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Socioecomonic status and educational outcomes (and the ignorance of DPF)

Written By: - Date published: 7:50 am, January 25th, 2014 - 49 comments
Categories: dpf, education, poverty - Tags: , , ,

It would suit the right-wing of politics to ignore the profound impact of poverty on education. Nat blogger DPF ran the line, complete with his usual bombastic ignorance, just yesterday:

Let’s put this one to bed. Even if this was true (it is not), this is an announcement on education, not welfare. Turei seems to say we should do nothing to improve the education system while some families are poorer than others. How depressing. I want to see more families doing better, but there is no magic wand. Getting people out of poverty is often a generational thing as you have to confront parenting skills, welfare dependency, employment, drug and alcohol issues, and oh yeah education.

But let’s deal with the big lie. I call it a lie, because the amount of research on what influences educational outcomes is massive. There have been over 50,000 studies. Over 800 meta-analysis done involving 200 million students. Professor John Hattie has done a meta meta analysis of all these studies and identified 138 factors that influence educational outcomes. Not one factor, but 138. Greens think there is just one.

Now socio-economic status is important. It definitely is an influence. There have been 499 studies that looked at its effect. But is it the biggest influence. No. Is it second? No. Third? No. Top 10? Still no. Top 20? Still a no. It is No 32 and home environment by the way is No 31.

So the next time the Greens say the key reason for educational decline is poverty or income inequality, don’t beat around the bush. Call them a liar.

DPF is referring to research described in his book Visible Learning and its related work. It is (predictable but) unfortunate that Hattie’s book should be interpreted and used in this way, because here’s what Hattie himself says in the introduction:

It is not a book about what cannot be influenced in schools — thus critical discussions about class, poverty, resources in families, health in families, and nutrition are not included — but this is NOT because they are unimportant, indeed they may be more important than many of the influences discussed in this book. It is just that I have not included these topics in my orbit. [p ix]

Hattie says factors he has not considered may be highly important. So DPF is wrong that Hattie’s work proves the limited significance of socioeconomic factors, end of story, you can save yourself some time and stop reading this post right now.

Still reading? OK – here’s the long version. DPF’s fallacy is based on a superficial reading of summaries such as this:


Socioeconomic status (marked with a red dot) is Rank 32 out of 138 in this list. As above, Hattie himself admits that his analysis of socioeconomic effects is limited, he regarded many factors as outside the scope of his study, but he has included some data (the main measure was “parental income” where limited effects at the upper range dilute significant effects at the lower range – a measure of poverty would have been more sensitive).

Hattie’s socioeconomic status ranks at only 32 because he used an insensitive measure, because it has a narrow definition, and because of the way Hattie’s study is structured. Most importantly – Hattie’s data is from studies relating to schools, but in his section on socioeconomic status he notes that the main impact occurs before school years begin:

It is likely that the effects from socioeconomic resources are more influential during the pre-school and early years of schooling. For example, Hart and Risley (1995) showed that when students from lower SES groups start school, they have, on average, spoken about 2.5 million words, whereas those from higher groups have spoken 4.5 million words: this demonstrates a remarkable difference in what students bring to school. The lack of resources, the lower levels of involvement in teaching and schooling, the lesser facilities to realize higher expectations and encouragement, and the lack of knowledge about the language of learning may mean that students from lower SES groups start the schooling process behind others. [p 62]

A major part of Hattie’s analysis focuses on the nature of the student when they start school (their background). It is here that we see the effects of socioeconomic status, though it is not being measured directly. The following quotes are all from Chapter 4 The contributions from the student:

The fundamental argument in this chapter is that students not only bring to school their prior achievement (from preschool, home, and genetics), but also a set of personal dispositions that can have a marked effect on the outcomes of schooling. While there is no doubt that schools can affect both achievement and learning dispositions, the origins of both are often well in place before the child enters the school yard. For achievement, there are influences from genetics and early development, very early home and social experiences, and opportunities for learning from birth to five years (e.g., preschool and other early interventions). [p 40]

It is certainly the case that by the time the child enters school, family, preschool, or genetic factors will have already played a major role in generating subsequent differences in school-based achievement. [p 42]

Children in the bottom quartile at 22 months “are significantly less likely to get any qualifications than those in the top quartile”, suggesting that “before children have even entered school, very substantial signals about educational progress” are evident (Feinstein, 2003, p. 82). The effects of social class (based on parental occupation) were marked at 22 months, and if anything, the variability increased over time. This dual influence of early achievement and socioeconomic resources contribute much to what a child brings to school. [p 42 my emphasis]

Where does this show up in Hattie’s list (figure above)? In Student effects. The two top ranked effects in the list are both student effects, they are Self-reported grades i.e. self assessment/confidence, and Piagetian programs i.e. level of cognitive development. These and other student effects are substantially determined by pre-school factors and experience (outside the scope of Hattie’s study) including socioeconomic status.

In summary, Hattie’s analysis of socioeconomic factors is both too little (by his own admission) and too late (focused on school years not the crucial prior experience) so (because of the way he has structured his study) where socioeconomic impact comes out most strongly is in factors relating to student background, such as his Rank 1 and Rank 2 effects.

Of course poverty matters. Duh.

Further reading:

Here’s one of the conclusions of a meta-study of socioeconomic factors (one of the ones cited by Hattie in fact):

Of all the factors examined in the meta-analytic literature, family SES at the student level is one of the strongest correlates of academic performance. At the school level, the correlations were even stronger.

This review’s overall finding, therefore, suggests that parents’ location in the socioeconomic structure has a strong impact on students’ academic achievement. Family SES sets the stage for students’ academic performance both by directly providing resources at home and by indirectly providing the social capital that is necessary to succeed in school (Coleman, 1988). Family SES also helps to determine the kind of school and classroom environment to which the student has access (Reynolds & Walberg, 1992a).

And here’s an analysis of Hattie’s research, including his treatment of socioeconomic factors: Snook, Ivan; O’Neill, John; Clark, John; O’Neill, Anne-Marie; Openshaw, Roger (2009) Invisible Learnings? A Commentary on John Hattie’s book: Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies 44.1: 93-106.

Personal note – I’m on sabatical from The Standard for a couple of months yet, this is a one-off post.


49 comments on “Socioecomonic status and educational outcomes (and the ignorance of DPF)”

  1. One Anonymous Knucklehead 1

    So David Farrar read the book and is lying about it. Or he read it but failed English comprehension. Or someone fed him a pack of lies that he didn’t even bother to check.

    It must suck being a wingnut.

    • Pasupial 1.1

      Fisiani seems notable by his absence from this thread; given his slavish posting of DPF’s post verbatum over on Karol’s post yesterday.

      It must be worse being brain-sucked by a wingnut.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      I think he, and the rest of the wing-nuts, just looked at the pretty graph and then jumped to the conclusion that met their ideology and needs. The ideology that people are poor because of their own bad decisions and their need to distract from the increasing poverty in NZ.

    • sean kennedy 1.3

      Ad hominem responses are not the same as a rebuttal of the comment that obviously incensed you. You come across asa small-minded bigot.

  2. millsy 2

    That post is full of educational jargon that went straight over my head.

    IMO it is Tomorrow’s Schools that got us where we are now in terms of educational ‘achievement’. It simply whipped away the support structures for our schools and replaced them with a free market, and closures for schools in poorer areas (dicated by central government). Boards and principals were given too much powers and ran schools like their own private fiefdoms, obessed with atttracting international students and using suspensions and explusions to get rid of the “bottom 20%”, and squeezing every last penny out of parents, to the point of making them supply whiteboard markers and scissors..

    Even the Picot taskforce recognised the shortcomings of getting rid of the Education Department and the education boards, and proposed education service centres, a parent advocate and community education forms (the first of which never got off the ground, apart from specialist accounting pracitises, the 3rd was chopped by National in 1991 and the third never came to pass).

    To fix education, means to fix Tomorrow’s Schools. It may mean pissing off Lorraine Kerr, but it needs to be done.

    • QoT 2.1

      The TLDR version is: DPF says poverty doesn’t matter as much as teacher ability because Hattie’s study says so. Hattie’s study is flawed because the only thing used to indicate poverty was parental income.

      The two most important factors according to Hattie are self assessment/confidence and cognitive development – both of which will be strongly affected before school starts by poverty and socioeconomic factors.

      The moral of the story? The right want to pretend that the only effect poverty has on your life is that you can’t buy as many nice things.

      • ianmac 2.1.1

        As a matter of interest QoT, the Decile Rating of a school is determined by the occupation of the parents. There must be a connection between the lower incomes and lower achievement in a sort of vicious circle in Decile 1 schools. (Though many Low Decile Schools have fantastic results in getting disadvantaged kids started while higher Decile Schools are complacent and may be underachieving.).

        • QoT

          Indeed. And in line with recent reporting about how much it actually costs to put kids through our public education system – which Hekia Parata brushed off as being about “donations” – kids in Decile 9 and 10 schools will be able to have better resources, equipment, overseas trips, and thus the gap keeps getting wider.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        The moral of the story? The right want to pretend that the only effect poverty has on your life is that you can’t buy as many nice things.

        And that if you’re poor then it’s all your fault.


    • Chooky 2.2

      @ millsy ….+100 agreed( but now it is a sacred cow)…Tomorrows Schools was a poorly thought out change in education…and adopted enthusiastically by David Lange who knew nothing about education .

      Tomorrows Schools allows for Principal manipulation of Boards of Trustees and parent manipulation and cronyism of Principals…it creates fiefdoms and unholy alliances for Principals who find their niche and an unwillingness to move on…

      imo one of the biggest failings was that the Boards of Trustees was open to parents who had no understanding of education or teaching ( I met one such head of a BOT who was a former expelled student from a private school….She had no education to speak of ,but she was a Queen Bee and married to a rich farmer……and she backed a Principal who was subsequently replaced by a Commissioner and then sacked…..this woman divided the existing BOT which was trying to get rid of the Principal and a whole community( previous BOT Heads had resigned) …. the school roll was taken down by two thirds over a year while she was head of the BOT….it was a nightmare and ERO and other safeguards seemed impotent to do anything)..I have also seem a Principal co-opted by the parents of bullies…you can imagine that not much was done about the bullying problem at that school

      ….it is all very well to involve parents but the professional standing of teachers/schools must be evaluated by other education professionals ( hence school inspectorates)….eg. would you have a law firm run by a bunch of uneducated hicks? or a doctor’s practice?

      ….children from the lowest socio-economic groups deserve the best of educational practice ( this means involving parents but not allowing them to run Principals and Schools) Education is a profesion and a vocation…..like law and medicine

      • Jan 2.2.1

        Yes, Tomorrows Schools was the first of the strategies to change education from a co-operative model to a competitive one. It was cleverly disguised as involving the community, but really it was the start of setting one educational institution against another by putting them into competition with each other. How could it ever work when the lower Decile schools struggled to find the necessary legal and accounting skills necessary to run a school board, let alone the ability to select and appoint the most suitable teachers?
        Teachers, and consequently children, have been, and continue to be, the big losers in this model. Competition does not encourage the sharing of information and resources, a very valuable professional tool for adding depth and experience to practice (and praxis).
        This is nowhere more evident than in Early Childhood, where the sector has been allowed, even encouraged, to develop on business model lines (much like age care) with some truly appalling results at times. This is inexcusable – a careful reading of even Hattie’s conclusions would show how important early childhood education is, especially for children who have home – life challenges to overcome. They never really recover from that early deprivation.
        This last round of right wing nonsense seems to make the competitive model even stronger. Our poor kids!

      • JK 2.2.2

        Chooky – and Millsy – 100% agree with you.

  3. geoff 3

    So it’s clear that National and their revolting appendages (eg DPF) are going to run with the strategy of out-right denying that poverty and inequality are getting worse. They’re going to flatly deny that the economic and social policies they support have anything do with this. In fact, they are going to argue that those policies are helping ameliorate inequality and poverty.

    National is going to run an ‘inverted reality’ campaign for this election.

  4. captain hook 4

    Yes its time the left devised a counter to crsoby textor. They seem to be able to trample all over any democratic notions of fairness and equity in favour of neanderthals like fatboy farrar and wail boil who believe that their own thoughts are facts. Its time they were exposed for the snivelling lackspittles they are.

    • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 4.1

      Yes its time the left devised a counter to crsoby textor.

      The left isn’t capable of doing it based on recent performance. Labour in particular is just cringe-inducingly amateurish when it comes to communications.

      • KJT 4.1.1

        Difficult when the media insist on framing everything National does as good policy and everything from the other side is dammed with faint praise.

        Where is the in depth analysis, from Armstrong and his partners in crime, about the theft of assets or the “pie in the sky” “benifts of the TPP”, for example.

        • SHG (not Colonial Viper)

          Difficult when the media insist on framing everything National does as good policy and everything from the other side is dammed with faint praise.

          That’s because things from the left – again, particularly Labour – come across as the work of a bunch of amateurs. Doesn’t matter what the policy actually IS; the messaging and timing and articulation of the policy say “we’re a bunch of muppets, don’t take us seriously”.

          Just look at the timing of Cunliffe’s speech. On a Monday, on the Auckland Anniversary public holiday, on the Australia Day Australian public holiday, on the day of the Grammy awards when Lorde was nominated. It’s like Labour sat down and went “hey, let’s choose a day when people are least likely to listen to us or feel positive even if they do”.

          Then National gets a Tues, Wed, Thurs, and Fri of media commentary saying “response to Labour’s welfare plan was quiet” NO SHIT IT WAS QUIET THE ANNOUNCEMENT WAS ON A PUBLIC HOLIDAY WHERE ALL THE PEOPLE ARE.

          • SHG (not Colonial Viper)

            Perfect example, right now.

            It’s the day after the Leader’s big speech. The name you want on everyone’s lips is CUNLIFFE, the issue you want on everybody’s minds is POVERTY, and the solution is Labour’s plan to HELP PARENTS. Got that? Cunliffe, fighting poverty, through Labour’s plan to help parents. Say it with me now. Cunliffe, poverty, help parents.

            So what does Labour do today?

            The Labour Party has put forward a possible solution to force multi-national corporations to pay more tax – ban them from the internet.

            It says the Government should first talk with companies like Facebook, but if that doesn’t work it is important to have a backup, something Labour is describing as a credible threat.

            Facebook is the world’s largest social network by far, but pays little tax here in New Zealand.

            “The Government should always have in its back pocket the ability to ban websites,” says Labour revenue spokesman David Clark.

            But Finance Minister Bill English says “frankly, that sounds nuts”.

            “Fine print, he’s going to close down Facebook,” says Prime Minister John Key. “That’ll be interesting.”

            “Paedophile websites are banned the world around,” says Mr Clark.


            Didja hear that? David Clark just called Facebook a paedophile website. Bill English and John Key got to reply and sound sensible. There was something in there about tax, but like whatever.

            Conspicuous by their absence:. CUNLIFFE. POVERTY. HELPING PARENTS. Also NOT LOOKING LIKE AMATEURS.

            • Sacha

              And yet again it’s lack of basic discipline. How do we stop these dolts shooting everyone else in the foot?

              • SHG (not Colonial Viper)

                We can’t. There have been too many brain explosions and self-inflicted injuries over too long, communications incompetence is ingrained too deeply in the organisational culture. They don’t even know they’re incompetent.

                “The mainstream media are in the pocket of the Right!”
                “Crosby Textor are pulling the strings!”
                “The rightwing bloggers are all being paid by big business!”
                “John Key is a smiling waving superficial puppet! And a brutal Machiavellian mastermind!”

                You’d think that at some point in this litany of excuses somebody in the Labour comms team would say “hey, maybe it’s not that everyone else in the world is part of a shadowy rightist conspiracy… maybe we’re just crap?”

                But no. Oblivious.

                • gem

                  Yeah, well, there is a right wing conspiracy, but there always was, and it didn’t stop MPs doing their job.
                  The Nats work so bloody hard in Opposition. Labour seems to have forgotten how to run issues, get out of the beltway, stir the pot a little, keep pushing, supply the journos with lots of stories, not just the big set piece policy announcements. Comes down to hard work.
                  Plus there’s a little bit of this:
                  “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” ~ Charles Bukowski.

  5. It’s not ignorance. He knows it as well as you and I do, but if he were to publicly accept it there would be conclusions to draw that would be highly disadvantageous to the National Party. And his role as a blogger is to run propaganda for National, not undermine it.

  6. Karl Sinclair 6

    Anthony, fantastic post.

    Actual analysis rather than the somewhat mundane and baron insights from National media lacKeys.

    Poor dears, they maybe a little scared people, if educated well will see through their BS

    Maybe they should be reminded of this (sorry already posted this):

    Consider this Jesuit motto “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up_Series

    Now consider this chilling statement (somebody posted the other day)

    It is a matter of personal belief as to whether a high proportion of all centre staff should be trained teachers.

    John key, prime minister, 2010


  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    So after 5 years and two failures put in charge of Education ( Tolley and Parata), National has some vague sort of education policy that involves throwing money at it ! ( so much for that mantra )

    Of course this ‘could’ happen next year , after the election.

    Remember too the promises made to Pike River families that were so easily discarded and those families of the quake victims .
    -Quake Families group co-chairmen Dr Maan Alkaisi and Brian Kennedy maintain Key gave face-to-face assurances the Government would do everything it could to assist the families. Key met the families in the days after the quake.
    If national is in power after the election, the actual scheme will look very different

    Then there was Novopay- national cant even get the existing pay system to run properly but want to introduce even more layers

    Come on. The extra money – if it ever gets close to amount over 4 years talked about- will come out of the existing school budgets- mark my words.
    Probably the change principals primary role is to close schools without the blame being put on central government

    My guess is that Bill English, a former Minister of Education is behind this pile of cash disguished as an education policy. It will plaster over some cracks but in the scheme of things hardly will make a difference

  8. Still grumpy about this. The most annoying thing about DPF’s propaganda is that you don’t even need any fancy academic studies to get the point that poverty or the lack of it is the biggest factor in education – you just have to have a functioning brain.

    1. If you look at the school’s decile number you get a good idea of where its pupils will rank academically.

    2. The possibilities to account for this are:
    a) It’s just a very, very unlikely coincidence; OR
    b) Bad schools that don’t teach kids properly cause the surrounding neighbourhoods to become poor; OR
    c) Kids from poor neighbourhoods do less well in school.

    If we were to take DPF’s propaganda at face value, we could only conclude that he imagines a) or b) to be the case. Some of the Kiwiblog commenters strike me as being that stupid, but he definitely isn’t.

    • QoT 8.1

      You’re missing d) Poor people are inherently stupid and lazy, and that’s why they’re poor. An idea which is used to justify a heck of a lot of shitting on the poor but which few people (except in Stuff comments) will openly admit to.

  9. newsense 9

    Educational experts are like historians- I can find another one that I can skim over and misrepresent their basic argument with out actually having checked the evidence for their position

  10. newsense 10

    DPF= David PantsonFire

  11. Will@Welly 11

    Okay, here’s my take on things, thanks to Hooton, Farrar and McNasty – DPF. Our parents. or our grandparents generations survived the “great depression” and “the second world war”. Most of them didn’t go to high school, let alone university. But they wanted a better future for us, their children, and for that, they sacrificed a lot. What “pleasures” they had were simple, they rarely asked for much.
    And how do we, the next generation, pass on the baton? Like the rotten spoilt ungrateful children we’ve become. When it was our turn to receive those “rewards”, we smugly took each and everyone we could, we challenged authority at every turn, nothing was too good, and boy, did we expect, want, demand and get more.
    It seems our politicians and those who hold the shackles of power are weary of ever letting go. But our generation tookover from the previous generation and the sky did not fall in, and soforth. I think the word missing in this “discussion” is trust.
    But then trust is not a word bandied around by the right. They have proven time and again to be the least trustworthy of all. But at some stage we need to ensure the following generations are ready to take on the mantle of leadership and Government. We have to empower them, and if that means they are well-feed, then so be it.
    Poverty is not a reason for doing nothing. Poverty is not a reason for lying.

  12. Ron 12

    Interesting comment in the latest Economist which seems to make more sens than much of what National is trying to do.

    The definition of “state education” may also change. Far more money should be spent on pre-schooling, since the cognitive abilities and social skills that children learn in their first few years define much of their future potential . And adults will need continuous education. State education may well involve a year of study to be taken later in life, perhaps in stages. Yet however well people are taught, their abilities will remain unequal, and in a world which is increasingly polarised economically, many will find their job prospects dimmed and wages squeezed. (Economist Jan 18th 2014)

    So instead what does National do, reduce payments for adult education/ night classes and reward reasonably well paid principals even further. Redirecting the recent gift to educators into the preschool early learning programmes might well be a better solution but then children don’t vote so why bother.

  13. geoff 13

    I see one of the new categories National is creating is one called “Change Principals”. So if they’re anything like the “Change Managers” in business they will do the following:

    1)Parachute into a school

    2) Have no idea how things work because they don’t know anyone…

    ..and therefore..

    3) ..completely shag things up..

    ..and then..

    4) …piss off to do the same again somewhere else.

    National has done the same to so many government departments, why not replicate the successful formula in schools? /sarc

    The fundamental thing that National is planning to do is to create a layer of heirarchy in schools which will enable them inject in their neoliberal poison. Make no mistake, this is part of a long-term plan to destroy socialised education in New Zealand.

    • Rodel 13.1

      ‘…Tomorrows Schools was a poorly thought out change in education…and adopted enthusiastically by David Lange who knew nothing about education ..’

      Education reorganized by politicians who knew nothing about education.
      Surely that couldn’t happen again?

    • Rodel 13.2

      Change managers read ‘ Change principals’ are often called ‘Seagull managers/ principals’
      Fly in-sh*t on everyone- fly out.

  14. Excellent post, Anthony.

    There was an interview between Kathryn Ryan and a chap from Arizona State University (who just happened, fortunately, to be here for a conference).

    His opening comments were right on this point: What the research overwhelmingly shows is that non-school related factors contribute about 60% of the variance in educational performance. School-related factors, about 20%.

    He also had critical comments to make about the idea of taking so-called ‘turn-around’ principals (those who seem to have transformed educational outcomes at one school) and putting them in other schools. He cited the case of the teacher behind the film ‘Stand and Deliver’: Accomplished ‘turnaround’ in an LA school, went to a school in Sacramento and completely failed. The moral? Individual cases of success are highly contextualised and not dependent on the ‘super-principal’ or ‘super-teacher’.

    Of course, in our individualistic society, we have this funny idea that the most important ingredient in any socially notable event is an individual. Fairly unsophisticated thinking but very common.

    It’s well worth a listen.

    • Saarbo 14.1

      Yes, I heard the same article and agree it is worth a listen.

      “Of course, in our individualistic society, we have this funny idea that the most important ingredient in any socially notable event is an individual. Fairly unsophisticated thinking but very common.”

      This attitude also drives the super sized salaries of corporate CEO’s, etc…perhaps it stems from Right wing authoritarianism.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-wing_authoritarianism

    • Draco T Bastard 14.2

      Of course, in our individualistic society, we have this funny idea that the most important ingredient in any socially notable event is an individual. Fairly unsophisticated thinking but very common.

      Its the Cult of the Individual and Randian Super-Heroes that we’ve had lumped on us over the last few decades along with neo-liberalism. The two fallacies seem to go hand in hand. Both are very unsophisticated thinking.

    • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 14.3

      non-school related factors contribute about 60% of the variance in educational performance. School-related factors, about 20%

      Well that’s some compelling statistical analysis right there.

  15. Draco T Bastard 15

    Nats Keep Flailing in Education

    In summary, John Key may as well have chucked his $359 million a year down the proverbial toilet. What we don’t need in New Zealand education is another layer of internal bureaucracy and perverse incentives to ensure that our best and brightest don’t actually end up teaching.

    This is the bit that gets me though:

    Executive principals. What. It astonishes me that Key can keep a straight face and announce this new position while in the same breath bleat endlessly on about how our public education system needs to be doing more to drive that Kiwi egalitarian ideal. These are principals that are “proven performers” who will get a whopping $40,000 pay rise to spend a couple of days a week doing what looks a lot like consulting for the poorer schools in their area. The idea of appointing super-executives with super high salaries compared to the rest of their educational colleagues is something that has been tried already in our universities.

    You know, our universities that are slowly going downhill.

    All National’s new education policies sound like is more jobs for the boys.

    • ianmac 15.1

      Of course Draco, the Executive Principals will have to prove their success. No one is sure what reliable measure there will be but for the Government they must trumpet successful outcomes or face ridicule for wasting millions.
      “Even if it it is a failure it will be a success,” John Key will say with a straight face.

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 15.2


      There is another laughable thing going on here, this ‘solution’ that National are planning shoots their own spin out of the water that was flying around a few months back about the Left just wanting to ‘throw money at a problem’ – they are going to have to come up with something new to condemn Labour, the Greens and Mana with now



      We can now come right back on them with this one because it is surely a case of “throwing money at a problem rather than coming up with effective solutions”

  16. Chooky 16



    ‘The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Undermine Education’ by Professor Diane Ravitch

    ( just in case people havent seen this before…..even American Education Professors dont believe what John Key is doing…it has been tried in the USA before and failed….better to go the Finland way)

  17. Xtasy 17

    I have been following David Farrar and his blog over recent weeks, and yes, he is clearly gearing up for the election, doing all to hype it up, to support Key and his beloved Nats.

    It is unbelievable how biased his blogs are, especially recently. There used to be a bit of distraction and liberal “entertainment”, but now he seems to be in full steam and full gear, to get Key a third term.

    So there he goes picking that suits their agenda, and everything else, especially coming from the Greens, is straight away rubbished, even harsher than usual.

    And then today – or rather yesterday, he did a post on Scoop and questioned their “independence” again, so what “independence” is there in the rest of the damned “mainstream media” then? Radio Live, 1ZB, TV3, TVNZ, even Radio NZ now, and do not even go down to the rest of the commercialised mercenary lot.

    What a bloody sick joke!

    Most of the MSM are in a self fed frenzy, to cheer on Key and Nats, and they have lost all decency and accountability, they have clearly thrown “independent” reporting well over board. Analysis and investigative journalism are language they no longer comprehend, and do not want to know. F them!

    • Chooky 17.1

      Good you go behind enemy lines Xtasy….we need to get reports on what the enemy is spinning ……I stick to here and the Daily Blog ( otherwise I would get too depressed with all the lies)

      …I hope you do a bit of sniping and sabotage and stirring while you are there

  18. Plan B 18

    To beat National I believe you have to attack them where it hurts.
    So instead of discussing what JK wants to discuss, reframe everything as an attack. One of the best points of attack in education is the rots that Private Schools use to their advantage.

    1. Charitable status of Private Schools- this needs to be eliminated- Charitable Stauts comes up for review this year- an election year – a perfect time to get rid of it- or make National Defend it- I wonder if they will if it is under sustained attack.

    2. Private schools payment per pupil- based on an average cost model rather than marginal cost to the state system that is forgone-

    Breaking Private education is an important step. They are helping to tear NZ apart more and more. Break them in the same way as the right broke the union movement.

  19. Jan 19

    In fact if anyone really wanted to do something about education that will actually be of some use they would stop mucking about with primary and secondary schooling, which is more or less doing its job, and focus attention on early childhood education. Time after time research shows that quality education and care before five can seriously counter the effects of negative challenges children face. Even John Hattie is saying this if you read his conclusions.
    I can remember Karen Sewell (CEO of the Education Ministry at the time) telling a somewhat miffed education conference full of school principals and other education wallahs that if a child enters the compulsory education system two years behind then try as they might that child will probably emerge still two years behind.
    Governments have allowed this essential asset to fall into the hands of the commercial sector with the consequent shortcomings that inevitably flow from the commercial imperatives of profit-making. A lot of it is in a sickly state and likely to remain that way while more attention is paid to it as a business opportunity than an important education sector and pretend it’s not really relevant.

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