Feeding School Kids – Let’s play spot the difference

2 Sep

Children go hungry in all countries, in all walks of life, but some countries are better than others at accepting the responsibility for ensuring children are fed.

Let’s compare…

England

union jack plate“Education Minister David Laws told BBC News he expected some 15,200 primary schools – or 98% of the total – to be ready to provide the meals…

“Today our goal to offer every infant child a healthy, tasty school meal has become a reality, a move that will put money back in parents’ pockets while ensuring all children get the best possible start in life.”

“The government has provided £1bn to meet the costs of the meals over the next two years.

“In addition, it has made £150m available to improve kitchen and dining facilities, plus an extra £22.5m for small schools.

“Schools will have a legal duty to offer the meals, which are expected to save families £400 per year per child.”

Source

New Zealand

NZ flag food“Mana Party leader Hone Harawira’s member’s bill to provide free breakfasts to all low decile schools is due before Parliament in coming weeks but is unlikely to get majority support.” Source

I didn’t pass.  Just breakfast for low decile schools – not even all schools – just those at the sharp end – and it STILL didn’t pass.

So, charities are again filling the gaps:

  • “On Friday 5 September Campbell Live is bringing back its popular ‘Lunch Box’ day in support of the KidsCan Charitable Trust. A $3 donation can be made by texting LUNCH to 2448, with 100 per cent of proceeds going to the charity.” Source
  • “KickStart Breakfast – a national programme supplying Fonterra Anchor milk and Sanitarium Weetbix for breakfast. All schools across all deciles are eligible, including teen parent units and Alternative Education providers.” Source
  • “Fonterra Milk for Schools – a nationwide programme that supplies free milk to all primary schools (Years 1-6)” Source
  • “KidsCan – a national charity that supplies equipment and food for breakfast and lunch programmes, as well as supplying items to address other student needs, such as raincoats, shoes and head lice treatment.” Source

Rest of the world

brazil flag foodFinland and Sweden provide state-funded free school meals.

Other countries like the UK… provide state-funded free meals to eligible students, and some such as Brazil and Chile provide state-funded free meals to schools with high levels of deprivation.

Source

Aotearoa, let’s do this

Come on, New Zealand, it’s not too much to ask that kids are assured on one decent meal a day on school days so they can concentrate and learn.  It’s time to get this sorted out.  Let’s do this.

 

The Political Parties’ Education Policies – in their own words

2 Sep

Make a cuppa, grab a couple of bikkies, and take the time to watch this video before you choose where to put your vote on September 20th.

“The Wellington region of the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association / Te Wehengarua (PPTA) invited the main political parties’ education spokespeople to deliver their views to a live audience.

Here is the video clip of the well attended event.”

 

 

Education matters.

.

Source: http://www.ppta.org.nz/issues/election2014/3099-education-debate-wellington-12aug2014

Charter School Fraud and Mismanagement

1 Sep

Charter schools are sold with the promise of innovative teaching, greater freedom, and the magical word “choice”.  And it’s fair to say that in some cases they deliver.  Some charter schools do great things, as do some state schools, so what’s the problem?

Promise v. Reality

The charter school  promise all to often fails to match the delivery.

PR, sound bites and glossy brochures might sell a school as doing amazing things.  The desks might be new, and you might get your uniform paid for or other benefits that individual parents find hard to resist, especially if they are having trouble making ends meet as it is.  And some of those schools will be doing just what they say they are, a good job.

But far too many aren’t, and the level of fraud, mismanagement and dirty doings that is uncovered on a weekly basis is staggering.

In too many cases worldwide, we have seen that corporate greed and money-grubbing individuals use charters as just another opportunity to rort the system for profit.

The truth is, the charter school system is all too often co-opted by charlatans.

Personal Piggy Banks

swag theft moneyRupert Murdoch gleefully declared for-profit public education “a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed.”  Be under no illusion, the businessmen and corporates are already poised to cash in on your tax dollars.  They have only one thing in mind – profit.

However, even worse than that is the fact that so much money is stolen or misappropriated.

Between the frauds and the lavish wages, lunches and perks given to certain staff, it’s bewildering how much education money fails to be used for education!

As one observer noted:

It might be an overstatement to say that some operators use charter schools as their own personal piggy banks, but then again a recent corruption scandal…  illustrates just how easy it is for money to flow from charter schools to private individuals.” Source

Indeed, and that flow seems all too often to be more of a flood.

Lessons from Abroad

Let’s focus on the issue of fraud and money mismanagement.

A recent report Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, & Abuse found that over US$100Million is misappropriated in charter schools in the USA.

For example:

  • Nearly $3 million in unsubstantiated expenses amassed by the Weems Charter School.
  • The director of the now-closed New Hope Institute of Science and Technology charter school in Milwaukee, was convicted in federal court of embezzling $300,000 in public money and sentenced to two years in prison.  She spent about $200,000 on personal expenses, including cars, funeral arrangements and home improvement…

Things are so bad in the USA that the FBI are involved. Just take a look at just some of the cases FBI were involved in during the past year alone:

  • “The troubled Hartford charter school operator FUSE was dealt another blow Friday when FBI agents served it with subpoenas to a grand jury that is examining the group’s operations. When two Courant reporters arrived at FUSE offices on Asylum Hill on Friday morning, minutes after the FBI’s visit, they saw a woman feeding sheaves of documents into a shredder.”—The Hartford Courant, July 18, 2014

 

  • “The FBI has raided an Albuquerque school just months after the state started peering into the school’s finances. KRQE News 13 learned federal agents were there because of allegations that someone may have been taking money that was meant for the classroom at the Southwest Secondary Learning Center on Candelaria, near Morris in northwest Albuquerque … “—KRQE News 13, August 1 2014

 

  • “Wednesday evening’s FBI raid on a charter school in East Baton Rouge is the latest item in a list of scandals involving the organization that holds the charter for the Kenilworth Science and Technology School. … Pelican Educational Foundation runs the school and has ties to a family from Turkey. The school receives about $5,000,000 in local, state, and federal tax money. … the FBI raided the school six days after the agency renewed the Baton Rouge school’s charter through the year 2019.”—The Advocate, January 14, 2014

 

  • “The state of Pennsylvania is bringing in the FBI to look into accusations that a Pittsburgh charter school [Urban Pathways Charter School] misspent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on luxuries such as fine-dining and retreats at exclusive resorts and spas.”—CBS News November 12,  2013

 

  • “COLUMBUS, OH—A federal grand jury has indicted four people, alleging that they offered and accepted bribes and kickbacks as part of a public corruption conspiracy in their roles as managers and a consultant for Arise! Academy, a charter school in Dayton, Ohio.” —FBI Press Release, June 2014

 

And it’s not just the USA charter schools that have this problem.

In England, where charter schools are called ‘Academies’, there has also been a staggering number of cases of both poor management and fraud:

  • Just yesterday (31/08/14) another Academy head teacher was arrested on charges of fraud at Kings Science Academy in Bradford. Source
  • Mid August 2014 – Two former bosses at a Lincolnshire academy federation have been charged in connection with alleged fraud.
  • The head of an Academy chain run by Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust was ordered to repay £4.1m (~$8m NZ) taken fraudulently.  Not a penny had been repaid as of mid 2014.
  • Three Glendene Arts Academy staff arrested over the use of academy resources and payment of the salaries and expenses of staff used by a private company. Source
  • In May, “Auditors warned of a culture of “extravagance” at the heart of the E-ACT group – the second-largest provider of academies in England – that led to hundreds of thousands of pounds being wasted.” Source

What Next for New Zealand?

Overseas charter school chains already have their eye on Aotearoa.* Given the levels of fraud in overseas charters – of which the above list is but a drop in the ocean – how can we ensure our taxes are not squirreled off by the unscrupulous?

Ask yourself:

  • Are our charters set up in such as way as to protect against fraud?
  • What measures are there to protect NZ charter school funds against mismanagement?
  • Are the oversights stringent enough?

I’m sure those running charters honestly are as frustrated by fraud and mismanagement as those who don’t want charter schools at all. The trouble is, the system is set up in such a way that makes them a prime target for rogues of all stripes.

Which begs the question, when it comes to fraud, will New Zealand’s charter school system fare any better than overseas?

____________________________________________

Notes:

KIPP , for example, sent over a representative to meet Hekia Parata and tour New Zealand just as charter schools were being legislated for.

Sources:

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17109/the_con_artistry_of_charter_schools

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/06/new-report-cites-100-million-plus-in-waste-fraud-in-charter-school-industry/

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/charterschoice/2014/05/report_documents_100_million_in_charter_school_fraud_in_14_states_and_dc.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2699331/Nigerian-accountants-4million-fraud-academies-Gove-hailed-Staff-member-said-spent-cash-extravagant-lifestyle.html

http://saveourschoolsnz.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/yet-more-charter-schools-under-investigation/

http://cashinginonkids.com/blogs/feds-charge-michigan-charter-school-manager-fraud/

http://www.converge.org.nz/watchdog/31/06.html

 

http://nzfirst.org.nz/news/charter-schools-model-gets-failed-mark

 

See also:  The Great City Academy Fraud, by Francis Beckett

 

 

 

The problem is that

Education and Poverty in New Zealand – research, publications and groups

29 Aug

 

twelve thousand hours bookTwelve Thousand Hours: Education and Poverty in Aotearoa New Zealand

by Vicki Carpenter

“There is well-documented concern regarding the links between poverty and education; statistics demonstrate, over many decades, that the economically poorer the New Zealand child’s family, the more likely it is the child will not reach her/his potential.

“The blame for such inequitable outcomes is variously placed on children’s families and communities, on teachers and schools, and on wider structural and system injustices.

“The contributors to this book are key NZ writers and thinkers in the field of education and poverty.

“Reasons for our contemporary schooling’s inequitable outcomes are examined and critiqued.”

The book can be purchased here.

 

 

Child Poverty in New Zealand

Child Poverty in New Zealand

by Jonathan Boston and Simon Chapple

“Child poverty could be addressed with help from money freed up by lifting the age of eligibility for NZ Super, a new book, Child Poverty In New Zealand, out this weekend has claimed.

‘The book’s authors, academics Jonathan Boston and Simon Chapple, said progressively deferring NZ Super until age 67 would be a reasonable step to free up money to reduce the blight of child poverty.

“They canvassed various ways to raise the money needed to make inroads into child poverty and therefore lift the trajectory of our economy.”

Source: NZ Herald

 

Inequality - a New Zealand Crisis - bookInequality: A New Zealand Crisis

This book “examines the explosion in the rich-poor divide during the last 30 years, its effects on our society, and how it might be reversed.

“The book has generated widespread discussion and numerous reviews, articles and comments, many of which can be found at www.bwb.co.nz/books/inequality. Since its publication, the rise of interest in inequality has continued, and the issue is becoming one of the defining subjects of the 2014 election campaign.

“In March this year, we published ‘The Inequality Debate: An Introduction‘, a short guide to inequality in New Zealand based on the opening chapters of the 2013 work.”

Source: http://www.maxrashbrooke.org.nz/inequality/

 

 

Reports from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner

 

Children's Commissioner logoSUMMARY REPORT: PARENTS’, FAMILIES AND WHĀNAU CONTRIBUTIONS TO EDUCATION SUCCESS

Office of the Children’s Commissioner, July 2013

A summary of the working paper ‘Parents’, Families’ and Whānau Contributions to Educational Success’.

http://www.occ.org.nz/publications/reports/?category=6

 

 

Children's Commissioner logoPOSITION ON PARTNERSHIP SCHOOLS KURA HOURUA

Office of the Children’s Commissioner, May 2012

This paper outlines the Children’s Commissioner’s position on partnership schools kura hourua and his views on the key elements that could be implemented to support the education success of all New Zealanders.

http://www.occ.org.nz/assets/Uploads/Reports/Education/Position-on-partnership-schools.pdf

 

Children's Commissioner logoTHROUGH THEIR LENS – An inquiry into non parental education and care of infants and toddlers

Dr Janis Carroll-Lind and Dr John Angus, Office of the Children’s Commissioner, February 2011

This paper reports on an inquiry into the impact being enrolled in formal non-parental early childhood services has on children’s wellbeing and makes recommendations on service delivery.

http://www.occ.org.nz/publications/reports/?category=6

 

Other sources of information on poverty, children’s rights, and education

Inequality – a New Zealand Conversation – http://www.inequality.org.nz/

Office of the Children’s Commissioner – http://www.occ.org.nz/

Child Poverty Action Group – http://www.cpag.org.nz/

Tick For Kids – http://tick4kids.org.nz/

https://www.facebook.com/InsideChildPoverty

https://www.facebook.com/cpagNZ

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Childrens-Commissioner-NZ/186408948108425

.

Differing positions on IES – PPTA and NZEI – an overview

28 Aug

lightbulb

As most of you will know, PPTA and NZEI (the two teachers’ unions) have approached Investing in Educational Success (IES) proposal differently.

This is an overview of the different views and an outline of where NZEI and PPTA are currently at.

The post aims to give bald details in the unions’ own words where possible, without commentary, so that you can think further about the issues yourself.

DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO INITIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

  • NZEI stepped out of negotiations believing the policy to be flawed to the extent that it could not be made to work for primary schools
  • PPTA stayed in negotiations believing the could renegotiate a policy that was more workable than the original.

CURRENT SITUATION

  • NZEI members have rejected IES by a 93% vote (of a 70% voter turnout)
  • PPTA has renegotiated the terms of IES and have an interim agreement that PPTA members will vote on, probably in term 4.

NZEI’s VIEW (in NZEI’s words)

  • Teachers want the money to go to much-needed frontline resources for students, not into another tier of management.
  • The relationship and continuity of learning between primary students and their teachers is very important for effective learning. Taking an Expert Teacher out of their classroom for 40 per cent of the time, to be replaced by relievers, could have a negative effect on students’ learning.
  • This policy proposes a radical shift in schooling through a top-down one-size-fits all model,  without any consultation with schools or parents. It will impact on the role of boards of trustees,  school/community relationships, teaching practice and the autonomy of individual schools, and  could end up being a huge distraction from student learning.

WHAT NZEI WANTS INSTEAD OF IES (in NZEI’s words)

  • Parents and teachers said they wanted to see smaller class sizes to support individualised learning and 100% qualified teachers in early childhood education to ensure all children get the best start.
  • better funding for children with special needs so that all children can reach their potential. Currently, special needs funding is rationed and far too many children with moderate-to- significant needs do not get enough support.
  • more sustainable funding for teacher aides and other support staff, so that children get quality support and teachers can focus on teaching and learning.

PPTA’s VIEW (in PPTA’s words unless indicated by * in which case I have paraphrased)

  • The IES interim agreement is vastly different to the initial proposal from government *
  • The roles outlines have changed *
  • The role names have changed *
  • The payments for those in the roles has been reduced *
  • This [IES] money is to fund a government policy initiative. It is not available to fund anything else, even though we would all prefer it spent otherwise. Spending it on other things was never an option.
  • The teacher may be released more flexibly than this implies. While the teacher is away the staffing allowance could be used to employ a specialist teacher to teach the class music, a language, etc.
  • [S]chools will choose whether to be part of a CoS [Community of Schools] or not. It is not being imposed.

 

I hope that overview helps teachers, parents and others.

I welcome comments and clarification from NZEI and PPTA on the factual content above, as needed, and would be very happy to receive any additional information they have and would like to share.

At the end of the day, and despite different approaches and disagreement on the way forward, I believe we all have the best interests of the students at heart,  and so it’s important that all parties are clear on what unions and their members want, where they differ, why that might be, and so on.

Kia kaha,

Dianne

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Other Sources:

IES_factchecker_27aug2014.pdf (found on PPTA site http://www.ppta.org.nz/events/consulting-on)

 

 

 

PPTA – Interim details of IES agreement

28 Aug

PPTA logoInterim details of IES agreement as detailed by PPTA are as follows:
IES has changed significantly from the original cabinet proposal. The bottom lines identified by members as essential to the process have all been met.

Key points:

Role A (formerly Executive Principal) is now the Community of Schools Leadership role.

Role B (formerly Expert Teacher) is now the Community of Schools Teacher (across community) role.

Role C (formerly Lead Teacher) is now the Community of Schools Teacher (within school) role.

The job functions for the above roles are as agreed in the Working Party Report:
(see Ministry of Education website Investing in Educational Success: design and implementation)

1. Community of Schools Teacher (across schools)

• $16,000 per annum, 10 hours per week (which may be timetabled weekly or used in
blocks of time throughout the year).
• Minimum teaching contact time of 8 hours per week
• Access for unit holders (up to two permanent MUs)
• Fixed-term, 2+2 years
• $750 direct PLD funding per teacher per year (tagged funding in the school’s operations
grant)

2. Community of Schools Teacher (within schools)

• $8000 per annum
• Minimum teaching contact time of 16 hours per week (12 hours per week for part-time
teachers)
• Access for unit holders (up to two permanent MUs)
• Mostly permanent roles, up to 40% can be allocated on a fixed-term basis (same as
units)
• $400 per year per role for PLD
• An additional 2 hours of non-contact time per week (which may be timetabled weekly or
used in blocks of time throughout the year).

Provision has been made for secondary schools to form Communities of Schools (CoS) where there is no natural grouping with primary schools.

There is provision for a senior teacher who is not a principal to be appointed to the Community of Schools Leadership position where this is appropriate for the Community of Schools (CoS).

Acting up allowances will be paid to teachers who pick up duties transferred from other teachers who are appointed to CoS roles.

There is also provision for members to apply for the Teacher Led Innovation Fund and PPTA will be involved in the development of a formula to allocate inquiry time into schools.
22 August 2014 Contact enquiries@ppta.org.nz

Source: http://www.ppta.org.nz/events/consulting-on

 

PPTA and IES

27 Aug

confusedOkay peeps, I have been trying to get information about the PPTA’s interim agreement on the IES today.  My goal in that was (still is) to understand it clearly myself, and to be able to fairly and honestly discuss it and share it.

People are asking a lot of questions, and the same ones are coming up repeatedly, from PPTA members and others.

People want to know, for  example:

  • how will lead/expert teachers be identified?
  • who will be responsible for appointing people to the new roles, should IES be put in place?
  • will National Standards/NCEA be the criteria upon which success in roles is judged (Tom says no, see below)
  • will charter schools be part of clusters?

 

It seems, from the replies I got today on Twitter, the PPTA think I am on some mission to undermine the proposal.  I’m not.  If IES has morphed into something good, then of course I will support it.  If I’m still concerned, I’d ask questions.

In either case, I want to share the factual info with PPTA members and others so they can make up their own minds rather than rely on soundbites and bias.  What I’ve found so far is linked to below.

Thanks to Tom Haig at PPTA for the answers I did get and for the links to further info, which are very much appreciated:

So far I have been informed that:

  • Most appointment stuff still in negotiations/work groups.
  • Interim agreement doesn’t mean details finalised.
  • success in roles will be “Linked 2 ‘basket of evidence’ tht schls/groups of schls choose frm. Includes attendance/wellbeing/ach – doesn’t hv 2b NS/NCEA”
  • voting for PPTA members will be in Term 4, after the election
  • External panel that appoint to roles includes appointments from sector organizations, who will advise the group of schools they are from. (I don’t know which external organizations they would be).

 

The Minister’s press release leaves questions as it tells quite a different story:

“The Ministry of Education last week reached agreements with the PPTA, SPANZ and the New Zealand School Trustees Association, on how the new leadership and teaching roles will work as part of theInvesting in Educational Success initiative.”

Note it doesn’t say interim agreements.  It doesn’t say might work.  It says agreements and will – it speaks as if it is a done deal.

This despite it not being voted on.

It then states that:

“The Ministry of Education has now started the process of calling for expressions of interest from all schools who want to work together as Communities of Schools.’

This despite PPTA and SPANZ not having voted yet, and NZEI rejecting IES.

This rather smacks of IES being forced through whatever.

Which is why I think we all, at all levels of the education sector, need to be clear what is going on, and not just at our own level.  Because we are getting all sorts of conflicting information, and it’s confusing.

And because if IES is brought in it will impact all schools, not just those that voted for it.

 

PPTA’s advice to those wanting more information is to go to them direct.  After a dig at NZEI being my union (it’s not, I no longer belong to a union), a grouchy exchange on both sides concluded with:

 

PPTAWebAug 27, 7:23pm via Twitter Web Client @Dianne_Khan we’re going in circles. Now I need coffee. We respect your work Dianne – and we tell you what is to be told.

My emphasis added, there, as I find that chilling.

Well, that’s me told.

If you are in PPTA, ask a rep or call the PPTA helpline.

If you are not in PPTA, it’s none of your concern, apparently.

___________________________________

Links to further info are here:

http://www.ppta.org.nz/events/consulting-on

http://www.ppta.org.nz/resources/media/3007-media-ies-consultation-3jun2014

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/253106/ppta-agrees-changes-to-govt-policy

http://nzspc.org.nz/nzspc-resources/53-investing-in-educational-success-update-for-nzspc-principals-june-2014

Fact Checker: Decile is not Destiny – QPEC

27 Aug

As we look into the evidence on this one, let’s be clear on one point right from the start: let’s understand the difference between “destiny” and “probability”.  And, if we QPEC logo no borderdon’t want decile to be destiny, then what are we doing about it!

QPEC firmly holds the view that every student should get the greatest opportunity possible to succeed to the fullest extent of their abilities and their willingness to work hard and achieve.

Neither does QPEC accept that students from disadvantaged backgrounds cannot succeed.

But, the evidence on this one is clear.

 

Fact 1: OECD Study of Teaching Policies (2005)

A major study of the teaching profession, carried out by the OECD in 2005, made this statement in their summary paper:

“Student learning is influenced by many factors, including: students’ skills, expectations, motivation and behaviour; family resources, attitudes and support; peer group skills, attitudes and behaviour; school organisation, resources and climate; curriculum structure and content; and teacher skills, knowledge, attitudes and practices. Schools and classrooms are complex, dynamic environments, and identifying the effects of these varied factors, and how they influence and relate with each other – for different types of students and different types of learning — has been, and continues to be, a major focus of educational research.

Three broad conclusions emerge from research on student learning. The first and most solidly based finding is that the largest source of variation in student learning is attributable to differences in what students bring to school – their abilities and attitudes, and family and community background. Such factors are difficult for policy makers to influence, at least in the short-run. The second broad conclusion is that of those variables which are potentially open to policy influence, factors to do with teachers and teaching are the most important influences on student learning. In particular, the broad consensus is that “teacher quality” is the single most important school variable influencing student achievement.” [Emphasis added]

Source: OECD, “Teachers Matter: Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers

 

The problem with the OECD approach – we can’t change the kids, so let’s focus on the teachers – is that it does not deal head on with what the OECD itself calls, the first and most solidly based finding:

Factors associated with the student are the largest source of variation in student achievement.

It is important to go beyond ideology and examine the hard evidence of the strong links between student background and student achievement. Failure to diagnose this correctly leads to two major problems.

- First, we miss the main goal, which is how do we improve children’s lives;

- and second, education policy initiatives are misdirected.

Teachers and schools are part of the solution; they are not the cause of the problem.

 

Fact 2: New Zealand NCEA achievement

Table 1: Percentage of school leavers with NCEA Level 2 or above, by ethnic group and school quintile (2012 data)

Sex Eth

-nic

Grp
Quin

-tile

Total F M M P A M O E
1 58.1 61.8 54.3 49.5 62.6 78.6 72.3 63.2 62.3
2 66.8 70.7 63.4 54.2 63.0 82.2 65.9 67.2 72.0
3 72.7 77.6 67.9 59.2 66.4 82.7 80.7 68.1 76.0
4 82.0 85.6 78.8 67.5 76.7 89.3 82.8 82.9 83.4
5 89.6 92.1 87.0 78.6 80.0 91.6 83.2 85.7 90.4

 

KEY to Ethic Groups: M=Maori, P = Pasifika, A=Asian, M = MELAA, O=Other, E=European

Quintile 1 = deciles 1 & 2, etc; MELAA = Middle Eastern, Latin American & African.

The table above reports NCEA Level 2 school leaver achievement levels by school quintile, gender and ethnicity. Of students from quintile 5 (deciles 9 & 10) schools, 89.6% of them left school with at least NCEA Level 2, compared with only 58.1% for those in quintile 1 (deciles 1 & 2) schools.

Socio-economic advantage is clearly a major predictor of educational achievement.

 

Fact 3: International Reading Assessments

Table 2: PISA Reading Literacy, ranked by the student’s socio-economic status, across the 10 highest performing school systems (PISA 2009 Reading Literacy):

System 5

th

10

th

25

th

50

th

75

th

90

th

95

th

Mean

Score

Australia 343 384 450 521 584 638 668 515
Canada 368 406 464 529 588 637 664 524
Finland 382 419 481 542 597 642 666 536
Hong Kong 380 418 482 541 592 634 659 533
Japan 339 386 459 530 590 639 667 520
Korea 400 435 490 545 595 635 658 539
Netherlands 365 390 442 510 575 625 650 508
NZ 344 383 452 528 595 649 678 521
Shanghai 417 450 504 562 613 654 679 556
Singapore 357 394 460 532 597 648 676 526

In this table, the 5th percentile means the lowest 5% and the 95th percentile is the highest 95% of students, measured on the OECD’s own index of economic, cultural and social indicators.

So, this table is slightly different from our NCEA L2 table, because it shows the student’s own status, rather than where they go to school.

But the pattern is indisputable:

Student achievement rises lockstep with socio-economic status in every school system.

 

END

QPES Press Release

Teacher Voice: We’re not in it for the money, by Jenine Maxwell

24 Aug

Kia ora. My name is Jenine Maxwell and I have been a teacher for 31 years, with only the odd year off here and there for babies.

Although most of my career has been spent in New Entrant classrooms, I’ve taught at all levels and at different management levels. I am currently a D.P. with both curriculum, Senco and classroom responsibilities.

Everyday I am grateful for a job that I am still passionate and hungry for, one that allows me to connect with, and make a difference in, people’s lives. Schools are the centres of their communities and as such we engage not just with students, but also with the parents and whanau of our precious charges.

Batman - teachers aren't in it for the moneyI work hard, with long days and many hours put in at home, on weekends, evenings and holidays, both devising programmes that will help my students succeed and keeping up to date on relevant research.

Can receiving an increased wage motivate me to work harder, magically find more hours or an enchanted potion to meet all of my students’ needs in the minimum time?

Absolutely not, particularly as I, along with most teachers I know, have never been in the job for the pay packet anyway.

If I am identified as an excellent teacher, dragged away from the students and school that needs me to go and help another, supposedly less successful school, I would then have only half the amount of time and energy to devote to two settings.

Common sense, not politics, tells me that I would soon have two failing settings, as well a nervous breakdown, to show for my hard work.

For the Prime Minister to accuse NZEI of political motivations is disingenuous to say the least.

If Key were offered the same conditions, an increased pay packet to spend half of his time across the ditch fixing their economic woes, I doubt he would accept the challenge. And if he didn’t, would it be because he was in the back pocket of the unions. He would consider such an accusation preposterous.

Yet for some reason he views teachers as so naïve and malleable, that we would follow NZEI’s recommendations without any research, thought or common sense of our own.

As a taxpayer, I find it astonishing that he is so determined to pay government employees more money, while failing to increase spending on resources and staffing within schools. I wonder how many parents would be happy with that equation?

Teacher Voice: We won’t get fooled again, by Carrie Sherring

24 Aug

won't get fooled againI’ve seen this all before.

The Standards, the Expert Teachers from Beacon Schools, the Super Head.

I was a Beacon Schools teacher. I led in-service for Deputy Principals and Teachers on using assessment effectively to target children.

I worked with teachers to better analyse data. Organise their systems and interpret info they had.

My kids from a low decile school did as well as kids from affluent areas because as a staff we worked our socks off together, collaborating, sharing info, communicating.

When we became one of the first Beacon Schools it seemed important to share our practice with others. We went corporate. We hosted other teachers from a range of schools. They loved coming to see our school.

We saw it as a positive at first.

Then we started to get tired. We were still full time teaching and this was extra-it didn’t matter that we were paid a bit extra-time is finite in a week. The advisors who used to support schools vanished and we seemed to be taking over their role without the full support needed to do the job well. No secondments, just fit it all in.

Extra cash yes but only for me and not for the classroom (like many teachers I spent it on my class though).

I worked at weekends, I slogged and planned and delivered.

Did I make a difference-to my children in my own class-yes, they started to fail.

They were Reception Age kids (age 4 to 5)-the upheaval of other teachers coming in and me being out disrupted their education. I began to lose my creativity. I began to teach only to a test. I became a narrow educator.

So I worked harder to make sure I didn’t fail them.

I watched as my own children at home went out for the afternoon with someone else at the weekend because mum was too busy. Still I worked hard, believing I was doing some good.

Then one day I looked in the mirror, looked at my class, looked at my own 2 children and questioned WHY!

Why was I working every hour I wasn’t sleeping?-the answer, so schools could meet their government targets.

The children were not benefiting from a broad experience, they were being jumped over hurdles.

I had never been motivated by the money.

I stopped, gave up my responsibilities and had 3 months off, moved to a cottage in Scotland.

I was not about money; I was about growing great kids.

I was happier and so were my kids.

Then I missed the classroom and back I went.

Then I heard of a place where innovation and creative thinking were still valued in teaching, where there was a holistic approach, where discussion and dialogue between professionals was encouraged-so I came to NZ.

I loved it.

Then… we all know what happened next.

The Who summed it up ‘We won’t get fooled again!’

Hi, I’m Mikey and I’m OK

24 Aug

I'm ok

I’m OK

Hi, I’m Mikey and I’m OK.

I get plenty of sleep, I get up early. I’m never late to school…I’m OK.

I never call out in class, I put my hand up and answer questions when asked…I’m OK.

I sit National Standards tests which I think are boring, I get my school reports and no one is angry at me…I’m OK.

My older sister is loud, fidgets and bosses me around, my younger brother is disabled and takes up all mum’s time…But I’m OK.

I complete my homework tasks, sometimes at the last minute but the teacher says that…I’m OK.

I could do more writing with extra time or with less distractions in class but I usually finish so that’s OK.

I get LOADS of certificates at school that say I’m a magnificent member of the Middle Syndicate but when I haven’t tried 100% I still get them…Is this OK?

At home I like to sit on my own, to play on my computer or read spy books. So long as no one is arguing Mum says…that’s OK.

I’d love to be a spy like Zac Power or an inventor or a scientist like on Myth Busters. Mum loves my ambition and says…THAT’S FANTASTIC!

I’d love to film a documentary for Animal Planet and sometimes pretend with mums camera…it’s waterproof so it’s OK.

I keep telling her I’m joining Sea Shepherd when I turn 18. Mum will miss me but she’ll be OK.

In the meantime Mum extends me and gave me some editing software.

It’s kinda fun and I have my own YouTube channel – sometimes Mum films me practicing my news.

I’m a bit shy and nervous speaking up front but she tells me to try my best.

Mum shared my channel and her friends said WOW and even Mojo Mathers loved my video with the subtitles.

I’m not perfect, I don’t know everything but I’d sure love someone to notice me without me having to call out, be naughty or late.

I’d appreciate being challenged and sometimes pushed out of my comfort zone.

I don’t want school to be too difficult that I’m stressed out but I’m bored with being JUST OK.

by Mikey Lemon www.youtube.com

Mikey also makes videos, and in this one, he explains what a hero is:

 

NOTE: This article was edited at 8:30am 28/8/14

Tom Parsons and PPTA executive should get ready for a surprise

21 Aug

Tom Parsons and PPTA executive should get ready for a surprise.

“Tom Parsons, president of the Secondary Principals Association, is a strange one. There is something oleaginous in his relationship with the government, a complete suspension of individual will. Does he have a military background or something? His loyalty to the National Government is unhealthily submissive. If education benefited from mindless loyalty, Tom Parsons’ approach would be wildly successful.

There he was on national radio being interviewed by Guyon Espiner, accusing NZEI, principals, and teachers as being political for opposing the IES – what a cheek. It is Parsons who has been political.”

 

Read more:  Tom Parsons and PPTA executive should get ready for a surprise.

Round-up of press releases on Primary School Sector Rejecting IES

21 Aug

news flash

This is a round-up of the immediate press releases and news reports on today’s IES rejection by the primary education sector:

 

NZEI Press Release: Primary teachers and principals vote to put kids first and reject the IES 

Teachers and principals have voted overwhelmingly against the Government’s controversial “Investing in Educational Success” policy, including proposed highly-paid principal and teacher roles.

A resounding 93 percent of teachers and principals voted “no confidence” in the government’s plan.

When asked whether they wanted to try to reshape the policy or start again, 73 percent voted to reject the proposed new roles outright rather than try to change the policy through negotiation.

Instead they have called on the Government talk to parents, teachers and principals to to come up with a better way to spend the $359 million directly on children’s education.

READ MORE

 

Labour Party Press Release: National’s flagship education policy dead in the water

National’s plan to create executive principals and expert teachers is effectively dead in the water with news that 93 percent of primary teachers have no confidence in the scheme, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

READ MORE

 

NZ Herald: Teachers reject Govt’s flagship education policy

The NZEI union has announced that it will not engage in collective negotiations in an attempt to shape how the reform will take shape.

Ninety-three per cent of its members who voted said they had “no confidence” in the government’s plan.

READ MORE

 

Dominion Post: Teachers reject Govt’s education plan

The country’s biggest teacher union has overwhelmingly rejected the Government’s $359 million education policy.

The announcement today by NZEI that 93 per cent of teachers and principals voted “no confidence” in the policy could potentially scupper the Government’s Investing in Educational Success plans.

The policy, announced in January, has divided teachers and principals and only minutes before NZEI’s announcement the Minister of Education revealed a memorandum of understanding has been signed with a number of principals from other organisations across the country.

READ MORE

 

I will share more as news come out. (MORE BELOW NOW!)

~ Dianne

 

UPDATES – MORE ADDED at 16.42, 21/08/14

 

PRESS RELEASE:  Latest F for Hekia Parata – Green Party

The Green Party agrees with the need for more collaboration and non-contact time for teachers, but disagrees that the Government’s hierarchical approach is the way to achieve that, said the Green Party today.

The NZEI today voted with a 93 percent majority to reject the Government’ flagship education policy.

“This is the latest of the Minister’s expensive flagship education policies that she has failed to get over the line,” said Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty today.

“Hekia Parata needs to stop meddling with the system and start working with it instead.

READ MORE

Is Hekia Parata planning National Standards for preschoolers?

21 Aug

ECEMany of us who have read it are very concerned about the Education Ministry’s Statement of Intent.

The foreword is an exercise in deduction as, like all of the Minister’s communications, it’s hard to get past the waffle and jargon in order to see what is actually meant.

But this is vitally important that educators and parents DO read and understand it, because this document outlines what the Minister is intending to do next to our education system.

When I first read the Statement, I was torn between horror at what is implied in it and amusement at the circumlocution and waffle.  In fact, I immediately wrote my own parody of the Statement, using about 50% of Hekia’s own words and adding my own spin.

It amused me, briefly.

But that amusement didn’t last long.

In actual fact, the Statement of Intent is very concerning.

Very. Concerning.

Catherine Delahunty picks it apart today in this article, and asks some very salient questions about the Ministry’s intent, in particular regarding Early Childhood Education (ECE).

For those of you that don’t know, the Ministry’s Early learning Information System (ELI) is “an electronic monitoring system that requires ECE centres to record children’s enrolment and attendance.”

Delahunty points out that the Education Ministry says it will use its Early Learning Information System:

to help identify particular trends and  the effectiveness of children’s learning…”

Delahunty then asks,

“What on earth do they want 3 and 4 year olds to ‘learn’ and more particularly, what are they planning to measure about the effectiveness of that learning?

There has for a while now been real worries in the ECE sector that National may want preschool kids learning their ’3 R’s’ too. This appears to be a strong signal that we could have National Standards for pre-schoolers.”

I agree, it does appear to signal the Ministry is moving towards measuring the academic achievements of preschoolers.

This is worrying.

There are HUGE concerns from the ECE sector and from parents regarding the push towards standardising learning (and, heaven forbid, testing) for preschoolers.

It’s bad enough that the focus on data and on national and arbitrary standards is being entrenched in primary schools, but to it is even worse to be forcing formal learning on 2,3, or 4 year olds. The move is not supported by the research and in totally unnecessary in terms of good learning.

Ask yourself, why the focus on data and on national and arbitrary standards – what does it achieve?

Has it raised student achievement elsewhere?

The answer is no. But it has created a very lucrative market in testing materials and it has allowed for performance pay for teachers, neither of which benefit the students. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Delahunty says:

“We know that quality parent-led and teacher-led ECE based on a holistic curriculum is the best for small children”

Similar sentiments were echoed by Chris Hipkins (Labour) and Tracey Martin (NZ First) at the Tick For Kids ECE forum in Wellington last week.

The focus on reading and writing, and the obsession with pass marks, is narrowing our education system and crippling both teachers and students.

It is not a positive move.

It will not improve educational outcomes.

It is not supported as good practice by research.

So just what is the motive for doing it?

 

Sources and further reading:

GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – National’s Dangerous Education Agenda Exposed – The Daily Blog

The Ministry of Education’s Statement of Intent 2013 – 2018 (which sets out the key elements of how the Ministry will contribute to the delivery of Government’s priorities for education.)

Beanbags: An Alternative Statement of Intent Possibly from the Minister of Education (or perhaps not)

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

Report shows National plan to slash billions from Education Budget

For all parents who think National Standards a good idea

20 Aug

GUEST POST:

The Government introduced National Standards for one purpose – to appease those parents who wanted to know that their child was achieving. There is nothing wrong about knowing if your child is achieving, but you actually need to think about a much bigger picture!

As a parent you will fit into one of the following two categories:

  1. If your child has achieved National Standards ask yourself have they actually been extended to their full potential? National Standards will not tell you this.
  2. If your child has not achieved National Standards ask yourself where are they and what progress are they making? National Standards will not tell you this.

But don’t worry, if your child is attending a good school then despite having to complete copious amounts of paperwork to comply with National Standards your school will be keeping the other records they have always kept (and god forbid they are ever forced to stop), which informs them about the PROGRESS of your child.

PROGRESS IS EVERYTHING FOR ALL CHILDREN NO MATTER HOW WELL THEY ACHIEVE

Firstly let’s look at a school where the children come from homes where they have been read to since they were babies and where literacy and verbal communication has played a large part of their lives, plus they’ve been to kindergarten and/or other socialising environments before coming to school.

A graph of National Standards for 100 of these children could probably look like this:

National Standards graph 1

After 2 years at school (7 years old) the odd few have caught up and all 100 children have reached and continue to show their achievement to the National Standard.

Fantastic!

But what about if the reporting included by how much children were progressing above National Standards? ie how much the children were being extended?

Parents could be informed like this:

National Standards graph 2

Even better information and if your school is giving you this type of data then they should be commended. But National Standards do not require them to do this. They do it because they are excellent educationalists and want every child to progress and do their best at all times.

Using the above diagram, it would be quite natural for parents to want their children to be in the red block and raises the question whether National Standards needs to be higher for them!

Let’s now look at 100 of the children who aren’t so fortunate.

They probably don’t have many books at home, or parents who can read to them and English is not necessarily a first language for their parents. These children might even have moved around to live with various different people in the first five years of their life.

A graph of National Standards for these children could look like this:

National Standards graph 3

Notice that it takes years to bring the 100 children up to achieving the National Standard and some may sadly never make it, especially if they continue a pattern of continuing to move and change schools.

The schools working with these children have an enormous challenge to meet National Standards. Testing and measuring against the National Standard, particularly in the early years is something they certainly do not need to do. They know only too well that their children would not achieve the arbitrary target.

National Standards has done nothing to help them, in fact quite the opposite. They now have huge additional workloads which detract from what they want to do, which is to progress these children much faster than those in other schools. How can the time required to report against National Standards possibly be justified to these schools?

In my mind these schools need the highest level of commendation. Not only have they been forced to take on the extra workload created by National Standards, they are still committed educational professionals who use their integrity and focus everything on the children’s

PROGRESS

Sadly though the Government does not commend them, because they do not believe in PROGRESS they are only interested in achieving National Standards.

There was an example of the Education Review Office (ERO) criticising a school for saying their students have met expectations (a positive statement which is encouraging and reflects an achieving progress level). The school was instructed to change the wording to say that the students have failed to meet National Standards.

What a very sad and demoralising state of affairs.

But let’s not blame poor ERO, they are driven by Government policies so National Standards really do say more about the Government’s understanding of education. Do we really not understand why the committed professionals working in our schools were totally against the initiative?

Yes we need some form of school reporting but it should be based on PROGRESS. So long as a child is progressing to the best they can possibly be that is all that can be expected of them and what must be expected of ALL schools!

Written by a parent, BOT member (1989-1999), school advisor (1989-2007) and concerned future grandparent and member of the public (2014)

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