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education policies

This tag is associated with 13 posts

About this government and education…

I’ll be honest, when it comes to education policy, I’m not enthralled with everything the Labour coalition government’s done so far.

In particular, I’m more than a bit annoyed about the piddling increase in schools’ ops budgets, and don’t get me started on not reinstating 100% trained teachers to Early Childhood Education (ECE). And the increase to Ongoing Resource Scheme (ORS) funding doesn’t cover the full need out there,  Teacher Aides are still being paid out of the operations budget (competing against the power bill and the money for loo rolls), and the teacher pay offer is galling. Very galling. But it would be madness to say this government isn’t an improvement on what we had for the last nine years.

Already this government in the process of getting rid of two of the hugest bones of contention for so many in the education sector – National Standards and Charter Schools. As soon as the government was formed, the announcements were made, and it’s moving as fast as the wheels of Government allow given that changes to the Education Act are needed.

The government’s also reviewing Tomorrow’s Schools to see if it’s fit for purpose, and looking at NCEA for the same reason, including inviting feedback from the education sector and the wider community. And school funding is being reviewed, too, to see if there are better ways than the current decile system, which everyone agreed for years is a blunt instrument but nobody had yet replaced. So they’ve acknowledged that changes may well be needed and they’re seeking feedback – this I like.

It also matters that the current Education Minister, Chris Hipkins, and the Associate Education Minister, Tracey Martin, both speak about teachers with respect. It seems like such a small thing, but after almost a decade of vitriol, it’s needed and it’s so very, very welcome.

So, yes, there’s a lot more to do, and we are entitled to gnash and wail about the pace and the bits not yet addressed. And we absolutely should continue to watch every move and hold our Ministers to account. But to say nothing’s changed would be wrong. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than what we had for almost a decade.

As Rita Pierson might have said, we ain’t there yet, but we’re on the road.

National Standards – which Parties will keep them and which will ditch them?

It’s election time again, but before choosing which Party to vote for, make sure you know what their education policies are – and pay attention to what isn’t mentioned, too.

This time we are looking at National Standards.

New Zealand Political Parties’ Policies on National Standards

Labour

“Labour will abolish national standards to return the focus to a broad and varied curriculum with the key competencies at the heart. Labour will ensure that the education system embraces and fosters essential skills and competencies such as attitude, communication, commitment, teamwork, willingness to learn, motivation, self-management, resilience and problem-solving.”

“Labour will abolish national standards and work with experts and stakeholders to develop a new system that better acknowledges child progress and focuses on the key competencies”

“Labour will scrap the current approach of measuring the success of schools by the number of students achieving national standards or NCEA, and will work with teachers, principals, parents, tertiary institutions and the Education Review Office (ERO) to develop more effective ways of evaluating the performance of schools”

“Labour will re-direct resources spent forcing “National Standards” on schools into teacher professional development programmes that assist students who are struggling”

Source

Green

“The Green Party will: Oppose the system of National Standards that was introduced in 2010, and remove the requirement for schools to report against them”

“The Green Party will: Work with teacher organisations to develop an assessment model or models that allow tracking of student progress against national data; to be used to inform further teaching and learning in partnership with students and their
families.”

“The Green Party will: Oppose the publication of league tables which rank schools on academic achievement.”

Source

NZ First

“New Zealand First would abolish National Standards and re-establish professional learning and development support for the quality delivery of our New Zealand Curriculum with monitoring as to children’s progress based on curriculum levels.”

“New Zealand First believes that all students need to be literate and numerate but does not believe that the black and white National Standards imposed on our primary school children are fit for purpose. Our national curriculum documents, the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, have identified curriculum achievement levels that are progressive and overlapping – children are not expected to achieve at the same level at the same time.”

“New Zealand First will: Abolish National Standards in their current form and work with the sector to establish robust assessment measures for individual students and to identify nationwide goals for primary education.”

Source

MANA

Mana will: “Replace National Standards with processes that help parents assess their child’s progress”

Source

TOP

TOP will: “Reduce assessment, giving more time for teaching and learning.”

“TOP will delay National Standards until Year 6”

Source

National

“National is [also] ensuring a better education through: Providing parents with better information through National Standards so they know how well their child is doing at school.”

Source

ACT

The ACT Party’s education policy does not mention National Standards.

Source

The Maori Party

The Maori Party’s education policy does not mention National Standards.

Source

United Future

United Future has no education policy on its web page.

Source

Edits/Corrections/Amendments

If you spot any errors or missing information relating to this post, please comment below and I will edit as quickly as possible.

Thank you,

Dianne Khan – SOSNZ

NZ Political Parties’ Charter Schools Policies

 

New Zealand Charter (or Partnership) Schools are private businesses that are fully funded by your taxes. They are funded at a higher rate than comparable state schools.

Charter Schools can employ untrained staff to work in classrooms as teachers.

Charter Schools are free to pay staff, advisors, etc whatever they choose. Charter schools need not declare pay levels or any other aspect of what their funding is spent on.

It is not possible to get use the Official Information Act to access information from a Charter School, as they are private businesses.

Charter Schools need not have parent representation on the Board.

With that basic overview done, here are the charter school policies of the main New Zealand political parties.

Party Policy on Charter Schools

ACT

Despite charter schools being driven by ACT,  their education policy web page has no mention of charter (or partnership) schools at all.

National

Despite bringing in the legislation for charter schools, the National’s education policy web page has no mention of them at all.

Labour

“We believe in a quality, comprehensive, public education system, not the corporatised, privatised system that the current government is driving us towards. Taxpayer funding for education should be directed towards learning and teaching, not creating profit-making opportunities for private businesses.”

“Labour will protect and promote our quality public education system by: Repealing the legislation allowing for Charter Schools”  (Source)

Green

“The Green Party will: Oppose charter schools, repeal the enabling legislation around charter schools, and maintain the current flexibility to support/create some state schools designated special character.” (Source)

NZ First

“New Zealand First is strongly opposed to “charter” or “partnership” schools; public funding for these privately owned profit making opportunities would be ended by New Zealand First.”

“New Zealand First will: Repeal the 2013 amendments to the Education Act 1989 that allowed the creation of Charter Schools.” (Source)

MANA

Mana will: “Cancel public private partnership contracts for schools and abolish the charter schools policy” (Source)

TOP

“Question: You seem to be staunchly against specialist schools like charter schools and even private schools. Shouldn’t parents have the right to do best by their child, and be less concerned about the plight of other less fortunate children?

Answer: You’d have a point if there was any evidence that these specialist schools are producing better overall results for their students. There is no such evidence. There is however strong evidence that ghetto-ising the residual schools is doing real damage to the students there, entrenching disadvantage and raising the costs to society of the rising inequality that results. There is a case for specialist schools or at least classes for children with special needs, or for children of various ethnic communities. But the trend under Tomorrow’s Schools of “affluent flight” shows no benefit and plenty of costs.

As for charter schools, they could easily be accommodated within the state system – there is no need for them to sit outside.”  (Source)

 

The Maori Party

The Maori Party’s education policy does not mention charter schools. (Source)

United Future

No school-level education policy at all can be found on the web page of United Future (Source)

Edits/Corrections/Amendments

If you note any errors or missing information relating to this post, please comment below and I will edit as quickly as possible.

Thank you,

Dianne Khan – SOSNZ

________________________

Edited 10/9/2017 3.34 to update TOP’s policy and add link.

NZ Political Parties’ Education Policies 2017

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s election year, and that means it’s time to look at the various political parties’ education policies.

So, because we are helpful souls here at SOSNZ, here’s a handy alphabetical list of NZ political parties with links to their education policies online (or, where no education policy is yet published, a link to their general policy page):

ACT Party Education Policy

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party Education Policy – none on party web page. Other policies are here.

Conservative Party Education Policy – none on party web page. Other policies here.

Green Party Education Policy

Internet Party Education Policy

Labour Party Education Policy

Mana Party Education Policy

Maori Party Education Policy – not on party web page. Other policies are here.

National Party Education Policy

New Zealand First Education Policy

The Opportunities Party (TOP) Education Policy

United Future Education Policy – none on party web page. Other policies are here.

vote for education

 

 

Education Policies of Main New Zealand Political Parties

vote blackboard

Here are the links to all main parties’ education policies.

Please take time to read them carefully, and be sure you vote for a party that is dedicated to a quality system that supports your vision for the future of New Zealand education.

National: https://www.national.org.nz/policies/education

Labour: https://www.labour.org.nz/sites/default/files/issues/labours_education_policy.pdf

Greens: https://home.greens.org.nz/policy/education

NZFirst: http://nzfirst.org.nz/sites/nzfirst/files/manifesto_2014_final_version_3.pdf

Maori: http://maoriparty.org/policies/education/

Mana Movement: http://mana.net.nz/policy/policy-education/

ACT: http://www.act.org.nz/posts/act-education-policy

Internet Party:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/11ZJ1BKSpZThGbxsrp8QKT1sOVOFom2CdntpQIHGKUnI/edit

Conservative: No policy on web site as at 5/9/14

 

Hipkins and Martin well received, Parata not so much – what happened at the Tick For Kids Education Forum 12.8.14

There was an air of excitement, tension and hope at last night’s Tick For Kids education forum in Wellington.  The room was packed, and people were very keen to hear what the parties’ representatives have to say about education policy.

Kiwis are no fools, though, with people well aware of what Chris McKenzie called the pre-election lolly scramble to present popular policy, only 10% of which we might see post-election.

Given what we have heard so far and what was presented at this forum, we can only hope that far more than 10% of the promises come to fruition should there be a change in government.

So, to the night.  

The panel comprised Hekia Parata (National), Chris Hipkins (Labour), Tracey Martin (NZ First), Peter Dunne (United Future), Chris McKenzie (Maori Party), Suzanne Ruthven (Greens), and Miriam Pierard (Internet-Mana) and was MCed very well by Dave Armstrong.

The candidates’ names were drawn from a bowl to determine the order in which they spoke – all very fair and orderly – and Armstrong made clear that people were welcome to mention each other, refer to other parties’ policies, and so on – unlike the shambles at Helensville the previous night.  That got a big giggle.

(Clearly the Helensville event wasn’t run by Tick For Kids, otherwise it would have been far more interesting and informative.)

First up was Chris McKenzie (Maori Party)

McKenzie outlined a credible background in education and then won a significant ripple of applause when he said the Maori Party will reinstate ACE (Adult and Community Education) funding.  

McKenzie also said they would make Te Reo compulsory and would look into the teaching of civics so that students understand the democratic process.  

Given I had spent 90 minutes the night before trying to explain that very thing to my babysitter, I could well understand the need for civics in the curriculum.  Maybe my high school colleagues can fill me in on what they feel is needed?

Peter Dunne (United Future) was up next 

Dunne spoke mostly in generalities, with lots of feel good stuff about great teaching and high expectations, saying he wouldn’t be more specific as United Future’s policy is not out until next week!  

He did, however, go out on a high note by stating UF would work to repeal charter schools.  

Cue more audience applause.

Hekia Parata (National; Education Minister) was the next to take centre stage

Hekia tfkWellyParata started by saying that student achievement had risen during National’s time in government and that now students are staying in school longer, saying that there was still more to do, especially for the neediest groups.

There was a wee round of clapping from one corner of the room.  I later spotted that group leaving with Ms Parata – whether anyone *not* in her entourage clapped, I cannot say for sure…

Parata then said that special education needs was a key area of focus, and this elicited mumbling from the audience, most of whom are no doubt well aware that SEN provision is diabolical and has only got worse under this government.  For my own part, it was all I could do to stay quiet and not shout “Tell that to Salisbury School!”

Parata continued on to say that Investing in Education Success (IES) policy would see to it that those issues are all addressed.  This did not go down well with the audience. There was muttering.

Parata ended with a flourish by pronouncing “decile is not destiny” and banging the lectern. It might have gone down well were it not for the fact that teachers KNOW THAT already and don’t take kindly to being patronised.  If she was waiting for a round of applause for her showmanship, she was disappointed.

And if showmanship is what was called for, we were in luck, because the next person to speak was Tracey Martin (New Zealand First), who always gives a clear and excellent speech.

Tracey Martin (New Zealand First)

Martin pulled no punches, opening by saying that teachers and the education system have been under constant attack by this government and it’s been relentless.  She listed what we have seen from National: increased class sizes, charter schools, national standards and more.  

Martin said parents were tricked into supporting (or at least not fighting) National Standards by the promise that they would be helpful, but said that’s not turned out to be the case.  

Tracey Martin tfkWellyMartin said that *if* Hekia Parata actually meant the things she said and did what she said, things would be far better, but she says one thing when she is means another.

In other words, the sales pitch doesn’t match what’s delivered.  

The audience seemed to agree, with a large clap and mutterings of “too right”.

There was no pause as Martin went straight into EDUCANZ and the assault on teachers’ democracy.  More clapping.

Martin then made absolutely clear that NZF would repeal both National Standards and charter schools.  Applause from the room.

She went on to say that the conversation about how to improve education needs to be given back to teachers, that the sector itself needs to be involved and listened to.  

She said change should be driven by teachers and facilitated by politicians, not the other way around.

Barely pausing for breath, Martin said Boards of Trustees (BOTs) would get compulsory training under NZF plans, ORS funding would increase to 3%, and there would be more money for special needs across the board.

This was all very well received by the audience, and Martin ended by saying (in a wee dig at Dunne) that New Zealand First’s education policy is already online, in full, and had been there for three months.  She urged us all to read it.  You should.

Suzanne Ruthven (Green Party)

Tracey Martin was a hard act to follow, but Suzanne Ruthven from the Green Party (who was standing in for Catherine Delahunty due to a family emergency) spoke to the effect of poverty on a student’s chances of success, said that education needed to be seen in its wider context, and outlined briefly the Green Party’s School Hubs Policy.  

Ruthven explained that School Hubs would be flexible, there was money there for a Hub coordinator so that teachers were not expected to run them on top of their workload, and that schools and communities to mould them in whatever ways best suited their own needs.

And now to Chris Hipkins (Labour)

Chris started by saying he got a top rate education in a state school, and thanked his maths teacher who he had spotted at the back of the room.

He won the crowd over further by quoting Beeby:

“…every person, whatever his level of academic ability, whether he be rich or poor, whether he live in town or country, has a right, as a citizen, to a free education of the kind for which he is best fitted, and to the fullest extent of his powers.” C E Beeby

Without a pause for breath, Hipkins said charter schools would be repealed under Labour. National Standards would be gone. IES would be gone.  School donations would be addressed. 

He then said the Advisory Service would be put back in place, and the audience erupted into applause and cheers.

He went on – ECE would be funded to 100% qualified staff – more clapping

– and EDUCANZ would be ditched – HUGE applause and cheers, again, from the audience.

Hipkins sat down with the clapping still going.

Miriam Pierard was next up

Pierard explainsed that until very recently she was a teacher, and she believes once a teacher always a teacher.  

It is, she says, time to take the education system back.

Pierard was clear that poverty and education need to be addressed together and that any government must work alongside teachers to find solutions.  She stressed that the Internet Party want to hear from teachers about what they believe needs to be done. 

Pierard reminds the crowd that ACT Party describe teachers as “vile” and says not all politicians feel that way.

Pierard ends by asking how many teachers in the room have been stuffed over by Novopay? Over half the hands went up.  There’s applause for the recognition of the scale of the problem. She nods, sagely.  

We all nod.  

And sigh.

And with that, the candidates’ speeches are over, and we are onto Question Time… which deserves a post all of its own….

________________________________________________

Other articles about the event:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10378693/Hekia-Parata-put-in-corner-at-debate

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11307961

https://storify.com/Dianne_Khan/tick-for-kids-education-forum-wellington-12-8-14

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/election-2014/252029/crowd-puts-tough-questions-to-parata

Investing in Education Success (IES) – the basics

question markThe government’s Investing in Educational Success plans are forging ahead with heated debate from all quarters on the merits and drawbacks of the proposals.

Here I will try to give the basic information on IES, so that you can get an understanding of the proposals and the issues and form your own view on whether IES might be a positive move for schools or not.

 

Background information

In late January, the Prime Minister announced that government would be investing $359m in education.

The announcement said this move was to raise student achievement.

The plans had not been discussed with teachers, unions, parents, or Boards of Trustees beforehand.

After the announcement, a Working Group was formed to give advice on how to progress the Investing in Educational Success initiative.

Hekia Parata has refused to rule out that the plans would be forcible implemented if unions fail to agree the proposals.

Working Group has now reported on Investing in Educational Success. The report is divided into two parts.  Part one contains the Working Group’s advice on the design and implementation of Investing in Educational Success. Part two provides advice and members’ independent background papers.

 

How Has IES Been Received?

The initiative has been received with caution.  Broadly speaking, it has been received less well by the primary school sector than the secondary school sector.

  • The scheme was met with concern from Taranaki principals, the New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) and the New Zealand Principals Foundation (NZPF). Source
  • Bay principals have come out against aspects of a policy aimed at increasing student achievement by raising teacher and principal salaries. Source
  • A proposed new policy aimed at improving student achievement could have the opposite affect, some North Shore schools say. Source
  • Fergusson Intermediate School Board of Trustees outlined their concerns, saying ” the government has not adequately engaged with or consulted Boards of Trustees on the initiative and its implications.”  Source
  • 22 Auckland Boards of Trustees outlines their concerns in a letter to the Minister.  Source
  • Parents do not feel confident that this plan is the best use of the money.  Source 1.  Source 2
  • PPTA’s point of view is that the consultation over IES was comprehensive, robust and genuine. Source
  • NZEI’s point of view is that

 

PPTA (secondary school teachers’ union) information:

  • Here you will find PPTA media releases, presentations and background papers on IES.

 

NZEI (primary school teachers’ union) information:

  • NZEI Video – How the Government Plan to Spend the $359 Million: An introduction to the Government’s new roles initiative (IES) – how it fits within the wider reforms and what it might mean for children, teachers and schools.
  • NZEI Video – IES – Responding to the new roles

 

Political Parties and IES:

The Labour Party declared at this weekend that they would get rid of IES.

The Internet Party have not yet outlined what they would do.

The Green Party does not explicitly mention in it their policy outline, but it seems they would replace it with their Community Hubs proposal.

Mana do not mention it in their education policy document.

National are, of course, in favour of IES, and Hekia Parata refused to rule out imposing it by force.

 

Other information:

A detailed overview of IES, the background to it, the conflicts between secondary and primary sectors, and other issues is discussed in detail here, by Martin Thrupp, Professor of Education at the University of Waikato.

 

Please feel free to add links to additional information, below, in the comments.

 

NZ Political Parties’ Education Policies – a guide

vote buttonAs it’s election year, you will want to know the education policies of the people clamouring for your vote.  The rhetoric and mainstream media reporting doesn’t always give a clear picture.  Mind you, policies sometimes don’t either… but it’s still a good idea to read, think and discuss them.

After reading, I’d love to hear what your thoughts are.  Is there anything more you would like to ask?  Anything you want to challenge? Anything you’re pleased to see, or think is missing?  Also, feel free to add your comments or links to additional party policies at the bottom.

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies below may be out of date.

 

ACT logoACT

While education for many children is among the best in the world, we have a well-known “long-tail” of underachievers, who become the next generation of under skilled, unemployed, disengaged citizens.  After 70 years of state controlled and mandated education, we have a situation where around 20% of our children left school last year unable to read or write sufficiently to fill out a job application.

ACT believes that if we continue to do what we’ve always done, we will continue to get the same results that we’ve always had.  The education system must do better for these New Zealanders.  What we have done for too long is run education as a centrally planned, Wellington-dictated bureaucracy that gives little autonomy to schools and little choice to parents.
Meanwhile, education policy in Australia, Sweden, parts of Canada and the United States, and Great Britain is showing the benefits of making education more market-like and entrepreneurial.  Such policies lead to a wider range of education opportunities being available.   ACT supports decentralisation in education, giving more autonomy to principals and teachers and more choice to students and parents.
In the last parliamentary term, with ACT’s pressure and support, the government:
 Introduced Aspire Scholarships, allowing disadvantaged children to access any school of their choice, public or private;
 Undertake a review of education in New Zealand, leading to the ACT Party’s minority report Free to Learn, a comprehensive roadmap for reforming education towards a more market-like and entrepreneurial service;
 Increase the subsidy for private schools, to reduce the extent to which those who send their children pay twice (once in taxes and once in school fees);
 Value the special education sector more, with a special education review resulting in new directions described in the report Success for All: Every school, every child.
ACT will keep working for a more vibrant and dynamic education system.  A Party Vote for ACT is a vote to:
 Continue awarding Aspire scholarships to underprivileged children;
 Increase the autonomy that local principals and staff have in running their school.  Boards and principals should be able, for example, to set teacher remuneration at their discretion like any other employer, rather than having a rigid, seniority based pay scale;
 Further increase the subsidy for independent schools so that parents who choose independent schools for their children do not lose so much of their child’s share of education funding;
 Encourage choice in assessment systems, whether they be NCEA, Cambridge International Examination, International Baccalaureate, or other qualifications.

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies here may be out of date.

 

Green party logoGreen Party 

Key Principles

  • A free education system that fosters participation, sustainability, equality and peace.
  • High quality teaching, learning environments, and curriculum that fosters peace in our communities.

Specific Policy Points

  • Ensure state schools are fully funded such that high quality education is not dependant upon fees, private donations, fundraising, nor private investment.
  • Increase the Operations Grant to reflect the real cost to schools of educating children.
  • Change the staffing formula to enable incremental reductions in class sizes, and improved teacher-child ratios in early childhood services.
  • Centrally fund all teacher and key support staff salaries.
  • Review the governance structure in Tomorrow’s Schools and trial alternative models of school governance.
  • Support pay parity for early childhood, primary and secondary educators.
  • Support the continued improvement of the NCEA, and work with teachers to review the three levels of NCEA assessment.
  • Retain and support local and rural schools.
  • Better and safer transport services to rural schools.
  • Set standards and guidelines for healthy food provided in schools.
  • Incorporate ecological sustainability into the core curriculum at all levels.
  • More funding for Maori language, immersion and bilingual programmes.
  • Work towards te reo and tikanga Maori being available to all learners.
  • Ensure that Correspondence School has the capacity to deliver quality education to its diverse students.
  • Use an independent authority for appeals in the case of enrolment, stand-downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions.
  • Allocate Special Education Grant based on numbers of enrolled children with special needs, and increase ORS funding.
  • Resource schools and Group Special Education to fulfill government obligations to children with special education needs.
  • Ensure schools have adequate provision to meet the needs of their ESOL students.
  • Establish support for networks of ‘not for profit’ early childhood services, including playcentre, kohanga reo, Pacific Island language nests.

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies here may be out of date.

 

Labour party logoLabour

Labour on dyslexia and learning difference

The Labour Party stands for an inclusive education system in which every New Zealander is given the opportunity to achieve to their full potential. We recognise that everyone is different, we all learn at different rates, and we all have different strengths and abilities.

Every school a great school
Every New Zealand child has the right to attend their local school and to have any individual learning needs they may have catered for at that school. Labour wants to ensure that every school is a great school, and every teacher a great teacher. We will invest heavily in teacher professional development, including programmes that equip teachers to cater to the diverse range of learning needs our students have.

Equal opportunity for all
Labour is increasingly concerned about the growing inequality within our education system. No one should have their options limited because of the part of society they are born into. Labour is committed to addressing the issue of child poverty.

Equal access to support 
We have been vocal in raising concerns about unequal access to Special Assessment Conditions for NCEA candidates and have made clear out commitment to ensuring that every student gets the support they need, regardless of what school they attend. No student should be denied access to SAC because their parents are unable to pay for the specialist assessments required to apply for it.

A change to special education funding
Labour is concerned that the current funding system for special education relies too heavily on individual learners meeting the criteria imposed by the system, rather than the system catering for the individual needs of each learner. We want to turn that around so that every student with an identified learning need gets the support necessary for them to achieve to their full potential.

Chris Hipkins
Education spokesperson
March 2014

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies here may be out of date.

 

National party logoNational

National’s unrelenting focus is on raising achievement for all our students.  Most of our kids are successfully getting the qualifications they need from school and going on to enjoy the opportunities a great education provides.  But our plan is about getting all of our kids achieving education success and raising achievement for five out of five.

We believe high-quality education is vitally important. It provides the opportunity for any child from any background to get ahead and make the most of their life. Research and experience show that providing an intensive package of support for students with complex needs in their local schools results in better outcomes for students.

National’s aim is to achieve a fully inclusive education system with confident schools, confident parents, and confident children.  We want to see all schools demonstrating inclusive practice.

The wraparound service approach supports the findings in the Special Education Review 2010, the Government’s key themes for special education, and the Ministry’s commitment to achieving inclusive practices through improved systems and support as outlined in the Positive Behaviour for Learning action plan.  This plan focuses on supporting parents and providing teachers in all schools with the skills and knowledge to deal with behavioural issues.

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies here may be out of date.

 

NZ first logoNZ First

UPDATED – Latest policy as at 5/9/14 is HERE: http://nzfirst.org.nz/sites/nzfirst/files/manifesto_2014_final_version_3.pdf

New Zealand First is very aware of the current lack of support for students with the educational challenges faced by those with Dyslexia.  And while there have been some steps towards providing support for these students at NCEA level.   It is our view that not only should these supports in the later educational years be strengthened but that these solutions must be delivered down into the earlier education years.

New Zealand First is a strong advocate for “front ending the spend”.  And I am currently working on a policy presentation around enhancing the collection of School Entry Assessment data so that children with educational needs can be identified earlier and provided with these supports, along the lines of the Finnish education system, earlier rather than later when damage to self-esteem has already taken place.

It is our view that it is inappropriate for any students family to have to privately fund an educational psychologists report in order for their child to access academic support for dyslexia.  At a recent financial review of NZQA I raised the topic of digital independence from human reader/writers for our NCEA students.  For example, a screen reader is an essential piece of software for a blind or visually impaired person which could be also be of use to those with dyslexia. Simply put, a screen reader transmits whatever text is displayed on the computer screen into a form that a visually impaired user can process (usually tactile, auditory or a combination of both).  It does not take a large stretch of the imagination to see that this technology could be used to “read” for those with dyslexia.  And the fact that there are several screen reader programmes that are free to the user and we see that cost now no longer becomes a factor.  What about the challenge of writing for our dyslexic students – well voice recognition has been around for a very long time now and with many schools moving to a “bring your own device environment”  a headset microphone and cool earphones should not even raise an eyebrow in a modern learning environment.

It is our view that National Standards has not identified anything new for these or other New Zealand students.  New Zealand Teachers were already aware of those children who were having difficulty due to a variety of reasons.  New Zealand First would have preferred to spend the close to $38 million budgeted to date for National Standards on the actual identification of children with challenges and providing the appropriate resources to support them participate to their best ability inside our schools.   While current and recent governments have finally acknowledged that Dyslexia exists they have taken no concrete steps to assist these students as early as possible through the appropriate resourcing of schools to support these students with identification testing (as you are aware dyslexia has an enormous range and require very individual assessment) and digital resources so that the student, at the earliest possible time in their development, can learn alongside their peers with pride, can meet success inside an educational environment that supports their specific challenge while celebrating the alternative and creative perspective these same students bring to the classroom environment.

Should New Zealand First have influence after the 2014 election this is an area we would seek to invest in. (end)

So there you go – the main parties’ policies and statements on education.  What are your thoughts after reading them?  Anything more you would like to ask?  Anything you want to challenge? Any other policies or information to add? Comment below.

If it inspires to you to ask more, or to share your thoughts, you can use these links to reach your local MP and the main NZ newspapers:

Click here for a list of  New Zealand MPs’ email addresses

Click here for email addresses of NZ Newspapers

And last but not least … do remember to VOTE.

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies here may be out of date.

 

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

Sources and further reading:

Party policy information and links

Labour Party – Education

My submission to Stuff Nation, by Boonman

“They are developing policies not to benefit children but to benefit those who wish to invest heavily in a privatised education system.”

Since the current National government slipped through a policy on charter schools as part of their deal with John Banks and the ACT Party, the education system in New Zealand has started to resemble a chaotic mess.

This chaotic mess was started not to benefit New Zealand children but to open the education system up to wholesale privatisation. It has nothing to do with education children or improving standards or anything of that nature. These current education policies are drawn directly from Neoliberal Education Policy 101. They are utterly ideological and utterly doomed.

Their policies are full of contradictions. On the one hand the government say teacher quality is the single most important contributor to student success yet they are allowing unqualified and unregistered teachers to front classes in charter schools….”

A brilliant letter to the editor by Boonman.  Read the rest here: My submission to Stuff Nation.

via My submission to Stuff Nation.

Education policies – what are the big issues?

stuff Stuff today discuss the government’s education policies in this piece, asking why education it such a big issue and what needs to happen in education policy to get your vote? Stuff is asking for responses from you, the public.

Their questions are:

  • What do you think are the biggest issues facing our education sector?
  • What do you think needs to be done to improve the educational standards of young Kiwis?
  • Is there a particular education issue that would swing your vote if it was addressed?

Click on this link to find the green button so you can respond.

My response is here:

Sadly, the biggest issue in education at the moment is how demoralised teachers are having been faced with a barrage of changes and policies that are not about improving education for our students but are about leading public education system towards privatisation. The policies are done without consultation with the education sector and without the backing of good research. In fact, the research is usually in direct contradiction to the policies being implemented.

If we are to improve the educational standards of young Kiwis, we need to train our teachers to the highest standards and continue to offer them excellent professional development throughout their careers so that are experts in their fields. We need better funded and more targeted help for our neediest students, with teacher aides, resources and specialist help readily available. This helps all pupils in the end. We also need to take seriously the effects of poverty, which has a huge impact.

The education policies of this government are heinous. They claim to be doing these things for the students, but in truth the policies have little or nothing to do with that and are more about gearing the public education system up for privatisation, just as is happening in England and the USA. And we all know how badly that’s going…

Click on this link to find the green button so you can respond.

You are the change

Education and the ACT Party

The Party of American Crackpot Theories, otherwise known as the ACT Party, holds its 2014 Party Conference this weekend.

The Johns

The Johns

The Quality Public Education Coalition (QPEC) has put together a handy set of pointers to help reporters covering the conference to get to the “nitty gritty” of ACT’s Education policies.

1. Let’s call a spade a spade
ACT hides behind the nice phrase “Choice” when it talks about the charter school model imported from the USA. But Choice is just the euphemism used in America to describe the privatisation of public education. Why don’t they come clean and call it that so we can see what they really mean?

Diane Ravitch, US Education Commentator and author of “Reign Of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools”:

“Reformers don’t like to mention the word “privatisation”, although this is indeed the driving ideological force behind the movement. “Choice” remains the preferred word, since it suggests that parents should be seen as consumers with the ability to exercise their freedom to leave one school and select another. The new movement for privatisation has enabled school choice to transcend its tarnished history as an escape route for Southern whites who sought to avoid court-ordered desegregation in the 1950s and 1960s.”

Rodney Hide op-ed Herald, 18 August 2013: “Magic wand wasted on John Key”

“If you could wave a wand and change overnight one policy to make our country better, what would it be? Mine would be to privatise all schools. I would kick government totally out of anything to do with the schooling of children.

 

2. New Zealand already has loads of “Choice” within our education system.
Two comments by Marc Tucker of the National Center on Education and the Economy in the USA:

“The country with the most aggressive school choice system in the world is probably New Zealand.” Source: Washington Post, 12 October 2012.

“New Zealand has embraced choice as a value and has developed policies that provide widespread choice for parents and students among public schools. But there is no evidence that these choice and market mechanisms have improved student performance overall and the research that has been done appears to show that there was greater inequality in student performance after such systems were installed than there was before they were introduced. ” Source: Edweek blog: “Choice and Markets: Theory and Practice”, 28 September 2012.

The Treasury ideology of the 1980s drove the introduction of the quasi-competitive model known as “Tomorrow’s Schools”. Add in the State-Integrated, Kura, Special Character and others and we have a host of choices available. But does it work? Has more choice improved student achievement?

3. Where is the Isaac Report?
Former ACT Party President, Catherine Isaac, was the perfect political choice to head the NZ Model of Charter School Working Group. She was paid $33,890.31, including reimbursed expenses.

But WHERE is her report?

What has guided the introduction of the charter school concept into New Zealand, when we already have so much “Choice” available? Where is the evidence to support claims that charter schools in New Zealand will lead to better outcomes for students?

Evidence: OIA request response from the Ministry of Education, dated 8 August 2013:

“The Working Group did not produce any reports, advice or recommendations to the aforementioned Ministers. However, their views were captured in four documents that were produced by the Ministry of Education.”

4. “Choice” just doesn’t work – and that’s official!
Andreas Schleicher of the OECD in a UK interview, 3 December 2013:

“My organisation [the OECD] is very strong on choice, enabling citizens to make choices, and you would expect that systems with greater choice would come out better. But in fact you don’t see that correlation… Competition alone is not a predictor of better outcomes. The UK is a good example – it has a highly competitive school system but it is still only an average performer.

Our data doesn’t show much of a performance difference between public and charter and private schools once you account for social background.”

Bill Courtney
Quality Public Education Coalition
27 February 2014
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2012/10/12/why-the-market-theory-of-education-reform-doesnt-work/
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2012/09/choice_and_markets_theory_and_practice.html
http://news.tes.co.uk/b/news/2013/12/03/uk-shows-great-school-choice-does-not-equal-higher-standards-according-to-pisa.aspx

Anne Tolley’s Promises Were Worth Nothing… Beware Parata’s…

Today I found a 2009 article by Anne Tolley, responding to what she terms as scaremongering about the then proposed National Standards.

She says “our pupils are among the best in the world. But international studies show that the gap between our highest and lowest performing pupils is getting wider.”

  • On the contrary, the latest report has us still amongst the best.  Unlike the UK and USA and many other countries, we have not slipped down the listings, but held our own and remain in the top 6 countries.   What has changed, in the past two years, however, is the gap between richest and poorest.  Interesting that we never get much commentary from Anne or Hekia or John on how that affects our kids’ learning.

Anne goes on to tell us “There have been hysterical claims that we are no longer investing in subjects such as art and the sciences. Wrong again.”

  • The attempt to cut a huge number of technology teachers this year was only thwarted by a huge public outcry.  It was found at that time that the Ministry of Education’s calculations were wrong on many levels, and they had not even worked out how the cuts would truly affect schools.  That give you faith, doesn’t it?  The only reason those cuts did not go through is thanks to parents, teachers and unions voicing their  outrage.

Anne’s next foray against people with concerns about her education policies was to assure us that there were no plans to close schools:  “Or how about schools being identified as failing and being forced to close? Complete nonsense. Additional funding will be made available to those schools that need support.”

  • Charter Schools.  Am I missing something here, Anne, but within less than two years the plan now is to close failing schools and re-open them as Charter Schools with untrained and unqualified staff, no requirement to follow the curriculum OR report National Standards to the Ministry, and they can run for profit.  I think maybe you should check the mirror right now and see if your nose has started to grow yet.

Just in case your nose is still the same size, you went on to say “Results being used to give performance pay to teachers? Rubbish.”

  • How DARE you talk about educators scaremongering and be so dismissive of our concerns.  This week, not two years later, and as soon as the first National Standards were in,  Hekia Parata said “Performance pay has been raised. I’m keen to see it located in a context of overall quality management in schools.”   Do you really expect us to believe we were not right about that concern in the first place.   Shame on you.

Next Tolley quote “League tables? Never on the agenda”

  • I don”t think I need to say anything there.  Your own web site and the newspapers show this to be totally wrong.
  • How’s your nose doing?

In a triumphal conclusion to her acerbic article, Tolley crows “Those who have spoken out against the standards will continue to do so. By all means, have your say. But please get your facts straight and stop trying to mislead parents.”

  • Really?!

How about you and your government stop trying to mislead parents.  

You stop scaremongering.  

You get YOUR facts straight.

Best check that nose now, Anne, because at this point it may well need a bloody good sanding down.

~ SOSNZ

Further reading

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/3108071/Sorting-out-the-facts-from-the-fiction-about-national-standards

http://www.nzei.org.nz/site/nzeite/files/primary%20teachers//performance%20pay.pdf

http://www.oecd.org/edu/eag2012.htm

http://download.ei-ie.org/Docs/WebDepot/EI_Analysis_EAG2012_non-official.pdf

SOSNZ – The goals


The goal of Save Our Schools NZ is to protect and promote quality education by recognising the challenges of poverty and of unnecessary education policies that hinder good teaching and effective learning.

We aim to share information about education policy, changes, and resources for parents and teachers in New Zealand, so that we can stay informed and, where necessary, take action to effect change.

Follow Save Our Schools NZ on WordPress.com

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