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Why I left the classroom and won’t go back (yet), by Sarah Aiono

I left the classroom after deciding I simply couldn’t be the teacher I wanted to be.

In front of 32 Year 2 students (5 and 6 year olds) in a school in South Auckland I became more and more frustrated at the lack of time I had to connect with my students on an individual basis. Despite the enormous hours I was putting in, I was not satisfied in any way with the quality of my instruction I was able to deliver.

H20140713-084836-31716449.jpgekia and her gang will argue that it is quality of teacher instruction not quantity of students in the room that lifts student achievement. As a quality teacher (or so I’ve been told) I am incredibly offended by this moot.

My last classroom consisted of 32 Year 2 students from some of the most challenging socio-economic backgrounds. Over 3/4 of my class arrived in front of me operating at a pre-emergent literacy and numeracy level (operating below 5 years of age).

As a quality teacher, my programme adapted swiftly and often to meet the needs of my students. I taught to their level and at the time (fortunately) I did not have today’s pressure of meeting a national standard of achievement. I used my data gathered to address learning gaps and to respond to student interest all the while meeting the national curriculum objectives.

I worked on weekends, holidays and late nights in order to be very prepared, thus freeing me up to spend time building relationships with my students.

I had children with significant learning and behaviour needs, supported by RTLB.

I had children regularly involved with counselling services. I had children reintegrating from withdrawn programmes and residential schools.

I made sandwiches for my kids who regularly didn’t have lunch. (This became more covert when the Principal banned staff from doing this).

I also worked as an associate teacher, guiding a provisionally registered teacher in her first year of service.

I ran before-school alphabet groups and basic word revision.

In summary, I worked my butt off.

And yet I felt a sense of dissatisfaction at my ability to reach those children in my class that needed even just a little more of my time. I found there were days in my classroom where it felt like I was directing traffic. I had to work hard consciously to connect with every child every day. If I didn’t, I could easily have passed over an ‘invisible’ child in the day.

There could have been children in my class, who, apart from roll call, could have not had a single individual conversation with their teacher that day.

And yet Hekia says the amount of students in a classroom has no bearing on lifting achievement.

Cle20140713-084815-31695665.jpgarly I was misguided and misinformed. I was obviously not of the quality Hekia wants in her classrooms, as I couldn’t ‘fix’ all the issues before me.

While I chipped away at learning levels, lifting my students from pre-emergent through to 6 months below, I settled for providing my students with a fun and safe environment from 9am to 3pm. For many of these students that took precedent.

My level of dissatisfaction grew to the point where I decided I couldn’t work in these classrooms any longer. For me to work in a smaller classroom setting, I would need to look up the decile rankings and even into the private providers to achieve this.

But this was not attractive in the sense that I enjoyed working with children in the lower decile schools. So I left the classroom altogether.

For me to be the quality teacher I wanted to be I needed the quantity of students in front of me to be less. It really was that simple. Fewer students gave me the ability to do my job even better.

So I left the classroom.

Every year I feel the pull back. I long to have ‘my kids’ again. To enjoy being in front of children, exploring, investigating and imparting knowledge as a year-long journey.

And every year I decide I simply could not teach the way I would enjoy in the current education environment. I would rage against a system instead of working happily within it.

Perhaps next year?

~ by Sarah Aiono, first published on her blog, Cheeky Kids.

Sarah Aiono holds a B.Ed (Dip Tchg), PGd.Dip.Ed (Dist) and a Master of Education and has worked for over ten years with children exhibiting challenging behaviour. She is an Accredited Incredible Years Facilitator and Peer Coach. She is currently employed as a Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour and is a Company Director for Little Ninjas Ltd, a service for parents and teachers in understanding children who work outside the ‘square’. 

Labour’s education policies will raise quality teaching and learning – NZEI

nzei logoThe Labour Party’s plans to screen prospective student teachers will help ensure quality teaching and learning for children.

NZEI National President Judith Nowotarski says this will go a long way to ensuring that teaching remains highly professional and that the best and brightest enter the profession.

“In recent years there has been virtually no oversight of teacher training and this has led to too many courses, too many students and not enough emphasis on quality.”

“There needs to be a very high standard of entry into such an important profession.  Our children deserve only the best.”

Ms Nowotarski says Labour’s policy is a welcome shift from the current government’s policy of “dumbing down” the teaching profession by allowing unqualified and unregistered people into charter schools and early childhood education.

“It is ironic that the government constantly talks of improving teaching quality while at the same time allowing untrained and unregistered people to act as teachers in charter schools and early childhood education centres.”

Quality of education in early childhood would also get a big boost under Labour.

“We welcome Labour’s plans to require early childhood education centres to employ at least 80 percent qualified staff at early childhood centres.

“Once again, this is a big point of difference between the current government’s quantity over quality approach to early childhood education.

“Labour’s policies, including smaller class sizes, will go a long way towards improving education for New Zealand children, especially those who are vulnerable and struggling.”

Just How Bad Does The Education Minister Have To Be Before She Is Sent Packing?

Image

Mwahahahahaa…

Just how utterly incompetent (not to mention offensively rude) (oh and dodgy) does someone have to be to be ousted into the netherworld by John Key?

Oh wait, they have kept Banksy around, so that answers that question.

Seriously though, Hekia Parata has presided over a disastrous year in education.  I’m not talking about policies here – I mean, any Education Minister will hit resistance not matter what, and despite me and millions of others thinking she is on the wrong track with Charter Schools and what not, I am thinking now of the way in which she has managed things.

The technology teachers/class sized debacle in May was just the start.  I mean, really, how can such a huge and serious change be proposed without the facts and figures being checked?  That we a total embarrassment and made the Ministry of Education looks ridiculous.

Then there was the impending closure of Salisbury School, which caters for girls with serious learning and emotional difficulties – a closure which courts ruled illegal and halted.  Illegal.  Get that – Hekia Parata, the Education MINISTER, is either not aware of the laws regarding school closures or is wilfully ignoring them and hoping to get away with it.  Either way, it’s not a good look.

Next, Christchurch.

Beaten and demoralised by 2 years of quakes, apparently this was a fabulous time to propose closures and mergers of Canterbury schools.  The facts are well known, but for anyone who has been on the moon or meditating for the whole of last year, just know that schools were listed as having buildings they did not have, had long jump pits listed as liquefaction, were refused requests under the Official Information Act because of advice from Hekia Parata and the Ministry urging Christchurch Council to, well, obfuscate, fudge and fib their way into NOT giving any information out.  Again the courts ruled that the behaviour was … you guessed it … illegal.

STRIKE THREE FOR HEKIA.

Next bit of dodgy dealing – the way Charter Schools are being foisted on NZ.  How utterly underhand to have the consultation period in the school holidays.  Oh wait, didn’t they do that in Christchurch, too… it’s almost as if it was done on purpose… go figure.  The panel supposedly considering whether we should have Charters, and if so, what form they they should take, is being overseen by John Banks’ bedfellow Catherine Isaacs and the panel has not one teacher, principal, or any other education expert on it.  Yeah, that sounds mighty impartial to me.

So there you go… a terrible year.

Oh wait… what’s that you say…?

Did someone whisper Novapay?  What?  It was rolled out despite advice that it should not be?  What?  Errors are still in the thousands after months of being live?  But Hekia fronted up and tried to sort it out, eh, so that’s something…. WHAT!  She got an underling to take the flack?  AND she beggared off on holiday without a by your leave?  But she’s back now, eh, and sorting it ou….EH!!!!  She’s still away?  After a month.

Says it all, doesn’t it.

Really, just what do you have to do in the National Party to be given the boot?

Read more:

http://www.voxy.co.nz/politics/pms-confidence-hekia-parata-woefully-misplaced/5/145358?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/news/nbpol/2116075502-hekia-parata-to-remain-as-minister-of-education

http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/15859899/hekia-parata-to-remain-as-minister-of-education/

David Shearer’s Labour Party Conference Speech – The Education Bits

David Shearer, Labour Leader

What is Labour promising to do for education if elected in 2014…

The approach to education will change.

I started my working life as a teacher. So I have an appreciation of the valuable job teachers do.

And I know a gimmick when I see one.

Bigger classes, unqualified teachers, charter schools and performance pay will achieve nothing.

The intelligent approach, the one I will follow is the one that asks:  what will it take to make this education system the best in the world?

Our teachers are demoralised. Yet we all know they are critical to equipping our kids for the modern world.

We know too that shutting schools in Christchurch destroys communities and causes heartache for already distressed families.

I went to a public meeting there after receiving a moving letter from Christchurch mum Sonya Boyd.  She’s devastated that her local school will close and is worried about the impact on her son Ben, his friends and in fact the whole community.

At that meeting a parent told me: Hekia Parata is doing what 10,000 earthquakes couldn’t do – destroying our school.

I say to the people of Christchurch: we are committed to helping you rebuild your city from the grassroots up – not the Beehive down.

You want, more than anything, to get your lives back, and on your own terms.

It’s time you had a government that stood alongside you.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Closing Statement

“We won’t be taking office to tinker, we’ll be taking office to remake New Zealand.

So I am asking you.

To rise up.

To take a message of hope to New Zealanders.

To fight for our future.

To say loud and clear that there is a better way. There is a Labour way.

We can do it, standing strong together.

We can make the change.

And we’ll do that in 2014.”

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For the whole speech, click here.

National Standards in Numbers

It’s really wonderful for me to see an analysis that has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the (admittedly shonky) data. Well worth a read even if you have to skim read the mathsy bits 🙂

Jeremy Greenbrook-Held

DISCLAIMER: I’m a student of statistics – I wrote a Masters thesis in geography which used many statistical methods which I literally picked up along the way, and I’m currently studying towards a Graduate Diploma in Applied Statistics at Massey University. I’m also learning to use R as a go. I like to use this blog to explore things that interest me and stuff that I learn, including statistics. Some of the methods used here are still very new to me and my methodology may be flawed, and I welcome any feedback you might have on my methodology or my R script – the R script is here, and the dataset is here.

A lot has been written in the political stratosphere regarding last week’s release of National Standards lecture. Those on the right of the political spectrum have defend National Standards as a meaningful release of information that…

View original post 1,057 more words

Catherine Delahunty’s Speech to Parliament on Education 14/8/12

CATHERINE DELAHUNTY (Green):

I am delighted to take a call on this issue because the estimates debate is very is important on education and the last year of spending on education reflects some of the most contradictory policy and priority setting that I have seen since I have been a parliamentarian.

It starts right at the top, for example, when the Prime Minister came out and said that he would not be too worried if his children were taught by unqualified teachers. That is right from the very top — a message that is completely at odds with what the Minister of Education has been saying about the importance of professionalism and qualifications, and, in fact, reviewing the Teachers Council registration policy. So what is it that the Government is saying?

Sure, at King’s College where the Prime Minister’s son has been, there is a snowball in hell scenario that they are going to hire unregistered or untrained teachers. It is simply not going to happen. They are going to have small classes and highly qualified staff. Meanwhile we have the Minister constantly arguing for teachers to improve their qualifications and professionalism. So which one is it: untrained and unaccountable, and publicly funded for-profit charter schools, or professionalism; national standards for students aged 6 years old, but none-standards for teachers and selected experimental not-for-profit situations.

Quite frankly, that, along with class sizes and charter schools, is an unmitigated disaster.

Let us talk about charter schools just for a minute, because they are addressed in the estimates. The Government put aside $230,000 for the charter school working party headed by Catherine Isaac — clearly not exactly a neutral figure in the eyes of anyone who has anything to do with education or politics. And what that working party has said is that they will develop options for schools where there will be public money put in, but people like those in Destiny can apply. All kinds of people can apply, they can be as fundamentalist, as ideologically driven as they like, and they will not necessarily have to meet the same standards that are expected in public schools, which, when you think it is public money, is pretty appalling.

The Green Party is not arguing that there should not be choice in education. If people want their children to be taught by fundamentalists of any stripe, or encouraged to believe that homosexuality is a sin, or that climate change is a myth, or that evolution is anti-Christian, for example, then do that, but pay for the privilege. Do not ask us to pay as a country for that privilege. That is what the private education system offers. We are talking about public money going into a weird experiment that has failed all over the world.

So we are very concerned that this Budget reinforces that idea. We are also appalled by the contradictions between statements the Prime Minister has made and the statements the Minister has made on this issue. Let us then move to the other disaster area in education: the class size one, as my colleague Nanaia Mahuta has touched on, was a back-down that reflected a long planned, but badly planned, vision that nobody except Treasury could give any credence to. It just shows you what happens when people do not have a vision in education: it is not about anything except money. Treasury wrote the book and said: “Let’s have a plan to actually make this affordable. Let’s cut back on education. Let’s pretend it’s an investment.” But Treasury could not convince the rest of the country.

It had the Government on its side but nobody else — nobody else. So we saw fantastic unity across a sector that is not always unified and does not always speak with one voice, and the Government was forced to do a back-down. Well, that is an indication not that it had learnt, and not that it believed that the parents were right, but that it had realised it could not sell the policy. This was a cynical and depressing scenario, because we asked the Minister of Education whether she had changed her view after hearing from parents, and she said she had not. She still thought it was a great idea, and it is very, very sad for the parents and children of New Zealand that that was the agenda.

Some information on national standards was put on the website last week, and, again, it is a real mess. It is a real cut-and-paste job. You cannot understand what you are reading, you do not know what it is that you are going to get — sorry, not you, Mr Chair — what the parents will get, and it does not make any sense. The moderation tool that is being developed at great expense — about $5 million has been spent so far on developing the work around national standards, but it is not finished — will not be ready until 2014.

So what are people going to make of that? The Government put up a policy that had no tool for creating any kind of moderation, and although it will not be on offer until 2014, somehow the parents are going to get the benefit of reading the data that are completely different from school to school. That is somehow supposed to be softening the parents up for the standards. Even if you believed that was a good idea, it is a bad way to have gone about it. The Green Party does not think that league tables are a good idea. We think that league tables are for sports teams. League tables are great in the Olympics, but they are not for children. Labels are useful on jam jars, but not on children.

Our fundamental problem with national standards is not the way that they are being delivered but the idea that a narrow mechanism that reduces the New Zealand curriculum — which is upheld around the world as a valuable and broad curriculum — to a narrow set of literacy and numeracy standards is narrowing teachers’ requirements to teach-to-test. No matter what the Government says, there is huge anxiety out there. It would be interesting if people listened to the evidence of people like Professor Martin Thrupp, who went to England and looked at the model over there. Some countries have gone around the track, and they have followed the track of increasingly narrowing and teaching-to-test—Britain is one of them—and others, for example, Finland and some of the Asian countries, have gone the opposite way and have invested in a broad curriculum. The results are very clear.

Britain and the United States are failing the children who are already struggling because of poverty and social context. Initiatives like national standards only create anxiety, and they are driving teachers out of the profession — because people become teachers from the sense of moral mission to give an input into children’s lives. Children need the best people in this country, but the best people will be driven out if we narrow what has been established as being an excellent curriculum and turn it into a bunch of mechanisms. It is lovely to read numbers; they make life really simple, but guess what? Numbers do not reflect the reality of what the complex matter of each child’s individual learning is actually about. I wonder whether the Government actually looks at what learning means instead of what numbers mean when it set up these standards, because the standards are absolutely incapable of delivering rich and contextual — which is what the Minister calls it — information for parents.

It is a sad sight when you see this being justified on a daily basis in this House. It is not what people voted for at all. They voted for the idea of our kids all doing well. What they got was this mechanistic, failed system, which is incoherent and has not even been properly moderated. Quite frankly, that, along with class sizes and charter schools, is an unmitigated disaster. What is also a disaster is the lack of coherence in the Government’s way of relating to the sector. You cannot improve children’s learning unless you have good relationships not only with child and teacher but also with teachers and politicians. I am not saying the teachers always get it right, but what I am saying is that declaring war on the education sector, the academics, and the professionals is not the way in which you make change happen. We all agree that there are kids who need more support in school. And some of us know that is because the goal of the school system should be equity.

The Finns are at the top of the Programme for International Student Assessment table, because the goal of their education system is not achievement; it is equity. Equity comes first, then participation, and then achievement. But why listen to the experts? After all, the Finns have many good models, which we would do better to look at than looking at Britain and the United States, where we have these bizarre failures. Look at New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina has turned into an educational disaster. What happened is that public schooling has collapsed. Because of the disaster they have brought in these experimental charter schools — these for-profits — and as a result you have children falling through the cracks in greater numbers than ever before. That is a tragedy.

We must make sure that we do not let what has been a good education system become a game for Treasury, an experiment for the Government, and a sacrifice of the good things, under the fake mythology that what we need is running schools like a business. What we need is to run education for liberation, for life, and for life-long learning. It is not a mechanistic business. It is a mission. We should take on the Finns’ ideal, which is that not everybody can be a teacher. They invest a huge amount in teacher training. They say that if you want to lift the quality of the education system, you must lift the quality of the people who are allowed to be teachers. So instead of saying the most fabulous job you can have is to be a corporate financial speculator, or some kind of merchant banker, or that being a lawyer or even an MP is the best job in the world — the best job in the world needs to be a teacher.

Education Outrage – News Round-Up for 6.6.12

If it’s fair to say that mainstream news media is alight with articles about the education debacle, then social media news must be said to be approaching super nova status…  Here’s a round-up of some the keys articles I’ve spotted on my travels:

School Cuts Will Run Deep, say Unions – Stuff.com

Educational Bitterness Will Grow – Wanganui Chronicle

Arguing Class Sizes Won’t Affect Teaching is Utter Rot – NZ Herald

Invercargill Principals send an open letter to the Prime Minister

TVNZ Breakfast – Education Minister Agrees to Meet Education Chiefs Over Cuts

Hekia’s Tui Moment

Majority Opposed to New Teacher Funding Ratios – NewsTalk ZB

Taxpayers Subsidise Smaller Class Sizes for Wealthy Kids – The Green Party

Double Standards: Public Sector Left Scrounging – Frogblog

Government’s Class Size Debacle – The Herald

Class Size Report Ignored: Principal – Hawkes Bay Today

Well, you get the idea….

Education leadership group unites over flawed Budget class size decision

PRESS RELEASE:

Education leadership unites on flawed Budget class sizes

Tuesday, 5 June 2012, 4:42 pm
Press Release: Joint Press Release

5 June 2012

The sector meeting acknowledged the current economic climate and agreed that the Government’s Budget announcements, including increases in class size, are educationally flawed, contrary to the best interests of students and are collectively rejected by teachers, principals and Boards of Trustees.

We urge the Government to reverse the staffing announcements made in the Budget, including increases in class size, and enter into immediate discussions with the joint sector leadership group on how to sustain and continually improve the quality of teaching and the achievement of students.

We ask the Government to listen to the combined voice of the school sector, parent and public opinion and scrap this policy before damage is done to our children’s education.

The group has asked for an urgent meeting with the Minister of Education and has called for a halt on any implementation of the Budget decision.

• NZEI Te Riu Roa
• NZAIMS – NZ Association of Intermediate and Middle Schooling
• NZSTA – NZ School Trustees Association
• PPTA – Post Primary Teachers Association
• NZPF – New Zealand Principals’ Federation
• SPANZ – Secondary Principals’ Association of NZ
• PPTA Secondary Principals Council

Class Sizes – Research and Information Links

Reducing Class Size, What Do We Know? – March 1999   

http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/ReducingClass/Class_size.html

 

The Educated reporter: What Class Size  Research REALLY Says

http://www.educatedreporter.com/2010/07/what-class-size-research-really-says.html

 

New Zealand Council for Educational Research: Class Size in the First Years of School

http://www.nzcer.org.nz/research/publications/class-size-first-years-school

 

Government Cherry-picks Research to Justofy School Class Size Increases

http://blog.greens.org.nz/2012/02/09/government-cherry-picks-research-to-justify-school-class-size-increases/

 

Education World – Class size research reports

http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/archives/class_size.shtml

 

Class Size Matters

http://www.classsizematters.org/research-and-links-2/

 

Class Size reduction

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Class-size_reduction

 

Please feel free to suggest further reading in the comment below.  Thank you.

Hekia Parata: Raising achievement for all – Budget Speech 2012 in full

Hekia Parata: Raising achievement for all in Budget 2012

Wednesday, 16 May 2012, 9:15 am
Speech: New Zealand Government

Hon Hekia Parata
Minister of Education

16 May 2012

Speech Notes

Hekia Parata: Raising achievement for all in Budget 2012

· I’m here today to talk about our education plan. Education is a subject that’s dear to my heart and head – and indeed yours, as future employers and business associates of the generation of young New Zealanders who are coming through our education system today.

· I’ve been around the education sector for many years and as you know I have been the Education Minister for five months. I’m passionate about education and what a good education can do for our young people.

· We have an education system that is among the best in the world. It gives our students a platform to compete here at home and internationally. Four out of five kids are successfully getting the qualifications they need from school and we must celebrate their success and the professionals in our system who make that possible every day.

  · But our Government’s education plan is about getting five out of five.

· We want all our kids to be leaving school with the skills they need to reach their potential in the modern economy. That means lifting up those who are being left behind, and encouraging those who are doing well to do even better.

· Too many of the kids falling behind because they are not getting the quality teaching and leadership that all the evidence tells us makes the difference are Māori and Pasifika learners, those who come from low socio-economic homes, or have special needs.

· We can, and must, do better for them. We don’t have a generation to waste.

· New Zealand is a small country that must make up for size with smarts. We must out-think our competitors. We need our investment in 21st century technologies to be matched by new and skilled thinking that reflects the best teaching practices and our natural cultural advantages.

· Education can make a two-fold contribution to our country. It builds our social and cultural strength, and our productivity. That’s important for our economy, and it’s important for New Zealand.

· I’m here today to talk about raising achievement for all New Zealanders, realising the potential of all our learners, creating Kiwis that can fly. We want to ensure a world-leading education system that equips our kids with the knowledge, skills and values to be successful people in the 21st century.

· Today I can confirm that Budget 2012 will increase overall spending on education for the fourth Budget in a row. This has happened despite tight fiscal times, and against a backdrop of a recent global financial crisis and the Canterbury earthquakes.

· That is a track record which reflects the priority the National-led Government places on our plan for education. Education is a winner in Budget 2012.

· We are ambitious to see all our children reach their potential and that’s why we aim to have 85 percent of all 18-year-olds having achieved a minimum of a Level Two qualification, NCEA 2 or equivalent by 2016. This is a passport to a better life – because learning is earning.

· Reaching that target will be challenging. But it is possible. It requires more of what counts and perhaps less of what’s comfortable – and it is vital that we get there.

· So we must ensure our money – your taxes – is being spent to realise the potential of each and every learner. If it’s not raising the achievement of our kids in big or small ways, if we can’t see progress in tiny steps or leaps and bounds, unless we can see positive growth, however we measure it, we should not be doing it. We need to give our learners the best possible education we can. That means making good choices with the money we have.

· Right from the earliest years of a child’s life, we know that quality early childhood education gets kids ready for learning at school. We want kids to go to primary school confident, able to engage, and eager to learn That is why our plan for education has a target of 98% participation in early childhood education by 2016.

· We have increased spending on ECE by a third since 2008 and we now spend the most ever on this important start to life. The 34 per cent increase since 2008 is spending that complements and reinforces the positive parenting that occurs in the vast majority of homes all over NZ, while also providing for our most vulnerable children.

· We are continuing to target areas of high need in early childhood education and you will see more of that on Budget day.

· After early childhood education, parents then send their most cherished creation – their young child – to school. We entrust schools with our children and with the high expectations we have of and for them.

· The platform for learning is formally built in these critical primary years. All of us want to understand at regular intervals how well the building of that platform is progressing and strengthening.

· With the introduction of National Standards by our Government, data and information is being collected and reported to show if kids are doing well, how their learning is improving, and what needs to change for better learning. Parents are pleased to have this information about how much their child’s learning has progressed as well as where their child’s achievement sits in the classroom and nationwide.

· Ensuring that our Year 8 students arrive from primary school prepared and ready is essential for their success at senior school levels. Our plan for education includes clarifying tertiary and vocational pathways so students can consider early the best options for them.

· The challenge for our secondary schools is to retain all students, especially through those vulnerable years 9-10, and to ensure that they can secure a passport to a better quality of life. At present one in five of our 15-16 year olds is dropping out. We want all 18 year olds to have a minimum of an NCEA Level 2 qualification, or equivalent. Why? Because learning is earning.

· We are also doing a lot to invest in 21st century learning environments. This includes setting aside the first $1 billion from the Future Investment Fund to create modern learning environments, and spending between $300 million and $400 million on the Network for Learning, which will ensure our students can make the most of all the opportunities that are coming from ultra-fast broadband. The classroom your child learns in today is very different to the classroom you and I learnt in. And their learning spaces will continue to evolve and change.

· We are doing a lot to raise student achievement in schools but there is more we can do. There are two main investments we can make to raise achievement – they are in quality teaching, and quality professional leadership. I’d like to talk a bit about these now.

· Our biggest value investment is our education profession — the approximately 50,000 teachers and 2,500 principals, with 35,000 non-teaching support staff. These numbers have increased by nearly 6,000 teachers over the past 10 years and to be honest at the same time our student achievement results have plateaued.

· We have $3.69 billion invested in teachers’ and principals’ salaries. That’s just under half of the Education Vote for that sector. The salary bill has increased by around 55%, well over inflation, since the year 2000 with only an incremental increase in achievement – and not by all learners

· Even so, our National-led Government is committed to improving the quality of teaching through an ongoing investment of just over $300m over the next four years in professional learning and development.

· Today I am pleased to announce that in Budget 2012 we will invest a further $511.9m of new money into quality frontline education services.

· Quality teaching is about holding high expectations of, being able to relate to and finding what works for every single child in the classroom. That’s what every one of our teachers needs to be able to do.

· A good example is Oturu School in the Far North, where with great professional leadership and outstanding teaching, students and their whole school community have participated in an engaging cross curriculum programme. It has seen strengthened literacy and numeracy through a number of initiatives such as growing, harvesting, and marketing olive oil, as well as developing effective local remedies for skin and hair conditions. Learning, earning, and having fun!

· Another good example is Amesbury School, here in Wellington, where the students are engaged through art, music, dance, multi-media activities, expressed equally naturally in beautiful English and te reo Māori, and across all age groups.

· We are embarking on a two year work programme to retain and grow, as well as attract, the best talent into the profession. To do that we will:

1. Invest an additional $60 million over four years to boost new teacher- recruitment and training

2. Ensure that student teachers are equipped with the best teaching practices for 21st century learning

3. Shift to a post-graduate qualification for new teachers

4. And give stronger mentoring and coaching for those teachers working towards full registration.

· We will develop better career progression pathways, introduce a new pre-principalship qualification that will strengthen the recruitment and selection of school leaders, and review the Teachers Council to secure a stronger professional body.

· We are investing in better teaching. We need to find ways to recognise and reward our outstanding teachers as well as work with those who have potential. We also need to identify those who are not keeping up, or who are just going through the motions.

· To raise teaching quality, we have to identify who is delivering successful practice and make that common practice.

· To this end we will collaborate in the development of an appraisal system focusing on driving up quality teaching and quality professional leadership. Performance pay is but one of a basket of options to reward and recognise that.

· Teaching is a profession; professions have a number of characteristics of which accountability for performance – good, great, outstanding, unacceptable – is one.

· The reality is that we are in a tight economic environment. In order to make this new investment in quality teaching and leading, we have to make some trade-offs. As I have already outlined we are opting for quality not quantity, better teaching not more teachers.

· We will fund the improvement in teaching quality by making a small change to teacher: student ratios. These changes will free up just over $43 million, on average, in each year over the next four years.

· We will continue to emphasise the most critical transition years of new entrants and senior secondary school. The way we will do this is by maintaining or lowering the ratios at new entrant year 1 and years 11-13, and making a small adjustment to achieve consistency of teacher:student ratios in the mid-years of schooling.

· Ratios will remain as they are for new entrant year one at 1:15, and for students sitting NCEA in years 11-13, will be standardised at 1:17.3.

· In the middle years 2-10 there is currently a wide range of ratios, ranging from 1:23 to 1:29. To give schools consistency and certainty about how they manage their resources, we will standardise this ratio at 1:27.5.

· What this means is that 90 per cent of schools will either gain, or have a net loss of less than one Full Time Teacher Equivalent (FTTEs) as a result of the combined effect of the ratio changes and projected roll growth. These changes will take effect over the next five years.

· To be clear, these ratios are a funding formula – they are how we as the Government funds schools. The actual number of children in a classroom is set by the school.

· Every year a school’s roll changes because families move or make different education choices. And every year schools reset class sizes according to those changes in their roll. These more consistent ratios will be fairer and give schools greater certainty over their resourcing from year to year.

· My primary school teacher tells me that my class numbered 42! The important point here is that all the evidence tells us that it is the quality of teaching that makes the difference to learning and achievement, not one or two extra students in a class.

· The money we free up from these small changes will be reinvested into improving teaching quality. It is the single most important thing we can do to raise student achievement.

· In our education plan, success in the compulsory primary and secondary sector means better leadership and better teaching. It means:

1. delivering measurable improvement in learning, and reporting that to parents every six months at primary or intermediate school (years 1-8)

2. Year 8 students transitioning to secondary school able to read and write and do mathematics at a year 9 level

3. Year 9 and 10s participation and engagement keeping them in school and readying them for the NCEA years

4. 85 % of 18 year-olds achieving in NCEA Level 2 (or equivalents) by 2016.

· One of the National-led Government’s key priorities is to deliver better public services to New Zealanders within tight fiscal constraints. Raising educational achievement, while ensuring value for money, is central to this.

· We want to ensure a world leading education system that equips all New Zealand students with the knowledge, skills and values to be successful people in the 21st century.

· We are completely focused on giving children and young people the opportunity to succeed from early childhood learning, though schooling and into vocational and tertiary training and education.

· So I am pleased Budget 2012 invests more in education than ever. Education is a priority for our Government despite the tough economic environment we are in and you will see more of our plan in the Budget on May 24.

· We know the single most important thing we can do to raise achievement is to improve teaching quality so that’s why we are investing in better teaching, not more teachers.

· Education is a passport to a better life. Learning is earning. That’s why our education plan is focused on raising achievement for five out of five of our kids. We want all our learners to realise their potential, and we want to create Kiwis that can fly!

· The actions we have taken to date and those we undertake in this term in Government reflect our education plan to raise education achievement and deliver on building a brighter future for all New Zealanders.

Bigger class sizes – this is our brighter future?

“The increases in class size will affect 90 percent of schools, according to the Minister.

The “savings of $43 million” a year means 215 million dollars worth of primary teacher positions lost over the next five years.   The Government says the savings will be used to beef up “teacher appraisal”.

This looks like bigger class sizes will pay for performance pay.

No other country that has adopted standardised testing and then used student results to measure teacher performance has improved their student outcomes. Many – like the US, UK and Sweden – are way below New Zealand, and tracking downwards, on international PISA results.

Class sizes matter, particularly to the students who are struggling the most.

Excerpt from NZEI website, retrieved 3.6.12

http://www.nzei.org.nz/

Govt allies must force National to reverse class increases

Govt allies must force National to reverse class increases

Friday, 1 June 2012, 9:19 am
Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party

01 June 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Govt allies must force National to reverse class size increases

Labour Leader David Shearer is calling on the Government’s allies to use their combined political muscle to force National to ditch its plan to increase class sizes.

“Parents, children and teachers are overwhelmingly opposed to National’s plan to increase class sizes. They know it will damage their children’s learning and limit their opportunities.

“United Future and the Māori Party have the opportunity to show that they’re prepared to stand alongside Kiwis on this issue. They must use their power to force National to drop the plan completely – not just to tinker with it.

“It is also concerning that National seems to have breached its no surprises agreement by failing to properly brief its support partners on the full impact of the policy changes. They are right to be angry about this.

“This issue is so serious for our future that John Key must find the time to deal with it, despite the fact he is overseas celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. We urge him to act.

“Education is a priority for Labour. We will reverse National’s short-sighted plan to increase class sizes when we’re elected. But we urge other political parties who are in a position of power now to fight for our children and their right to a quality education,” said David Shearer.
ends

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