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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

When young children know they are being graded…

This is a 7 year old child.  Here she is feeling the pressure to be great, to excel, to not get left behind, not be put in extra help.  She has internalised the message that she is being graded – you have to get everything right. Her mother has told her it’s okay to leave the problem, but she won’t. Is this what education is about? Her mother thinks not, I think not, what about you?

Something is seriously wrong when 7 year olds areinternalising educational pressures this way.

Something is seriously wrong when 7 year olds are internalising educational pressures this way.

This child’s mother writes:

This is my daughter … I want to take a moment to explain this image so as those who do not know me, can understand how this image came to be. 

I am a photographer, a hobby farmer, a child advocate and a mother of 3 elementary-aged children. This is my middle child in the photo … she is 7 and is in 2nd grade. My kindergartner and my 4th grader were already finished with their homework and had left the table. I had brought my camera in to work on my white balance skills while shooting in low light as I had a session the next morning to prep for. 

After checking her work, I had found 2 math problems were incorrect. I tried to help her understand where she went wrong through her process but I don’t understand it myself and was not much help. 

I told her to forget about it and we’d try again tomorrow but she became very upset that she could not get the answer and kept trying and trying to fix it. She is hard on herself as she very much wants to excel in school and not be pulled for extra help all of the time. I was talking to her and clicking my camera as I changed settings … it’s something that is very common in our household … and that is when I caught this image. 

Please know that 5 minutes later I had convinced her to leave the homework behind and go snuggle with her dad on the couch and watch some Olympics coverage. She is not neglected. She was not abused or left alone to cry. And this photo was not staged.

This is America with the Common Core.  It will be here in New Zealand soon if we continue to focus only on standards and benchmarks for our primary school children.

Let them learn.  Let them enjoy.  Let them grow.

‪#‎truth‬
https://www.facebook.com/groups/BadAssTeachers/

National Standards reports are failing kids

national standardsNational Standards are proving so negative for kids that at least one school is issuing separate reports to parents to give a truer picture of how their child is doing, the Green Party revealed today.

Thousands of parents are this week receiving end of year National Standard reports. Collingwood Area School will send the National Standard reports but is also issuing thoughtful reports that reflect each child’s achievement more accurately.

“National Standard reports coming home to mums and dads around New Zealand this week are baffling to many parents as they don’t actually reflect how their children are doing, or even whether they have a good grasp of the subject,” Green Party education spokeswoman Catherine Delahunty said today.

“Collingwood Area School has made the sensible decision to work around National Standards and continue to give families better information about their kids’ achievements,” Ms Delahunty said.

Collingwood Area School send the National Standards reports home separately and they are addressed to parents leaving it up to them whether to share the information with their children or not. They issue separate reports that give more information which are more useful to share with children.

“Students who have made leaps and bounds in a subject but have not reached an arbitrary standard are labelled a failure by National Standards,” Ms Delahunty said.

“Schools like Collingwood don’t want their kids demoralised when they’ve worked hard to improve, they want that effort recognised and the kids given a positive sense of achievement. Being told you are a failure is not motivation to do better.

“This school is doing this extra work on reporting because of feedback from teachers and parents at the school are very supportive of the approach.

“It’s great that individual schools are being so innovative but really the Government should be making it easier for them to get good information to parents, not making it harder.

“I have spoken to parents, intelligent educated people, who struggle to understand their kids’ National Standards reports and have had to make appointments with principals to decipher what they mean.

“The Green Party will ditch National Standards and requirements for schools to report against them. National Standards don’t recognise that schools already know how to report and measure and it is high quality teaching that will improve educational achievement – let’s put the energy into that,” Ms Delahunty said.

PISA 2012 – Ministry’s main observations

OECD PISA logoSo, the PISA results are in, and everyone is jumping in to claim they prove their point somehow.

Fair enough, I understand that – I am passionate too, and immediately want to know what the results do or do not tell us about how NZ is doing, educationally.

But surely it’s a time to read, reflect, research, and discuss the findings and the study itself, and try to eke out something meaningful form it, rather than just jump in and score Brownie points?

The goal is to see where we can improve things for our learners, after all.

Below are the Ministry’s main take away points from the study, copied verbatim from their web site.

I am going to refrain from commenting or adding my own observations or thoughts for now, as I would rather people read them with an open mind and ask questions of them.

Here goes – get your thinking caps on:

In New Zealand, over 5,000 students (4,291 for core PISA subjects, 958 for financial literacy) from 177 schools took part in the study, in July 2012.

  • New Zealand students scored above the OECD average in mathematics, reading and science.
  • Australia had similar scores in mathematics and reading but had a higher science score.
  • New Zealand student performance remained relatively stable up to 2009. Between 2009 and 2012 performance in mathematics, reading and science declined.
  • The proportion of New Zealand students (below Level 2) increased between 2009 and 2012 in mathematics and science (eg, up from 15% in mathematics in 2009 to 23% in 2012). These are students who struggle to do mathematics or science and whose lack of skills is a barrier to learning.
  • Students who achieve Level 5 or 6 have advanced skills in mathematics, reading or science. In particular, New Zealand has a high proportion of students who are top performers in reading (14%).
  • New Zealand has a relatively high proportion of all-rounder students who are top performers across mathematics, reading and science even compared to the top performing countries (21% are top performers in at least one subject area and 8% are “all rounders”).
  • New Zealand has a relatively large proportion of both top performers (Level 5 and 6) and low performers (below level 2) in mathematics. In addition, New Zealand is counted among the 10 PISA countries and economies with the widest spread of achievement in mathematical literacy.
  • New Zealand students demonstrated relative strength in the mathematical area of uncertainty and data (statistics) and weaker achievement in space and shape (geometry and measurement). Their performance on change and relationships(aspects of algebra) and quantity (number and measurement) was close to the overall New Zealand average for mathematics.
  • Overall boys did much better than girls in mathematics, girls continued to do better than boys in reading and there was very little difference in science.
  • Overall New Zealand European/Pākehā and Asian students scored above the OECD average in mathematics and Māori and Pasifika students scored below the OECD average. However, students from all ethnic backgrounds attained scores right across the achievement spectrum.
  • The average scores in mathematics for boys and girls and for New Zealand Pākehā/European, Māori and Pasifika students all declined between 2009 and 2012, but there was no change for Asian students.
  • Overall, New Zealand is a country characterised by relatively high achievement (when compared to the OECD average) but the distribution of student performance shows that we have relatively low equality (equity) in learning outcomes.
  • New Zealand is a country where the variability of student PISA mathematics scores within a school is high while the variability in scores across schools is relatively low. However, the variability in scores across schools is increasing.

I’d love to hear others’ observations, in the comments below or on the Facebook page.

Regards, Dianne

____________________________________________________________

Sources:

http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/series/2543/pisa-2012/pisa-2012-top-line-results-for-new-zealand

http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/series/2543/pisa-2012/what-is-pisa

Other reading:

https://saveourschoolsnz.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/latest-oecd-findings-point-to-major-failure-of-government-education-policies/

https://saveourschoolsnz.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/oecd-pisa-scores-which-countries-are-beating-nz/

https://saveourschoolsnz.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/a-strangely-schizophrenic-stance-on-nz-education/

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Untrained Teachers Wanted For Failing School

This is how it goes: the government trumpets a new-fangled fabulous school system, throw money at it, the schools themself say how great they are, and then they are found to be failing.  Not just doing okay, but failing.

This is what people are fearful will happen in New Zealand, with charter schools,

The South Leeds Academy in England is an example of where it can all go wrong. The charity running the school says it has “a proven track record of securing transformational change and sustainable school improvement”.  However, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools Lord Nash lambasted the school for its “unacceptably low standards of performance of pupils”.

But maybe they are going to up their game?

Well it’s not looking promising, because to add insult to injury, after they were found to be failing, they advertised for two new maths teachers with this as their criteria:

unqualified maths teachers

Yes, that’s right – apparently all you need to teach maths to high school students is a GCSE (equivalent to NCEA1).  This is to teach students who you would hope to gain higher than NCEA1 in maths.  Huh?

And sadly this is evident in many charter schools, free schools, academies, or whatever you want to call them, worldwide.  It happens in the USA, in Britain, in Sweden.

Those pushing to allow unqualified teachers argue they are for the benefit of students.  Yet the Stanford University report Inequality in Teaching and Learning states that “The fact that the least-qualified teachers typically end up teaching the least-advantaged students is particularly problematic.”

Observers note that allowing unqualified staff is not about getting “top professionals such as engineers to become teachers [but] about teaching on the cheap.”

Now tell me again we have nothing to worry about…

_____________________________________

Sources:

http://storify.com/teacherROAR/does-being-good-at-sudoku-count

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/outrage-as-failing-south-leeds-academy-seeks-unqualified-maths-teachers-8957741.html

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/mar/31/schools-hiring-unqualified-teachers-money

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/26/poor-schools-continue-to-_n_788609.html

http://www.stanford.edu/~ldh/publications/LDH-Post-Inequality.pdf

 

 

 

Minister disingenuous about National Standards support funding

Minister of Education, Hekia Parata, is being economical with the truth regarding the support now being given to support priority students and schools, says QPEC National Chairperson, Bill Courtney.

national standards“The National Party propaganda material, sent to every household in February 2010, clearly stated that $36 million in additional funding was to be targeted at struggling students, and this was a key plank of the controversial policy’s introduction”.

This amount had been set aside as early as the 2009 Budget.

Anne Tolley told parliament, in response to a question from National MP Allan Peachey, that “The $36 million will go towards new intervention programmes currently being developed for students who need extra support in reading, writing and maths.” (Questions for Oral Answer no. 8, 16 September 2010).

But when the big day finally arrived, John Key and Hekia Parata announced on 26 August this year that only $27 million was to be invested in initiatives aimed at priority children.

Furthermore, many of the programmes to be funded included initiatives in place for many years, such as the $8 million earmarked for Ka Hikitia, the Māori Education Strategy first launched in 2008, and the Pasifika Education Plan.

It is clear that the students in most need of support are being short changed by a government hell bent on ideology rather than pursuing what we know works.

The funding commitment of $19 million to develop only 5 charter schools educating a total of less than 800 students is an insult to the students, parents and teachers of the schools who most need our support.

But the last straw was the announcement that a second round of charter schools is to take place before the “pilot” has even begun, let alone been evaluated.

QPEC reiterates its stance that National Standards is conceptually flawed, badly designed and poorly implemented. The data gathered from this system is neither valid nor reliable as an indicator of student achievement or school quality.

The negative impacts of National Standards are beginning to outweigh the positives and the students most deserving of our support are being sold out.

_____________________________

More from QPEC: http://qpec.xleco.com/

When a teacher’s hands are tied…

There is no greater pain for a teacher than not being able to help their students.

No, I lie.  There is one worse pain, and that  is when they are banned from helping their students.

You want to see just how far down the road of madness neoliberal educational policies can lead us?  Look no further than this amazing piece by Dylan Garity.

He says it better than I ever could.  Just click the pic and watch…

Dylan Garity - Rigged Game - poetry slam

inBloom, Ed-Fi, Cloud Computing, China, Nazi-Germany and the new Eugenicists

If you don’t see how things are going, how we are being filtered more and more into a Brave New World, then read this and start your brain a-thinking.

“Today instead of the Rockefeller Foundation funding eugenics programs with have the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation funding inBloom, a database that can be used to capture information on potential test subjects. We have Pearson conducting field tests on millions of children without their parents’ permission or knowledge. We have Michael and Susan Dell running a rival database called Ed-Fi that operates identically now, to the way inBloom is trying to operate in the future. We have the Walton family, heirs to the Wal-Mart fortunes, funding a pared down pauper’s education to the masses, so they are easier to control and convert into future Wal-Mart employees and customers. The Koch brothers have influence over PBS (the Public Broadcasting System) which in theory is a media watchdog that only theoretically keeps watch over our liberties and infringement upon the same. All other media sources are beholden and censored by corporate and government interests, save independent bloggers who are now under siege by these government and corporate interests seeking to silence us so you only get a single “sponsored” narrative.”

Crazy Crawfish

Believe it or not, these concepts and words are all related. inBloom and Ed-Fi are two vendors that use cloud computer to store massive quantities of student data (the Louisiana is currently doing business with.) The information these vendors plan on storing will be used to classify, sort and allocate children by their skills and early proficiencies, much as they do in Communist China. It’s no coincidence that many education reformers point to China as an example of education success and something to emulated, not shunned despite what many Chinese themselves thinkEugenicists advocated the conscious elimination of “inferior” human being from the gene pool and promotion of the superior specimens. Eugenics is generally considered a discredited and bankrupt philosophy and social movement, pioneered by a cousin of Charles Darwin – seeking to apply his relative’s research in what he considered a productive manner, but which most of us would…

View original post 2,415 more words

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?

Ponderings on Gates, Murdoch, data mining, and National Student Numbers

Gates and Murdoch like to say their interest in education is because their big hearts mean they really must help the poor wee kiddies learn better.

Funny how they weren’t so interested until profit could be made, but hey, I’m just a bit cynical these days.

And it’s no wonder I am when you learn about things like this…

Data Mining

Gates and Murdoch have managed to wangle access to a huge field of very personal and incredibly detailed data from whole US school districts for every single child.

inBloom Wireless Education meme

What other info does inBloom collect?  Have a look for yourself right here on their web site.

Crimminy, that’s a whole lot of information they have about these kids.

Would you be happy to know the school district was handing over information about your child to a private company?

Name, address, all qualifications, how, where and when you were educated and by whom.  Yes, your teachers, teacher aides, home tutor, teacher assistant, family member that taught you, all listed.

Attendance?  Yes, all logged, including the category of ‘tardy’.  This is from first grade, as if a child that age is in charge of what time they reach school.

Had some trouble in school?  Whether it’s a violation or a breach of the school’s code of conduct, it’s there, including close detail about where it occurred.  Also a detailed record of any weapon type. That’s just plain spooky. Why does a private company need to know that?  The police and the school, yes.  Parents and carers, yes.  inBloom?  Not so much.

Your child has a disability?  Excellent, we’ll have that information too, thank you very much, and here are the inBloom categories:

  • Autistic/Autism
  • Deaf-Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Developmental Delay
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Hearing/Auditory Impairment
  • Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities
  • Mental Retardation
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Speech or Language Impairment
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Traumatic Brain Delay
  • Visual Impairment

I am not a numberOpting Out

You want to opt out?  You want to keep your information private?  Tough bananas.  As one parent said:

“I have emailed and called [State Commissioner] John King’s office over 40 times the past month refusing to consent to allow the DOE to transfer my children’s personal information into inBloom to be bought and sold around the world…”  He was told there was no option to opt out.  None. Your data, but not your choice.

Another concern is that the data is held in the cloud and its security cannot be guaranteed, but there’s nothing these parents can do about that, either.

It seems that the data is not yours even when it about you or your child.

Your child has been filed, stamped and indexed. Your child is a number.

So, why would a private company be mining this data?  

This is not the education system or health system or even the police collecting all of this information.  This is a business.

Just think about that for a minute.

They have your address, your email, sex, language, everything.

Great for targeted marketing, don’t you reckon.  Students are such great potential consumers.

As Diane Ravitch said “If anyone thinks for one New York minute that the purpose of creating this database is simply for the good of teachers and students then that person is credulous in the extreme.”

What about Aotearoa?

Well, from this year all Kiwi kids will have a National Student Number from the day they enter into education, and students cannot be opted out.

The Ministry of Education’s website says that “The National Student Number (NSN) is a unique identifier that can be used by authorised users for the following approved purposes:

  • monitoring and ensuring a student’s enrolment and attendance;
  • ensuring education providers and students receive appropriate resourcing;
  • statistical purposes;
  • research purposes; and
  • ensuring that students’ educational records are accurately maintained.”

It goes on to say that all other uses are prohibited, as if that should make us feel safe.  But since Gates and Murdoch use their systems as a way to collect student statistics and do (dodgy?) research, that’s hardly reassuring, is it?

The web site also tells us that the NSN “facilitates the collection and management of core identity information about a student in a central location” and that “[a]dditional authorised users can be added by regulation”.

So here’s the big question: Are we being lined up for a bit of Gates’ and Murdoch’s data mining jiggery pokery, too?

One to keep a very close eye on,

~Dianne

So, Swedish Charter Schools Are Great, Are They…?

schools closedKiwi supporters of charters, such as Catherine Isaac, often trot out Swedish charters as proof that the concept is the bee’s knees and will bring awe-inspiring improvement for low achievers.*

It’s all the more interesting then, to read that “One of Sweden’s largest free school operators has announced it will shut down, leaving hundreds of students stranded“.

19 schools will be sold, three closed**, leaving hundreds of students having to find new schools in the most important education years of their lives.

Why are they closing?

Because “Danish private equity group Axcel, which bought the chain in 2008, decided it could no longer continue to cover the company’s losses.”

This is what happens when you allow for-profit schools – if they can’t make enough moolah, they bail out.

Tough luck to the students.

Because they are not in it for education, they are in it to make money.

Compare that to Christchurch public schools who fought to carry on through quake after quake, caring for their students and communities no matter what.   Staff who lost their homes, still turning up to work.

Compare that to Novopay.  Staff not being paid correctly, some not paid at all – not a single cent.  Some unpaid for months.  And yet on they went.

Why?  Because they became teachers to educate children, and they care about their students.  Simple as that.

Kiwis should take note of the warning from Sweden to the UK  “not to slavishly adopt the Swedish model, where private companies can set up profit-making free schools, paid for by the state but with little government oversight.”

Because this is where it can lead:  students without schools.

~Dianne

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

* for more on why Swedish schools are not the bee’s knees, read these…

OECD PISA scores – who is beating NZ?  

Dear Dr Sharples…

NACT facts – random information and spin

UK Free schools – how are they faring?

** Update – possibly four closed.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2013/may/31/free-schools-education

Open Letter to Parliament regarding charter schools

Updated version of letter (as of 10th june 2013)

More than 50 representatives of groups the government says charter schools will help have signed a joint statement saying they don’t want them.

Signatories include spokespeople for the Māori and Pasifika communities, IHC, Every Child Counts and the Child Poverty Action Group, as well as academics, principals, teachers, psychiatrists and members of parliament.

Group spokesperson Waikato University Professor of Māori Education Russell Bishop has recently returned from the United States where he observed the charter school experiment first hand.

He described charter schools as “part of the problem, not part of the solution”.  He described the initiative as “a serious wrong turn for education” that exploited vulnerable children.

Attached (and below) is the letter and full list of signatories.

————

Dear Minister

Investing in what works

Everyone agrees that all children should receive the education that meets their needs: that engages, motivates and supports them to learn to their full potential. In Aotearoa we have the knowledge to make this happen, but sadly it seems that we sometimes lack the political will.

This government’s charter school plans are a distraction from investing more in what we know works for the young learners we represent and work with. Some of these things include increasing opportunities for bi-lingual education, supporting high quality te reo learning in kura and mainstream settings, programmes such as Te Kotahitanga and the various AIMHI initiatives. While the government has recently announced more resourcing for some of these, others have had funding withdrawn or frozen.

Charter schools will also take the focus away from developing the special character and Kura Kaupapa Maori models which already give New Zealand state schooling unprecedented flexibility. These models need more support, more opportunity to share good practice and innovation, and not to be undermined by the latest, politically driven fad.

Charter schools are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

On the advent of the government passing the charter schools legislation, we express our deep concern that this initiative is a serious wrong turn for education.  The legislation allows for-profit and foreign-owned organisations to set up schools. It permits unqualified people to replace qualified and registered teachers and principals.  It removes the right of parents to take part in school governance.  And it takes no account of how new charter schools may impact on existing schools.  There is a serious concern that in the process of introducing charter schools, groups of students are being put at risk.

Charter schools exploit vulnerable children.

Charter schools are not the solution for New Zealand’s most vulnerable learners. Overseas, charter schools have not raised achievement for children who need it the most. For example the US-based KIPP (Knowledge is Power Programme) charter schools which have been held up as a successful example, have a “push-out” rate of 40% for African American boys before Grade 8 (Year 9). This is the opposite of what we need in New Zealand for our Maori andPasifika boys.

Our most vulnerable learners need more assistance, not less. They need schools responsible directly to parents; they need trained and qualified teachers who are supported in an ongoing manner by effective professional development that has shown results; they need their schools to provide information when parents request it; their parents need access to the Ombudsman.

Why would these most vulnerable of children get less than every other child in New Zealand and why would they be subject to being profited from just because they are deemed to be struggling? Don’t experiment on children; do what works.

Yours sincerely

Professor Russell Bishop

Professor of Māori Education

Faculty of Education

University of Waikato

Dr Damon Salesa

Associate Professor

Department of Pacific Studies

University of Auckland

Deborah Morris-Travers

Manager

Every Child Counts

Trish Grant

Director of Advocacy

IHC

Dr Tamasailau Suaalii-Sauni

Senior Lecturer

Pacific Studies & Samoan Studies Programmes

Vaaomanu Pasifika Unit

Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Peter Brunt

Art History

School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies

Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Teresia Teaiwa

Senior Lecturer and Post-Graduate Coordinator

Pacific Studies

Victoria University of Wellington

Ann Milne

Principal

Kia Aroha College

Philip Harding

President

NZ Principals’ Federation

Dr Leonie Pihama

Senior Research Fellow

Te Kotahi Research Institute

University of Waikato

Dr Jenny Lee

Head of School

Te Puna Wananga

University of Auckland

Dr Mera Penehira

Lecturer

Te Puna Wananga

University of Auckland

Ngaropi Cameron

Ronald Ngata, BSS (Hons)

Maryann Lee

Educational Designer

Centre for Educational Design and Development

University of Auckland

Ani Mikaere

Kaihautu of Te Whare Whakatupu Matauranga

Te Wananga o Raukawa

Angeline Greensill, LLB, TTC

Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

University of Waikato

Helen Te Hira

Dr Amohia Boulton

Senior Researcher

Whakauae Research for Māori Health and Development

Whanganui

Dr Robert Gregory

Adjunct Professor of Political Science

School of Government

Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Wally Penetito

Retired Professor of Education

Te Kura Māori

Faculty of Education

Victoria University of Wellington

Metiria Turei

Member of Parliament

Co-Leader of the Green Party

Lesley Rameka

Senior Lecturer

Educational Psychology and Pedagogy

Faculty of Education

Victoria University of Wellington

D. Cindy Kiro

Head of School Te Kura Māori

Victoria University of Wellington

Seth Brown, DPhil

Senior Lecturer

Institute of Education

Massey University

Dr Jenny Boyack

Massey University

Steve K.W. Lang, PhD

Senior Lecturer

Institute of Education

Massey University

Dr Tim Burgess

Senior Lecturer: Mathematics and Statistics Education

Institute of Education

Massey University

Brian Finch, EdD

School of Educational Studies

Institute of Education

Massey University

Dr Roberta Hunter

Massey University

Dr Michael Irwin

Institute of Education

Massey University

Auckland

Dr Tracey-Lynne Cody

Lecturer Arts Education & Initial Teacher Education

Massey University

Dr Peter Rawlins

Senior Lecturer

Institute of Education

Massey University

Le’aufa’amulia Asenati Lole-Taylor

Member of Parliament

Dr Kama Weir

Institute of Education

Massey University

Maurice Walden

Wellington Tenths Trust Board Member

Damon Heke

Te Taitonga Kapa Haka Trust

Kapa Haka Tutor, Community Liason

Kelly Henare-Heke

Te Taitonga Kapa Haka Trust

Kapa Haka Tutor, Community Liason

Dudley Adams

Clendon Park School

Deputy Principal

Avele Tanielu

Teacher in Charge of Samoan Language

Papatoetoe High School

Penelope Togiatama

Pasefika Liason

Papatoetoe High School

Mohi Thompson

Kaumatua

Manurewa Intermediate School

TeAriki Tuiono

Teacher Te Whanau Awhina

Clendon Park School

Matene Karena

HoL Māori

Alfriston College

Barbara Tauranga

Kuia

Opuatia Marae

Dr Alyson McGee

Senior Lecturer

Institute of Education

Massey University

Annette Sykes

Barrister and Solicitor

Partner Aurere Law

Dr Penny Haworth

Institute of Education

Massey University

Nanaia Mahuta

Member of Parliament for Hauraki-Waikato

Carmel Sepuloni

Su’a William Sio

Member of Parliament for Mangere

Dr Diane Lysette Mara

Associate Dean, Pasifika

Faculty of Education

University of Auckland

Professor Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop

Professor of Pacific Studies

AUT University

Michael O’Brien

Director

Child Poverty Action Group

Why Business Models Fail in Education

This is an interesting comment on the perils of using business models in education – from Diane Ravitch’s most excellent blog (which you should go and bookmark right now):
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“Having spent years in business, I cringe at blindly applying business models to education. 360 evaluation is a business fad that will join MBOs and matrix management. I tried student evaluations. Students are usually upset over not getting a certain grade on the most recent test, angry over a detention, or at the other extreme, like the teacher and don’t want to say anything negative. I eavesdropped on two of my high school students evaluating their teachers and a “good” teacher had more to do with being lenient, funny, and good looking. It took me years to later appreciate my good teachers – not at the time the most popular. Most parents mean well, but often have only glimpses of the classroom from their child’s perspective. Often the truth is difficult and not always well received. Peers are OK, but not all peers are objective or can separate politics. Administrators may not have spent enough years in a math or language arts classroom – perhaps moving up through phys ed – to understand content and delivery. Third party evaluations are too disconnected and have conflicts of interest.
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So a better solution? First, and this principle is also overlooked in business, IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT. Not all schools are failing, and then, not all for the same reason. Blanket, scorched earth solutions never work and just replace one set of problems with another. Improving upon what exists takes skill and savvy. Second, if you want to know what makes a good teacher, ask a good teacher. We all know who they are. Mentoring is by far the best system with centuries of success. Make it work. Third, start listening to teachers, not politicians, billionaires, and opportunists. The latter have other interests. Teachers, in contrast to the constant demonizing, are in the classroom everyday and want their students to learn.
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The best approach to education is there is no single approach to education. Students are individuals and human. Not data points in a multi-level statistical model. Teachers know this. Will anybody else listen?”
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Diane Ravitch's blog

A comment on the post about “Zombie Education Policies”:

Having spent years in business, I cringe at blindly applying business models to education. 360 evaluation is a business fad that will join MBOs and matrix management. I tried student evaluations. Students are usually upset over not getting a certain grade on the most recent test, angry over a detention, or at the other extreme, like the teacher and don’t want to say anything negative. I eavesdropped on two of my high school students evaluating their teachers and a “good” teacher had more to do with being lenient, funny, and good looking. It took me years to later appreciate my good teachers – not at the time the most popular. Most parents mean well, but often have only glimpses of the classroom from their child’s perspective. Often the truth is difficult and not always well received. Peers are OK, but not…

View original post 203 more words

Why are so many Head Teachers Resigning Worldwide?

How many good educators are we losing all over the world each week due to the GERM (Global Education Reform Movement)?  This one in NZ?  This one in the USA?  Or this bunch in the UK? Or these twelve in Iberia?

  • How many are over the excessive testing that is about data collection not about student learning?
  • Or are fed up with the wonky teacher assessment methods that negate trust in senior staff and instead bow before the altar of data points?
  • How many are just plain fed up of being bullied?
  • How many are fearful for the future of education?

Because judging students just on their scores, or weighting the scores so heavily that the students feel they are judged as people by them, is not a way to educate and grow good people.  Students should be and are tested throughout schooling, but it should be done to personalise their learning, with fast turnout and feedback, and about growth not about a line in the sand that is called The Standard.

And what about all of the factors that impinge on student learning?  How come they get so little air time from the people demanding reforms left, right and centre and insisting they only care about the kids?  Forgive my cynicism, but could it just be that there is no money to be made in solving those problems but heaps to be made in selling educational materials to panicked parents?

It is a sick world we live in where we blame teachers for the ills in our societies and don’t look at the root causes of poverty, ill health, poor homes and hopelessness that factor large  for those not achieving all they otherwise might.

Poverty does not automatically mean poorer achievement, but usually it does.  The OECD reported that “education experiences remain strongly associated with social disadvantage. In many countries there are large numbers of people with very low education levels whose family origins were impoverished and characterised by disadvantage. Whilst education can break such intergenerational cycles of disadvantage, it can also act to reinforce them: for example, if education policy is not designed with egalitarian notions in mind.”  Source (page 7).

That is the disgrace and shame of all so-called first world countries, and that is the reality many countries are facing right now, including in New Zealand.

Is that truly the country you want?  If it is, then GERM is your friend- let it run rampant and do its business all over our education system.

But if you want better for our country as a whole, then you need to say “No more”.

No to rampant global reforms in education that are far more about $$$ than they ever were about learning or improving.

Let’s get back to research-based, well-thought-out improvements for all schools that truly are about raising achievement for all.

~Dianne

This is not an improvement, NZ.

This is not an improvement, NZ.

I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate || Spoken Word

This boy speaks sense.  He speaks for a whole generation, and not just the kids but many teachers and parents, too.

People are more than the sum of their exam results.

I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate||Spoken Word – watch it here.

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