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

This week I saw this amazing and rather telling poem by the very clever Mikey Lemon, poet and film-maker.

Mikey LemonMikey is 8 years old.

I think all teachers will want to read this poem and reflect on the very salient points Mikey makes, so here it is:

 

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

Thinking about Mikey’s experiences – are they OK?

And what can we all learn from them?

I know I have taken away much to think about – in particular regarding the handing out of certificates, stretching gifted students, and purposefully noticing well behaved children –  and Mikey’s poem has made me wonder again whether we should canvas student feedback much more often than we do.

Reflection is OK.

Back to the talented Mikey:  His talents don’t stop at poetry.  He also makes very clever and thoughtful videos, and in this one, he explains what a hero is:

 

Amazing work, eh?

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)

How does taking an extra $30k a year become a pay cut?

20 Aug

misinformation

John Gerritsen, Education Correspondent at Radio NZ should be hanging his head in shame for this headline:

“Principals agree pay cut for key role”

The same line was also used here:

Principals vote for pay cut

 

What’s the problem?

For those not in the know, it sounds like secondary principals have slashed their wages in a noble move to back the government’s Investing in Educational Success (IES) proposal.

And by framing what happened as a pay cut, there is an implication that secondary principals are so enamoured by IES that they are willing to pay for the privilege of being part of it.

UTTER RUBBISH.

Since when has agreeing an EXTRA THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR instead of forty thousand dollars a year been a pay cut?

Yes, that’s right – despite the headline, the truth of the matter is – and I quote – secondary principals agreed only to “reducing the extra money paid to principals who take two days a week to lead a cluster of schools from $40,000 a year to $30,000″

Pay CUT my fat hat.

 

Upon Querying Radio NZ

When I challenged the misleading headline on Twitter, Mr Gerritson responded:

“Yes, original headline was “School principals agree $10k pay cut for top jobs” – was abbreviated to fit on our site”

Sorry, Mr Gerritsen, I think you rather missed the point, there: the longer headline is no better.

Let me spell it out for you – THERE IS NO PAY CUT.

 

Tired of Journalists’ Spin, Misrepresentation and Untruths 

Whatever your position on IES (and there are many), it is outrageous for our national radio station to have headlines that manipulate the truth so wildly.

Surely if we have learned nothing else this week, it is that people are sick and tired of spin and would like some honest reporting from journalists.

Furthermore, just how does reducing the payment by one quarter address what Radio NZ calls “the suspicion that the principals leading a cluster will wield considerable, and unwelcome, authority over their peers”?

Gerritsen says this concern was fuelled by the amount of money those taking the role would get, but that’s just rot.

Concerns about secondary principals’ authority over other schools – particularly primary schools – has nothing to do with exactly how much they are paid but about what their goals will be.  All along, the Minister has stated the person in that role will have to focus on ‘raising standards’, and it is this and the entrenching of ropey National Standards that concern parents and teachers.

To reduce it to a petty squabble about who gets the most money is to seriously misrepresent the issue.

~ Dianne

 

Further info: Principals vote for pay cut - Originally aired on Morning Report, Wednesday 20 August 2014

Error: Do you want to restart NZ in Safe Mode?

20 Aug
We all deserve better than this. SaveOurSchoolsNZ - SaveNZ

We all deserve better than this.
SaveOurSchoolsNZ – SaveNZ

 

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

19 Aug

hekia_parata_maniacleKia ora, Hekia here.  I have a feeling I’ve not been coming over too well in the live education forums so I thought I’d write to you all to outline my fabulous vision for NZ education Inc (USA).

You know, this Government is committed to raising achievement for five out of five students.

Unless they have special education needs or live in Labour supporting areas of Christchurch, because, you know, the embedded goal for all students is of the utmost importance to this government, but, well, oh look over there, some ultra fast fibre computery stuff.

We want to create a shift that places children and young people at the centre of the education system, because, you know, those horrid teachers don’t do that at the moment.

In fact I have it on excellent authority from some people who would like to run a few charter schools that the average Kiwi teacher actually eats children live with classic Kiwi dip.

It’s true.  A friend told me she got an email about it from a very reliable source with an unverifiable IP address.

So, you know, standards, targets, improvement, better things, strengthen the system, renewal, and stuff….

The performance of the education system for priority students – Māori students, Pasifika students, students with special education needs and students from low socio-economic areas – needs to improve rapidly.

But we can’t do anything radical like look at the teensy mountain of evidence that indicates that factors outside of school account for around 80% of a student’s chances of success.

beanbags 2 Because, you know, we can’t measure poverty.  Largely because we don’t want to.  Oooh, look over there, a 21st Century Learning Hub with beanbags!

We continue to work towards our Better Public Services targets of 98% of new entrants knowing where to put an apostrophe.  This will serve them far better than social skills or food. Or shoes.  Or heating. Or any of that other fluffy rubbish.

My main priorities continue to be delivering on the Better Public Services education targets so that I can use the data to put performance pay in place.  I know it’s proven to be unreliable and even lower student achievement, but who could pass up a chance to toy with those nasty teachers?

Did I mention the beanbags?

I am also forging ahead with my plans for the Greater Christchurch Education Renewal Programme.

This largely means shutting down schools in Loony Leftie areas and ignoring the people who live there, because, you know, they are, well, just not on side and seem to think schools are some sort of social focus for the community or something, which is just plain ridiculous.

I am so focused on ensuring the passage of the Education Amendment Bill, undertaking the review of the New Zealand Teachers Council and supporting my Ministerial Cross-Sector Forum that I am fair giddy with excitement.

Of course, I am consulting with all relevant stakeholders so that I can use their submissions as kindling in the wood fire at my wee bach in Titahi Bay. Saves a fortune on paying for it at New World, and Nikki and I have such a giggle reading them beforehand.  Consultation, listening, no pre-conceived ideas, and other exciting words.

We are aiming for a greater use of public data and information, because we’ve heard there’s gong to be a good market for all of that as soon as the TPPA paperwork is signed, sealed and delivered to my good friends in charge of creating costly testing regimes that earn them lots of money.  It’s all for your own good, because I say so.

Our response to the recommendations from the Select Committee Inquiry into 21st Century Learning Environments and Digital Literacy was the same as it is to all such select committees, insomuch as we will listen then forge ahead with whatever we planned to do in the first place.

Our Government is committed to supporting the profession through a range of initiatives such as criticising them continuously, refusing to listen to their feedback via select committees, taking away their right to elect a representative or two to their own professional body, and of course, mocking them whenever possible.  it’s good for them. Creates backbone.

Greater choice for parents, families and whānau is super really very, like mega, important.  Not actual choice, just using the words “greater choice”.  That’s the important bit – to keep saying it, so that people think they are actually getting it.  People are so very easily lead along, just ask my friend Judith.  Greater Choice.  See.  Very important.

beanbags 1Over the next 10 years, we are investing up to $1,000 million to toy with the education system across greater Christchurch. We will support new and innovative teaching, and buy beanbags and primary-coloured desks and stuff.  Ooh and lots of open plan.

No new funding for the kids themselves, though.  But hey, beanbags, what’s not to like?

The priorities set out in this Statement of Intent represent my wish to fulfil my own potential by hanging onto my job long enough to get something overseas, maybe ambassador or something, so that I am nowhere near when it all hits the fan.

Because, lord above, the last thing this government wants is any of the “accountability’ silliness.

Ministerial Statement of Responsibility

I am satisfied that I will get away with it.  After all, it seems like John’s got his hands full at the moment.

Toodles,

Hekia P.

Report shows National plan to slash billions from Education Budget

19 Aug

Ravitch - public schools under attackFindings in an independent analysis of the Government’s books, commissioned by the Green Party, reveal National is planning multi-billion dollar cuts to health, education, and environment spending over the next three years.  

The analysis, prepared by Ganesh Nana of independent economic consultancy BERL, shows that National is stripping funding, in real terms, to the health, education and environment sectors to the tune of at least $3.837 billion over
the next three years.

“National’s election promises are being underwritten by major cuts to health, education and environment spending,” said Green Party Co-leader DrRussel Norman.

“National is being tricky with the books. This is a deliberate deception so National can claim a budget surplus when the reality is that hospitals will be under even greater pressure to cut services while every child in education will be worse off.

“At the time of the Budget in May, National brushed off criticism of these cuts saying they weren’t true. That was spin. National’s cuts to health, education and environment spending are real and damaging. 

“National is attacking the elderly, the young and our environment with these funding cuts.

“BERL’s analysis shows National will cut health spending by 4.5 percent in real terms over the next three years. The cuts are actually 9.8 percent when you apply real health sector price increases.

“Education cuts amount to 1.7 percent over the next three years in total but are far more significant on a per pupil basis.

“In early childhood education (ECE) the cuts per child are 4.6 percent, 3 percent for primary children and 1.1 percent for secondary students.

“Environmental protection is cut by a massive 13.9 percent, leaving our environment vulnerable to further degradation,” said Dr Norman. 

“In Government, the Green Party will maintain real levels of funding in health, education and the environment to protect against inflation and ensure vital services are not gutted.

“We will allocate $3.837 billion to health, education and the environment to protect these essential services for New Zealanders.

“The Green Party will reverse National’s cuts to our important services. Funding for our hospitals and schools and environmental protection will be maintained and inflation adjusted under the Greens.

“The Greens will use National’s provision for new spending to invest back into health, education and the environment to maintain real funding levels.

“Our plan to protect core Government spending is more than covered by existing budget provisions for new spending going forward and is affordable within budget parameters.

“Voters need to be crystal clear that a vote for National is a vote for spending cuts on health, education and our environment.

“Voters have a choice this election, re-elect National for big cuts to health and education, or protect the funding of our essential public services by voting Green.”

Dirty politics: but then most of us knew from education that our prime minister was a liar, a cheat, and a bully

15 Aug

Originally posted on Networkonnet:

I’ve just finished the book. It is a nightmare. This is not dirty politics as in politics as usual; it is dirty politics as in politics most unusual. National and its supporters come across as Cullen’s ‘rich pricks’ with a huge sense of entitlement. They are revealed as considering themselves above the law, beyond democratic norms. Nothing like this in New Zealand’s history comes close to being comparable. This is truly horrific. Nicky Hager suggested that political corruption in the Muldoon era was worse – no it wasn’t, not by a long chalk. In this posting I intend to concentrate on the political and social corruption exposed in the Cameron Slater e-mails – leaving its extension into education to another posting.  For apologists to say Labour did it too, is absurd – which political period would that be?

That this has occurred, is occurring, in New Zealand is horrific enough…

View original 1,269 more words

Destiny Church – so many questions

15 Aug

So, Destiny Church school is eyeing up its options after being turned down as a charter school. Why would that be?  Why would a private school suddenly want to be a charter school and then, failing that, become a public school?

Funding for Integrated Schools

moneyThe Herald report that as at 2011, and in its present form, the school “charges tuition fees from $65 to $85 a week and received a $266,000 operations grant from the Ministry of Education,” but it would be entitled to more tax payer funding should it become integrated.

As a state integrated school, it would get the same government funding for each student as other public schools. In 2013 this was $5,837 per primary student and $7,521 per secondary student.

In addition, it would be allowed to charge fees.  Not donations, but fees – not optional.

So it could arguably be quids in.  (Or is that dollars in?)

And, of course, it would get to retain ownership of its buildings and land.

Transformational Education?

A Destiny spokesperson said that the move would allow the school to take it “transformational model” of education to more children.

I would like to know more about this “transformational model” – what makes it so amazing?  Is it really that amazing at all?  And if it is, then why did the government turn them down as a charter school?

They have tried to become an integrated school before, and were turned down.  And their charter school bid was turned down.  It doesn’t look like the Ministry think anything miraculous is going on there, does it?

So many questions.

___________________________________________

Sources and further reading:
Destiny school eyes state aid – NZ Herald

Per student funding in New Zealand state and state integrated schools

Destiny Church school applies for state funding – TV3

Destiny Church’s charter school application declined – NZ Herald

DestinyChurch – Wikipedia

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