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Class Sizes, Deciles, Education, Food in Schools, Funding Schools, Good Teaching, Government Policy, Hunger and Learning, League Tables, Mainstream Media Reports, National Standards, New Zealand, NZPF, Parata (Hekia), School Funding, Testing

That new tool for school

hammer

Blunt instrument: the new tool

Fairfax-owned stuff.co.nz launched its expanded School Report this morning – more than a little sad to see Auckland’s Faculty of Education uncritically advertising the tool as helpful on its Facebook page.

Stuff say they’ve matched National Standards and NCEA data with “key demographic details to provide users with a quick, easy-to-understand snapshot of every secondary, intermediate and primary school in the country”.  No mention of how many children have English as their second language, so, nope, I didn’t see a picture of my school with all its challenges and charm. No attempt to go deeper and give readers reasons why.

Stuff’s reader forums are probably better value on the question of what makes a good school and the decile debate – and how much of a child’s success is down to parental involvement.

And there was some attempt to report on/acknowledge the widening gap between students from rich and poor backgrounds.

Hekia Parata, however, apparently said that “decile funding had not been an effective way of directing resources at where they could do the most good”.

“The decile system has a good intention in that it takes into account the different backgrounds students come from but has increasingly become the explanation for everything. It is not. Quality teaching and school leadership make the biggest  difference so that is where we think our resources are best directed.”

Quality Public Education Coalition national chairperson Bill Courtney, however, hits the nail squarely on the head: “You’ve got to change as much as you can about the quality of these children’s lives outside the school system. Why don’t those kids right down the bottom with top level needs have much smaller classes, more resources and a much stronger focus on helping them to accelerate? The parents are doing the best they can, but some of them are out at 7am cleaning your office. These kids don’t necessarily have people to help them study.

”What happens to your learning when every night you go home and sleep in a garage? Think about that compared to a decile 10 kid.

”The education our rich kids get is literally the best in the world. Why is that? Didn’t our teachers all go to the same university? Don’t we have the same curriculum? What’s the difference?”

~ Lena

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