The education review

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, November 4th, 2015 - 31 comments
Categories: education, schools - Tags: , ,

National is initiating a review of education. Jolly good, what’s that about? Let’s see:

Education review to ask big questions

The government has begun a review of the Education Act and it is asking the most fundamental question of all – what is education for?

That’s the kind of question that is supposed to sound profound but isn’t, because we know the answer. Education is for helping people equip themselves with the knowledge and skills that they need to function in society, and ideally to become independent and critical thinkers for life. (A rather better fundamental question would be – What is government for? – because this lot are failing at some pretty major requirements. But I digress.)

What has been suggested for the review at this stage appears to be tinkering because resourcing and the Nats’ recent sacred cows are off the table:

Principals or boards could govern multiple schools under education revamp

More principals and boards of trustees may soon be able to lead multiple schools under a review of education legislation. … Other potential changes include having 5-year-olds start school in “cohorts” on set dates, rather than on their individual birthdays. … Changes suggested include removing “unnecessary red tape” from school boards, possibly having some govern multiple schools.

It was made clear in the discussion document that previously controversial policies regarding National Standards, charter schools, and the recently revamped teacher governing body – Education Council – were off the table for discussion. Any changes likely to increase the Government’s nearly $11 billion budget on education were also off the table, it said.

The Green’s response is covered in the same piece:

Green Party education spokeswoman Catherine Delahunty said the proposed review was a “farce” that removed anything from discussion that involved more money, or challenging controversial policies recently introduced.

The review looked like it would find new ways to blame schools in poor areas for the lower achievement of their pupils, she said.

“Schools working with the poorest children in New Zealand, and often with large numbers of kids with special needs, need more support from the minister, not more threats.”

It appeared schools with wealthy children would be rewarded, while those with disadvantaged schools would be punished, she said.

Labour’s response is here:

Review timely but ineffective without funding

A review of education law is timely but the Government must ensure it is a genuine examination of New Zealand’s education system and the future needs of schools, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Schools need more support to deliver the national curriculum. The support they receive from the Ministry of Education has been diminishing. “Taking funding structures off the table will only ensure this review is a whitewash.

“When National came to office they promised to increase frontline staff. However the opposite is happening. “New figures obtained by Labour show frontline staff have fallen from 43.6 per cent in 2009/10 to 40.5 per cent in 2013/14. Over the same period the number of back office staff rose from 56.5 per cent to 59.5 per cent.

“Meanwhile the Ministry has increased its spending on public relations staff by almost 200 per cent since to $2.5 million.

“This review comes as Hekia Parata publicly muses about linking school funding to student achievement. However, she refuses to give any details about her plans. …

Submissions on the Education Act review close on 14 December. Information about how to make a submission is here.

31 comments on “The education review”

  1. b waghorn 1

    What’s the odds the parata is planing on upping the funding to underachieving schools , as that would probably be the only sensible option.

    • mpledger 1.1

      The trouble is that the incentive is to become an “underachieving” school, or at least give the illusion of it.

      And the trouble with paying for good performance is that it’s tied to socio-economic status so that rich get rewarded and the poor get punished.

      • McFlock 1.1.1

        the other problem with paying for good performance is that it’s purely an incentive to meet the performance criteria, rather than actually teaching kids.

        So kids are taught to the test and only the test, stats are manipulated, and difficult kids are kicked out rather than taught.

  2. Sabine 2

    suffer the little children. For they are to be little submissive, obedient worker drones with no aspirations nor expectations.

    School to Prison Pipeline anyone? Maybe Serco can run our schools, than National can get both, Education and Punishment under one Office and ‘save’ the difference.

  3. mpledger 3

    I heard somewhere that they are thinking of closing poorly performing schools.

    They have been doing this in America and it has been an unmitigated disaster. The closed school just sits empty, it’s value degrading and sometimes get taken over by vagrants and yahoos who trash it. This gets left in the neighbourhood becoming a blight. And they did the same thing that happened in Chch, they counted pretty much all space as teaching space and then deemed that this school had too few pupils for the space and another school had room to take them – so libraries and basements became classrooms and class sizes shot up.

    All the National ideas come from America and their Minister of Education equivalent, Arne Duncan, resigned a few weeks ago. I suspect the reason he left was that the results from their huge, nationwide longitudinal testing program, NEAP, were about to be released. They have shown a downturn in scores, almost right across the board – the first time in a long, long time.

    And although the NEAP is a standardised test, which suffers from all the usual failings of standardised tests, it’s actually one of the better ones and is benchmarked between tests so that differences over time are real.

    So Arne Duncan had to skip out before he was pushed after the disasterous policies he’s introduced making education worse. And National wants to implement the same things.

  4. NZJester 4

    I think if schools are not meeting the Education needs of the children then those responsible should be financially punished.
    Lets see now who is it that is actually responsible for the current mess most of our schools are in? Oh that’s right it is the National Government for continually under funding the schools, so it is only fair we financially punish them!

  5. M. Gray 5

    Education is the social responsibility of our Government isn’t that why we pay taxes. We can’t always blame the schools for underachieving when we have rising poverty levels and social issues that many of our schools have to deal with on a daily basis. Where has all the asset sales money gone that was suppose to go into education ? We do not want Serco educating our children when they can’t even look after our prisoners. Where is Nationals social policy everything seems to be about money and not people. If people want to send their kids to private schools then that is there choice but why should I have to pay for there choice when public schools are available. Then we have people saying I am paying taxes and paying to send my kid to a private school so they are paying twice, Who cares it was there choice and some even get tax rebates if they pay a donation. I get sick of hearing these people moan. We always hear negative comments about how the poor make bad choices hence why they are poor seems hypocritical to me. As for Jesters comments are we going to financially punish the current Government for not delivering on all their promises. And are we going to punichs this Government for creating more ineqaND ARE

  6. M. Gray 6

    Education is the social responsibility of our Government isn’t that why we pay taxes. We can’t always blame the schools for underachieving when we have rising poverty levels and social issues that many of our schools have to deal with on a daily basis. Where has all the asset sales money gone that was suppose to go into education ? We do not want Serco educating our children when they can’t even look after our prisoners. Where is Nationals social policy everything seems to be about money and not people. If people want to send their kids to private schools then that is there choice but why should I have to pay for there choice when public schools are available. Then we have people saying I am paying taxes and paying to send my kid to a private school so they are paying twice, Who cares it was there choice and some even get tax rebates if they pay a donation. I get sick of hearing these people moan. We always hear negative comments about how the poor make bad choices hence why they are poor seems hypocritical to me. As for Jesters comments are we going to financially punish the current Government for not delivering on all their promises. And are we going to punichs this Government for creating more ineqaND ARE

  7. savenz 7

    What a joke! More reviews and wasting time and money instead of resourcing education that is working and zero reviews of their current failed tinkering into Charter schools and their pet projects.

  8. M. Gray 8

    Sorry for repeating myself I am just trying to say I am sick of all the Nats bullshit
    and how they play people and groups of NZers of against one another and its working sad!

  9. One Anonymous Bloke 9

    This isn’t tinkering, nor is it a “review”. It is the cynical and deliberate destruction of what once once a high performance education system, for money.

    Gone by lunchtime.

    • Johan 9.1

      The national Party in power is all about creating chaos by dismantling the infrastructure that holds our communities together. Last century, we called these tactics, Rogernomics and Ruthanasia, however today, deregulation continues, while our labour Party appears to asleep at the wheel.

  10. miravox 10

    I reckon I might just submit this NZ Herald article

    Disadvantage remains a major dictator of underachievement in schools. Poor children pass at rates well and a clear gulf in opportunities afforded to students at either end of the decile spectrum, educators say it’s below their wealthy peers, despite efforts to address the disparity. With poverty affecting one in four children, time to act, before another generation are consigned to the cycle.

    It looks as if Kirsty Johnston et al are doing the Minister’s job for her – and that there will be an all-mighty difference in the findings of the two investigations.

    I look forward with interest to the next two reports. As well as the ‘equity not equality’ call to address poverty, dysfunction etc, etc, that we are all aware of, the ‘perceptions’ section of this first one rings very true to me.

  11. RedBaronCV 11

    And a way to get rid of all the small boards of trustees too? Nact would dearly love to push bulk funded teacher payrolls onto schools but boards haven’t wanted to hear about it- why would they.
    This way they can aggregate boards over a large area, say urban New Plymouth which makes it easier to stack them with Nact type candidates plus of course government appointees to tip the balance , a corporate principal earning large dosh, who has been bought, oh and then the lot can be privatised so once again we are paying tax to stick money in SErco’s back pockets.
    The MSM need to be asking whether
    this is a prelude to bulk funding teacher payrolls,
    extra funding to teachers who who perform to political demands and above all
    how does this benefit your kids

    • McFlock 11.1

      interesting theory – it does seem to be a natural development of the idea.

      Smaller schools might end up being controlled by a BoT that has no members connected to the school at all, and a “principal” who visits the site two fridays a month. While the previous principal is now just an assistant head, largely doing the same role as before.

      • Tracey 11.1.1

        I have an OIA due on 9 Nov to ascertain if charter school boards are remuerated in any way. Parata seems to be moving toward a notion of professional boards yes?

  12. McFlock 12

    Education is for helping people equip themselves with the knowledge and skills that they need to function in the menial workplace, full stop.

    That’s how tories read that sentence 👿

  13. Leftie 13

    The self serving National government have been shifting resources from poorer schools to richer ones since it first came to power.

    • tc 13.1

      Yup Tolleys first move was to bump up the treasury recommendation for private school funding increase by taking it from the public system.

      She wasn’t nasty enough or cunning enough when it came to the universities so Parata got the gig after bovver boy Joyce jackbooted his way through higher ed.

      There’s a theme here as Heatley got booted for not moving quick enough on flogging state houses.

      Underperforming ministers ackshully means unable to deliver to the backers agenda and nothing to do with actual performance such as smiley sammy the corrections clown.

  14. I will not charge any Shipleyesque fee for my advice on improving our schooling system as I am of generous disposition.

    1 Get rid of Hekia Parata and
    2 get rid of the intellectually bankrupt ideology she and Bill English are driving.

    I previously have had the word ‘cretin’ censored when referring to Ms Parata.
    The accepted description of the word is ‘stupid person’. Anyone who has read what Ms Parata has said about schooling at any time knows the description is apt.

    Her utterances about the latest review suggest that there is a need to have a word denoting quality used first. ‘Most’ cretinous would apply if what she has said is blindingly dumb, lacking in common sense and removed from reality.
    So ‘most’ it is.

  15. ropata 15

    if national keeps trashing the public service and the essentials of a functioning democracy, pretty soon we will have a (possibly violent) public review that asks “what is government for” and the 1% will not like the answer to that question

    • Tracey 15.1

      Would neex courage to ask that queztion. In my time few govrnments have had the guts to be courageous

  16. Tracey 16

    Here is an interesting article from the tertiary union. Suggesting the govt measure tertiary against opportunity rather than productivity… those crazy union bastards!

    http://teu.ac.nz/2015/11/productivity-commission-investigate/

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