185 thoughts on “General debate, February 24, 2013

  1. How to make New Zealand prosperous?

    The best way to do it, among other things, is to make New Zealand a great place for people to live in. And we absolutely will not do this by artificially driving up the cost of living, and the cost of physical premises for doing business.

    New Zealand is currently creating conditions so that everyone (residential, commercial and industrial) are forced to make huge donations to the landlords and/or the banks before they even get to first base with their enterprise. It’s mad.

    New Zealand should work with its unique lifestyle property opportunities to make it a distinctly good place for niche R&D and science based enterprises..that is, stuff that isn’t specifically dependent on location proximity and local economies of scale.

    The included link is my own “vision” – the total opposite of what Auckland council is currently doing:

    http://andrewatkin.blogspot.co.nz/2011/02/breaking-new-zealand-out-of-economic.html

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  2. New Zealand should work with its unique lifestyle property opportunities to make it a distinctly good place for niche R&D and science based enterprises..that is, stuff that isn’t specifically dependent on location proximity and local economies of scale.

    Amen brother Andrew.

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  3. Toad:

    Rodney hide had a point about the media – they turned the only “housing affordability party” (and reform rather than debt-finance party) instead into “the marijuana, Maori-bashing party”, via selective representation.

    http://www.act.org.nz/posts/freedom-to-build-%E2%80%93-housing-for-the-next-generation

    I do sometimes wonder if the most powerful people in NZ politics are actually the chief editors of the mainstream media. The NZ Herald, for example, continues to publish the most pathetic and ignorant editorials on the housing debate, today.

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  4. I think, though I’d have to be in a charitable mood to think it, that Rodney Hide was referring only to the LAST of those clauses as being “true”. The sentence wants careful parsing, and I would be loathe to be more critical of him than he actually deserves. Certainly he manages to be deserving of most of the disapprobation here but… are we sure of what he meant? That sentence is horrible.

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  5. bjchip: It could ultimately be a somewhat desperate publicity stunt…or a way for ACT to declare that they “are not” like that, by opening up the question.

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  6. Andrew, It COULD be that. They are in enough trouble at the polling booth. I am more inclined to believe it is a poorly constructed sentence poorly construed by the press… but you are correct.

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  7. As I have indicated several times, the first casualty of AGW will be growing conditions for farmers.

    http://drought.unl.edu/
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10862810
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-05/forecasters-say-dry-spell-not-yet-a-drought/4453800
    http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/24/the-coming-water-wars/?iref=allsearch
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/8336856/Parched-Waikato-could-hit-MRP
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/04/business/global/drought-in-india-devastates-crops-and-farmers.html?pagewanted=all
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/05/us-china-drought-idUSBRE8340QE20120405

    In winter we can have floods but that doesn’t do the farmers a lot of good.

    Shall we think a little harder? Would it make sense to diversify our production a bit? What is the story with the brain trust running this place? Not working for US at any guess.

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  8. bjchip 5:53 PM

    The thing that puzzles me is that Jim Hopkins appears to have thought it was a poorly constructed sentence that could be misconstrued and gave Hide the opportunity to clarify what he meant, but Hide declined to do so.

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  9. This question is for the teachers and those interested in education.

    Why are our children taught to add and subtract horizontally ALONG a line instead of vertically down a column?

    Just spend an hour showing my eight year old granddaughter (struggling with maths) how easy additions and subtracting are by doing it vertically in columns instead off (as taught at school) horizontally along the line.

    Within the hour I had her doing seven figure additions and subtractions that her teachers could not get her to do because off how they are teaching simple maths.

    Where did this stupid method of teaching additions and subtractions, along the line, come from? Why go against the well established column system used in everyday use such as supermarket dockets, invoices, accounts, etc., etc,.

    Not only did it take an hour to teach simple additions and subtraction but another hour teaching the times table and the relationship between additions and subtractions in the times tables (eg. 3×5= 15 horizontally which is the same as 5+5+5 vertically — for each line add another base number to the previous sum to get the next line of the times table).

    Within two hours the lights had come on in regards simple maths and she headed back to school with renewed confidence.

    Only to be told by the teacher that she was doing her sums “wrong” in her exercise book and that she must do additions and subtractions along the line.

    Jeez what is wrong with the teaching profession? Why go against the most simplest way to do maths, a way that every one in daily life uses (I would say) exclusively.

    Grrr, no wonder parents want charter schools, get back to real teaching.

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  10. Grrr, no wonder parents want charter schools, get back to real teaching.

    Or rather than embarking on a fairly radical programme to fix something so minor, maybe you or your grandchild’s parents could talk to the teacher and point out the absurdity of the position?

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  11. Gregor W

    Or rather than embarking on a fairly radical programme to fix something so minor, maybe you or your grandchild’s parents could talk to the teacher and point out the absurdity of the position?

    Granddaughter’s mother is a teachers aide and she has repeatedly tried to get the teachers to use the common sense method in regards simple maths.

    All to no avail.

    Teachers know best on how to teach is the standard reply.

    This is not a “minor” issue but from what I understand from my daughter in law, a major issue for most parents.

    If this teaching of simple mathematics is so obviously (in my and many other parents and grandparents eyes) inconsistent with established commercial and personal mathematical practices, what else is being taught confusingly wrong that parent have no say in?

    Surely, teachers should be following sound common sense teaching methods?

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  12. I forwarded your post to a friend, Gerrit. She has a daughter the same age. I’m interested to see which method she is being taught.

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  13. All to no avail.

    Has the issue gone to the principal or the board?

    Surely, teachers should be following sound common sense teaching methods?

    One would hope.

    I’m not sure it’s a major issue “for most parents” however, otherwise it would fill many column inches in letters to the editor.

    I suspect it being more an issue of localised ignorance / stubbornness / falling back on process in lieu of common sense – none of which would be addressed by charter schools.

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  14. Gregor W

    In charter schools the parents will have a say in how and what is taught. Currently they have no say in what and how the teachers make up the curriculum, nor on the best teaching method for simple, common sense, everyday maths.

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  15. In charter schools the parents will have a say in how and what is taught. Currently they have no say in what and how the teachers make up the curriculum.

    That didn’t really answer my question. Has this problem been taken to the principal and board given that it so concerning?

    It’s also incorrect to suggest that parents have no say in elements of the curriculum. If parents don’t like the way a school teaches their kids, the can vote with their feet and put their nippers in another school. Happens all the time.

    I’m not suggesting your grandchild’s situation might not be a problem, merely that your logic that charter schools would ‘fix’ the issue doesn’t stack up. It’s cracking a walnut with a sledgehammer.

    To draw somewhat of a simile, should the community have a say in what operations are performed at their local hospital? Should they have a say in how medical staff perform their duties or what clinical methods are used?

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  16. Gregor W

    That didn’t really answer my question. Has this problem been taken to the principal and board given that it so concerning?

    Yes

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  17. Gregor W

    If parents don’t like the way a school teaches their kids, the can vote with their feet and put their nippers in another school. Happens all the time.

    All schools have to teach the numeracy project curriculum. Changing schools is not a practical answer.

    Giving schools and parents an option to have a say in what their schools teach and how (charter schools) is an alternative if you have a child that does not “get” the strange way the “new” maths is taught.

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  18. I think to problem is best explained on this page. If we take this scenario from

    http://nzmaths.co.nz/resource/addition-and-subtraction-pick-n-mix?parent_node=

    Problem 2 Sarah has $466 in her bank account and spends $178 on a new phone, how much money does she have left in her bank account?

    My commonsense teaching solution? either done in the head or on a slip of paper

    466
    -178
    —-
    =288

    The numeracy project answer

    Ask students to solve the problem mentally, giving them 2-3 minutes thinking time. Then ask them to share their solutions and how they solved it with their learning partner. Possible responses are:

    Reversibility:
    $466 – $178 is the same as saying how much do you need to add to $178 to get $466. $178 plus $22 makes $200, plus $200 more makes $400 plus $66 makes $466. If you add up $22 plus $200 plus $66 you get $288.
    number line diagram.

    Tidy numbers using equal additions:
    You round the $178 to $200 by adding $22. $466 – $200 is $266. Then you put on $22 to keep the difference the same, so it’s $288.

    There is a strong possibility that some students may misapply the addition tidy numbers strategy to subtraction problems. When using tidy numbers in subtraction the difference between the numbers in the equation must remain the same, so if you add an amount to one number, you must also add it to the other number. This is the opposite to addition, where the sum of the two numbers must remain unchanged when using a tidy numbers strategy, meaning that if you add an amount to one number you must subtract it from the other number. Some students may solve subtraction problems like 63 – 28 by tidying 28 to 30 (adding two), and 63 to 61 (subtracting two). The student has failed to keep the difference unchanged.

    In this situation the students’ beliefs may need to be challenged by posing a conflict situation, using a simple example. For example, misapplying the tidy numbers strategy to 20 – 8 will leave the students with the problem 18 – 10. The situation can be modelled using Cuisenaire rods or a ruler.

    As different strategies arise ask the students to explain why they chose to solve the problem in that way. Accept all the strategies that are elicited at this stage, recording them to reflect upon later in the unit (perhaps in a modelling book).

    Ask students to reflect on the strategies that have been discussed in the session and evaluate which strategies that they personally need further work on, perhaps using thumb signals – thumbs up – confident and competent with the strategy, thumbs sideways – semi confident, thumbs down – not yet confident.

    Which is the common sense, practical answer?

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  19. The Numeracy Project answer is the most practical and common sense answer in my experience.

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  20. The Numeracy Project answer

    The Numeracy Project answer is ridiculous. Who on earth comes up with this garbage?

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  21. Changing schools is not a practical answer.

    Hang on a second. Aren’t you proposing charter schools?
    What could meet the measure of “changing schools” more than that?

    …if you have a child that does not “get” the strange way the “new” maths is taught.

    Or you could do what most parents do and further teach your kid at home. Education is not turned off when a kid leaves the classroom. You proved that by taking on the task yourself.

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  22. Gerrit:

    The teaching profession is full of shit like this. And they dare call themselves the experts…experts who have the right to control how your child grows up and learns. Sick joke.

    I have seen a nephew learnt to read for himself, naturally, after years of being humiliated in an education system that “knows best”, otherwise going nowhere with his reading.

    We must kill the monopoly.

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  23. Gregor W

    If I left out the word “currently” my apologies. Should read Changing schools is not currently a practical answer.

    We do teach our grandchildren maths the “old” way. Problem is at school is that method is no longer acceptable and the kids get negative feedback from the teachers.

    Conflicting advice leads to confusion.

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  24. I think you’re missing the point with the Numeracy Project.

    The point is everyones brain is wired differently and there are many different ways to work out the same problem.

    Each person will have their own fastest way, and trying to make everyone do maths the same way is detrimental for a large number of children.

    I’ll often give my two kids maths problems to solve whe we’re at the shops or on the way to school. More often than not, we’ll all use a different way to come to the same conclusion.

    i.e. 9×18 can be done
    - 9×10 + 9×8
    - 9×20 – 9×2
    - 10×18 – 18
    - 9×9 x2
    etc etc

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  25. Solka,

    Whilst it might be “right” and make “common sense” to a mathematics scholar and curriculum writer, to an 8 year old it does not make sense.

    My granddaughter picked up the “old” methods very easily (less then an hour) doing 7 figure additions and subtractions by the “carry over” or “take away from” principals.

    Teachers at school are still doing horizontal equations that the 8 year olds are not picking up on.

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  26. PhotoNZ,

    Problem is that the numeracy project does not allow differentiation from the rules they provide. Any variation is seen as a negative (such as doing additions and subtractions vertically).

    Even thought he individual child might find this easier.

    The second problem is how we use figures in the real world. We don’t add up a supermarket docket list horizontally, nor do we issue invoices horizontally, as classic examples.

    A child who has only learned to write addition and subtracting equations horizontally is going to be stymied in the “real” world.

    Judging by some of the kids that cant add up a simple till receipt whilst serving a customer, I’m not sure the horizontal method with “tidy” numbers is working too well in the real world.

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  27. Gerrit says “Problem is that the numeracy project does not allow differentiation from the rules they provide.”

    The way current maths teaching has been explained to me, is that they don’t have “rules” as such, and far from not allowing differentiation – they encourage it.

    Where I see a problem is the net that stops kids falling behind is not working.

    We get the never ending mantra “kids learn at their own rate”, instead of getting extra help for kids who are struggling.

    However I can sympathise with your comments on vertical addition. My boy was struggling with adding two 2 digit numbers, and in one hour I had him doing six 6 digit numbers.

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  28. Arana, you have just recently told BJ to not be so condescending yet you sit there and tell me that my thought processes are “ridiculous”. It is has been thirty years since i left school but i have always used the “New Maths”, even though my teachers would tell me that i was doing it “wrong”.

    I was always very good at maths at school and placed in the top stream where streaming was used. Often, i would find that i had the correct answer in my head while the other children were still writing down the numbers and carrying the remainder.

    I think you reveal yourself when you complain that new things should always be tried in education but then complain when you find something new being tried in education.

    Gerrit, my seven year old is doing really great with the new maths, thanks. Through New Maths i am able to teach her that, unlike english, maths is in fact really easy.

    photo, nice to be able to agree with you.

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  29. solkta “photo, nice to be able to agree with you.”

    Yes – agreed.

    However there was a worrying ERO report this month that around 90% of schools are not very effective at adjusting their teaching methods.

    And that with National Standards most schools are now very good at identifying children falling behind, but the majority are still failing to make much difference to the very same children.

    Another disturbing thing I heard last week was a person (a principal I think) who is one of the people who contributes to development of the NZ maths curriculum, saying he didn’t rate the importance of being able to add and multiply as we will all have machines to do this in the future.

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  30. photonz1 says the introduction of National Standards has not helped the majority of students who are identified as ‘falling behind’:
    (“but the majority are still failing to make much difference to the very same children.”)
    Well, blow me down with a feather! That’s a bolt from the blue! National standards – ineffective! Who saw that coming???

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  31. I was teaching as the Numeracy Project was introduced. It was astonishingly effective and informative to both teacher and student. I was, quite frankly, amazed by it’s depth and suitability. Was that a National Party initiative? If so, I give them credit for getting one thing (one thing) right.

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  32. ” saying he didn’t rate the importance of being able to add and multiply as we will all have machines to do this in the future.”

    Wow! D’ya think someone might invent a calculator like, in the future???.
    Maths and science come together in some weird science-fictionry fantasy scenario where we don’t have to do stuff in our heads anymore! Incredible!

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  33. Arana said: “The Numeracy Project answer is ridiculous.”
    Then she asked: “Who on earth comes up with this garbage?”

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  34. greenfly says “Well, blow me down with a feather! That’s a bolt from the blue! National standards – ineffective! Who saw that coming???”

    Duh!!!

    National Standards are a measuring device.

    Thinking that testing increases learning, is as stupid as thinking buying a new speedo will make your car go faster.

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  35. greenfly says “Wow! D’ya think someone might invent a calculator like, in the future???. Maths and science come together in some weird science-fictionry fantasy scenario where we don’t have to do stuff in our heads anymore! Incredible!”

    More stupidity from greenfly.

    We’ve had calculators for decades, but they haven’t done away with the need to be able to add and multiply.

    At a time when higher qualifications have never been more important, you think dumbing down people is a good idea.

    You get awarded a second “duh!” for that.

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  36. Thinking that testing increases learning, is as stupid as thinking buying a new speedo will make your car go faster.

    you said it photo, though it has taken a while!

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  37. Sure is helpful to be able to wander through the supermarket and add up the cost mentally as i put items in the trolley. Though my impression is that my daughters school is doing a reasonably good job at preparing her for this greatly helped by new maths.

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  38. solkta says ‘you said it photo, though it has taken a while!”

    Wrong – I’ve been saying that… repeatedly … for years.

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  39. solkta says “Sure is helpful to be able to wander through the supermarket….”

    It’s far more important than that. It’s about an emergency room nurse knowing instantly in their head that they’ve made a decimal point error on their calculator in when working out painkillers per kg for a small child.

    Pretty much every time anybody uses a calculator, it’s helpful, and sometimes critical, that they have a rough idea in their head of what the answer will be.

    Like an engineer designing a multi storey building.
    Or an electrician working on a mains board.
    Or someone counting election votes.

    Considering typical data entry errors in organisations and businesses run at 3-5%, that’s a lot of mistakes that wouldn’t be picked up.

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  40. Wrong – I’ve been saying that… repeatedly … for years.

    t’s a shame you have not said it here then.

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  41. Gerrit, turns out my friend’s daughter had being shown some cryptic sideways method of “solving” maths problems at school.

    My wife showed her the traditional vertical method, and within ten minutes she was doing it with ease. She has been struggling with maths.

    Greenfly, your dedication to partisan politics is part of the problem, not the solution.

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  42. I think you reveal yourself when you complain that new things should always be tried in education but then complain when you find something new being tried in education.

    New things should be tried when the old things don’t work. There is nothing wrong with the traditional vertical method of solving these problems, as it works well, and has done for centuries.

    It’s the outcome that is important.

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  43. Solkta says “t’s a shame you have not said it here then.”

    Nonsense (but then you already know you’re spouting b/s – because you’ve argued against some posts where I’ve said it).

    Here’s one from Feb 2010
    “All national standards are is the measurement system – the speedo.”

    Sept 2010
    Effectively they are like a car speedo – they measure. And it makes a lot more sense to have every speedo calibrated to the same measurement, rather than several different measurments”

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  44. The ‘speedo’ in a car does effect the speed at which the car travels, through feedback to the driver, who adjusts accordingly. You seem to believe, photonz1, that National Standards would play a similar role in changing teacher behaviour but by your own admission, it has failed to do so and failed to do anything else that is useful as well, therefore, National Standards=FAIL. I may be, as you claim, stupid, but not so dim that I can’t see that (thanks, btw, for pointing it out).

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  45. greenfly says “You seem to believe, photonz1,….”

    If you stopped insinuating things that have never been said, you’d stop continually getting things wrong.

    Things work better if everyone uses the speedos set to a common standard, rather than everyone having a speedo that measures differently to everyone elses.

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  46. The “National Standards” ‘speedo’ is not making ‘things work better’, as you described at 5:09.
    National Standards=FAIL, according to you. And I agree.

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  47. greenfly says “National Standards=FAIL, according to you.”

    YET AGAIN if you stopped insinuating things that have never been said, you’d stop continually getting things wrong.

    And you say you teach children – that’s frightening. Is it any wonder there’s problems when we have people teaching who don’t comprehend basic primary level English.

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  48. What the ERO review using National Standards have done, is show for the first time that the methods that have been used for years to try to get slow maths learners to catch up, are not working.

    This nationwide survey was possible because we have one standard across the country, that covers all schools, and covers children from one year to the next, and the next.

    Instead of the previous “system” you defend – different schools using different standards, or none at all, and different from year to year.

    In fact it’s not really a system at all – just a group of different tests used by different schools for different years.

    i.e. year three PAT tests don’t test maths, reading or writing. In year three they test listening.

    They don’t test in year two either. In year four they start on maths and reading (but not writing?).

    Star tests are for reading, but not maths or writing, and not for year one or two.

    Year Net Observation Surveys are for reading and writing, but not maths, and only for year two – not for earlier or later than that.

    There are also tests at school entry level, but different schools use different types of test for this. and they are different to later testing systems.

    And there are also running records, but these are for reading only, and are usually stopped by year three.

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  49. I didn’t say I teach children. It’s your comprehension skills that are wanting. Just sayin’.
    Has the introduction of National Standards been effective in making a difference to children falling behind? Let’s see what our resident ‘expert’ says:

    “And that with National Standards most schools are now very good at identifying children falling behind, but the majority are still failing to make much difference to the very same children.”

    Nope. That’s a FAIL then.

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  50. What the ERO review showed is what Teachers have been saying for some time.

    Which we already knew without needing NACT standards to tell us.

    It shows, Withdrawing funding from remedial Maths, reading, and other proven second chance programs, to fund ideological diversions like National standards, bailing out private schools and paying golden handshakes to privatisation zealots, has inevitably lowered the standards of our education system..

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  51. Reading the tag team of Photo and Arana has been rather amusing over the last few days.

    The contradictions in their ideas are huge.

    Attacking State schools for widening the curriculum and at the same time claiming pupil centered, individualized education in consultation with parents is an advantage of charter schools. Which, by the way, is the direction teaching at state schools was heading, with the new New Zealand curriculum, before NACT started their “death of a thousand” sneaky cuts.

    It is national that are taking away student centred options in State schools, against the wishes of Teachers and parents.
    Funding for Technology equipment, art and sciences professional support and development, remedial programs, high and complex needs, mental health, counselling and Teacher aids has all been cut.

    Arana. Basic facts. (basic arithmetic) has never been dumped from the primary curriculum. They are still taught.

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  52. Arana/Photo. Surely you can see that the numeracy project is designed to address the very problem you complain about, lack of numeracy!

    Why then, are you objecting to a fresh approach when you claim the current one has failed.

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  53. Photo can Kerry, to the amazement of all, but Arana remains mired in some primitive mathematical Mesozaic era where fingers and toes were all you needed.

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  54. Kerry,

    Problem with the numeracy project is that it is set up to teach one method only, no old style maths allowed.

    So while kids like Solka daughter have no problems, a host of others do but are not taught a simpler and old fashion, if you like, way that suits the kids (that dont get the new maths) better.

    No problem teaching the new maths, just lets have flexability to suit the individual kids needs. Currently parents imput is negated by hard line doctrine from teachers.

    Problem I see is in the future where kids are very smart at adding and subtracting across a line, in a world where every document containing figures runs them in columns. Hate to see them unable to do quickfire calculations on a accounting report at a management meeting without having to write out the column list along a line.

    I dont think new maths is bad and old maths mired in a primitive era of fingers and toes counting (even though a lot of kids use their fingers to count when starting basic maths).

    Each has their place in teaching kids, the teachers need to liaison with the kids and their PARENTS on what the best method is for each individual.

    I do a lot of mental mathematical work everyday (XYZ axis differentiations versus stock dimensions, 6 figure sums to 3 decimal places) and use “tidy” numbers all the time and I think the new maths explains that very well.

    However some kids just dont “get” it and as such a vertical method is better suited to them.

    Lets have flexability, not admonishment.

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  55. greenfly says
    “I didn’t say I teach children.”
    and
    “I was teaching as the Numeracy Project was introduced. It was astonishingly effective and informative to both teacher and student. I was, quite frankly, amazed by it’s depth and suitability. ”

    So who were you teaching when you wanted to show your close links to the numeracy project, if not children?

    greenfly – your claim that National Standards have failed, is as absurd as claiming your new speedo has failed, because it hasn’t fixed your broken down car.

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  56. “Teach” is present tense, photonz1, whilst “was teaching” is past.
    I guess though, as I’m teaching you now (tenses, comprehension, the lack of value of National Standards) there is some (accidental) truth to your claim, given that you might be a child. It’s unclear.
    National Standards = FAIL.
    Quite useless really.

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  57. Agree with Gerrit. I was taken aback by the ‘adding along a line’ method when I first saw it, but it seems to replicate the way I do maths in my head much better than the vertical method. On the other hand, the latter is far better when working on paper, and particularly when somebody else needs to check or follow your calcs. Both have their place I would say .

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  58. geeze greenfly – now you want an arguement over whether you teach now or previously taught.

    Is it possible to be more anal than that? I doubt it.

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  59. Kerry says “What the ERO review showed is what Teachers have been saying for some time.”

    What utter nonsense.

    It showed, for the first time, that the remedial programmes for maths that have been used for years are NOT working.

    If teachers already knew that, they should be sacked for continuing to knowingly fail children year after year.

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  60. Teachers should be sacked!

    The core of photonz1′s argument.

    Can’t read to comprehend, can’t reason either.

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  61. “a third of primary school students are not numerate when they reach secondary school and are very unlikely to catch up as secondary teachers are far too busy trying to teach advanced algebra and geometry.”

    A quote at the weekend from Peter Hughes, who ran the Numeracy Project for eight years.

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  62. It appears to me that the issues that have been raised with the Numeracy Project above are due to teachers not applying it correctly. If a student uses vertical columns to arrive at an answer, then the teacher is simply wrong to tell the student that they are not to use this method. Instead the teacher needs to satisfy themselves that the student actually knows how to apply this method correctly, and to encourage them to use this method if the student wants to, but the teacher can also encourage the student to try some of the other methods.

    The vertical columns method is one of the few methods that highlights the meaning of the positions of the digits. I believe the accuracy rate when using it is probably superior to some of the other methods because it allows the user to concentrate on just part of the problem at a time, and also because it helps to avoid column shifts.

    I also agree with the comments about still needing to do maths in your head. The number of times we have been overcharged for some reason or another, which we have picked up because of a quick mental check… However slide rules are not the answer either:
    - log books are what engineers use to find out that 2 x 3 = 5.999
    - slide rules are what engineers use to find out that 20 x 30 = 60
    - calculators are what engineers use to find out that 3 x 2 = 1.5

    Sorry BJ.

    Trevor

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  63. greenfly says “Teachers should be sacked! The core of photonz1′s argument. Can’t read to comprehend, can’t reason either.”

    Hilarious. Greenfly takes comments specifically aimed at teachers who fail their pupils repeatedly (and knowingly), expands that to teachers in general.

    Then makes a comment on comprehension.

    That’s makes you either dishonest, or really stupid.

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  64. That story in the Herald is depressing.

    It is clear there is only one result that should come out of that story: the sacking of the school’s principal, in whose absence progress had been made and when she returned things went downhill.

    And that goes to the root of the problem with left leaning parties. They dont seen the answer as sacking rank and file people. They’ll call for figurehead at the top to go every day of the week, which makes little difference, but wont bite the bullet and sack people at the coalface.

    I’ll go for another example. In the last year there have been something over five hundred privacy breaches the ACC, but no sackings.

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  65. Photo. Remedial programs have been working succesfully for years. I was in one at age 7, 1966 which bought my reading level from zero to adult in 6 months. My youngest son was similar. 7 years ago.

    Lately funding for them has been cut and the amount of kids that can do them has been drastically reduced. At the same time levels of achievement have dropped. funny that!

    And. If the car goes too slow you do not spend $1000 on another new speedo. You change the head gasket.

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  66. The issues raised with the numeracy project sound more like parents who do not talk to their childs teachers.

    The project suggests numeracy methods to be used, it does not demand them.

    Horizontal works best for most people for mental arithmetic and vertical on paper, which is why that is the starting point for teaching. Most people now use a calculator instead of paper so that mental arithmetic capability, to check the calculation, is more useful. I say this as someone who uses vertical calculation, pictured in my head, for arithmetic. I am fast, but would probably be slower than someone who uses later methods.
    However if a teacher is trying to teach the whole class, initially, (with 25 pupils starting with 25 different methods is not possible). one method of manipulating numbers a parent who insists that their other different way is the one right way, and the teacher is wrong, which happens often, can derail teachers efforts.
    It would be interesting to hear the teachers side of some of these apocryphal stories.

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  67. Charter schools in new York are regulated so that they are run similar to State schools, AND they have better results than most other charter schools. Que?

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  68. Dbuckly. I will not say if the principal was right or wrong, I havn’t looked at it enough, but the opinion of someone who has a vested interest in having an idea adopted, is often not accurate.
    people tend to get singleminded about their own innovations, even when there is no monetary gain involved..

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  69. Kerry says “Remedial programs have been working succesfully for years.”

    Have YOU surveyed schools right across the whole country to know this?

    And if it works why do we have so many children
    who CAN’T do maths when they reach high school.

    ERO HAVE done the research.

    They found remedial programmes were failing to bring children back into the mainstream.

    Even the person who was head of the numeracy project for 8 years said “a third of primary school students are not numerate when they reach secondary school “

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  70. Kerry says “I will not say if the principal was right or wrong, I havn’t looked at it enough, but the opinion of someone who has a vested interest in having an idea adopted, is often not accurate.”

    If you reread the story, it was the teachers who raved about children’s progress. (and the children loved the programme).

    So why would a principal, back from union duties, cancel a programme that made “spectacular improvements” to her children who were previously failing badly?

    Perrhaps they are someone who cares less about children’s learning and more about blind ideology – a bit like promising to close charter schools not matter how successful they are for children, and and how destructive that might be for communities.

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  71. Kerry,

    I don’t have an issue with using new methods to solve problems. I advocate it. What I do not advocate is using a new method to make something worse.

    It’s the outcomes that are important.

    This is why testing and effective benchmarking is necessary. How can anyone possibly know if something is working if they don’t measure accurately?

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  72. “This is why testing and effective benchmarking is necessary. How can anyone possibly know if something is working if they don’t measure accurately?”

    I turn on the light, I can see the pattern on the wall paper. I don’t need to test and benchmark. I have a brain.

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  73. I turn on the light, I can see the pattern on the wall paper. I don’t need to test and benchmark. I have a brain.

    Shame you seldom use it.

    Would you be operated on by a surgeon who hadn’t been tested and passed her necessary exams? You gauge competency based on appearances?

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  74. greenfly says “I don’t need to test and benchmark. I have a brain.”

    Your former comment contradicts the later.

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  75. Arana / photonz1 – I’m interested that on the one hand you both support universal standards for assessment in the state education sector while simultaneously promoting charter schools with no standards.

    How do you reconcile this position?

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  76. Gregor asks “How do you reconcile this position?”

    The secondary charter schools I’ve looked at were set up so they could have subjects that were significantly outside of the standard curriculum.

    However as I’ve said recently on another thread, if there are also charter schools at primary level, I’ve yet to hear a good argument why they shouldn’t be assessed by National Standards.

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  77. However as I’ve said recently on another thread, if there are also charter schools at primary level, I’ve yet to hear a good argument why they shouldn’t be assessed by National Standards.

    Agreed.

    The outputs of charter schools should certainly be measured.

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  78. Photo.

    1. It is rather comical that you insist on using your own subjective experience to support NACT standards, but will not allow mine for remedial programs.
    In fact remedial reading and maths has a long history of success in New Zealand, and elsewhere, as shown by numerous research papers, and studies, over the decades. The failure is that it is underfunded to the extent that only a small proportion of the children who need the extra help get it.
    RWNJ technique. Starve a program of resources and then insist it has failed.

    National standards, as “no child left behind” had a nationwide trial in two countries. It lowered educational achievement in both places.
    To the extent that even former supporters are recommending they be dropped.
    NZ remedial reading and maths has raised achievement everywhere they have been tried. Teachers come from overseas to study our best practice remedial programs, FFS.

    The ERO saying that there are deficiencies in mental arithmetic ability does not equate to third of students failing numeracy.
    How many 50 year olds do you know who can do long division with large numbers in their heads?

    2. I am not commenting on the rights or wrongs of the Headmistresses position because we are hearing only one, rather biased, side of the story.

    3. Charter schools have had no measurable effect on overall education standards, where they have been tried, except in Sweden where standards have dropped. Despite the large amount of public money spent on them.

    4. Even if an individual charter school does better it is at the cost of resources to State schools. How does that help overall achievement? Especially as we know from the USA that the majority of Charter schools cost more and do less well than State schools..
    Or, is that how you intend to make charter schools look good, by starving State schools of resources to lower their achievement level against charter schools.

    Better to spend on things that we know already work, but have been under resourced. Like our proven remedial programs.

    Arana. How do you know the numeracy project has not increased numeracy. the evidence shows it has! Like Photo, however, i doubt if any amount of evidence will convince you.
    Parents claiming that teaching a different method, to one child, increases ability, does not necessarily mean they are right. Any one on one attention to a childs learning from an adult is likely to increase the pace of learning, whatever the method. Unless the adult is a dilbrain who insists they know, “the one right way”.

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  79. Kerry says “National standards, as “no child left behind” had a nationwide trial in two countries. It lowered educational achievement in both places.”

    You’d think after all the discussion, you’d realise National Standards are not a teaching method.

    That’s like blaming you’re speedo when your car is running a bit rough.

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  80. One of the arguments for charter schools is that they give opportunities for different education initiatives, that cater for students who do not thrive in mainstream classrooms.

    How do the RW on here reconcile that with funding cuts, to proven successful programs in State schools, which already does this?

    Not to mention the closing down of cutting of technology facilities throughout New Zealand, many schools have had to close workshops due to lack of funding, cutting professional development for tech, science and art along with cutting funding for different programs in state schools, such as the tech academies introduced by Labour.

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  81. Kerry says “Starve a program of resources and then insist it has failed.”

    It is the decision of individual schools how they spend their money.

    Funding per child has NEVER been higher. It is up over 24% since 2008.

    Total education funding has gone up 30% from $9.5 billion in 2008 to $12.4 billion in 2013 – an increase of 2900 million.

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  82. Kerry states:

    3. Charter schools have had no measurable effect on overall education standards, where they have been tried, except in Sweden where standards have dropped. Despite the large amount of public money spent on them.

    I’d recommend that you have a read of the other thread, the John Banks one, including a post I made which has a link to a report, which directly contradicts your statement.

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  83. Interesting Dbuckley, Because all the referenced material i have, except for one rather partisan report, and new York State where regulation has meant charter schools are more like our current system, has achievement levels staying the same or dropping with charter schools.

    Photo. Strawman. I said NACT standards were using money which could be better spent elsewhere, if you are really interested in improving education and not just bashing teachers and opening up education funding to private profiteering, that is!

    Photo. Where is the fucking money gone, then? Wasted on right wing crap, including “consultants by the dozen, golden handshakes to privatisation zealots and NACT standards.. We certainly havn’t seen it in resources to help kids, including remedial staffing, Teachers pay and/or professional development.

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  84. The fact that National intends to exempt Charter schools from any accountability, including hiding behind ‘commercial secrecy” exceptions from the the OIA, NACT standards, NCEA etc, shows what it is really alll about.

    http://kjt-kt.blogspot.co.nz/2012/10/why-do-they-want-our-schools.html
    “Ever wondered why we are trying to imitate the USA, number 29 in school results, where poor kids are simply excluded from secondary education, and not Finland or even Korea, which are 1 and 2 respectively.

    As always. Follow the money!””

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  85. Kerry says “I said NACT standards were using money which could be better spent elsewhere,”

    Yeah – anywhere else – as long as it’s not on measuring those teaching methods, schools, and teachers who are not up to standard.

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  86. The National governments standards in doing a sleazy deal with John Banks and then foisting charter schools onto Christchurch after an earthquake are quite frankly in the gutter.

    Charter schools are about profits for private owners at the expense of state education, the fact charter schools can use their janitors to teach classes tells us all we need to know about them.

    Photonz1 our National party Representative on these boards has supported a child sex abuser getting discharged without conviction ( since overturned ), so I wouldn’t listen to that posters opinion on anything to do with children.

    The charter schools like a lot of what National push’s is about putting tax payers money into business men’s pockets.

    Done in the National Govt style it will be cheap, nasty and probably broken before you even get it.

    The whole charter schools deal is as shonkey as John Banks and John Keys memorys of incriminating events :).

    By the way, is it true that sky city will have their own charter school and its being funded by pokies in the teachers staff rooms ??.

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  87. Now that the Speaker refuses to ensure that clear, unambiguous questions asked in the house get answered, we have a parliamentary farce. Question Time is supposed to hold the Government to account and now questions can remain unanswered and the Government is allowed to respond with pure political spin. Lets hope that the Fourth Estate will now do their job fill the void until we get either a change of speaker or a change of Government! http://inthehouse.co.nz/node/17286

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  88. The charter schools like a lot of what National push’s is about putting tax payers money into business men’s pockets.

    This is an unhelpful position. Tax money gets put into all sorts of peoples pockets – public and private – for various reasons and with various outcomes.

    The test is a value one – will public funding of charter schools be more effective than funding like-for-like state schools? If it is being positioned as more effective, how will it be measured and proven?

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  89. “as long as it’s not on measuring those teaching methods, schools, and teachers who are not up to standard”.

    And how does a very narrow measurement, like NACT standards, do that, Photo?

    It is more likely to result, as it has in the States, in Teaching to the test.

    As in private industry we have found that too narrow performance measurements lead to other important elements of performance being neglected. Enron or Solid energy, anyone!

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  90. Gregor. Charter schools have already been tried, measured and proven.

    To be no more successful than State schools in the same countries!

    Despite costing more than similar State schools. 20 to 70% more.
    In the USA, they have not been better on the whole compared with US State schools, which are many OECD places below NZ schools in achievement.

    Going by the evidence, we will be spending a lot of extra money for the same or worse results..

    Which is why National want to exempt them from all public scrutiny.

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  91. Arana.

    I am against NACT standards as they are now. They do not really measure what education is supposed to achieve.

    I’ve had a bit to do with performance measurement in the private sector. it is fraught even there, as we have seen with big bonuses to executives for meeting performance measures, as the company fails.

    Just commenting that the true believers in NACT standards already exempt private schools and want to exempt charter schools. Which means either they are worried that privatised/charter schools will not meet them, or, as is more likely, they want another stick to beat teachers, and do not really believe NACT standards will raise educational achievement.

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  92. Kerry – you’re not scared that charter schools will fail (that’s what you want).

    You are scared to bits that they’ll succeed.

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  93. Kerry – you are ‘scared to bits’, according to photonz1.
    How does this relate to reality, do you think?
    Often, I find that photonz1′s comments are quite divorced from it!
    This is but one more occasion.

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  94. I think as in the USA, some well resourced Potemkin schools will succeed.

    Of course, if you resourced the coal face in State schools by the same amount you would get even better results, but I don’t see them trying that experiment. It would be too embarrassing for the RWNJ’s.

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  95. It is difficult for the public to assess some of these things because so much of the research, and results, is in paywalled journals, another issue which needs to be addressed.
    They necessarily have to depend on their own personal subjective experience or the main stream media. Which may or may not reflect the well researched and evidenced based, overall view.
    Of course in Photo’s case, and much of our media, it is filtered through the need to cheerlead everything the RW nut jobs in Government do, no matter how dysfunctional.

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  96. I actually have a somewhat forlorn hope, that all our schools are effective.
    That ideological tinkerers, not just right wing ones, would leave them alone, apart from ensuring that all Teachers are very well trained and professional, in what EVIDENCE shows is best practice, , and schools well resourced.
    Pinch the best from everywhere, including some of our own, worlds best, programs.

    Not slavishly copy what has not worked.

    NZ seems to have a nasty propensity, in many fields, to follow US and British fuckups, just about the time it becomes obvious they have failed.

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  97. Photo. If one. National believes charter schools will succeed and two. that NACT standards are an effective measurement of educational achievement. Why do they exempt private schools and intend to exempt charter schools?

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  98. Kerry says “Pinch the best from everywhere”

    Yeah right.

    You’ve just finished attacking charter schools, including those that perform better than state schools – you don’t even believe your own ideology.

    At least you’ll feel better after your rant.

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  99. Kerry says “Remedial programs have been working succesfully for years.”

    Prior to National Standards (in 2007), ERO says many schools WEREN’T EVEN USING assessment information to identify who needed extra help.

    And LESS THAN HALF of all schools had worthwhile information to get an accurate assessment of achievement of their pupils.

    LESS THAN HALF!!!!

    And “In many schools (over 40 percent), teachers were investing time and energy in assessment activities that did not result in useful information about students’ achievement and progress.”

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  100. I am against NACT standards as they are now. They do not really measure what education is supposed to achieve.

    What is education supposed to achieve?

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  101. Photo confuses formative and summative assessment, again. That ERO report was disputed by principals and Teachers for the same reason.

    Teachers know damn well who need extra help.
    Even before teacher training I had no problem working out who needed extra help.
    Then, Teacher training gives you all sorts of additional tools to assess learning.
    Formal summative assessment is only one, and not usually the most effective.

    I suspect many schools are like mine.
    Not very inclined to waste time, and embarrass students, with formal tests to see if students needed remedial help.
    Unless the learning difficulty is extremely severe, severe enough to be blatantly obvious without tests, help is not available.

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  102. Arana. Depends on whether you are a selfish, self centred greedy prick, a right winger, or a community spirited, co-operative, compassionate human being, left winger.

    Right wingers think the purpose of State education is to churn out industry cannon fodder, well trained in the basics, reading, writing and arithmetic, but without enough education to assert any rights, challenge the status quo, or worst of the lot, be educated enough to challenge the spoilt progeny of the ‘old boy network” for the good jobs.

    “Education” is only for the pampered children of the parasitic rich. In elite private schools where they do not have to rub shoulders with the rest of humanity, or compete on even terms.

    Left wingers know the primary purpose of education is to help children become thinking, capable human beings, who can participate knowledgeably in a democratic and fair society

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  103. It is easy to see where the right wing desire to limit the curriculum, concentrate on “the basics” and turn Teachers into production line workers, comes from.

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  104. KT – I know a few selfish, self centered greedy prick ‘left wingers’ and community spirited, co-operative, compassionate ‘right wingers’.

    It think it comes down to something seemingly more simple – but potentially more nuanced – than a left-right discussion.

    IMO, it comes down to whether you think of public education as a social good or a commodity product.

    Many social conservatives (traditional right wingers) would say it is the former. Many economic liberals (left and right wing) would say it’s the latter.

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  105. Arana. Depends on whether you are a selfish, self centred greedy prick, a right winger, or a community spirited, co-operative, compassionate human being, left winger.

    Aww, this tribalist stuff is so cute in 2013. It’s a little sad in grown adults, however.

    Just for a moment, can you accept the idea that good ideas can come from across the political spectrum and that people “on the other side” can and do want what is best for people, but may disagree on the path to get there?

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  106. Left wingers know the primary purpose of education is to help children become thinking, capable human beings, who can participate knowledgeably in a democratic and fair society

    I agree with that, and I’m not “a left-winger”.

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  107. Kerry says “..right wing are bad….grunt grunt grunt….left wing are good …grunt grunt grunt…”

    What simplistic nonsense.

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  108. If the answer to better education involves the word “wing”, then the battle is already lost.

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  109. It is.

    To quote Warren Buffet, “there is a class war, and my class, the wealthy class, have won”.

    For the last 35 years in the Western world we have had a war between those who do not believe in a society, and those who do.

    Margeret Thatcher said, as she proceeded to wreck Britain, “There is no such thing as society”.

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  110. Once upon a time right wingers did exist who had the same vision for society as the rest of us, we just differed on how to get there.
    In fact I was probably one of them.
    Now we have the neo-liberal, not the best words to use, but we are stuck with them, right wing who don’t care if they destroy our functioning society, so long as they are all right.

    Arana. I am surprised you say agree with my definition of education, after your, so far, unstinting support for the Taylorised factory model of “training” espoused by advocates of charter schools and national standards..

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  111. Kerry – your continual pigeonholing and giving a narrow set of characteristics to people you say are right wing, is equally as ignorant as giving narrow set of characteristics to black people, or Asians.

    It’s also why yourself, jackal and greenfly, repeatedly make really dumb and wrong assumptions of what you believe people think, that bear little resemblance to what they’ve actually said.

    This is proven by your surprise, stated above, that Arana didn’t fit into the extreme pigeonhole you put everyone in.

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  112. Believe it or not, I don’t support Arana, photonz1 or sprout on this thing. It’s not either/or in any way at all. The ‘plurality’ approach to any discussion falls well short of what’s really needed to arrive at a good, workable solution. Dame Anne Salmond recently spoke about the limits of ‘plurality’ as a process and recommended that we look to the spaces between the opposite poles and explore the creative possibilities therein.
    Aye.

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  113. Pigeonholing? It is more like filling the dirt over a latrine. Right wing logic is almost always binary-aristotelian and wrong.

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  114. BJ, last two post are a further continuation of the pigeonholing of thoughts by Green party members.

    There is NO alternative to Green party left wing orthodoxy, anything that is opposed to this blinkered vision must by right wing and therefore totally wrong.

    mmmmmmmmmmmmm think Dogma is a word that fits the description.

    Mind you why are the Green party members even engaging in arguing about the merits or demerits of charter schools?

    Is it not true that the co-leader has made a edict that all charter schools will be figuratively “gone by lunch time” after the massive voter swing towards the Labour/Green government in 2014?

    So why bother arguing the toss, your leader (glorious?) has made the decision, please follow the party line and simply state, all charter schools will be gone by lunchtime.

    See, if the Green party members would just follow the leader, there is no need for discussion.

    The leader has spoken, please follow.

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  115. Arana. I am surprised you say agree with my definition of education, after your, so far, unstinting support for the Taylorised factory model of “training” espoused by advocates of charter schools and national standards..

    Why are the two mutually exclusive?

    We need children to become thinking, capable human beings, who can participate knowledgeably in a democratic and fair society AND they need to be skilled in the type of work they are likely to encounter and where they can best contribute for the good of both themselves as individuals, and society.

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  116. Believe it or not, I don’t support Arana, photonz1 or sprout on this thing. It’s not either/or in any way at all. The ‘plurality’ approach to any discussion falls well short of what’s really needed to arrive at a good, workable solution.

    I used to be on the left wing. Your attitude doesn’t surprise me, and it’s one of the reasons my politics changed.

    Many people claiming to be open-minded and tolerant, but in realty, they are bigots and closed minded. People utterly convinced of their own rightness and only tolerant of positions with which they already agree. “Those other people” are wrong. Even worse, those other people are “the enemy”.

    I have friends from across the political spectrum, and whilst we often disagree on the methods, we all want the same things. Peace, someone to love, a fair go, a roof, and joy.

    That is reality. I feel sorry for people who are so bitter, childish and entrenched that they will view their brothers and sisters as “the enemy” for a differing point of view in regards to process.

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  117. Pigeonholing? It is more like filling the dirt over a latrine. Right wing logic is almost always binary-aristotelian and wrong.

    Seriously, BJ, that is so utterly childish. You’re likening us to “sh*t”? To be covered up and buried?

    “Right wing logic”? What on earth is right wing logic?

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  118. Thatcher’s quote is taken out of context.

    The context is this:

    “But it went too far. If children have a problem, it is society that is at fault. There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.”

    Some people create the abstraction “society” and then blame/attribute things to it like they would a religious entity. Thatcher is reminding us what society really is – a tapestry of people.

    The distinction is a subtle one, not as marked as some like to make out.

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  119. BJ, last two post are a further continuation of the pigeonholing of thoughts by Green party members.

    There is NO alternative to Green party left wing orthodoxy, anything that is opposed to this blinkered vision must by right wing and therefore totally wrong.

    Pot Kettle Black, Gerrit.

    Neither BJ nor Kerry speak for ‘The Party’.

    Like yours, their opinions are their own. Choose to agree or not as you see fit but don’t claim that their views represent “Green party left wing orthodoxy.”

    That is the great strength of the GP actually – it’s a fairly broad church and unique to the major parties, it’s actually democratic.

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  120. GregorW,

    You are missing the point of my statement and the subtle sarcasm.

    Let me reirterate.

    Pigeonholing is obvious on this (and I agree prety robust and democratic sounding board) blog by members of the Green party.

    To hear BJ refer to “right wingers” as best left in the bottom of a latrine and covered up is about the most absolute type of pigeonholing as I have come across.

    This labelling must come from a great sense of insecurity, hence my reference to the statement by the co-leader and that instead of trying to have reasonable debate, they simply follow the glorious leaders directives. No need to think or debate.

    Only retort available to them then, is to label and pigeonhole people.

    I know right wing blogs call Green party members as the green taliban — something I dont like either.

    One cannot simply have a debate here without Greenfly, Kerry, BJ, Jackal, Odaddy and others labelling every alternative purveyor a RWNJ or such like.

    But if that is the best level they can raise the debate to………..

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  121. Right wing logic:

    Encountered many many times, on this board and in many other venues where I engage with people in general.

    Essentially it is the Aristotelian (and inhuman) logic of truth. If a proposition is not true it is entirely false, if not false it is entirely true. The ability to discern shades of gray is abandoned in a search for perfect error-free absolutes.

    …that do not exist in the real world.

    We process the world with FUZZY logic, and it works. The Aristotelian model is brittle, easily broken. Capable of generating extraordinary extremes of inhuman behaviour based on a philosophy.

    Understanding how it fails one can then see the absurdity of Ayn Rand clearly. One can see why both Communism and Libertarianism actually make exactly the same mistake about the humans who make up the society. Of course one doesn’t usually understand Communism as “Right Wing”… the application of that logic however, is not exclusive to the Wingnuts. Just very common there. An example if you will.

    I have some reason to believe that this is actually a structural tendency rather than a learned behaviour for the brain.

    Perhaps I should apologize a little for the “latrine” comment. It seemed amusing but extreme. However, the logic is as I describe, and worthless in the real world.

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  122. BJ says “Pigeonholing? It is more like filling the dirt over a latrine. Right wing logic is almost always binary-aristotelian and wrong.”

    I didn’t add you name to the list of people who are narrow minded pigeonholers, but with that comment you’ve gone and added it yourself.

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  123. Essentially it is the Aristotelian (and inhuman) logic of truth. If a proposition is not true it is entirely false, if not false it is entirely true. The ability to discern shades of gray is abandoned in a search for perfect error-free absolutes.

    So, no one on the left wing uses that logic and everyone on the right does? If someone on the right uses different logic, are they still right wing?

    Many people posting on here seem obsessed with putting people in boxes. Identity politics? Why is this? Is it a shortcut to thinking?

    I agree with the notion of fuzzy logic and shades of grey. This means I resist putting people people in convenient boxes (although sometimes I do) and reject such simplistic labelling (although, being human, sometimes I do).

    Those who do place people in ready-made boxes exhibit the Aristotelian logic you claim to oppose.

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  124. BJ says “I have some reason to believe that this is actually a structural tendency rather than a learned behaviour for the brain.”

    Sounds like something straight out of the apartheid manual.

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  125. Erm…why aren’t your MPs showing up at the “massive protest”?

    twitter.com/boswellryan/status/307256190897881088/photo/1

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  126. Gerrit, it is a nit but an important one. The logic and arguments from the right tend to have very little actual value as a result of the fixation on right-true and wrong-false and nothing in between. This is not a massively difficult thing to see. Burying the logic is what I was talking about.

    This has nothing to do with the value of the wingnuts themselves… those who cast what they perceive erroneously to be pearls of wisdom, into our midst. Often enough I can use their arguments as an anchor on one side.. there is always SOME truth there. The conclusions they reach are almost never acceptable however. Understanding the problem is easy. Explaining it to someone who thinks that way is hard.

    You always appear to be capable of shades-of-grey logic and so don’t fall into any “pigeonhole” (or any other hole). What one would consider an “honorable” opponent. There are still a few of you. DB2 on another board in another place… I simply do not think of everyone who appears here that way. All are welcome… even those who get entirely unacceptable (to me) results out of their misunderstandings… but I surely do not have to respect all equally.

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  127. BJ pigeonholes the right wing for being unable to see shades of gray, thereby doing EXACTLY THE SAME THING himself.

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  128. BJ,

    Similarly

    It is a nit but an important one. The logic and arguments from the left tend to have very little actual value as a result of the fixation on left-true and wrong-false and nothing in between. This is not a massively difficult thing to see. Burying the logic is what I was talking about.

    Neither left not right have a morgage on logic.

    Hence pigeonholing is a waste of time.

    Open discussion, without labelling and quantifying the opponents mindset, aided by listening and rebuking arguments is a better proposition and the way to go.

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  129. The logic and arguments from the right tend to have very little actual value as a result of the fixation on right-true and wrong-false and nothing in between.

    You’re doing the exact thing you (wrongly) attack others for supposedly doing.

    Value can come from anywhere BJ, and no one – not you, The Green Party, or anyone else – has a monopoly on being right.

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  130. Arana asks:

    “Right wing logic”? What on earth is right wing logic?

    I laughed and laughed!

    I think exactly the same way as Arana on this issue!!!

    (Meanwhile, photonz1 batters himself to a pulp on BJ rock.)

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  131. Laugh as much as you like, some of us are waiting for you to contribute something of value to the debate, rather than acting like a 12 year old.

    We’ve been waiting a long time.

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  132. Gerrit, I woke up in the morning and read the comments of two pigeons named Arana and Photonz , complaining about being placed in a hole. I considered their actual contributions to my understanding of life the universe and everything, and decided to describe the results of their logical methods in terms of a different sort of hole. I thought it was funny. I KNEW it was insulting. I felt that they needed the insult more than I needed the politeness and it had already been a 60 hour work week when I posted so I really didn’t care much either way.

    The conceptualization of the world in absolutist terms is not a feature of the left. Left wingers are often hard to pin down and frequently downright wishy-washy. No absolutes. No certainty about most things… and that is the most common flaw in their logical processes. Even things that are quite surely true are equivocated.

    But when confronted with a RWNJ spewing absolutes there is one thing almost certainly gonna happen. I’m going to find problems with their conclusions even if I agree with some fact they present.

    The reasoning process is different. It isn’t a quantitative difference. Some wingnuts can be QUITE smart… but they still argue that evolution is a crock and the temperature don’t rise. I am not calling anyone stupid here… I am describing, for Arana’s benefit because Arana asked, what I regard as “Right Wing Logic”. Also the value I associate with it.

    Sorry it sidetracked everyone, the thread was SO informative and productive until I did that /sarcasm

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  133. i am afraid that, Photo, in particular, has pigeonholed himself with the constant uncritical and mindless cheerleading for wing memes.

    Remember “Stop the unfit solo mums breeding”.

    Arana is heading the same way.

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  134. Ah, a rather American definition. Christian ultra-conservative Republican right-wing?

    Well, BJ, they are not a group I have any time for, either.

    The conceptualization of the world in absolutist terms

    I’ve never met anyone who thinks that way, but then I live in NZ.

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  135. Arana is heading the same way.

    For the record, I don’t have an issue with solo mums having children.

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  136. Those who believe that performance pay, competition and “back to the 3 R’s will improve education are stuck in a “factory production line” mindset about schooling.

    Students of Management will recognise the return to “Scientific Management”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_management

    Despite the fact that measuring production and who contributed is infinitely easier on a production line than in a school we have largely abandoned that approach, after the 1920′s, even in factories, because it didn’t fucking work!

    Much of the success of German and Japanese post war manufacturing was due to their abandonment of the “guy in the corner with a stopwatch and constant measurement” and the establishment of autonomous, self managing work teams.
    (Unfortunately. Never a popular idea in Anglo Saxon countries, despite originating from an American business researcher, because it lowered the status of managers, and the justification for their astronomical salaries).

    Yes we can measure if a Jonny can spout out the times table in 30 seconds. Harder to measure if he can solve. :How much timber is required to build a wall with studs at 600, 2.4m high? Even harder to figure out why Jonny missed out on basic facts in year 3.
    Was it the Teacher? Did he arrive at school every day with just a can of noodles to eat? Was he up every night because of the drunken parties next door? Was he changing schools several times a year as his parents had to shift to different rental houses/jobs?

    In any case only the things that are easy to measure get measured, and like the companies whose Managers got share issues for good KPI’s as their companies were failing, it ends up only that which is measured gets done.

    Anyway. Back to the 1920′s with National we go.

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  137. Japanese production systems, such as TPS, focus on rigorous process analysis and measurement of results.

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  138. relevant to the Nats rushed and botched power company sales …..

    ” many of the privatisations were manifest failures in the public interest – the state had to buy back Air New Zealand and New Zealand Rail because of private mismanagement, set up Kiwibank because the private banks ignored its potential customers. It took two decades to unscramble the resulting telecommunications monopoly, while privatisation of safety led to deaths in mines and factories, and privatisation of the building regulations led to 110,000 leaky homes, as well as similar conditions in factories and public buildings, schools and hospitals.

    The immediate effect of the privatisations was that the financial sector earned huge fees (mainly paid by the taxpayer) when the assets were sold (and more when they had to be brought back)”.

    And here goes National soing the same stuff ups again ….http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/2012/04/rogernomics-and-the-left/

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  139. Arana

    Japanese production systems produce Toyotas and Televisions.

    What is it the school is “producing”? I strongly suspect that the answer is a lot longer and more difficult to pin down than for any material product.

    …and I am deadly certain that you can’t gauge it’s success for any individual student as well with a standardized test as with an hour’s one-on-one interview.

    The Teachers are in the classroom with the students far longer than that.

    The tests are at best a tool for the teacher to use regarding some specific and easily discerned aspects of knowledge…

    …not what this government is apparently trying to make them.

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  140. Arana … I am in NZ because it is better off than America with regard to the abundance of RWNJ fools. Not because it is enough better off to call it good. :-0

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  141. Desperate to prove his narrowmindesness……bj says “I am in NZ because it is better off than America with regard to the abundance of RWNJ “

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  142. Kerry – what you fail to understand, is that without basic maths, “Jonny” will fail at more complicated maths, every time.

    EVERY time.

    Even the guy in charge of the NZ maths curriculum for eight years said 1/3 of children reach high school unable to do basic maths.

    And he saud that the best way to learn basic addition and multiplication is rote learning.

    THEN, and only then, will they be able to progress to more complex problems.

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  143. Kerry,

    More unease at the results the numeracy project is generating (or more correctly not generating).

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10868665

    Sir Vaughan says it is highly debatable whether we are teaching children maths in the best and most effective way.

    New Zealand’s foremost mathematician has spoken out against the way maths is taught in schools, saying children need to know basic arithmetic before they try to start problem solving.

    Sir Vaughan Jones, winner of the Fields Medal – the maths equivalent of the Nobel Prize – told the Weekend Herald that children had to do “lots and lots of exercises” to build up familiarity and confidence before they moved on to more advanced concepts.

    Not everyone agrees with you Kerry.

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  144. Pigeon Pie

    Whether you’ve been out on a hunt all afternoon, trampling through the frosty fields or if you’ve just been to the shops and bought some pigeon, these individual pies are a delight and can be made into a single large pie if you want a relaxed and comforting dinner during the long winter months.

    Ingredients
    For braising the pigeon:
    1kg pigeon (4)
    140g onion (1)
    70g carrot (1)
    100g leek (½)
    20g garlic (3 cloves)
    3 bay leaves
    some parsley stalks
    300ml red wine
    3 tablespoons of olive oil
    For the pie:
    280g onions (2)
    160g mushrooms
    10g parsley
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1 tablespoon of brandy
    1 × shortcrust pastry
    6 tablespoons of olive oil
    1 egg
    Preparation Time: 30 minutes
    Cooking Time: 3 hours
    Serves: 4

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  145. Arana, and others, fail to understand the point. Again!

    Disagrees in what way, Gerrit.
    I was the one who said we should make more use of our proven remedial programs.

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  146. No one is arguing against assessment.
    It is a necessary part of learning.
    I start every lesson with an assessment of progress. I Test if the class absorbed the previous lesson, before I go on.

    It is using tests to make decisions, on performance, school comparisons, professional competence, and learning, when the tests used are not “fit for purpose”.

    Like the “scientific managers” who found that many details, of good performance, were unmeasurable.

    Too assess if a student is struggling, for example, National standards, or any simple test, is totally inadequate.

    Observation over time in the classroom is much more effective.

    A person claiming maths education is failing because a proportion of students cannot do mental arithmetic with large numbers is also using too narrow a criteria. Especially if they are trying to “sell” their system. I suspect if we looked into it more deeply we would find there is a fair proportion of the population who will never be able to do that, no matter how good the Teaching. Certainly I know many adults older than me, from the days of endless recitation of the times table, who cannot.

    We know some people need extra help. We know which students they are.
    And we know why. FFS why can’t we just give it to them?
    National however prefer to blame schools rather than address real causes. the “withdrawal of the social contract”, poverty, transient students, lack of coal face funding etc.

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  147. Japanese production systems produce Toyotas and Televisions.

    Tell Kerry that. I’m merely reminding him that the Japanese systems he alludes to in his example include rigorous measurement and optimization.

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  148. New Zealand’s foremost mathematician has spoken out against the way maths is taught in schools, saying children need to know basic arithmetic before they try to start problem solving.

    They do. Before one can build a house, one needs to know what a hammer looks like, and how to swing one.

    Thankfully, my friends daughter is now on the right path with maths (she “gets it” now) because her mother is diligently undoing the nonsense her teacher has been filling her head with. Some kids aren’t so lucky.

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  149. “New Zealand’s foremost climate scientist has spoken out against the way…”

    *CLANG!

    * The sound of every shutter in Aranaville being slammed shut.

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  150. “New Zealand’s foremost educationalist has spoken out against the way…”

    *CLANG!

    *The sound of every door in Aranaville being slammed shut.

    Climate change, National Standards, Charter Schools – CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!!!

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  151. There is like… a whole lot of people on this thread who are working hard to polarize reality. Effing reality is continuous… not liking the way standardized tests are being used by the gummint is not the same as not wanting to teach math. Not having memorized multiplication tables at age X is not an indication of a teaching failure.

    Now I don’t do large numbers in my head apart from vaguely… enough to use a slipstick. I deal with small ones OK, and memorization works for those, but I sure as taxes don’t need a fncking national standardized test to know that my son has a problem remembering 7×8 … and work on that.

    So what is the testing for again?

    Lets get the hidden stuff out into the open.

    Does the Left has no interest in making sure that students learn? … or does this Government hate the Teacher’s Union enough to be unwilling to help them actually teach students? What is who’s agenda?

    Measuring productivity at a school begs the question of what the school produces. Doesn’t it.

    Identical little humanoid robots to be trained to produce (what? we don’t produce ANYTHING in this country) and be paid as little as possible and discarded when the knowledge they contain is superseded.

    I am sort of disgusted with this entire subject. We aren’t even talking about the right things.

    Teachers, Tests…. both irrelevant to the real problems of Television, Pop-Culture, X-Boxes, Tablet Computers, Smart-Phones and every commercialized distraction that contributes to the destruction of the child’s learning environment. Well the companies have to make money somehow don’t they? The cult of consumerism has gotten so far out of hand that it smells like a foot.

    You want to do something to help the kids learn? Shut down the TV and the damned internet for a couple of hours a day. We’re far enough from everywhere that we could actually DO that. Make sure that borrowing a book from the library is FREE (hint: that’s why its is called borrowing) and not charged.

    “User pays” doesn’t work for some things. Our society has already moved much too far in a direction determined by the religion of free market fundamentalism… the direction that some folks here think is still a good way to go… a direction that can’t work, sometimes at all, for a raft of things that we want from our society.

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  152. BJchip scythes his way through the field of ‘corn’ stalks that represent the ideologies of Arana, Photonz1 et al and as they fall, swathe after swathe, they gleefully squeal, “Missed me!” (the sound of a slapstick going like the clappers in the background)
    No matter how often you mow, bj, up they spring, unchanged.
    Arana demands that I ‘argue the issue’, but I don’t fancy pig-wrestling for no purpose. It is fun though, to apply some bucolic imagery to the spectacle of fools taking themselves seriously (apologies to all here who are not fools, or to those who are idiots, myself included, but who aren’t taking themselves seriously.)

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  153. Pity Arana has no fucking idea what I am saying.
    Sorry i can’t use words of less than one syllable.

    I can see why he thinks education failed him.

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  154. Kerry says “Too assess if a student is struggling, for example, National standards, or any simple test, is totally inadequate.

    Observation over time in the classroom is much more effective. ”

    But for all we know, you could be totally useless.

    The “trust me, I know best, we don’t need to test your kids” is not the sort of teacher I’d ever want for my kids.

    There is a huge variance in the quality of teaching from school to school, and class to class.

    To say we shouldn’t measure this, because the teachers always know best, is lunacy.

    More news today, that it is critical our children learn basic facts BEFORE they learn more complex problem solving.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10868665

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  155. Pity Arana has no fucking idea what I am saying.
    Sorry i can’t use words of less than one syllable. I can see why he thinks education failed him.

    I think your own education appears lacking if you need to resort to needless personal abuse and swearing. It does not reflect well on your profession.

    I don’t care for your assessment. You might be good at it, and you might not. I would prefer a more systematic form of testing, as outlined in Freakonomics, that includes teacher performance appraisal.

    Labour – a teacher-driven organization – poured titanic amounts of money into education, and it hasn’t resulted in improvement. There are always howls for more money, in everything, but we don’t have endless funds to pump.

    So we need to optimize approach. I’m not sure the answer comes from teachers, as they’ve had their opportunity and it hasn’t worked. We still fail too many kids, and that is not acceptable.

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  156. “There is a huge variance in the quality of teaching from school to school, and class to class”.

    Evidence. Photo.

    In fact the evidence shows a student fro a comfortable home would do equally well in almost any NZ school.

    When have the Teachers had their chance, Arana?
    The have been micro-managed from the top for as long as I can remember.

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  157. “Thankfully, my friends daughter is now on the right path with maths (she “gets it” now) because her mother is diligently undoing the nonsense her teacher has been filling her head with. Some kids aren’t so lucky”.

    And you know she is correct. How?

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  158. Finally we have got to the crux of the matter.

    Like all right wing authoritarians, Arana and Photo do not have room in their minds, for the concept that people will do their best without a big stick behind them.
    Those who are motivated purely by status or money do not trust that many people are motivated by intrinsic rewards, like the satisfaction of your students doing well.

    They believe Teachers, like them, will not do their best without a big carrot, or stick.

    As i’ve said before. “The right wing believe that we have to pay managers millions to get them to do their job well, but we are to motivate Teachers by paying them as little as possible and making their workload as big as we can”.

    Luckily, most Teachers try and do their best for their students.
    I’ve met Teachers who are burn’t out, exhausted or frustrated by the endless paperwork, for the bureaucracy, but surprisingly few time servers. The time servers prefer high decile or private schools.
    Teachers are certainly not in it for the money, which is derisory, or the working conditions, impossible, or the status, New Zealanders love to denigrate Teachers.

    “New Maths” was introduced in the late 60′s. I didn’t notice it stopping anyone from learning basic facts.

    Claims that the education system is broken are false. It worked for 88% of students. The 20% tail went down to 12% under Labour.
    We know the main reasons for the low achievement of the tail have more to do with transient parents, poverty, health and “breach of the social contract” than Teaching.

    I admit, Just like anything it can be improved. Better professional training and recruitment, more classroom support, more help for those falling behind, better to spend 6k on remedial reading at 7 than 91k a year on jail at 23, for a start.

    And less of, one size fits all, imposition of teaching methods from above. Including, I suspect, the numeracy project. Which like all these things, should have been introduced in training as another tool for the box. Not “you must do this in every school”. Another result of the authoritarian mindset.

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  159. She may not be. That is my observation. To know for sure, we’re going to need to test for improvement and competence. I could be an unreliable narrator (that’s not a cue for Greenfly, but no doubt he’ll find it a basis for yet another flippant post).

    I accept your point you can know by observation. But can you accept that some teachers may not pick it up? After all, her teacher did not or, if she did, she apparently did nothing to correct it.

    The intervention was a direct result of Gerrit’s post.

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  160. Those who are motivated purely by status or money do not trust that many people are motivated by intrinsic rewards, like the satisfaction of your students doing well.

    If I’m allowed out of my confined politics of identity box for just a second teach, I understand that. I’m also driven by job satisfaction.

    Ask most entrepreneurs, and they’ll say money is simply a way of keeping score, not the driving force.

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  161. I’ve met Teachers who are burn’t out, exhausted or frustrated by the endless paperwork, for the bureaucracy,

    I’m sure they are – I feel sorry for you having to come under a government Ministry. I couldn’t think of anything worse.

    But isn’t this what happens under big state? You get a lot of dead wood stacking up in Ministries? Isn’t this bureaucratic overhead inevitable?

    Let’s turn it around. You’re in charge of your school, not the Ministry. How would you run it?

    Genuine question.

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  162. Ministry of Education: I had a small part of a project in their offices, not top management, mid level… and the thing that came most to mind (without knowing the cause) was of watching a CPU thrash. If you are not familiar with the term I can explain it, but it usually has to do with priorities being changed too often too fast.

    I don’t know who was driving… can’t blame anyone in particular but those folks were NOT happy… well paid but the atmosphere had turned sort of toxic.

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  163. Kerry asks for “Evidence. Photo.”

    Look at ANY ERO report – some schools doing really well – some with the same decile doing appallingly badly.

    If you don’t understand that there are very, very capable teachers, and others that are failing badly – then you have little grasp of reality.

    But then you’ve probably put yourself out there as one of the most narrow minded, blinkered people around – so it’s not surprising.

    Listen to your nonsense – “The 20% tail went down to 12% under Labour.”

    So all of a sudden National came in – the curriculum didn’t change, the teachers didn’t change – but you’re trying to claim there was a big change in failures.

    Do you actually read the nonsense you write?

    You’re full of bitterness, and hate, and make up any nonsense to support your closed mind.

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  164. Kerry says “Teachers are certainly not in it for the money, which is derisory, or the working conditions, ”

    I could live extraordinarily comfortably on what you call a “derisory” wage.

    Even more so considering most people have to work three years to get the holidays teachers get EVERY year.

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  165. Photo shows again he has no fucking idea.

    And, the motivation for his unrelenting Teacher bashing. jealousy of Teachers.

    Teachers would love to get all those holidays, too.

    For the qualifications, workload and professionalism required the wage is derisory.

    Especially when compared with many useless parasites getting three times as much for less effort in private bureaucracies.

    Typical right wing attitude. Claim you want good staff, but refuse to pay them.

    The curriculum did change with National. Remember abandoning progress towards the new curriculum to address time consuming side distractions like NACT standards.

    As for the wage, I like Teaching, but I am back at sea at the moment to earn enough, so i can afford to go back teaching.

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  166. ERO reports do not show what you claim, Photo.

    Especially as so much of their criticisms are about failing to do paper work, not teaching.

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  167. Arana.

    I would run a school the same way as I run ships and ran my business.

    Treating staff how I expect to be treated.

    Employ good people with appropriate goals. and ensure they have excellent, training, resources and support to do their job. then let them get on with it.

    High trust model where the management are facilitators and leaders who encourage and support staff.
    Foreign to people like Photo who thinks everyone needs to be performance reviewed, micro-managed, frequently prodded with a big stick and told they are useless, to get them to perform.
    Well. Neither students nor Teachers are fucking monkeys, nor are they cars on a production line.

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  168. Unfortunately we have education run by a toxic bureaucracy because it is controlled by toxic politicians and the ignorant.

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  169. Subject to the latest idea de-jour from idiots who have no training in Teaching, and only a fuzzy idea what happens in schools.
    Photo doesn’t know that Teachers are already performance appraised to death, for a start. And the reason why it is so hard to remove bad eggs, is that there is no one to replace them..

    An untrained person does not have the skills or knowledge to tell me how to teach, any more than they can tell me how to drive a ship.

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  170. “I could live extraordinarily comfortably on what you call a “derisory” wage.”

    Could you expand on your claim, photonz1? I lived for many years on a teacher’s wage (I earned it too!) but I wouldn’t say I was living extraordinarily comfortably – I had a mortgage, a young family and had to, unsurprisingly, work hard for my salary. I found I had to devote an enormous amount of energy to the job of teaching and that stress levels were high. I certainly didn’t think the salary was “derisory” and have never complained about it, but nor did I feel I was living “extraordinarily comfortably” on what I received.

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