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What really rankles about National’s Standards

Written By: - Date published: 5:17 pm, November 22nd, 2010 - 33 comments
Categories: education, john key - Tags: ,

I opened the New Zealand Listener today (I know, I know) and something happened that summed up what really makes me annoyed about Nationals Standards. A brochure for the very worthwhile charity Kids Can fell out of the magazine. The charity provides shoes, raincoats and food for children in need.

These statements are included:

Every day is an uphill battle if you arrive at school without shoes, three meals a day or a raincoat to keep you dry

Children who miss out on the basics can’t participate fully in the classroom

Kids Can is dedicated to removing barriers preventing less fortunate children from getting the most out of education

We meet the basic needs of Kiwi kids living in poverty, ensuring they get and through the school gates in a better position to learn.

These guys get it. They know who the so called tail of achievement is made up of. I bet they even know (like every educator on earth let alone in New Zealand) who National Standards will show as underachieving.

Enough is enough, we live in New Zealand ‘Kids living in poverty!’ how can this be in a country like ours and how can this government ignore the facts that everyone else, including the good people at Kids Can can see so plainly. It’s not the schools, or the teachers, or the Boards of Trustees, or the Principals – it is that we have allowed close to 30 years of robbing the poor to pay the rich, lowered incomes, reduced job opportunities, and invested less and less on the common, decent Kiwi man and woman preferring instead to glorify the rich and sell our best assets to those overseas.

National Standards are nothing but a diversion from the real and substantial problems we have as a society – it is as plain as the scowl on Tolley’s face and as clear as the fake grin on John Key’s ugly and uncaring mug.


33 comments on “What really rankles about National’s Standards”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    We have a population and a Government who seem quite happy to leave tackling child poverty to palatable, nicely marketed charities, while giving tens of millions more of tax payers funds to private schools and worthless BS like National Standards.

    • Zorr 1.1

      It is because of the way the issue has been framed for the past decades – and it is all along the same lines as the reason why beneficiary bashing and welfare state complaints get made. It is never placed on the society that we should be caring for these children (or people) but, rather, all that seems to matter is that a bunch of deadbeats aren’t paying their fucking bills and aren’t wearing condoms.

    • Vicky32 1.2

      Exactly, it’s shameful…

  2. Stan 2

    Add the comments made in this blog, to the information clearly set out in “The Spirit Level” ( and as described in this NZ Herald Article http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10689232&ref=rss ) and the picture is crystal clear. A generation and more of right wing winner takes all economics has created this situation. The answer isn’t in more of the same but instead comes with investing in all areas of our society to minimise inequality. Not a quick fix, however, as it will take a generation or more to see the beginnings of change. Lofty and empty aspirations won’t do it at all.

  3. Sean Brooks 3

    Kidscan is basically a marketing tool to make the all blacks look like nice guys, the clothes have allblacks.com written all over them, those kids are wlaking billboards for the nzrfu, beleive me there are betetr chairties to donate to than kidscan.

    • mcflock 3.1

      and Ronald McDonald House is a marketing tool for McDonald’s. But it still helps sick kids and their families.

      I don’t begrudge capitalist organisations spending money on charities to advertise. My problem with capitalism is that the advertising buck can never do enough and voluntary charity can never do enough. Government need to pick up where the invisible hand fails.

      • Vicky32 3.1.1

        “and voluntary charity can never do enough. Government need to pick up where the invisible hand fails.”
        Absolutely correct!

        • Colonial Viper

          It was a scam from the start: there is no ‘invisible hand’ in the free market.

          Why? Because people behave like people, not ‘rational economic agents’.

  4. ghostwhowalksnz 4

    The right wing will all ways bash the “educated ”

    After all they cant bash the rich ?

    • ron 4.1

      The right wing don\’t like education because it would mean more people with the skills to see through their ideology.
      captcha: manipulation

  5. ianmac 5

    80% of kids learn to read almost no matter which methods are used.

    Of the remaining 20% there are some with intellectual impairments.
    Some are without English language. Some are newly immigrant.
    Some have no language patterns – the communicate in one word sentences.
    Some have miserable dangerous lives before they get near school. They arrive hungry and anxious and poorly clothed. Some have uncertain beds and dysfunctional parents.
    And some of the 20% have all of the above.
    So blame the teachers. Measure the failed kids again through National Standards. Increase the socio-economic pressures. Increase the gaps between rich and poor but ignore the poverty.

    And the Government? They hammer the schools and the teachers and worst of all fail miserably to help address the problems of the 20% and even ignore the existing knowledge. Leave it to Kids Can.

  6. jcuknz 6

    I would add the Salvation Army to the list of worthy peoples busting their guts to look after those who should be supported by the State. I don’t think they advertise their help, but just get on with it.
    It is rather silly to link child poverty with National Standards and make assumptions that something is going to happen in the future because you don’t like a policy. They are two different parts of government. It is also interesting to read the full article following the Herald’s interview with Prof. Hattie [ http://www.nzherald.co.nz/education/news/article.cfm?c_id=35&objectid=10624412 ] rather than the cherry picked extracts by rOb.
    Buto I will cherry pick a paragraph which is relevant to this thread …
    “To the outrage of many education liberals, he virtually dismissed the effects of poverty, saying the crucial problem in a child’s home environment was low parental expectations and encouragement, not low income.”
    So while I don’t like the idea of any child arriving at school hungry, wet and ill clothed I know it doesn’t stop the child learning given parent encouragement. Though I suspect that where this is given parents also organise their family’s lives properly.

    • Fabregas4 6.1

      Well this being the case decile funding of schools should end tomorrow – those poor kids don’t need resources they need encouragement! (and better parents).

      • jcuknz 6.1.1

        I would suggest that Government should properly fund the educational system rather than expecting parents to cough up with all the ‘extras’ deemed neccessary by the educationalists..

      • KJT 6.1.2

        So. Kids should be punished because of their parents??

        • duh

          KJT – Many kids ARE punished because of their parents.

          You get wasters of parents – you get wasters of kids. Its a sad and savage circle that many dont make it out of.

          Kids of gang members become gang members.

          Kids of bludgers often become bludgers themselves.

          Of course the opposite is true also. Hard working, honest kiwis breed and raise (generally) hard working and honest kids.

          • Vicky32

            Please define “bludger”. What a nasty word! (Do you by any chance mean those who live on trusts and share dividends? Didn’t think so..)

            • KJT

              Bludger = 1. someone who lives on the fortune made by their parents.
              2. those who charge way beyound their value to society. Bankers, Lawyers, Accountants, Financiers, Executives, owners of monetary capital..
              3. Ex Politicians. Esp. Those who take $1000/day to tell us to repeat their failed prescription for the economy.
              4. Owners of finance companies. And insider trading creditors.

          • Colonial Viper

            Hey yeah duh, lets have your simplistic and punitive view of the world put into a pamphlet and distributed far and wide! (Now remind me again who Millie Holmes’ parents were?)

  7. jcuknz 7

    IN the lead-up to my previous Prof Hattie quote he also said
    ‘In 2004 he told the Listener that many of education’s sacred cows did not stand up to close scrutiny. Computers rated only .32 – Hattie commented that money raised for new computers would be better spent on professional development courses for teachers. Homework rated .3 (good for kids who are already doing well but a waste of time for those who are not)’.
    So while I suspect sarcasm from you Fabregas4 [9.42pm] there may be a an element of truth in what you suggest. Computers are simply a sign of the times how peoples meagre resources are being mis-directed by the advertising industry and peer influence … many if not most of the trinkets we deem essential are being imported rather than being made in New Zealand and damaging our balance of payments disasterously. … not to mention peoples pockets. But of course it is our own fault because we voted for cheap imports rather than expensive home produced goods which kept us in full employment.

    • Fabregas4 7.1

      Well suspected. Hattie has been discredited through all this National Standards bullshit. One day the Standards are his the next day they are the worst thing out. Ask any teacher if kids from disadvantaged families are behind the figurative eight ball. The fact is poverty often means a lack of both social and school capital. This is not to say that kids from disadvantaged backgrounds cannot achieve – just that it is a lot more difficult for them to do so and fewer will than those from advantaged backgrounds. As for class sizes, Hattie says the biggest affect on learning is the timeliness, frequency and clarity for feedback provided to children – common sense tells you that this is determined, at least in part, by the number of kids that you have to provide this too.

      • ianmac 7.1.1

        For teachers who have always had big classes they teach accordingly to survive. Given smaller classes they tend to teach in the same way.
        Teachers who are skilled with smaller classes as in country schools, often develop a range of skills well suited to smaller classes. They get far better results than the big class model.
        So a more developmental constructivist approach is harder to run in a large class but more likely to be magic and well monitored in where the numbers are under 24.

        And yes Hattie has lost much credibility by originally aligning himself with NS. It is true that the politicians hi-jacked the original idea but if you sleep with fleas you get bitten.

      • KJT 7.1.2

        You try a class of 30 kids as opposed to 12 and see what it does to your teaching and their learning.
        Effectively as a high school teacher you have 2 minutes per child per class. It works for some motivated children who are probably going to be fine regardless.
        It does not work for kids who need, and deserve, more help for reasons outside their control.
        If the money wasted in NS and Private schools was used in early primary level to expand already effective programs, such as reading recovery, we could do a lot to change these statistics.

        It is past time that politicians, of all stripes, refrained from useless ideological fiddling with the education system. While failing to address the real causes of low achievement, which are inequality and poverty.

  8. M 8

    Maybe the Sallies need to start a sponsor a child programme – for $X a month you can save a child. I’m not taking the piss at those charities who try to help in third world countries (which wouldn’t be needed if there was fair trade, no IMF crap etc) but it’s shocking we have children in a first world country living in such poor condition.

    • Fabregas4 8.1

      Or maybe the government needs to do something to make sure this stuff doesn’t happen.

    • ianmac 8.2

      Locally the Salvation Army ran a Government sponsored program for 12 teens at a time, who had failed at College. I know one kid in particular who recovered and became highly motivated and this year is fully employed. The success rate for all was high.
      In 2010 the funding was dropped back to 8 kids. Frontline support?

      • Fabregas4 8.2.1

        But the question is … should we as a wealthy country be relying on charities to support our children by providing such basics as food, shoes and raincoats. And if we say we are comfy with that then can we really expect the very same kids to do well at school – by any standards.

        Regardless of Hattie’s assertion the likelihood of success for these kids who live in poverty is far less than that of parents who say have a holiday home in Hawaii.

        • Colonial Viper

          Lets go back to the 1600’s relying on kind Christian folks to do good works to help children while the State didn’t give a damn and treated such people like vermin upon the ground.

  9. jcuknz 9

    I would think that the children who live in poverty do so because of the parents inability to organise their lives properly to match their income.*and look after their children properly So I think Hattie is right in this matter but it ignores the problem of un-educated parents who have kids because they know no better and have not been educated to the fact of life than poor people shouldn’t have more children than they can afford to look after properly … it is bad for both parents and children. * We should not include those who we hope are temporarilly in dire straights because of the ecconomic situation. This is admittedly a touchy subject but the facts are indisputable.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      I would think that the children who live in poverty do so because of the parents inability to organise their lives properly to match their income.

      This is admittedly a touchy subject but the facts are indisputable.

      The facts are indisputable my ass

      When a block of cheese is $14, 2L of milk closing on $4 and a litre of petrol sitting a tad under $2, what exactly are parents suppose to do to “organise”? Feed their children hay?

      If the Government created 100,000 $15/hour jobs today, the dole queues would be 100,000 shorter by tomorrow. The only indisputable fact here is that John Key and Bill English have no idea how to create jobs in this economy and English is hoping something, anything, will happen in 2011.

      Anything over 1.5% unemployment means the economy is in trouble and anything over 2.0% unemployment is a social and economic disaster for the country.

    • QoT 9.2

      Wow, jc. The only indisputable thing is that if you honestly believe everyone in New Zealand can infallibly generate sufficient income to cover the necessary expenses of life, you are a very privileged person. That’s not a good thing.

    • Fabregas4 9.3

      And is see that the man himself is off to help wreck Melbourne’s Education system now he has buggered ours, thought about it and changed his mind, changed his mind again, and then … chnaged his mind again about National’s Standards.

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