This tag is associated with 13 posts

SOSNZ Givealittle Fundraiser

givealittleSOSNZ runs on the smell of an oily rag. Everyone who contributes does so for the love of our public education system and entirely for free.

We don’t get funds from anyone. Zip, diddly, nada!

We’d be eternally grateful if you, the SOSNZ community, could help raise the $100 needed to keep the blog going in this format for another year.

If you can help, even with $1 or $2, it would be awesome!

To help, just click here and then click the Donate Now button.

Any money raised over $100 will be donated directly to KidsCan.

Thank you,

Dianne, SOSNZ

SOSNZ 2013 in review

Sydney Opera HouseThe concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 56,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 21 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Not bad.  Not bad at all!

Map of the worldReaders came from 143 different countries, with most of them coming from New Zealand, of course.  Quite a lot were from the USA, with the UK and Australia not far behind.  Which is no surprise since we are all facing similar education deforms.

The most popular posts were viewed by thousands of people and are still getting hits.  National Stigma – two teachers speak out really hit a nerve, speaking the words that so many of you wanted to say.  The next three most popular posts were:

Unpacking the sound bite “quality teaching eliminates socioeconomic disadvantage”

Teachers – thank you, thank you, thank you – John Kuhn’s speech

an ode to badass teachers

The most viewed image was this gem, as valid now as it was then, with the constant fandangoes orchestrated by Beehive press officers and danced to by the mainstream media:

John Key has a plan ... faint

The SOSNZ Facebook page leapt up to 1728 likers, and our Twitter warblings attracted a hearty 639 followers, and there were even a couple of times I was spotted out in the field, so to speak, Tweeting live at a union meeting and also in parliament at the oral submissions regarding charter (partnership) schools.

headdeskSpecial thanks to everyone who has sent in links, shared comments, allowed me to publish their own words, retweeted or otherwise spread the word about the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM).

In 2014, we can do more to push back against these reforms.  We can change this government for one that puts children at the forefront, one that works *with* educators rather than belittling them, that puts children before profits, and quality education before privatisation.

Please make sure you vote.  I don’t care who for, but be sure to look at which parties are truly looking after the interests of our tamariki, look at their past form, and vote for someone who will care about people over profits.

Happy New Year to you all, Kia Ora, and thank you.

~ Dianne

Boonman’s education pop quiz 2013

quizI do love a good quiz, and Mr Boon has some excellent questions for us:

“As the curtain comes down on 2013 I have just a few questions:

  1. If it took a new school in Wellington a year to set up (principal and teachers working behind the scenes for 12 months before a student set foot in the place – heard them speak at a conference), how can the 5 new charter schools the government issued licences to just a few months back be ready for the 2014 school year with a school that will successfully deliver education to kiwi learners?
  2. Why won’t the government accept that the under-achieving 20% tail they keep talking about is actually the same 20% of kiwi kids living in poverty (according to the report by the Children’s Commissioner that figure is now 25%)?
  3. How can the government reconcile its continued calls for improved teacher quality with the regulation allowing charter schools to hire unregistered, unqualified staff to teach in their classrooms?
  4. Will the New Zealand public drop their love-affair with the bafoonering of John Key and vote in a Labour/Green government this time next year?”

What are your answers?  Boonman’s are pretttty good… Here are Boonman’s answers.

Blogging, threats and conspiracy theories … should I get my tin foil out, yet?

It’s always very disappointing when people invited to a debate, to share their thoughts and add their vote, choose to act unethically,  rudely and with threats.  Sadder still when underhand methods are taken to skew things.  I would have thought, given the right’s views on market forces, they would be happy to let such things take their course.

Apparently not.

vote buttonEarlier this week I started a poll asking people whether they thought charter schools would improve educational achievement for Maori and Pacifika students.  As you can see from the original article , I used outrageously inflamatory language and forbade anyone not with the same viewpoint as me from voting or discussing things.

Oh wait, no, I didn’t did I?

What I actually said was that “I’d love to hear people’s reasoning for or against or whether they are just plain confused.”  Crimminy, I can see how that would get people’s backs up.  All that namby pamby listening to others’ opinions even when you don’t agree – whatever next!?

The poll was tootling along.  I shared it on facebook on my page and others, and shared it personally with friends* and as a public post, hoping to get a wide variety of voices.

*Believe it or not, I make friends with people who don’t agree with me on things – I know, I am just plain outrageous!

Anyhoo, things were tootling along when the blog suddenly got a surge of hits.  Now my blog is reasonably popular given it’s just me and my witterings, but to get a couple of hundred hits in about an hour is a tad unusual.  I went a-searching, for blog owners can do such things, and found that most of my hits for the day had come from one source, called Whale Oil.  “Oooh odd,” I thought, and off I went to see why so many were coming through.

eraserJeepers, it seemed that someone had not only set their “Army” on me (their term, not mine) but had also accused me of speaking for the unions.  Odd!  I am just me – I don’t speak for the unions, and indeed sometimes I have been known to speak against them. It’s okay, I thought, I will ask the blogger to correct that.  We all get things wrong now and then.

<radio silence>

Not a chance.  A tad shonky, don’t you think?  Just correct the error already.  But by then a good number of people via various media had let me know that this particular blogger has no care for factual information and is concerned only with creating storms.  He’s done it before.  Lots.   And he always refuses to correct his errors.

Oh well, what can you do, I thought.  It’s unethical and rather immature, and not how I blog, but hey ho.  And on I went with my day, playing Ninjas with my boy and causing trouble with Play Doh.

Then I started getting lots of messages from folk saying they could not access the poll as it was blocked from Facebook.  Eh?  People were being told not to come to my blog as it was spam.  Huh?   I looked at the blog – yes, hundreds of poll votes in favour of charters and hundreds of hits coming from the Whale.  Facebook traffic – my biggest source of referrals, was down to minuscule levels.

Spam warning

Now I am not one to whip out the tin foil hat and scream conspiracy easily, but what a coincidence.  The right show a sudden interest in the blog and whaddya know, the blog is blocked and flagged as spam by facebook.


My lovely blog?

Oh the humanity!

I tried to alert facebook but we know they don’t respond to such things, and so I took the poll down.

I was told that this isn’t a new thing, and sent this tweet to consider.

tweet warning re spam

But there is little point in a poll that doesn’t allow a huge group to vote.  (For your interest the pro charter votes were winning 3:1)I have left the comments – all of them – from the sane to the deranged, from the polite and thoughtful to the vitriolic.  You can read them and judge for yourselves the various points put forward.

I welcome other people’s thoughts.  I read them, I think about them, I often then go off and do follow up learning and research.  I rarely even delete or censor anything – in fact I have removed only 2 posts from SOSNZ ever and both people were asked to rewrite them more politely, which they did.  They both still contribute.  Often.

What I will not do, is be party to anything where people are stopped for whatever reason from joining in.  So the poll stays down.

Finally, I want to thank those people who have disagreed with me and really challenged me to consider my standpoint.  The ones who argue like tigers but with good manners and good grace, who don’t let me off without proving my facts, and who have got me to go off and build my own knowledge.  Thank you.  You help me learn and grow, and that is a wonderful gift.

Dedicated to Michael, Rory and Sandra and everyone who puts me through my paces with grace.



We just hit 20,000 views!

That is all.

<happy hop>



Happy New Year from Hek!!

Hi everybody!

Hek here. Just relaxing on the deck with a tankard of chards preparing for everything when it kicks off next week. Campbell Live starts again tomorrow so I’ve got my “no comment” stickers warmed up and ready to go.

Lots of people have been asking me where I’ve been for the last 7 months. As John Key pointed out before Christmas, I’m on holiday. I’ve been on holiday since around about September – or at least that’s what I think. I’ve been relaxing for so long now I don’t even know what day it is! The only reason I know John Campbell starts tomorrow is that I came in too early while fast forwarding through the ads on MySky.

2013 is going to be a great year. I can feel it in my bones….”

Read the rest here –>  Happy New Year from Hek!!.

Going… Going… ?

Will Hekia Parata go or is someone else going to take the fall yet again?

Read more – Going… Going… ?.


Hekia Parata – Press Release Number 2

Following on from Hekia Parata’s press release, here is another version by Imperator Fish that is better than the real thing and far more telling.


One Person Can’t Change Much, Can They?

SOSNZ logoNever underestimate what you can do – especially if you are a teacher.

I’m not changing the world on a grand scale – but I know I’m making a difference and that every little helps.

You don’t have to be Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi or Malcolm X to do something.

Why Did You Start The Blog?

My little something is to use my love of social media to share the many things I read about education.  I thought a few others might like to read them too.  Turns out I was wrong… it wasn’t just a few that wanted to read them, but thousands.  Huh!  Go figure.

The first ever post was this one … “Nice Easy Solutions“.  Not a bad start, if I say so myself 😉

Ten Thousand Hits and Counting

Here are some whimsical facts about the blog, to celebrate our ten thousandth hit – yahoo!

  • Started in May 2012
  • Got a thrilling 35 hits in its first month!
  • By mid October, it had got 10,000 hits!!
  • Readers are mostly from NZ, but also from UK, USA, Australia, Japan, Canada, Singapore, India and about 50 other countries, including 8 hits from Finland, and one hit each from as far afield as Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Mexico and Bangladesh.
  • Most hits in one day was 574 on the day the Christchurch closures/mergers/relocations were announced.
  • Traffic comes mostly from Facebook, Search engines and Twitter but from about 60 sources in total.
  • Most intriguing search term that lead to us ‘How to write apology letter to teacher’
  • Most comments have been by Barbara – thanks 🙂

Top Five Posts So Far ( Oct 22, 2012)

So, what will you do to make even more of a difference?   Click on the ‘Act Now’ tab at the top, and make a start.

Because, if I can do it, anyone can!


PS thank you to all the readers so far – you make it all so much more fun than just rambling on to myself… 😉

“I Am a Teacher. Let Me Teach.”

“I Am a Teacher. Let Me Teach.”.


Matthew Swope has been teaching physics for ten years. He is a STEM teacher, the kind that every district wants. Before becoming a teacher, he was a Marine, then a police officer. He took a big pay cut to become a teacher. He loves teaching.

Read his words of wisdom:

I am a teacher. Year 10. High school physics. I am a professional educator in a field that demands professional credentials, continuing education, skill and knowledge based licensing exams and background checks including fingerprints so I am deemed responsible enough and safe enough to work with children. I’m a mandated reporter of physical abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse.

There, now I’ve established my bona fides and authority to speak knowledgeably on the subject.

Oh, wait, I have to knock out the ones who claim I’ve only ever taught. I served in and was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps. I then spent six years carrying a badge and a gun and worked a beat as a police officer in a city of 180+ thousand people. I’ve done other things than teach.

Read more –  “I Am a Teacher. Let Me Teach.”.

Why Does the U.S. Department of Education Support Privatization?

Diane Ravitch asks “Why is the DOE spending $255 million on privately managed charters that are free to exclude low-performing students or students with high needs? Why does it support a sector that is more racially segregated than community schools in the same district?”

Why Does the U.S. Department of Education Support Privatization?.

via Why Does the U.S. Department of Education Support Privatization?.

Reflections on the SOSNZ Blog

As a committed blogger and social media junkie, it’s fascinating for me to see how many people visit the page each day, where they come from, and where they click out to from here.  It’s quite telling to look at the search terms that got them to the page, too.

It’ll come as no surprise that this week the main search terms have been ‘save our schools’, ‘Christchurch school protest”, ‘untrained teachers’, ‘save Freeville School’, ‘Save Christchurch schools’,  and a host of others along the same lines.   The announcement last week that the Ministry had plans to close, relocate and merge a number of Canterbury schools after what amounted to a minimum of consultation has sent shockwaves through the area and indeed through the country.

People come to the blog from all over the world, not just New Zealand.  Some no doubt arrive due to search terms that are not quite specific enough (I loved the four Romanians that found me this week by searching ‘apology letter for fighting at school), but as a huge number click out to related pages, it does look like most find themselves on a useful page and want to read more.  That’s always good to know, as a blogger.  There’s no point doing this if I’m talking to myself, and little point if it’s just me and the four Romanian prize fighters…

Since the Christchurch schools announcement, about a tenth of all people coming to the blog have clicked out to the Ministry of Education documents Directions for Educational Renewal in greater Christchurch and Future Directions.  People want to – maybe need to – know the finer detail of what is going on, what is already decided, what might be changed, who was consulted, and any clue as to why those particular decisions were made.  It all comes down to one word: Why?

As always, many have gone out to Facebook, to look at either the SOSNZ page there or other linked pages, such as Save Chisnallwood Intermediate – DO NOT CLOSE – Save Avondale primary and Save Freeville School.  I hope it’s helped people find a place to share their thoughts and support each other.

A sizeable number have gone off to the petition, Vote Canterbury Kids, no doubt to add their names to the hundreds that have signed already.  That gave me a little grin, I have to say.

Writing a blog isn’t much.  I’m not out there on the front line, I’m not marching down a street (although it has been known).  But it’s better than sitting at home muttering and doing nothing.

So if you feel concerned, angry, bewildered or just want to know more, do something.  Blog, Tweet, talk to your friends, go to meetings, read the news, talk to your MPs, anything.  Just do something.

SOSNZ on Twitter



Why not follow SOSNZ on Twitter too?

There will be unique stuff there that won’t be on the blog or Facebook, simple because it lends itself to sharing lots of links without being spammy, such is the intrinsic nature of Twitter.

And if you know of anyone you think I should be following on there or the blogosphere, do let me know…

Thank you guys 🙂

Follow Save Our Schools NZ on

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