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A strangely schizophrenic stance on NZ education

funny-pictures-i-may-be-schizophrenic-catIt’s a bit of a worry when the man who created the PISA rankings comes to visit NZ, meets with Hekia Parata, and starts waxing lyrical about how National Standards are going to do great things for our education system, but that’s just what Andreas Schleicher did.

It’s especially odd when, in the same breath, he is lauding our amazing school autonomy, our ingenuity, our innovation.

This is my article from The Daily Blog, pondering his strangely schizophrenic standpoint…

I have been left confused by a recent article by Andreas Schleicher.

In it he begins by singing the praises of  ”New Zealand’s liberal and entrepreneurial school system.”  He speaks very highly of the benefits of school autonomy, reflecting that “It would be hard to imagine [principals doing the same] in one of Southern Europe’s bureaucratic school systems” and ends with triumphant praise of the Kiwi schools that “have moved on from delivered wisdom, to user-generated wisdom, from a culture of standardization, conformity and compliance towards being innovative and ingenious”

Wow, I thought.  He gets it.

He understands that autonomy beats bureaucracy, that creativity beats standardisation, and that Kiwi schools are doing a good job.

Then I remembered, this is the same man who, in a visit to NZ recently, sang the praises of National Standards, and alarm bells started tinkling far away in the back of my mind, but I read on…

Principals’ concerns

Schleicher says there were Kiwi principals complaining to him that they have difficulties attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers, yet he doesn’t address this at all.  Surely that’s a hugely important issue if we are to improve our system further?

Just ponder what school leavers and graduates might be thinking  if they consider teaching as a career:  Why join a profession that is being battered world wide?  Why take a job that is used as a political football?  Why pay for training when some are being paid to jump into the classroom with little or no training?

Because, really,  if teachers can now go into schools after just 6 weeks’ training over the summer holidays while schools are shut or, in the case of charter schools, go into the classroom with no training at all, surely that will put a fair few off paying fees and taking years to get a teaching degree?

Are we slowly but surely giving up on the idea of trained teachers?  And if so, how does that help raise the bar?  Just how does it help principals’ concerns over attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers?  Maybe that’s why he glossed over the issue – it’s easier for him to ignore it than address it?

But I would love to know what the principals think.

There is no discussion, either, of why teachers are leaving the profession in droves.  Maybe it’s easier to gloss over serious issues like that?  But you would think, wouldn’t you, that it might be worth a few lines?

No, because all Schleicher is really interested in, is promoting National Standards….

– Read the rest of the article at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/07/28/education-do-we-want-ingenuity-and-freedom-or-standardisation-and-control/#sthash.1GLLWKv1.dpuf

If you want to know what he thinks of National Standards, click the link and read the rest (and the comments below the article, too).

I’m still baffled by his strangely incoherent views, to be honest, and would welcome any feedback on his original article and my response to it.

~ Dianne

Key is not the key, Pressure Cooker, and other poems

There have been some sterling additions to the education poetry slam, and I thought they deserved a post of their own rather than languishing as the great (often) unread in the comments section 🙂  So here you go..

poem

Assess the mundane
Spend hours on data entry
Where has the joy gone?

by

Debbie

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Key is not the key
to Kiwi education
He’s the harbinger!

by ANANNYA

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hekia ‘deciles
Don’t matter’- too to kore
They do to our kids!!!

by PPTA Professional on Twitter

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~~~

National Government education reforms
Are now NZ’ s national standards norms
The sector doesn’t need this accountability
Because teachers know what they can see!

Overall teacher judgments no longer enough
Instead we have this computer PaC tool stuff
What about the review of the Teachers’ Council
But that’s not the end, there’s Charter Schools, still!

by Jo

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And now for Mr Boon’s masterpiece rewriting of The Sneetches, I give you The Teachers:

The Teachers

Now the Star-rated teachers had contracts with stars.
The Plain-rated teachers had none upon thars.
The stars weren’t so big; they were really quite small.
You would think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.
But because they had stars, all the Star-rated teachers
would brag, “We’re the best kind of teach who can teaches.”

With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort,
“We’ll have nothing to do with the plain-rated sort.”
And whenever they met some, when they were out walking,
they’d saunter right past them without even talking.

When the Star-rated teachers went along to PD,
could the Plain-rated get in the game? Oh not thee!
You could only attend if your contract had stars,
and the Plain-rated teachers had none upon thars.

When the Star-rated teachers had after-work drinks,
or meetings or cuppas or pedogogical thinks,
they never invited the Plain-rated teachers.
Left them out cold in the dark near the bleachers.
Kept them away; never let them come near,
and that’s how they treated them year after year.

Then one day, it seems, while the Plain-rated teachers
were moping and doping alone on the bleachers,
sitting there, wishing their contracts had stars,
a stranger zipped up in the strangest of cars.

“My friends, ” he announced in a voice clear and free,
“My name is Bill Gates Murdoch Koch Michelle Rhee.
I’ve heard of your troubles; I’ve heard you’re unhappy.
But I can fix that; I’m the fix-it-up chappie.
I’ve come here to help you; I have what you need.
My prices are low, and I work with great speed,
and my work is one hundred per cent guaranteed.”

Read the rest of this gem here.  You should also follow his blog – Boonman doesn’t post often, but when it does it is well worth reading.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Right, after all that poetry you are surely feeling inspired, so do feel free to add your own masterpieces in the comments below or as send as an email (sosmail.gmail.com) or Tweet and I will do a post showcasing the new additions.

I will leave you with my own offering:

Pressure Cooker 

it doesn’t matter

you’re poor

Or covered in sores

your tummy is growling

you’re cold to your core

You’ve no comics or books

and no-one to read with

and no-one has time

– who can you plead with?

we want to inspire you

to celebrate your skills

develop your talents

and show them you will

astound with your writing

amaze with your art

code something awesome

show that you’re smart

okay, you can’t focus

or think school’s a joke

or think it’s all pointless

because you’re all broke

even when you don’t know

what’s coming next

you’re meant to succeed

to be a success

below the standard

we’ll take the blame

because Hekia says

your chance is the same

by Dianne

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~~~

KIWI PARENTS OPTING OUT

noI need help here.  I need experts.

Parents Opting Out

As a mother, I want to opt my child out of National Standards testing.  I am not the only one.

I also intend want to refuse to have any data on my child entered into the PaCT system where it will be held by government and stored in the cloud.  Given the government’s record on IT systems, I have no faith it would be safe.  I also have no faith it would not be shared with agencies I disapprove of.

do not keep calmLegally?

So, experts, where do parents stand legally on those two issues?

I would not want to put my child’s teacher in a difficult position, nor the school, so need to know exactly what my rights are.

If you can help or advise me, please comment below.

A week is a long time in activism

Well, they say that a week is a long time in politics (and I think Julia Gillard would agree).  But it’s a new dawn and a new era, and I think the term needs a little updating:

A week is a long time in activism

A long, long time ago – say, a whole week ago, teachers all over the world were fighting against the global education reform movement (GERM) in their own ways.  Protests, strikes, opting out of testing, resignations, blogging, writing to government, you name it.  They were doing a great job, trying to put some sanity back into the education arena.

But this week a new kid arrived on the activist block; The Badass Teacher.

BadAss

A movement formed right before our eyes

Started as a Facebook group to unite American teachers from across the country, the page has grown in just five days to 17,700 members* with a goodly handful of international members, myself included.

They have already coordinated a phone in campaign to the Whitehouse.  Meet-ups are planned for the coming weekend.  It’s early days, but a movement is forming right before our eyes.

Are you a Badass Teacher?

Some people are unsure if BAT is for them, but it’s easy to check if you would belong.

You’re a Badass Teacher if you want:

  • authentic teaching and learning in schools
  • education free from political and corporate lunacy
  • education that focuses on children and recognising the many and varied spaces those children are in, mentally, physically and educationally
  • to stop the demonisation of educators
  • to include educators and community honestly and fairly when making decisions about education
  • more than anything, for children to be cherished as individuals not data points

In short, Badass Teachers Association gives voice to every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality through education.

Oh, and there are Badass parents and Badass Students movements forming, too…

Bad is good

"I'm bad, and that's good."    All heroes have to get Badass sometimes.

“I’m bad, and that’s good.”
All heroes have to get Badass sometimes.

So, are you happy with how things are in education?

Or do you need to get a little Badass, too?

~ Dianne

* As at 11.54 27/6/13 New Zealand time.  By the time I have hit the publish button it will be out of date.

More Badass Reading:

Educational Thinker

EdWeek

Take Part

Orlando Sentinel

With a Brooklyn Accent

NPE (Network for Public Education)

Protests worldwide – when will you act?

Yesterday, dozens of doctors, nurses, and school teachers led a crowd of more than 4,000 people in a protest in North Carolina, USA.  A Durham public school teacher, Holly Jordan, was arrested along with others.
This is what she had to say before her arrest:

hollyhandcuffed“As a public school teacher in North Carolina—not an “outsider” that Governor McCrory alleges is at the helm of the Moral Monday protests, but an educator grounded in and devoted to the community of Durham—I am ardent to stand up for the future of my students.

When I came out of college straight into teaching seven years ago, I believed that teaching English was going to be about, well, teaching English. I thought that my task was to impart in my students a love of, or at least a less fervent dislike for, Shakespeare and To Kill a Mockingbird. Within a few short weeks I learned how mistaken I was.

Sure, there was still room for Boo and the Bard, but teaching was really about providing stability, respect, and compassion to teenagers desperate to learn in a system that was failing them. It was about talking to K about why he shouldn’t drop out. It was about visiting J in the hospital after her miscarriage. It was about tutoring 15-year-old T so he could move past a fifth grade reading level.

Because this was what my students needed, this is what teaching became for me. It is what teaching means for thousands of teachers, counselors, teaching assistants, and other public school workers across the state, as we prepare our students for successful futures, not just academically, but in every way.

We work long past our salaried hours to create instruction that challenges our students to grow as critical thinkers. We advise clubs where our students can express themselves. We coach sports to promote health and self-discipline.

We counsel the crying, laugh with the happy, protect the bullied, and motivate the discouraged. We are honest with our students about their struggles and successes, and about our own. We do all this not for professional gain but because we firmly believe that these children are worth everything we can give them. We do it because what we teachers want is no different than what our students need.

What the General Assembly wants, however, is in stark contrast to what the children of North Carolina need. In their pursuit to destroy public education via budgets that cut funding, school vouchers that favor private companies, and the elimination of master’s degree pay, the legislature shows how little they care about the quality and longevity of those educating our kids.

I am a seventh year teacher whose pay is frozen at the second year rung of the pay scale, in the state with the 4th worst teacher pay in the country. I have seen dozens of excellent teachers move on to other professions or other states so they could sustain themselves and their families.

At my school, students regularly ask new teachers “will you be here next year?” because they are so used to our terrible turnover rates.

It’s not just education legislation that is bent on destroying our most vulnerable communities through persistent instability. The General Assembly is curbing voting rights, letting unemployment benefits expire, and repealing the Racial Justice Act, all while giving tax breaks to corporate giants. My students aren’t naïve. They know that their communities are being marginalized.

Last year, a student at our school was murdered. In the weeks that followed, my students and I cried out in anguish and anger and asked the toughest questions one could imagine: Why did this student end up where he was?  What could any of us have done?  How can we keep this from happening again?  Our teenagers know to ask these critical questions, but the leaders in Raleigh have failed to ask them: How do we make sure justice is served for all North Carolinians?  How do we transform struggling communities into havens of health and stability?

My students create solutions, like organizing a march to the early voting polls and memorial for their classmate. Meanwhile, politicians ignore humanity and count capital.

Next school year, as I always have in the past, I will tell my students every day that they are important and loved. What I wish I could tell them is that the people in power agree—that our General Assembly believes in their futures just like I do. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to do that.

I will get to tell them, however, that thousands of North Carolinians testified to their worth during the Moral Mondays, and that a movement that believes in them is coming.

This movement is not the work of “outside agitators,” as the Governor believes, but the best and bravest that our state has to offer. It’s a movement led by and fighting for the well-being of 9.7 million insiders—the people of North Carolina who desire a healthy, sustainable future in our state for generations to come.”  Source

remember when teachers crashed the stock marketPeople worldwide are saying the same.

The few are bullying and mistreating the many.

Greed is winning over caring and community.

The few are creating crises that do not exist so that they can deform our countries.

How bad does it have to get in New Zealand before we shout no more, along with our America, English, Brazilian, and other worldwide friends?

How long before you act?

The John Banks School for Errant Maori and Polynesian South Auckland Lads (Ltd)

St John of Banks

School Logo?

Dear John,

So yesterday, June 4th 2013, the Education  Amendment Act 2012 was passed and charter schools became legal in New Zealand.  Nice work.

It was a good move to get your pal Catherine Isaac to chair the panel so they could ignore all advice and submissions and push them through.  Clever.

And a big high five for getting The Maori Party to fall for it.  Hahahaha, I did have a good titter at that one.

Somewhere in Epsom...

Somewhere in Epsom…

So funny that they forgot that you  said quite proudly on TV that If we continue the bankrupt response of just paying young Polynesian, young Maori men in South Auckland the dole to sit in front of TV, smoke marijuana, watch pornography and plan more drug offending and more burglaries, then we’re going to have them coming through our windows regardless of whether we live in Epsom or anywhere else in greater Auckland.” 

Pfffst, it’s not your fault if they forget stuff like that.

Anyway, I’ve heard that every Maori or Polynesian man in South Auckland is stoked to hear you are so keen to save them, so let’s get cracking and set up this school.

The John Banks School for Errant Maori and Polynesian South Auckland Lads (Ltd)

Now I know what you’re thinking, John.  You’re worrying that you don’t have any background in education.  But it’s okay – you don’t have to been trained in education to run or work in charter schools.  No, nothing at all.  You just have to convince the panel to say yes to your plan, and seeing as we’ve got Catherine and Hekia in our pockets, we’re in!

Lucky that, eh John?

You can make up your own curriculum, your own school day and term times, hire some warm bodies to pretend to be teachers, and make a killing!

I’m thinking we could just print some lesson plans off the internet and get nice looking people to teach those.  That should be quite cheap.

The poor South Auckland lads will never notice, anyway – far too drugged up.  No it’s true, I heard a prominent politician say so on TV.

money showerAww Thanks Di, it’s a lovely idea – but is there any money in it?

Oh yes, John, there really is!

We get a nice handout from the government of hundreds of thousands of dollars to set up the premises – and we don’t have to return a red cent of it if we close the school.  Bonza.

I think we should maybe choose one of those well kitted out schools in Christchurch that are about to become available.  I’ve heard one of them has a $1 million plus upgrade just 2 years ago, and I bet we can get it mega cheap.  We can always say we don’t want them just sitting there like those schools in Invercargill, eh?

What else?  Well the students will be funded as decile 3, and the funding for things like special needs and ICT won’t have to be spent on those things so we can with that whatever we like!  We don’t need to bother with those pesky tricky things Dyslexia or Autism or speaking Te Reo or Samoan or anything.  Yeah, nah, just filter out anyone hard to teach like lots of the US charters do, and we can keep the cheaper kids.  The public system can get the more difficult ones back – that’ll be a hoot.  Take that trained teachers.  Hahaha.

Oh lord, I just thought, what if we get hungry kids?  Can you get your staff to whip up some eggs bene for them to share? No?  Oh man, well best get that Weetbix lined up, then.  But still send the eggs –  we claim that on expenses. I doubt we would we have to declare it, eh?

CBEMoney money money … it’s a rich man’s world

Ooooh I’ve had another great idea…  We could hire ABBA to teach the kids.  Oh, no, sorry I got a bit off track there.

This is what I was really thinking.  Maybe we could call this principal in the UK who used school money to hire her mates, claimed expenses more than once from different organisations, gave contracts to businesses she was close to, and used funds to pay for taxis costing well over $6000.  She’d be able to give us tips for making the most of those tax dollars!

It’s okay, we can do all that and everyone will still think we are fabulous.  I mean to say, that teacher was named head teacher of the year at the 2007 Teaching Awards and appointed CBE, so all good, I’ll get our people to talk to her people.

If she’s unavailable, we could call the Charter Schools guys who conned US$17 million of taxes from Oregon.  They were even more cunning because they pretended their schools were not for-profit (aww bless their faux charitable socks) and “ran a chain of taxpayer-funded charter schools under the guise of a nonprofit named EdChoices, “submitted false, incomplete and misleading records about how many students were enrolled in the schools and how they were spending the state’s money.” ”  Cunning.

shhhhh...

shhhhh…

What if we’re rumbled?

No, don’t worry about what to do if we’re caught out.  When charter school fraudsters are investigated they don’t hang about.  Once the cash cow is rumbled we can just close the school like these guys.  It’ll leave students and teachers with nowhere to go, but overheads gone! Easy!

We would be investigated, but you could nudge the police not to investigate this one, either.  You seem to be good at that.

Try not to be like these guys, who get caught AND prosecuted, though…

Man alive! Google threw me 2.8 million hits for “charter school fraud” so we’d have to be careful in case anyone is onto this scam.

But no, no, don’t think about that – if anyone tries to get the facts out we can just say it’s all daft leftie mudslinging and get our mate Seal Meat to bash them on his blog.

It’ll be fine – just think of the money!

So what do you think, Banksy?  Shall we do it?  You and me?

The John Banks School for Errant Maori and Polynesian South Auckland Lads (Ltd) ?

~Dianne

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.

Spam!

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.

~Dianne

Why Thatcher’s Death is Important for New Zealand

Thatcher signFrom Billy Bragg, Calgary, AB, Canada, on the death of Margaret Thatcher:

“This is not a time for celebration.

The death of Margaret Thatcher is nothing more than a salient reminder of how Britain got into the mess that we are in today.

Of why ordinary working people are no longer able to earn enough from one job to support a family; of why there is a shortage of decent affordable housing; of why domestic growth is driven by credit, not by real incomes; of why tax-payers are forced to top up wages; of why a spiteful government seeks to penalise the poor for having an extra bedroom; of why Rupert Murdoch became so powerful; of why cynicism and greed became the hallmarks of our society.

Raising a glass to the death of an infirm old lady changes none of this.

The only real antidote to cynicism is activism.

Don’t celebrate – organise!”

New Zealand, this should all sound very familiar – a Prime Minister leading a government hell bent of penalising the poor and enriching the rich further, that protects the mainstream media, that doesn’t provide affordable living wage or housing, and who promote hatred of the weakest in our society to divert attention away from those really causing the harm.  One who tries to break the unions and lower wages.  One who undermines education.  One that sells off everything imaginable in order to turn a profit for those who already have enough.

Don’t sit and wait for Key to die before you say something:  Protest this way of government and protest it now.

You can start by showing your displeasure (fury?) at the undermining of education:  Protest with parents, students and teachers this Saturday 13th April at the cenotaph in Wellington or at any of these locations around the country.

Catastrophic Schools Without Rules – charter schools oral submissions part one

shoutI’ve not been to a select committee meeting before, never heard oral submissions, and for that matter never stepped foot in our parliament buildings before today.  In fact a year ago I didn’t even follow politics that much.  But a year changes a lot…

So today I spent three hours listening to oral submissions on  the Education Amendment Bill 2012, and here are some highlights, lowlights and things to think about.

The New Zealand Principal’s Federation were adamant that “our commitment should be to the curriculum document, which is an excellent document,” and argued that “collaboration and the right conversations” are what is need with the Ministry, noting that Ministry had not consulted educationalists about charter schools at all.

That was followed up by NZEI pointing out that there is no evidence charters leads to a shift in improvement for students, a theme that was echoed by almost all submitters, including the Association of Propiertors of Integrated Schools, the present ombudsman, a past ombudsman, the NZ Union of Student’s association, Liz Gordon, Juliana Venning and, my favourites, Mr and Mrs Bevin.   (More on them in part two – well worth waiting for.)

NZEI also spoke about the declining academic standard in the USA, England and Sweden, where charters schools are already in place, then queried why the Bill makes no provision for special needs learners and does not ask charters to make any provision either.

A telling moment was when NZEI stated that

schools are not a band aid to fix ALL social problems

–  an issue raised by many others – pointing out that

social inequity is a larger problem  … than the school system.

What NZEI would like to see, instead of charters, is that money being invested in what is known to work here in NZ, money put into schools already there that are struggling.

NZEI asked why expressions of interest in running charter schools were being canvassed now, before the committee hearings are over and the Bill passed, which lead to much muttering in agreement from those of us observing.  Why indeed.  When questioned by the panel to explain what they (NZEI) think is driving the legislation, they said what anyone who knows anything about charter schools would say:

“The argument is that competition lifts performance,

but there is no evidence for that.”

We heard the same thing from The Association of Propiertors of Integrated Schools’ Patrick Lynch who said they have not formed a firm opinion yet but note that the evidence in inconclusive and not a good indication of what would happen if charters were introduced in NZ, saying that if charters were to be put into place then the governing  “legislation needs very firm parameters.”  They pointed out, also, that OECD research on equity firmly concludes that education policies should be aligned with housing policies and so on, and that this proposal does not do that.

Lynch seemed aghast that “the Bill has no parameters for success for charters,” and followed on to say

 “We don’t see why an experiment

should not have a strong degree of transparency and openness

– otherwise how can we properly judge?”

In questioning, Metiria Turei noted that “it seems you [IPAS] are agreeing that there is already a lot of choice in education”, to which Lynch gave a clear and concise “Yes.”  Megan Woods asked “You don’t see the National Curriculum as stifling creativity?” – the reply, an emphatic “No.”

Lynch then took a breath and stated:

We see this BIll as severely, severely 

(and we don’t use that word often)

severely flawed.”

Severely flawed.  Not in need of tweaking.

Severely.  Flawed.

Tracey Martin asked Lynch, “If I said the single term ‘for profit’ were removed [from the Bill], what would you say?”  Lynch said, “I would say they could become independent schools,” yet again showing that the Bill is not about education but is about profit.

Which does beg the question of why the legislation is needed at all, doesn’t it?

I will leave things there for today and do part two, tomorrow – after all, every good black comedy deserves a sequel.

But I leave you with this.:

If someone tells you that their magical remedy will cure all ills,

DEMAND EVIDENCE.

q-mark

 

 

Multiple Choice

one

Is it reasonable to bail out private schools when local public schools have lots spaces?

(a) Yeah, we have heaps of money spare in the NZ coffers, what’s another $3 million between friends.

(b) Oh totally, poor Tarquin couldn’t possibly mingle with those children

(c) No

two

Is it reasonable to inflict undue stress on teachers, parents and students in Christchurch schools when there is still so much going on there already?

(a) Totally – what a few earthquakes amongst friends, it’s not like people lost their lives or homes, or livelihoods.

(b) Oh yes, we have to get on with it PDQ otherwise it’ll not be shot to buggery in time for the charter schools people to swoop in for a nice little take over.

(c) No

three

Is it reasonable for school staff to be out of pocket to the tune of $12 million because the Education Minister approved a system when it wasn’t ready?

(a)  Of course it is, those bloody teachers work two hours a day for six weeks a year and spend the rest of the time on the beach.

(b) Absolutely – they are paid heaps so they must have loads of savings to fall back on.

(c) No

four

Should Salisbury Special School continue to be undermined even after the courts declared the Minister had acted unlawfully in trying to close it down?

(a) Yes, it’s character building, all that stress, it’ll be good for them.

(b) Oh of course – it’s completely reasonable that all new student enrolment applications are dealt with by the ministry and not by the school.  That’s totally normal.

(c) No

five

Is it acceptable for the Education Amendment Bill submissions period to end smack bang in the holidays?

(a) Cripes, those teachers are always on holiday, it had to end some time!

(b) Oh for goodness sake, like anyone cares if they hand off our schools to all and sundry and pay them to run the schools, using our taxes, which they can cream off as profit.  Totally reasonable way to fund education.

(c) No

results

If you answered mainly (a) and (b) you need to do some more reading as you are showing signs of being slightly out of touch with reality.

If you answered ONLY (a) and (b) you are eligible to apply to join the ACT Party or its subsidiary entity, the National Party, and move to Planet Key where the golf courses are shiny and the toilets invisible.

If you answered ONLY (c) there is hope – you just have to make your voice heard.

Overpaid by Novapay? What To Do About Repayment

Overpaid and worried about paying it back?  What about the tax?  Will it all come out at once?  Will you be warned before it is taken back?

When it comes to working out what to do next, it does pay to go to the source…

An SOSNZ follower called the Ministry of Education to ask what will happen about repaying her overpaid wages.

First bit of good news – she reports that the MoE is open now for pay related queries.

Other good news us the MoE told her that those overpaid should just have to pay back the NET and they (MoE) should organise the tax –  phew

And finally, they shouldn’t take it out in one lump sum, as they said they’re not allowed to do that…

So if everything that should happen does, it will all be fine…

… as far as we can trust Novapay to do what they should do!

If in doubt call the MoE and if that doesn’t help, call your union.

Do tell me how it goes, and good luck…

~Dianne

Hekia, John, come out, come out, where ever you are…

Hekia, Hekia come out where-ever you are...

Hekia, Hekia come out where-ever you are…

Cock-up after cock-up, mess after mess, disgrace after disgrace.  Yes, it’s National’s Education policies.

Not satisfied with the shambolic technology teachers/class sizes debacle, nor the way they have flouted due process and in some cases the law (Salisbury School and Christchurch), and trying to ignore the Official Information Act, or even National Standards and league tables and – oh wait – let’s not forget NovaPay… no, not happy with those bouts of complete ineptitude, now we have Gangnam Key refusing to front up to the country and answer questions about the recent resignation of Education Secretary Lesley Longstone.

This is shameful.

I’m not going to argue that Longstone should have stayed.  But let’s face it, we all know she’s just the fall guy.

The resignation was given and accepted three weeks ago, and yet it was kept secret until after Parliament went into recess and both Longstone and Parata were on holiday.  How convenient.  And Parata, a Minister of the crown, refuses to pop her head above the parapet and say a word, like a kid found with her hand in the candy jar who decides keeping schtum is the best option despite being caught red handed.

Meanwhile Key is far too busy dancing on radio stations and having mock gay weddings to, well, do any actual Ministerial duties like, say, answering the millions of people of his country demanding to know what the hell is going on.

It really is too disgraceful for words.

Mr Key, Ms Parata, you cannot merely go into hiding and refuse to explain yourselves.  You are employees of the state, voted into government by the people, and the New Zealand public want answers.

Now grow up, front up, and stop being ridiculous.

——————————————————————

If you want to know more about National’s recent bunglings, see below:

OIA:  Parata’s mishandling of Official Information Act requests

Christchurch:  Chch teachers and principals call for a review after bungling of proposed changes to schools

Novapay debacle:  Staff still not paid properly, and it’s getting worse  and  Paying $11Million/hour?!

Salisbury School:  School closure deemed unlawful

Class Sizes:  Backdown on proposed changes to class sizes after National admit they calculated incorrectly!

League tables:  National standards are used to create league tables, despite data being shoddy.

The Ministry of Education Can No Longer Surprise Me With Stupid Decisions

I’ve been reading Twitterverse views on the Novapay debacle, and the general public are as amazed by it all as the political pundits, teachers and opposition parties.  See for yourself:

I actually can’t believe this is still going on. It’s appalling. You can’t not pay people properly for weeks on end.

Wow teacher from my uni FB group reporting #novapay stiffed her over $1000 #nopay

stacey hamilton ‏@runningwhio

I’m so glad the company I work for doesn’t use Novopay – pity the poor teachers who work so hard & are getting shafted #novopain

How bad does the #Novapay situation need to get before the Minister stops sending underlings to the media and fronts herself?

boonman ‏@boonman

Make payroll run smoother by sacking payroll staff… WHAT??!?!!!?

Idiot/Savant ‏@norightturnnz

If MP’s salaries were paid through Novopay, I bet it would be fixed by tomorrow.

Brenda Pilott ‏@PSAsecretary

@CitizenBomber  So naturally now is just the right moment for Ministry of Ed to restructure and cut the payroll support unit.

Zaryd Wilson ‏@ZarydW

Behind the game on this #Novapay story. What was wrong with the old pay system? #aintbrokedontfixit?

David Woodings ‏@MargeInovera

You can really appreciate that the MOE pay staff about to be sacked will have fixing Novapay as a priority eh?

Pip Keane ‏@pipkeane

Don’t despair. Associate Education Minister Craig Foss has sympathy for the school staff who haven’t been renumerated.

Chris Hipkins ‏@chrishipkins

In Ministry of Ed land, faced with a debacle of epic proportions, make the staff tasked with fixing the problem redundant. Pure genius…

Katie Brown ‏@katie_pai

Who designed, built and tested Novapay? Seems unbelievable that there are so many ongoing problems on such a crucial system

Thanks to KiwiNomad08 ‏@KiwiNomad08 for the title of the piece from their Tweet: The Ministry of Education can no longer surprise me with stupid decisions

***** STOP PRESS ******   Oooooh,just in…

kingjohn ‏@kingjohnkeyIII

BREAKING: Look ah. I’ve just appointed Novapay to handle Beehive payroll. NOT. ON. YOUR. NELLY.  Get back to work, lollygaggers.

Christchurch Schools Fight Back Over Closures

There is a real and deep sense of dismay in Christchurch that the government’s proposed school closures, mergers and relocations will have a huge negative impact of some communities.

Peter O’Connor, Associate professor at Auckland University’s Faculty of Education, says schools have been a key part in holding together small communities since the earthquakes, and their closure is likely to have a negative impact on those communities.  Principals, teachers, parents and other education experts agree.

Ouruhia Model School principal Mark Ashmore-Smith says they plan to fight the decision to close their small school.

Emma Goodin  says the school has been a place of normality and stability for her three children since losing their home in the quake. “I can’t believe for all that, for all I’ve been through in the last two years, they would pick a moment like this just to kick me when I thought that I was as down as I could go,” she says. (source)

A heart felt letter the the schools community from Burnside Primary School, Christchurch

A heart felt letter the the schools community from Burnside Primary School, Christchurch

Cantabrians are not going to give in without a fight, though.  Already there are protests, petitions, support pages on social media all up and running, and there are a number of  rallies planned.  A protest has been organised is being held on Wednesday at 5.30pm at the Bridge of Remembrance.

I will keep you abreast of events as the unfurl, and please do let me know of any events, petitions etc that I have missed.

Kia Kaha, Christchurch.

Now, go lend your support to Christchurch and those schools fighting back – every word of support means a lot:

https://www.facebook.com/SaveOuruhiaSchool

Save Freeville School – Whanau and community support page

Save Chisnallwood Intermediate – DO NOT CLOSE

https://www.facebook.com/groups/345053572254346/

Celebrate Suffrage- REBUILD WITH OUR VOTE

https://www.facebook.com/riseupchristchurch

Sources and further reading:

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/115889/fear-for-small-communities-over-school-closures

http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/christchurch-choice-and-charter-schools/

http://www.3news.co.nz/Christchurch-school-vows-to-fight-closure/tabid/423/articleID/269377/Default.aspx

http://www.3news.co.nz/The-communitys-view-on-Christchurch-school-closures/tabid/367/articleID/269236/Default.aspx

http://www.3news.co.nz/Christchurch-school-vows-to-fight-closure/tabid/423/articleID/269377/Default.aspx

http://www.rebuildchristchurch.co.nz/

http://www.rebuildchristchurch.co.nz/blog/2012/9/schools-close-and-merge-in-education-renewal-in-canterbury

 

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