Why are the kids melting down at school?


Report finds NZ students among worst-behaved in the OECD, says a more national approach is required

New Zealand school students are among the worst-behaved kids in the OECD and behaviour has worsened in the last two years, a new report has found.

A report released by the Education Review Office (ERO) this morning has called for classroom behaviour to become a priority and a more “national approach” to worsening behaviour.

“We know that disruptive classroom behaviour is a significant and persistent issue in New Zealand – over the last 20 years our classroom behaviour has been amongst the worst in the OECD,” ERO’s Education Evaluation Centre head Ruth Shinoda said.

“But we also know it is getting worse, with over half of teachers saying all types of disruptive behaviour had become worse in the last two years.”

Why are any of us surprised by this?

Covid was a universal shared experience, it has impacted us all in very different ways.

Those lucky enough to live in wealthy areas loved working from home.

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Some reflected on their life choices in a moment of pause that saw them change careers or walk away from jobs.

Others went online and lost themselves down conspiracy rabbit holes and now vote NZ First.

Impoverished Kids already abused by the State when on ram raids.

We don’t acknowledge how huge an impact Covid was on us all and we certainly don;t recognise it in our children.

While Jacinda and Labour won the war against Covid, they lost the peace.

Labour’s leadership saved 20 000 lives (ironically many of them were Boomer’s who then went on to vote NZ First as a reminder no good deed goes unpunished) but Jacinda and Grant only wanted to incrementally rebuild NZ back to where we were which was a terribly unequal society.

We all sacrificed equally in an unequal society which exposed the bleeding gums of our inequality.

We have a deep seated poverty in NZ in the middle of a cost of living crisis, we are a nation of fatherless children raised by embittered solo mothers all just trying to hold on by their fingernails.

Public Schools in NZ don’t have the resources to manage the emotional trauma and material hardship of their pupils or post Covid PSTD.

Children play up, get kicked out and no one picks up the pieces.

Fining parents for truancy will only make things worse.

We need dare I say it a lot more kindness and better funded schools providing free breakfast and lunches.

We can get those better funded schools  providing free breakfast and lunches if we taxed the rich which is something this Government refuses point blank to do.


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    • Nathan When I was a child, we played ‘ jumping off the house roof’ when my mother put mattresses to air on the ground outside. Never got injured. My bothers snuck up there to eat pilfered tins of condensed milk. Kids don’t do things like that now. While back they built huts and fortresses along the Wellington Town Belt, but the dreadful Wellington City Council had them all removed. Primary school sports are bastardised, they play a sort of rugby in which nobody gets their white shorts dirty, but I don’t understand it, and maybe there are too many restrictions on the games kids play, and the sort of authors who they’re allowed to read. Some kids will venture outside of all this, but internet -linked PC parents go with the flow.

  1. Apart from your nation of fatherless children comment I agree with you. The politest way I would describe it is unaccountable fathers, while I understand that the IRD does its best to recoup the cost from the men it knows about there are still far too many males using the wrong head to make their life choices & even worse using females for their sexual pleasure without consent & not wanting any involvement in the fruits of their labor. I can live with society setting its own boundaries although it needs to be acknowledged that the best way to bring up children is in a stable relationship. Unfortunately, there are too many unstable relationships & there are solo parents doing an excellent job of raising their children so there is no easy solution to fix things although holding men accountable for their choices would seem to be a good start. There will be those who claim that their partner changed so they should not be responsible however if they know that they will be responsible then they will soon learn to make better choices about who they mate with.

      • I thought that I covered that in my last sentence? I am aware that women are not perfect which is why men need to use their brains before rushing into a relationship. I should also have mentioned that the lack of housing, poverty and education failure all need to be fixed before we can hope for any improvement.

    • 100% Bonnie. It is many factors but fatherlessness is possibly the largest one – and the one most ignored by people who don’t want to be seen as ‘preachy’. Until we get fathers to face up to THEIR responsibilities we wont get anywhere on this.

  2. Better funded schools doesn’t go anywhere near enough to solve this.

    The report found that behaviour issues are “particularly severe” in larger schools and poorer communities. However, I’ve yet to hear any talk on more funding for the poor.

  3. Why ? Shared learning spaces, unhelpful in so many ways, and tough on noise-sensitive children. An anxiety -engendering curriculum, pun intended. Needlessly worrying children is disgraceful.

    Traditional basic subjects, and necessary subjects, abandoned far too readily. Working parent or parents too tired to sit and read around the evening fireplace like they once did.

    Pre-school children entrusted to paid strangers far too young may have impaired parental, especially maternal, bonding.

    We’ve never been very good at helping children to be articulate and self confident, and this has worsened, and is counter-productive to problem solving. This may be what our neo-lib politicians want.

    Calling teachers dressed like hobby gardeners by their Christian names isn’t necessarily giving kids the security which they need. They need reasonable role models and stable anchors to be there for them.

    Children need to be respected. Period. They are often as intelligent, or more intelligent than their mentors, only less skilled and experienced, that’s all. Happy Easter.

    • This

      Pre-school children entrusted to paid strangers far too young may have impaired parental, especially maternal, bonding.

  4. I blame a lack of a sense of humour . We Kiwis are devolving into a humourless gaggle of whining egotists so when kids fuck things up, as they always will, we all spin out into a hand wringing dervish.
    Bearing kids into the fashionable plasti house town’s of the future world is challenge enough without trying to turn them all into Stepford Wives.

  5. As the economic dysfunction of our society increases, it becomes harder and harder to get kids to sit still through the 70% of bullshit that makes up curriculums. Sit there and finish school – and there is no wage market outcome. Cheap illegal migrants are motivated to undercut local teens – there is simply no future here. Half the next generation of my extended family has just decamped to Oz. They’re earning more than me already.

  6. Poor parenting is on the rise many children are too spoilt and the parents are to blame. My father died young but he taught us values and principles and a work ethic. We got a hiding I don’t agree with this but sometimes our parents exhausted all avenues and nothing seemed to work and my parents were just carrying on what their parents did. But we were brought up with tikanga my parents weren’t rich but they were very kind particularly around sharing kai they also took many people in despite our house being full. We can’t blame absent fathers it takes two to tango. Many people don’t have manners they are fucken rude. This is sad. Many of the kids are mimicking what they see and hear and if violence,no work, drinking and ununsavoury behaviour is all they see what do you expect. We also have violence on tap with wars and bombs being dropped on kids and women overseas and online rubbish trashy shit influencing our rangatahi.

  7. When I was at high school 30 years ago, we had the same issues with disruptive kids. The only thing that worked was to effectively separate them from the rest of the school and then manage them out of the school system once they hit leaving age.

    • When I was at school people who played up were strapped or given the cane.

      And if they played up at home they were given a smack.

      But we’ve done away with all that now.

      Perhaps some of what we are witnessing now is, in part, the unintended consequences of that?

      • I agree, the law seems to have left many parents frightened to discipline their children while not making much impact on those parents who do assault their children in anger. I got hidings at home, the strap and cane at school (not very often, pain is a quick teacher) so while I agree with the idea of keeping children safe there needs to be a better approach than the current law.

  8. Would be useful to have some fine grained analysis in the ERO report, eg, location, decile, age. Perhaps it does drill down. I havent read it. As its presented here we are left with the impression the issue is systemic. It may not be. The next step is funding for researchers to interview focus groups, the kids themselves as well as front line teachers. This will provide a more nuanced understanding rather than simply relying on statistical reporting and anecdote. Without reading the report I may be off target. It’s on my reading list.

  9. Ahh… the link to the NZH article identifies schools in poorer communities and those with larger enrollments (and presumably large numbers in classrooms). Evidently 16 recommendations. Minister Stamford is reported in saying the Ministry is acting on two recommendations by banning smart phones and by addressing teacher education. Let’s see if that helps. IMO the issue goes much deeper, yet another ‘wicked problem’.

  10. This has happening long before Covid, and then as now we take a blame the victim approach. Deep seated poverty and the breakdown of the family do have a lot to do with it, the elephant in the room is the supply side, the private fiefdoms masquerading as “tommorrow’s” schools. This lead to the rise of the $4.8 billion (pre-covid) foreign fee paying student industry in which the impoverished, traumatised and otherwise different are decisively not welcome. They are treated to host of prejudiced, discriminatory and unfair behaviours, subtle and not so subtle. This is because in a multi-billion dollar international market reputation matters. You need look no further than the rise of the “kiwi” suspension, otherwise known as illegal exclusion, for evidence of that. And when they are by fair means and foul kicked down into quasi-privatised charitable industrial complex known as Alternative Education, (or criminalised) they can a third rate education in a disused mechanic shop, without lab, gym, library or anything else for that matter. Complain and you could be threatened with truancy, despite the facts. And they can even give no credits for a years work, without informing the parents, and there’s no a damn about it. Accountability zero. Unless you’ve deep pockets and other resources to take a civil case. It’s not good enough to dismiss school and teacher complicity with messianic slogans like “every minute spent with a teacher improves life outcomes”. If ever true, so the converse.


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