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The paper that Anne Tolley censored

Written By: - Date published: 10:04 am, June 30th, 2010 - 38 comments
Categories: education, national - Tags: ,

Anne Tolley can’t stand to hear any criticism of National Standards, and she doesn’t want you to hear it either. Audrey Young reports:

Education Minister Anne Tolley is to complain to the Speaker Lockwood Smith over a Parliamentary Library research paper on national standards in primary schools. Mrs Tolley said the paper was “unprofessional”, “highly political” and so biased it could have been written by the union opposing the policy. Mrs Tolley wants the paper withdrawn and rewritten.

Library researchers frequently produce papers on topics of the day, on the economy and legislation before the House. They are displayed in the library, in the Beehive cafeteria and some are available on Parliament’s website. The paper on national standards says:

*”Schools may not have time and sufficient professional development support to become familiar with the national standards.”

*”Students assessed as not achieving could lose motivation for learning, affecting their achievement.”

*”Schools and teachers will need professional development assistance and support that may not be adequately provided for under the standards.”

*”The standards have been designed and implemented in a short time frame that has not allowed a trial to determine whether they have been set at the correct level.”

*”[League table information] does not help parents make an informed choice on what is a good school to send their child [to] and ends up unfairly labelling some schools.”

Tolley has done more than complain and call for the paper to be rewritten to suit her ideological blindness. She has had the current paper withdrawn from the Parliamentary web site. It was there on 26 June (thanks Google):

It isn’t there now:

Although removed from the front page (and from the direct link that dpf provided), the paper still exists deep in the bowels of the Parliamentary web site, and of course Google has a copy. So go read for yourself the paper that Anne Tolley doesn’t want us to see.

[Update: The remaining pdf copy on the Parliamentary web site linked just above has now been pulled as well – but here’s our copy.]

38 comments on “The paper that Anne Tolley censored ”

  1. Pete 1

    The paper actually looks very moderate – the conclusion certainly frames it up neutrally with a caveat around issues with implementation – perfectly adequate I’d suggest.

    How can Tolley get away with this? (I’m not being emotive, simply asking how it’s possible).

    Good opportunity for education spokespeople to ask more questions.

  2. American Gardener 2

    Speculation at Kiwiblog that the paper was written by an ex The Standard author ?

    • Bright Red 2.1

      you can see the author’s name on the paper http://www.parliament.nz/NR/rdonlyres/6AA160CB-02AD-4A89-ADC9-64B928B45FFA/144400/NationalStandardsforpdf3.pdf

      that’s not SP.

      And the validity of anaylsis is not dependent on the politics of the person making it. Arguments stand on their own. That’s why your real name and mine don’t matter.

      • Arguments stand on their own. That’s why your real name and mine don’t matter.

        Except on election advertising. Where we should also disclose our home address and religion.

        • Ari 2.1.1.1

          Electioneering almost never involves an actual argument.

          • Graeme Edgeler 2.1.1.1.1

            true dat. Not exactly the Federalist Papers.

            The closest I can remember us getting in the last quite some while were John Boscawen’s text-heavy ads against the EFB (i.e. not the Kill the Bill billboards, with which he wasn’t involved) and the Exclusive Brethren’s anti-Green campaign. It was almost refreshing to see policy-based discussion in political advertising that avoided broad platitudes and personal attacks.

            • Bright Red 2.1.1.1.1.1

              remember his one that started “answer my questions, Prime Minister!”?

              Started off crazy and ranted on for about 500 words. Hilarious.

      • joe bloggs 2.1.2

        @ Bright Red
        … the validity of anaylsis[sic] is not dependent on the politics of the person making it.

        what a crock of shit! You’ve clearly never heard of Observer Bias.

        Here’s a primer for you:

        Observer Bias is the error introduced into measurement when observers overemphasize behavior they expect to find and fail to notice behavior they do not expect. Observer bias can also be introduced because researchers see a behavior and interpret it according to what it means to them.

        • Bright Red 2.1.2.1

          yes, and if an argument is invalid due to observer bias ot for whatver other reason than you can make that point. It still doesn’t matter who the observer personally is.

          • joe bloggs 2.1.2.1.1

            unless the observer/analyst has their own axe to grind in which case the observations/analyses are biased – thereby compromising the integrity of the paper

            • BLiP 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Most likely, in this case, the observer/analyst simply reported back facts available from even a cursory glance at the Nationalâ„¢ Standards. As Ed Murrow was fond of saying:

              The obscure we see eventually. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer.

              . . . especially when elected representatives start censoring library documents.

            • Bright Red 2.1.2.1.1.2

              joe. if the arguments are flawed becuase of that or any other reason you can dispute the arguments. but you can’t assume an argument is flawed because of who made it.

              • Bunji

                And you certainly can’t dispute whether or not an argument is flawed if it’s censored…

        • Craig Glen Eden 2.1.2.2

          The Key words are ” is not dependent” some might be biased might not to! But in this situation what is the political bias by the writer, are they saying something that is known to be untrue or is Tolley showing her own bias by not being prepared to deal with the real issues ( which are not behavior) and therefore is accusing others of what she is guilty of.

        • Puddleglum 2.1.2.3

          I’ve heard of observer bias. It’s a special case of the well known idea of subjectivity.

          That’s why science (and all intellectual endeavour) isn’t something that’s done by a single person. It’s done by a ‘scientific community’. Popper was on to it: He argued that science doesn’t fundamentally depend upon the honesty, intelligence, curiosity, etc. of individual scientists; it depends upon the collective institutions of science (peer reviewed journals, norms for citing evidence and sources, universities free of external coercion or pressure, conferences for scientists to mingle and debate, etc.).

          What Tolley has done by complaining about the report is to attack the very process by which ‘objective’ understanding is produced – which is through the collective efforts of many people, each, potentially, with their own shortcomings, biases, etc..

          It’s odd how so many people who sing the virtues of an economic free market, get really peeved by a ‘free market’ of ideas and thought and instinctively want to suppress it.

  3. ianmac 3

    Seems like a workmanlike document to me. Read most of it via Google -thanks Rob.
    It does seem very strange that a Minister can order this removal?????
    Like most censorship it only adds fuel to the fire. Should lead to Questions in the House. And freely published through Audrey and thanks to Rob.

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    National ‘standards’ are going to be a classic backside biter for National over time. This is a moderate document indeed. Tolley’s bias and paranoia exposed again it seems. She will not accept that teachers unions are legitimate members of NZ society, a hell of a lot of effort was put into developing new curricula over 9 years and many teachers are not going to let that go quietly.

    • ianmac 4.1

      Mind you teachers are a pretty modest/amiable lot. Most just seem to want to get on with the job and get frustrated when called to carry out endless pointless assessments. If they as a group get militant and angry about National Standards, you can be sure that there is substance to their concerns, and that is mostly concern for the kids.

  5. American Gardener 5

    So does Charlotte Oakley have any political affiliations as Kiwiblog is implying she does ?

    • Bright Red 5.1

      how about you get some evidence before slandering someone’s professionalism?

      • joe bloggs 5.1.1

        There’s no imputation of moral turpitude or unfitness or want of integrity in AG’s question – it’s a frickin’ question not a statement Red

  6. coolas 6

    In 1995 I worked with Anne Tolley in a winery kitchen. She was chopping vegetables for $10/hr. I remember her saying she was considering moving her ‘historic’ B&B to Taupo because of restrictions imposed by Napier City Council.

    She has achieved a remarkable re-creation. But the tummy shrink, face tuck, and designer outfits can’t disguise her ignorance and void of experience.

    ps. I had no complaints with her chopping abilities.

  7. I had no complaints with her chopping abilities

    And she continues to chop to this day – early childhood education or night schools anyone CHOP!

  8. WOOF 8

    There’s no point in Tolly howling and bristling over that very good factual report.

    • Jim MacDonald 8.1

      Let’s not pussyfoot around this and let’s call for the Minister to be put back firmly in the trolley and be re-educated on democratic and Open Government standards.

  9. toad 9

    The Parliamentary Library has pulled the pdf as well now.

  10. I dreamed a dream 10

    What’s going on? Is the Parliamentary Library now the National Party Library & Research Unit?

    • toad 10.1

      This is totally bizarre. The Parliamentary Library have no accountability whatsoever to Ministers of the Crown. So what are they doing removing material because a Minister has complained about it.

      Unfortunately, they don’t come under the OIA either, so may be difficult to find out what happened and why.

      • swimmer 10.1.1

        Censoring information, that’s seriously bad. She obviously feels threatened, with good reason since NAT STDS are stupid.

  11. BLiP 11

    Hopefully some helpful politician will table the document. : )

  12. exbrethren 12

    Maybe the Nats can change Guy Fawkes this year and just chuck some books on the bonfires.

  13. exbrethren 13

    Herald still have the .pdf available media.nzherald.co.nz/webcontent/document/pdf/standards.pdf

  14. Uncle Helen 14

    [Take your personal attacks elsewhere fool — r0b]

  15. Carol 15

    A Labour MP mentioned & criticised the censorship of this paper, in the House, in the last hour or so – Grant Robertson, I think.

    • toad 15.1

      Yep, I’m still wondering why the Parliamentary Library succumbed to Tolley’s bullying.

      They are meant to be completely independent of Ministerial control.

      Sure, the last couple of paragraphs in the Summary may have been better if prefaced with “Critics of the policy say…”, but as someone who works as a policy analyst, I think it is an otherwise very competent research exercise.

      Tolley’s objection to it confirms her as THE MOST INCOMPETENT Minister in this Government. It will be interesting to see how long John Key tolerates her bumbling and bullying – he has already removed her from the Tertiary Education portfolio because she couldn’t cut the mustard..

  16. ianmac 16

    I can access the Audrey column via Rob’s page here. No problem. When I went look for it on the Herald On-line (as opposed through your link) I couldn’t find it. Funny? Either I looked in the wrong place or it has been “hidden”???
    Looked in News, Politics, and Opinion.

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