A brief word on using National Standards to take over schools


Oh. No. You. Didn’t.

Schools face takeover if pupils failing
Schools where children are failing exams could be taken over by the Government as the Education Minister warns staff need to be held accountable for students’ performance.

The availability of more data on how schools are faring, such as national standards results, would help that happen. The scenario has been dubbed “frightening” by one principal, while another said schools should not be blamed for situations beyond their control.

Let’s be 1000% honest shall we? National Standards never were about lifting educational achievement. They are there to create league tables to inject a false competition model into education and alongside charter schools with their unregistered teachers, are a blatant attempt to devalue teachers to save costs.

It is an ideologically driven fantasy to dismantle the highly unionized teaching profession. NZ has one of the best public education systems in the world and where it fails is with children decimated by the reality of poverty. Rather than deal to the causes of that poverty and its impact on educational standards, John Key and the National Government want to implement a right wing experiment under the guise of educational achievement simply to save dollars long term while helping out their mates in private education.

Using National Standards to now threaten taking over schools is simply a recipe to teach to the standards and inflate results. The horror would be that Hekia’s true agenda is to re-start those schools as Charter schools.

How private military charter schools and teaching creationism with unregistered teachers is supposed to be the cure all to educational underachievement is one of the great mysteries of the 21st century.

Education has 99 problems, Hekia Parata and this Government are about 98 of them.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com


  1. What do you expect when the makers of education policy themselves have absolutely not a clue what education even is, let alone what it takes. The National Government has no business, no more has their pals of the Business Roundtable, to form any kind of policy, idealogically driven or otherwise, upon a matter of which they wholly and absolutely ignorant.

    If this – or any other – administration (Labour’s record was pretty piss-haggard as well) would simply listen to informed advice – making sure to get as broad a representation of views as possible from interest groups, and guided by an ideologically disinterested and non-politicised Ministry – then one could respect their decisions at least of being informed and well-advised. That still leaves (or ought to) a wide range of options a wise government might adopt.

    But, you see, I have long known that primary and secondary schools have performed primarily a baby-sitting service, with education as a by-product. In recent years they have been used to mop up unemployment so that the government could hide itself away from the true employment situation in this country. Teachers might disagree with me, and I don’t blame them. But seriously, what do teachers find filling most of their days?

    What’s the difference between a good teacher and a bad teacher? Chances are you will find it’s government policy.

  2. 5 years ago, when Anne Tolley was briefly minister of Education, she made a promise to inject money & help into schools to tackle the issue of attendance. Since then, they have done… nothing. They dont fund truancy officers, & have prosecuted less parents than i can count on one hand. Instead they have focused on ‘poor teachers’.
    Well I can tell you this. The biggest thing stopping ‘the tail’ is attendance. As alluded to in this article, poverty-stricken, hungry kids, with incorrect uniform & no parents at home during the day are far more likely to bunk school. I work in a decile 1a school (thats lower than decile 1) & on any given day, especially if its wet & cold, 20% of our students are missing (thats better than it was 4 yrs ago, when it was more like 33%, but that improvement is nothing to do with the govt).
    Fact is, you cant teach a kid who isnt there, or is there one or two days a week. When do we get to take over a govt that is failing its pupils, such as this one is?

    • Getting absenteeism sorted out is a two-edged sword.

      Yes, they will be in school, but if you have not discovered why they continually have been disengaged to the point of not attending, you will then have a full roll but perhaps students in the class who will be disruptive.

      I’m not suggesting that the solution is easy, but it is deeper and more complicated than just having them turn up at school.

      • I absolutely agree. Just having them there is indeed only half the struggle. Then you have to convince them that education is in their long-term best interests,which can be remarkably difficult to do when no-one they know is employed, siblings & parents who have actually got a clue cant get work, and those who are working are paid so badly that they still need to go begging for help from a government that just doesnt care.
        Hopelessness is as bad an addiction as crack, and much harder to break free from.

  3. This is the sort of thing that has been happening in Chicago for a while now and got Arne Duncan** his role as Secretary of Education (and by being a basketball pal of Obama’s).

    They’ve been closing schools there for the past 20 years and nothing about the Chicago education system has improved. The kids who were failing at their old school went on to fail at their new school and then that school was closed and the kids moved on to fail somewhere else.

    The schools that closed there were in the poorest areas but it’s not the schools that were failing but the economic conditions that meant the poorest families couldn’t provide the things that give rich kids a leg up – health and dental care, food, out of school activities, meaningful interactions with adults.

    Teachers here know that shunting kids from school to school stuffs up their education. All this is going to do is to put pressure on teachers to bias their National Standard’s reports to save kids from being shunted around.

    The amount of stupidity coming out of the Ministry of Ed makes it seem that noone there actually has any experience or training in teaching or education … or management (including propery management apparently) or business …

    • Just watched The One Percent by Jamie Johnson, the 2006 followup to his previous documentary Born Rich.

      His filmmaking might need work, but interesting watch anyway.

      Your point about Chicago struck a chord, because about 17 min into the documentary is a piece on the gentrification of Chicago’s public housing areas.

      “Overall, I think gentrefication is a tool that solidifies the stratification of classes. There are people live in an area where it becomes 100% people like them.

      Three big tools have been used in a lot of areas. First you build a big police station. Secondly, you tear out all the basketball courts. And lastly, if there is a local public school
      where poor people attend you tear down the school” – Karl Muth,
      Investment Banking heir and recent purchaser of a new condominium in previous public housing community.

      “.. they closed three schools up in our neighbourhood; the middle school, the high school and a baby school.” local resident of public housing.


      “Don’t know. Guess they are just trying to push us out of the neighbourhood.”

      When the policy around education is influenced by other factors – such as high land value and political favours, it is always the poor and the already disadvantaged that lose.

      And as shown above, they usually have a good idea why – if anyone bothers to ask.

  4. Maybe the teacher unions could wield some of the power they’re credited/accused of having. Maybe the teacher unions could use kids as pawns since they’re always accused of that.

    All intermediates should refuse to enrol kids who haven’t reached the Holy National Standards. If Ms Parata is going to close them down if they don’t pass, they should only take the kids who do pass.

    A Fonterra factory will not take milk which isn’t up to standard because a good end result is not possible. I’m sure the Minister will see the similarity and logic and agree since schools are just businesses and kids are just products.

    What does it say about how far our society has evolved when our head educator is so cretinous?

  5. The summary and MOST SUCCINCT point has been given,
    ( by Ion A. Dowman)..and I will reiterate:

    “The National Govt. has NO BUSINESS, no more have their pals of the Business Roundtable,
    to form ANY kind of policy,( idealogically driven, or otherwise,)
    upon a Matter of which they
    ARE WHOLLY and ABSOLUTELY IGNORANT!!! (Thanks, Ion A. Dowman)

    This , the sole problem. Accepting policies.


    WHY??? accept when we KNOW they are WRONG??

    Are NEW ZEALANDERS SO PASSIVE, that they just comply with anyone who’s in charge for now? (like SHEEP)

    Why are NZers so complacent? So passive? Willing to be ruled?

    Springs to mind now that book “Passionless People” (about NZers) By Gordon McLaughlan.

    It must surely be the Fluoride in the water. ( makes people submissive. Effects on the brain , latest research.. & now (btw) NZ Govt is really pushing it..)

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