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What the Hekia happened to our education standards?

Written By: - Date published: 4:22 pm, December 3rd, 2013 - 112 comments
Categories: education, Hekia parata, schools - Tags:

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Chris Hipkins said in Parliament today that New Zealand’s educational standards have dropped rather dramatically in data gathered recently.  According to TV3:

New Zealand has slipped in OECD education rankings, the Labour Party has revealed.

In the House today, education spokesman Chris Hipkins said the country’s education system had slipped from seventh in reading and science to 13th and 18th respectively, and from 12th to 23rd in maths.

Mr Hipkins questioned the success of national standards given the ranking decreases.

The drops come in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) which measures the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds. The data, which will officially be released late tonight, shows the results from last year’s testing.

Education Minister Hekia Parata said she was unable to talk about the results because of the embargo.

However, she pointed out that those who sat the test went through school between 2001 and 2012 and would not have sat national standards.

Whatever the cause of the decline it has happened under Parata’s watch.  And you have to wonder what has happened to cause such a significant drop.

112 comments on “What the Hekia happened to our education standards?”

  1. One Anonymous Knucklehead 1

    I wonder if teachers being treated like shit by their employer while not getting paid has had any effect.

    Smash neo-liberalism then burn the pieces and salt the ashes. Make membership of the National Party a euphemism for life in the gutter.

  2. Phaedrus 2

    While I hate to cover for Hekia, PISA tests 15 year olds. National Standards apply to primary school kids from year 1 to year 8, and so the tested kids were not involved in them. The opposite argument is that tested kids started school in 2002 when it was realised that the existing curriculum (implemented under the 1990 -1999 National led govt) wasn’t working. Under Trevor Mallard’s watch as Minister of Education, a major curriculum review was commenced, and this resulted in the world renownedNew Zealand Curriculum of 2008. This had barely got off the ground before the 2009 election and the introduction of national standards and the downplaying of the NZ Curriculum. The blame, therefore, should be targeted at the previous National led govt.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Thanks Phaedrus. Education is something that if you stuff up you see the results in decades to come. I mentioned “whatever the cause of the decline” because National Standards obviously are not the cause of the decline. But this Government’s handling of education obviously is.

  3. greywarbler 3

    Thinking about educational standards. Then thinking about the latest iteration in the lady politicians using S&M method of treating responsible, good adults in teaching who have been chosen as scapegoat du jour in the Punch and Judy show that is present NZ education. And thinking about how teachers unions are derided and often villified by many RW who sound as if they hate unions. (And then that the Police spokesperson on general behaviour of the Police is the Union Leader). Strange.

    It seems that Teachers Unions get RW frothing at the mouth. Can it be that Charter Schools are seen as opening a schism in the hyperbole of ‘socialist wall of opposition protecting the incompetent and inadequate’ . Who apparently should be paid on piece rates like factory workers, for finished polished diamonds produced from the raw materials of beach pebbles that they receive.

  4. greywarbler 4

    Was that a publicity photo prepared for a Star Trek guest spot?

  5. tc 5

    Let’s not forget the sterling first term work of Aya Tolley in taking to the teachers and school system like a farmer would to a gully full of gorse.

    Hipkins needs to avoid the dancing on the head of a pin Wrekia and shills will do with numbers/timeframes and keep the message simple.

    Phaedrus nails it they really are good at this from one nat gov’t to the next.

  6. ghostwhowalksnz 6

    The information will be released at 11Pm ???

    What sort of joke is that ?

    • Tim 6.1

      11pm NZ time is the kind of joke you get when the OECD releases information at a pretty reasonable 11am in Paris.

    • ScottGN 6.2

      It’s an international report released sometime in the morning in Europe I guess.

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    Do you have to pay teachers on time with the correct wages to get the best work performance from them? I think so.

  8. Rogue Trooper 8

    a discredit to the uniform

  9. Plan B 9

    National have been diverted by ideas of turning education into a business- a non tax paying business. Private schools register themselves as Charities- which under the existing rules than can do- trouble for them is that educating the children of the very rich and charging very high fees while receiving a per pupil subsidy out of the general education budget does not sound like a charitable institution to most people.

  10. Paul 10

    Reasons:
    National Standards
    Novo pay
    Charter schools

    In summary, an ideological government determined to bust the teacher unions so their banker friends can make some money out of one of the few areas they haven’t got their hands into.

    A quality educational system is not what they want.
    They want a profitable one.

    Hekia is just a puppet.
    Key is just a puppet.

    Follow the money.

    • infused 10.1

      Has nothing to do with any of those.

    • Chooky 10.2

      Paul +100…”A quality educational system is not what they want.They want a profitable one.”

      What the Heke…. is Mini Mouse and John Key is Micky Mouse…. for a USA Captalist style and inspired re-engineering of NZ education ( once one of the the best in the world) into a designer education funneling money into private corporate pockets.

      To hell with Plato and the Philosopher Leaders of education and society ….these Micky Mouse philistines wont even listen to NZ Professors of Education….such is their arrogance and greed!

    • Wayne 10.3

      If Hekia and the PM are puppets and all you have to do is follow the money, at least tell us where it leads.

      • Chooky 10.3.1

        USA..neo-liberal agenda on education …influencing /steering NACT /Treasury policy makers

        ….. to privatize/corporatise education and undermine state education ….with testing, charter schools and excessive choice .

        The results : see Professor Diane Ravitch, ‘The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education’

        http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/58511.Diane_Ravitch

  11. Ian 11

    Be carefull guys. I think if you work backwards those kids had all their preschool and first few years at school under a labour Government.. The blame can be fairly laid on the teacher unions , poor teaching ,and a compliant labour government.

  12. Foreign Waka 12

    Standards in Europe and Asia are far far higher than NZ. There isn’t one particular reason but rather a combination of factors culminating in the “kids need to learn how to learn” or “recognize the word – no need to spell” approach. That sounds good, but all that happens is some slacking off and doing more art than English and maths, history (oops, not that again). Quite a few parents try very hard to get the show on the road so to speak but if there are 3 kids playing rugby, 2 doing a sing along the one that wants to achieve will find bullying is a favorite past time for some. Unfortunately, the true reasons are not being confronted as everybody is so politically correct that it is best t send kids to private school or overseas.

    • Rogue Trooper 12.1

      hmmm, some validity to that comment I imagine; oh well, that’s another expired bolt from National, “the party of a brighter future” ; eejits!

      • Foreign Waka 12.1.1

        All it takes is some guts and no more “she’ll be right” as it is a disservice to the kids. Sooner or later the reality will bite as there is no job that has a aunty reading the manual for them. The kids will not know why but they do know that they are affected and all that is left for them is frustration, aggression and defiance. Come to think of it, some of those glimpses are already…..

        • Rogue Trooper 12.1.1.1

          Media this week; students not prepared for science and engineering at Uni -The Herald
          -another intermediate-aged child tried to take their life; remember that in the 70’s? I don’t think so: Tory Scum! (now who is Scum! Cameron? Karma.)

        • Tracey 12.1.1.2

          and what about the large number who are doing fine, have great work ethics and are finding, and excelling,in the workplace?

        • KJT 12.1.1.3

          Funny that NZ kids on the whole are still more desirable employees worldwide. Eh.

          Something South Korean teachers envy.

          Something to do with the “can do” attitude and general competence gained from their education, I believe.

    • Tracey 12.2

      “Standards in Europe and Asia are far far higher than NZ.” Links and causation?

      • Foreign Waka 12.2.1

        Tracey, standards are way higher in Europe and Asia. There is also a structure that gives students a path that is orientated towards the wants of the young person and the need of the economic development. This at least provides a chance of a job.
        Yes, there are students in NZ and elsewhere doing great. My reference is about the general standard. There are many youngsters who are enrolling at University do to lack of alternatives only to drop out later. Not everybody is an academic. There are no apprendiceships to speak of and many go without any professional training.
        Link and causation? Look around you and be honest. No link needed – causation is obvious.

        http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education%20/Eurydice/documents/key_data_series/151EN.pdf

        Teachers education is being shown from page 26 onwards. For primary and secondary school level it is Bachelor to Masters degree, minimum 3, up to 6 years training.
        Children start school at the age of 5-6 years and will go on to at least the age of 19, most longer due to University or College studies. Most speak 3 or more languages as it is necessary to communicate across different nations. However, many Asian countries exceed the level still.
        It is not desirable to become engulfed in a mass of learned subjects without having some balance but it is necessary to have a certain level of education to be able to develop ones own interest further and participate in the wider society.

        • Tracey 12.2.1.1

          “Link and causation? Look around you and be honest. No link needed – causation is obvious.”

          Nuff said

        • Tracey 12.2.1.2

          “Link and causation? Look around you and be honest. No link needed – causation is obvious.”

          Right, so everything you said above is your opinion?

          • Foreign Waka 12.2.1.2.1

            Not at all, look at the link provided and get your head out of the sand. How long does it take until it sinks in that NZ kids are being disadvantaged by the likes of you finding a excuse after another just not getting involved.

  13. infused 13

    Once again, this shows how stupid Hipkins is.

  14. Rogue Trooper 14

    did I say Tory Scum? That’s what I meant! SFH!

  15. Rogue Trooper 15

    the sort of scum I cleaned off around the drain in the hand-basin today. 😀

  16. ianmac 16

    Putting National Standards aside the bald facts should be stated.
    The National Government has demanded changes in Education since 2008. After 5 long years with their control of teaching the scores have sunk.
    Reading:7th to 13th
    Science: 7th to 18th
    Maths: 12th to 23rd.
    We should hammer those changes without getting technical about possible causes.
    Just say New Zealand Educational Standards have slipped drastically under National!
    New Zealand Educational Standards have slipped drastically under National!
    New Zealand Educational Standards have slipped drastically under National!
    New Zealand Educational Standards have slipped drastically under National!……

    (By the way I wonder just why the drop has happened???)

    • Puddleglum 16.1

      The real information that is needed to determine whether anything has changed is actual performance on the PISA tests.

      Rankings are just that – you can stay the same in terms of performance and still go up or down in rankings. The question is whether there has been a deterioration in performance on the tests.

      Personally, I’d also want to know a lot more about the tests (their content and form) and the process of selection of participants and how the tests were administered. But that’s because I have my concerns about summative assessment and considerable concerns about the focus on measurement rather than education.

      It is often claimed that if you can’t measure ‘it’ you can’t manage ‘it’ – to me that saying has always said a lot more about the deficiencies of the whole notion of ‘management’ than it does about how we should try to come to grips with understanding important phenomena like learning and education.

      • ianmac 16.1.1

        Agree with your comments there Puddlegum re summative assessment. An argument put up so far by Hekia is that it not that we have slipped, its because the Asians have got better. Maybe so but it might be better to compare the scores with last Pisa rather than the ranking. (Interesting that the UK and USA fell away drastically when they embarked on a regime of testing and scaling in recent years).
        However politically, we should use the figures as they stand:
        While the National lead Government has been in power New Zealand PISA Scores have dropped drastically. The general population will understand that simple idea.
        (By the way I thought that 8 year olds were tested by PISA as well?)

        • grumpy 16.1.1.1

          Not just in New Zealand either, similar situation in Australia despite record spending on education by Labour.

          http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/we_added_billions_and_students_went_backwards_so_mere_cash_is_not_what_scho/

          The world is competitive and that is why our comparative performance is huge cause for concern. The woryy is that entrenched conservative influences within the education administrators and the teaching profession are holding back development.

          In this world, standing still is going backwards.

          • KJT 16.1.1.1.1

            The worry is that entrenched conservative influences within the education administrators and the National Government are holding back development.

            Fixed it for you.

          • Tracey 16.1.1.1.2

            the world is competitive but national wants children education as though it were the 1940’s. That’s hardly going forwards.

            It is NOT the role of education to create fodder for the treadmill.

            Paradoxically on one level many ought ot be pleased with poor achievement if it results in a conveyor belt for the minimum wage workforce. That might help explain the desire to return to the education of the 1950s.

  17. tricledrown 17

    Hik town pariah/pirana has got to Go along with English and Key .
    A giant leap backwards for our future work force.
    Nationals policies as we warned are a complete failure.
    Following the failed US model .
    When NZ’s model was much better.
    Go to the bottom the class National.
    That’s where we are now.
    Using our children ad guinea pigs in an already failed model.

  18. tricledrown 18

    Hekling pratarse
    Claims National standards are working for slow learners.
    She being a slow learner is a good example.

  19. Grumpy 19

    Just so I get this right……..we are opposed to National Standards when the Government does it but we are over the moon when the OECD does it.
    I would have thought that the purpose of National Standards is so we find out this stuff and address the causes BEFORE the OECD tells us?
    Perhaps if we had them earlier, the kids tested by the OECD might have done better?

    • Delia 19.1

      That is the problem, to much testing, not enough teaching. Children are there for six hours of the day and teachers should not be distracted with paperwork like this. We had high levels of literacy in the 60’s because teachers were not testing and writing up results, every five minutes.

      • grumpy 19.1.1

        So, why has this happenned to 15yr olds who have never been part of National Standards???
        ….and why also in all the Scandanavian countries, Britain, Australia etc?…all the “old world” education systems. It’s a much bigger issue than you realise.

        • KJT 19.1.1.1

          The have all been subject to the Neo-liberal right wings, cannon fodder for industry approach to education, and increase in children living in poverty..

  20. Craig Y 20

    Answer: The Key administration.

    • grumpy 20.1

      Pretty influential then, causing chaos to education systems throughout Scandanavia, UK and Australia……

  21. ghostwhowalksnz 21

    There is something strange about the PISA test scores

    The top 3 countries are “cities”

    Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong and number 6 is Macau

    But why Shanghai but not the rest of China ?

    Heres why !

    “, “China has an unusual arrangement with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the organization responsible for PISA. Other provinces took the 2009 PISA test, but the Chinese government only allowed the release of Shanghai’s scores.”

    http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/brown-center-chalkboard/posts/2013/10/09-pisa-china-problem-loveless

    So they are cheating by cherry picking the best result.

    • KJT 21.1

      Talking to South Korean Teachers they wonder how we get such good results for creativity, general ability and knowledge, compared to their “exam hell” results..

      • Foreign Waka 21.1.1

        If this is what the left stands for, a generation without proper education and therefore a future I am absolutely not voting for anything like this. It does not need to be Korea but by god, to make excuses just the same is irresponsible. I see every day people who cannot read or write, let alone doing simple equations. Yes, most are very socially adapt, friendly and engaging but that will not provide a future.

  22. tricledrown 22

    Grumpy labor in Australia introduced National standards their same result a slide down the OECD.
    Child poverty is another reason.
    But the testing is the main reason creative thinking is stifled by focusing on testing.
    More testing less teaching less learning.
    Grumpy you and your Nactional cohort.
    Slow learners Go to the bottom of the class.

    • grumpy 22.1

      Pretty influential then, causing chaos to education systems throughout Scandanavia, UK and Australia……

    • grumpy 22.2

      So, are you saying that those countries now at the top don’t do any testing?

      • ianmac 22.2.1

        In Finland Grumpy, there is no universal testing until the kids get to about 17 years of age. But all the way through kids progress is monitored and assessed, for individual help not for ranking or league tables or school comparisons.

  23. Puckish Rogue 23

    I don’t think the blame can be laid solely on Labour or National but some blame must surely be laid at the feet of the teachers unions

    Anytime a govt suggest something you can be sure the teachers unions will oppose it and this happens which ever party is in power (happens less under Labour but still happens: T. Mallard)

    the arguements of the teachers unions are starting to ring hollow and maybe they now need to stand aside and do whats best for the kids not themselves

    • miravox 23.1

      “Anytime a govt suggest something you can be sure the teachers unions will oppose it and this happens which ever party is in power “

      Maybe you should turn that idea on it’s head and think about why the Teachers’ Unions oppose policies that are thrust on them without proper evaluation…. and where we might be if properly tested and evaluated policies were implemented.

      The problem with the unions might then be that they caved in to political demands, not that they opposed them.

    • ianmac 23.2

      It would be hopeless to change your line of attack Puckish but the teacher unions are run by practising teachers. Their objections are against poorly thought out political footballs. Anything that detracts from teaching is objected to on behalf of the kids because who else will protect them?

      • Puckish Rogue 23.2.1

        Maybe if the teachers spent more time teaching and less time using kids as political footballs…

    • KJT 23.3

      Maybe inexpert and ideologically blind politicians should just stop dicking with the education system.
      Then Teachers, and Teachers unions, would not have to waste so much time protecting children from some politicians “idee fix de jour”.

      Labour did actually attempt to fix Nationals last fuckup of the education system.
      Rightly, spending 8 years investigating worlds best practice and introducing the new NZ curriculum in 2008.
      Designed in the light of evidence about worldwide and NZ best practice, professional autonomy and child centred learning. Solution s to many of the things people claimed were wrong with our schools.
      To have it scrapped by National almost immediately when they introduced failed policies, like National standards and charter schools, from two of the worlds worst performing education systems.

      Do you really think 5 years of increased denigration of Teachers, introduction of new changes just when the new curriculum was beginning to bed in, pay uncertainty and micro-management of the Teaching profession by group thinking politicians, is not going to have an effect? Especially on children in the middle of assessments.

    • fender 23.4

      About time you threw in your union-phobic slater-ism.
      I for one trust teachers to do the job they gained qualifications to perform, they are the experts, not you, despite your usual rant that blames all the worlds ills on a word like union.

      When your drain gets blocked do you jump up and down blaming the master plumbers assn.?

      Do the teachers at your exclusive brethren school belong to a union, you better find out!

      • Puckish Rogue 23.4.1

        “I for one trust teachers to do the job they gained qualifications to perform”

        – I agree and thats why they should stick to teaching not unionism and protesting

        • fender 23.4.1.1

          So fragmentation and acceptance of whatever gets dished out is your recipe for improved educational outcomes for kids?

          Will removing the Police Association improve policing?

          • Puckish Rogue 23.4.1.1.1

            “Will removing the Police Association improve policing?”

            – Thats (inadvertantly) a very good question

    • northshoreguynz 23.5

      Maybe the teachers unions want the best for their pupils. Which is teaching and learning, not testing.
      For some misguided reason the govt wants to test and rank. There is very little research to support that that raises achievement and plenty to prove the opposite.

    • Tracey 23.6

      ever thought, if it is true, that National always try to take teaching and education back 40-50 years and teachers know that wont work in today’s world, which many nats haven’t noticed, is not post war NZ. Perhaps it’s time for the nats to put aside their dated ideology for education aside and put the children first. Perhaps they aim their policies at parents vote rather than what will actually work for children.

      Parents are not experts in teaching, despite what some of them think. If they are, home school. I wonder why the biggest moaners dont do that??

      Hating on the PPTA and disrespecting teachers doesn’t seem to make for better education for the children

      Example 1 relying on the USA research practice to support charter schools but ignoring the testimony of the woman who orchestrated it in the US who says it fails children

      example 2 NS used int he Uk relied upon for implementation here but ignore the removal of NS in the Uk due to failure.

  24. Linz 24

    I’m not surprised our kids are doing badly in Maths. The rest of the world is taking Maths seriously; we are not. Go to Mathopolis.com and try grade 8 maths skills practice http://www.mathopolis.com/questions/skills.php?year=8. Grade 8 kids in the US are 13 years old. I’m guessing most of our 13 year olds wouldn’t have a cat’s show in hell of doing these questions. I’ve looked up the NZ maths curriculum and compared with the clear list of skills required on Mathopolis, it’s a mess of gobbledegook and jargon.

    • ianmac 24.1

      Wonder how you know how well our 13 year olds would manage?
      Wonder why the USA is way below NZ in Pisa maths?

    • ianmac 24.2

      Wonder how you know how well our 13 year olds would manage?
      Wonder why the USA is way below NZ in Pisa maths?

      • Linz 24.2.1

        Well, I was a teacher for 26 years between 1966 and 1995. I don’t know why the US is below NZ in Pisa maths, and I don’t think that’s the point. It’s a waste of time comparing ourselves to people who aren’t doing well. We should be looking at the top performers and finding out what they’re doing.

    • KJT 24.3

      Maybe inexpert and ideologically blind politicians should just stop dicking with the education system.
      Then Teachers, and Teachers unions, would not have to waste so much time protecting children from some politicians “idee fix de jour”.

      Labour did actually attempt to fix Nationals last fuckup of the education system.
      Rightly, spending 8 years investigating worlds best practice and introducing the new NZ curriculum in 2008.
      Designed in the light of evidence about worldwide and NZ best practice, professional autonomy and child centred learning. Solution s to many of the things people claimed were wrong with our schools.
      To have it scrapped by National almost immediately when they introduced failed policies, like National standards and charter schools, from two of the worlds worst performing education systems.

      Do you really think 5 years of increased denigration of Teachers, introduction of new changes just when the new curriculum was beginning to bed in, pay uncertainty and micro-management of the Teaching profession by group thinking politicians, is not going to have an effect? Especially on children in the middle of assessments.

      • grumpy 24.3.1

        Bear in mind that this fall is not confined to NZ. Those education systems in Scandanavia and other “developed” countries that we have so admired and tried to emulate have dropped to a similar extent.
        This indicates to me that if we want to remain comparitively at the top, we need to look further afield. The unwillingness to do this is why the education unions cop flak.
        Interesting that in Left wing discussions it’s always National’s fault (despite this being a Western World affliction) and in Right wing discussions it’s the teacher’s fault.

        • Rogue Trooper 24.3.1.1

          yes, an amount of ‘scape-goating’ occurs

        • greywarbler 24.3.1.2

          ‘want to remain comparatively at the top’. It would be good if RW could remember or even start thinking that education is for preparing children to know their way around the world, and, find work that uses their skills and talents.

          It is not a sports event, a competition, a ‘league of governments’ with tables showing who has the highest this and that. Children then become fodder in this circus. And while we are agonising over this, which has extended to introducing a new way of ticking off boxes ensuring uniformity, the real problem is ignored. That is the problem that successive governments have shaped our economy and business methods so there are not enough jobs and they are not doing enough about it.

          More standards for politicians to attain in the requirements of running a thriving country and less idle chit-chat and time-wasting restructuring would result in education standards being more than adequate for the jobs waiting. With opportunities to raise skill levels when required, study for adult goals as adults, would provide a better fit. Education when and where needed, not the mind-numbing, score-fixated learning and mind-controlled present approach.

      • KJT 24.3.2

        Sorry about the double postings. Having trouble with the browser/site.

    • KJT 24.4

      I will give you a prize for guessing which children do better in overall capability and knowledge when leaving school, including real world math problems.

      I will even give you a clue. It is not the US educated ones.

      • Linz 24.4.1

        Japan?

      • Linz 24.4.2

        I looked it up on Google and apparently top performer is Hong Kong. No surprises. The Chinese have valued education and educated people since the year dot, except during the Red Guard years of course, and Chinese kids are taught to sit down, focus on the task and get it done. The last time I was in a New Zealand classroom just visiting, it was like a mad house.

        • Tracey 24.4.2.1

          I wonder what motivates some parents in hong kong to send their kids to our schools?

        • KJT 24.4.2.2

          Chinese children are taught to be docile and obedient.

          New Zealand children are taught to question and think.
          A problem for authoritarian Governments, and incompetent managers who like “yes men”.

          I’ve worked with people from all over the world.
          I know which ones I prefer to have working with me on difficult jobs.

          • Linz 24.4.2.2.1

            I agree that it’s vital that kids are taught to question and think and challenge authority in a positive way. I also think we should enable kids to develop self control. I think we can learn from all of the countries that are doing well in education, particularly Finland.

            • greywarbler 24.4.2.2.1.1

              Linz
              I have a teacher in our family. She has to spend considerable time learning to cope with an individual coming into her class that finds it difficult to just sit and think. Banging desks etc can disrupt the class.

              Working out a strategy of control methods with a final go and see the Principal or whatever takes time away from the others. The child may settle down eventually and she may be the only one he, it’s often a boy, will listen to. Also she has been asked to have a child back in her class after trying out another class, or she is asked
              to take him in for another year when the next teacher can’t manage him.

              All these people mainstreaming their children, make it hard to teach children with average learning abilities. And teachers, amazingly get so much flak. Often from those who obviously hardly know their a from their e.

              • Linz

                I have the greatest sympathy for teachers, especially now. I got out in 1995 extremely disillusioned, frustrated and burnt out, and I understand it’s even worse now. Talking about mainstreaming, way back in 1987 I was working part-time with a class of 38 five- and six-year-olds. One day a new boy arrived. He was much bigger than the rest, because it transpired that his minders lied about his age. He was at least eight. But what made him stand out was he thought he was a dog. He’d get under the teacher’s desk, bark, and if you got too close he’d lunge out and bite. Among his other tricks was as soon as the bell rang for playtime he’d hive off to the drinking fountain, get a load on then climb to the top of the slide, and pee down it. We called in the pysch service who found he qualified for “special school” but the school psychologist wanted him to be main-streamed, because main-streaming was coming into fashion. We’d get no extra help, of course. When we expressed doubts about how we would manage, and what about the other 38 kids, many of whom also had problems, she said “That’s what they said in the 1800s when there was a move to educate girls.” So nothing for the teachers, except a pile of guilt and a great sense of inadequacy. It’s not only politicians who don’t listen.

                • greywarbler

                  Linz
                  What an anecdote. I remember that bit from the Bible sometimes ‘I wanted bread but you gave me a stone.’ In modern times you get some PC-imbued task ordered by an expert authority, that represents a triumph of aspirational idealism and theory over human reality.
                  Matthew 7:7-12
                  Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
                  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?

                  @KJT
                  There was someone on radio recently who commented on teacher aids, some were okay and great, some were too helpful and suffocating. And I have heard said that the disabled child often felt odd person out in mainstreamed schools.

                  Sometimes the acceptance and camaraderie of special schools would make for better experience and educational outcomes. There should be an option. Why can’t youngsters and families have the right to try both?

                  I don’t see why youngsters can’t go to schools for the special subjects they want and then return to their own school. Where they are on ‘a level playing field’ with the others all of whom understand coping with difficulties from their own experience.

                  On Tuesday 9toNoon there was interesting talk by Minnie Baragwanath – disability advocate.

                  • KJT

                    I don’t disagree.

                    We have a child with mental and behavioral disabilities who had to be taken out of mainstream schooling.
                    He is succeeding with the help of a DHB school and tutoring.
                    Some very good Teachers and Teacher aids kept him in “mainstream” school in the primary years. Unfortunately that stopped in intermediate.

                    It would be nice if all disabled kids felt accepted and nurtured in mainstream schools, but the funding and personnel required did not transfer to schools with “mainstreaming”.
                    We know that “mainstreaming” was a cost cutting exercise. As is the closing of “special” schools.

                    I’ve also taught tech classes with up to a third “mainstreamed” children.
                    Schools, especially ones who are high decile, “high achieving” sic, tend to “dump” kids, who are not succeeding in academic classes, into Tech. The over- emphasise on school ranking tables and the 3 R’s encourages this sort of thing.

                    It is very difficult to teach and help all the children in a class when you have such big class numbers, risky machinery and such a spread of needs and abilities.

                    A Teacher aid in the class enables you to spread your efforts more effectively.
                    Especially if they are focused on helping with the whole class, not just the disabled in the class. Also avoids “singling” out if the Teacher aid is part of every class, not a tag on to a particular child..

              • KJT

                How much improvement would we have made if all the money National has wasted on private schools, ideological tinkering, contractors, corporatism in schools and “national standards” had simply been spent on a teacher aid in each classroom?

            • Colonial Viper 24.4.2.2.1.2

              I agree that it’s vital that kids are taught to question and think and challenge authority in a positive way.

              University is supposed to do that, especially.

              But all we seem to be turning out of university nowadays are corporate drones. And the number of academics who actually choose to rock society’s boat as we are all sinking…where are they all? I can think of only a few…

            • KJT 24.4.2.2.1.3

              Simple really.
              Asian countries are moving away from their one size fits all and rote based education, often using New Zealand, Finland etc, as models, and doing much better, while Western countries overtaken by GERM (http://www.standupforkids.org.nz/g-e-r-m/) and increasing inequality, regressing in the opposite direction, are going downhill.

              https://www.nsfwcorp.com/dispatch/education-hostage/17cceda6b3d44b20031f5583a3c40e5d0c630f30/
              “The commercial application of this extortion scheme is straightforward. In shock-doctrine-like fashion, the corporate community that typically lobbies against higher taxes to fund schools makes a business opportunity out of schools’ subsequent budget crises.”

          • Colonial Viper 24.4.2.2.2

            Rote learning and repetitive application formula alone is no good. Yes you need the basic core skills and base knowledge, but from then on the ability to laterally think, be creative, communicate, understand culture and work in a team are vital. You don’t get that in the vast majority of Chinese/HK/Taiwanese schools.

            Got the first 6 binary section questions right…then my head started to hurt. Where’s my scientific calculator…

            edit haha I still know my exponent laws from Third Form. I’m going to stop there now before I hit some mathematical humiliation.

    • Tracey 24.5

      I tried the test and couldnt get a single one right int he binary section.

      I got 54% in School C maths.

      I was at high school in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Went to University and got a law degree.

    • Foreign Waka 24.6

      Absolutely agree on that one. Unfortunately, there are more excuses then solution seekers and this will not serve the kids.

  25. captain hook 25

    hey you lot of pakeha fruitcakes.
    when the noo charter schools cum in then yew will all be able to reed and know everyfing about God.

  26. Not a PS Staffer 26

    Nikki Kaye is Associate Minister, Pita Sharples is Associate Minister and from 14 December 2011-16 October 2013 another Associate Minister of Education was John Banks!

    • ghostrider888 26.1

      well Banks doesn’t believe in evolving for a start. Nikki’s just lovely for a Nat though.

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