Colonial Viper

              Your synopsis relies on the discretion of the teacher…….how do you measure that?

              Dude, have you even stopped to ask if your prized ‘measure’ is valid OR reliable?

              And then have you stopped to ask, how useful is this measure in helping your child read and write better?

              Because NS fails on all counts.

              • NZ Groover

                I’m going to ask myself this question. Is NO measure”valid OR reliable”. Surely any measure is better than none……..at least it’ll prompt a discussion with the teacher on what’s best for my child.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Sheessh so you really don’t care whether this new fangled National Standards system has validity or not, has reliability or not?

                  Then you take the line of reasoning that ‘something is better than nothing’? (which is a FALSE position anyways as school systems already exist for monitoring a child’s performance).

                  I’ll tell you what, why don’t you save the MoEd and the schools a whole lot of time and money, and throw a pair of dice instead? If you get an odd number your child is doing ok and if you get an odd number your child is academically in trouble.

                  Or, why don’t you just talk to your child’s teacher on a regular basis anyway, why exactly do you need to wait for National Standards to instigate a discussion?

                  • NZ Groover

                    Back at you…..so you’re saying nothing is better than something? I want to know if my child isn’t meeting resonable standards……….and those standards aren’t as simplistic as you make out. And please don’t put words in my mouth…..I do speak to my childs teacher regularly (do you?). She’s a fantastic teacher and I’m sure any discussion we had re: national standards would only have positive outcomes.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hey if you speak to your child’s teacher “regularly” why do you say

                      at least it’ll prompt a discussion with the teacher on what’s best for my child.

                      So, you think National Standards is going to make you talk to the teacher even more regularly? That’s very interesting.

                      I’m sure any discussion we had re: national standards would only have positive outcomes.

                      You mean even better outcomes than you get now, talking with the teacher regularly (which you do even without National Standards)? How is that going to happen exactly?

                    • NZ Groover

                      I can’t reply to you CV so I guess I’ll have to reply to myself.

                      “Hey if you speak to your child’s teacher “regularly” why do you say at least it’ll prompt a discussion with the teacher on what’s best for my child.


                      So, you think National Standards is going to make you talk to the teacher even more regularly? That’s very interesting.


                      I’m sure any discussion we had re: national standards would only have positive outcomes.

                      You mean even better outcomes than you get now, talking with the teacher? How?



                      [lprent: don’t SHOUT. It is irritating, detracts from your argument, is invariably not required, and to a moderator looks like a troll or a spam bot screaming for attention which we give them by trashing their comment and banning.

                      Of course it is also a newbie trait. We prefer to warn them before treating them as malware to encourage them to give themselves a behavioral change. ]

                    • Colonial Viper


                      How can you call it having “more information” when you have no idea whether that information so going to be valid or reliable?

                      And not only that, you are actually willing to act on such “information”, even though it has no demonstrable validity or reliability?

                      well good luck with that, but to me National Standards simply adds no value. Why don’t you just talk to your teacher more, and guess what, you can do that without National Standards.

                    • lprent

                      Somewhere in my archives I have a pile of reports from primary and intermediate school that my mother cherished and eventually turned over to me. Even now 40 years later I can almost taste the sense of frustration in my various teachers as they invariably said “could do better” whilst rating my performance as being below par. Eventually i did get around to getting interested in academic stuff when it got more challenging.

                      My grandnieces still get these bits of paper. I can’t see any value to a parent in going through a massive exercise to correlate a teachers report with every other teachers report in the country to come out with a ‘standard’ that is still as arbitrary as a teachers opinion.

                      Please explain why you think that there us any value in this type of bureaucratic exercise?

                    • NZ Groover

                      @lprent. I didn’t realise CAPS were shouting, I just wanted to differentiate my responses from CV’s points. I’ll note this for furure comment.

                    • lprent []

                      Just quote around them or use italics (there is some material in the FAQ at the top).

                      To retype in caps is an exercise compared to a select copy/paste (Ctrl+C / Ctrl+V) or on most browsers select and right click to get a context menu.

    • popeye 16.2

      Totally agree but there are some BIG problems with these Standards..
      In short..
      1. They are not truthful…they are aspirational. In other words they are set at a level that does not reflect children’s normal achievement. That means that your child could come home with a report stating they are substandard when they are actual within the average range…here is one of the worst examples…in maths at Year 4 if you score 75% in a PAT test you are deemed below standard. The standards do not align with achievement norms in rigorous, scientifically constructed data tools.
      2. They are not National Standards. For a Standard to be National it must be interpreted the same by every teacher. To do this there must be massive moderation (comparing of where children’s samples are set against the Standard) in order for them to be precise and valid. There is NO MODERATION planned in these Standards so it really is just a guessing game. The upshot is that data generated and going into league tables is at best JUNK data.
      3. By setting one single achievement expectation for all children at the end of every year the Standards assume that you are substandard if the level is not reached. This is a ‘one size fits all’ approach to learning. The truth is that children perform quite normally across a range not at one point at one time. That approach drove schooling 40 years ago and we gave it up because teachers were teaching to the average and smart kids got bored and struggling kids fell further behind.

      These are all big issues. I say good on Boards for rejecting the Standards lemon. If we want to find out problems early to address them, then for gods sake avoid these Standards at all costs.

  17. Irascible 17

    My Grand-daughters are in schools that are boycotting the Tolley Standards . The schools are in solidly blue electorates as well.
    In view of the threat by the Ministry to put in Statutory Managers I think it would be a good idea for parents in the schools to start a letter writing campaign to the BoT endorsing their decision to not endorse badly conceived policies and to endorse their confidence in the existing measures used by the schools. Given a sufficient quantity of such letters the SMs would have to tread very carefully when dealing with the community the school is in.
    Tolley’s threats certainly demonstrate that the fascist state is with NZ in spades. Not nanny state but jackboot state.

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