Tinetti’s teaser – to whom was she talking when she delivered a Moot Speech about teaching and truancy?

Our Beehive bulletin

Oh goody – a guessing game has been provided by the clever people who post announcements, speeches and what-have-you on the Beehive website.

It was delivered in the name of Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti – by her press secretary, perhaps? – in the form of a teasing headline.

Learning Support, Curriculum, Attendance – NZPF Moot Speech

NZPF?  Which one?

We put the challenge aside while checking out the other news from the Beehive,

  • Amelia Setefano and Marina McCartney have been selected as inaugural recipients of the Ministry of Education’s Tagaloa scholarship, which supports Pacific Doctorate and Masters study.
  • Three Auckland schools are benefitting from a $1.3 billion nationwide school redevelopment programme. May Road School, Onehunga Primary School and Albany Primary School are getting new classrooms to replace those in poor condition, and will benefit from investment in projects to support expected increases in student numbers.

And now to identifying the audience to whom Tinetti delivered her NZPF Moot Speech.

The possibilities (because you could say learning and attendance are involved in all of them) include:  Continue reading “Tinetti’s teaser – to whom was she talking when she delivered a Moot Speech about teaching and truancy?”

Update on the undermining of literacy – no honours for writers and the rundown of libraries

A pre-Christmas post headed New library boasts admirable resources – but don’t expect to find too many books raised concerns for Point of Order readers about New Zealanders’ reading habits and the rundown of public  libraries.

We quoted  Lloyd Jones, writing on The Spinoff news website about his first visit to the new library in Christchurch.  He said it has a “wonderful sound recording studio”, a sewing room and a  3D printer – but he found the books “herded into an area barely more generous than the space on the ground-floor allocated to teenagers and video games”.

Wellington’s central city library, closed as an earthquake risk in March last year, used to hold 380,000 books and have 3000 visitors, including 500 children, a day.

There is no schedule for reopening it or replacing it, but if that happens new mayor Andy Foster told the Dominion Post (Dec 4) he would like it to have “creative spots and activities such as Lego and 3D printing”.

Jones disagreed with Victoria University’s professor of library information and management studies, Anne Goulding, who said libraries were moving away from being storage places for books and “transactions to building relationships in the community”.

“A library is where people go to read,” Jones said. “A library is where they may borrow a book. A library is one of the most honourable and civic institutions that a community can accommodate and offer to its young.” Continue reading “Update on the undermining of literacy – no honours for writers and the rundown of libraries”

New library boasts admirable resources – but don’t expect to find too many books

by David Barber

“To read,” says Jim Flynn, Emeritus Professor of Politics at Otago University, “is to enter a magic realm in which people are more interesting, informed, amusing and intelligent than anyone you encounter in everyday life.”

It is a realm that half of New Zealand 15-year-olds never enter, according to the OECD’s latest Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa),  as reported by Radio NZ this week.

The survey reported that 52 per cent of students said they only read “if I have to””. Forty-three per cent said they do not read for enjoyment, 28 per cent never read non-fiction books and 18 per cent said they never read fiction.

It is not entirely a new situation.  Flynn made his bid to change it a decade ago with a book called The Torchlight List – Around the World in 200 Books. (Awa Press, 2010).

He wrote then that after more than half a century as a university lecturer one thing troubled him greatly. Continue reading “New library boasts admirable resources – but don’t expect to find too many books”

Head of the NZEI is proud of pay lift but principals are prickly on the parity issue

Cold, hard cash settled the teachers’ dispute, even though there  had  been many high-minded  claims  from the union  over  teachers    leaving  the  profession   because of the  stress of  the  job, and the lack of   classroom  support.

Even  in the wake of the settlement  some leaders   within the profession were wailing  the new  pay  scales  would do  little to  attract   fresh  talent into  the profession.

And let’s face it: that’s what NZ schools need.

There  are  still  enormous gaps  in the  education   system  between  high-performing  schools  and  those  at the  lower end of  the scale.  Critics say  standards  in  NZ schools   fall far below  those  in  advanced  economies  like   Singapore  and  Japan. Continue reading “Head of the NZEI is proud of pay lift but principals are prickly on the parity issue”

Fees-free policy perhaps attracted more voters to the polls than students to universities

The   irony  may  have  escaped   most of those  who  voted  Labour   in 2017.

Particularly   teachers (who reckon the  government is  penny-pinching  in  limiting  a pay offer to them  to  $700m  over four years).  No generosity  there — but   back  in   the days of the  election  campaign Labour  was   very generous   in  offering  free tertiary fees  for  first year  students.

So how  has that  worked  out?

Finance  Minister  Grant Robertson  revealed this week that in  his drive to cull  $1bn of low-priority spending, $200m  allocated    to  the fees-free  policy in the education vote, but not spent,  has been  transferred — but no, not  to  meet the  teachers’ demands.  It will be devoted to  reforms in  the  vocational  education  sector.  Continue reading “Fees-free policy perhaps attracted more voters to the polls than students to universities”

Why Hipkins should study the formula for a London state school’s remarkable academic success

If Education Minister Chris Hipkins is overcome by an urge to join his cabinet colleagues in overseas travel but doesn’t have a good reason, we suggest he visits a state school in one of London’s poorest boroughs.

Forty-one of this school’s students have been offered a place at Oxford and Cambridge this year.

This rivals the admission rates of some of the top-performing private schools across the UK, according to the BBC

Brampton Manor is a state school in Newham in east London.

Nearly all of the students who received Oxbridge offers are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds; two-thirds will be the first in their families to attend university.

Half of them are on free school meals.  Continue reading “Why Hipkins should study the formula for a London state school’s remarkable academic success”

Teachers want ‘crisis’ resolved – then exacerbate it with their intransigence

The political “kindness and empathy” which the  Ardern coalition government  has  patented as  its trademark  doesn’t  seem to be  making  much headway  with the  teachers’ union.  Which is  ironic  in  many  ways.

Latest  reports say  primary  and intermediate teachers and  principals  have  “overwhelmingly”  rejected  the government’s  latest  pay offer , on the grounds, it’s said, it will not fix  the industry’s  staffing “crisis”.

About 30,000 New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa (NZIE) union members voted on what was the third round of offers, in a secret online ballot.  NZIE president Lynda Stuart said the message from members was that the offers did not do enough to fix the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.

“The big concern for members was that the offers had nothing that would give teachers more time to teach or principals time to lead.” Continue reading “Teachers want ‘crisis’ resolved – then exacerbate it with their intransigence”

Just a trivial misunderstanding – history students’ ignorance won’t be penalised by NZQA

Sorry – but did we hear that correctly?

Sadly, we did.  According to an RNZ item in the midday news, students won’t be penalised for not knowing the meaning of “trivial” when they bumped into the word – apparently for the first time – in a history exam.

The chair of the History Teachers Association, a bloke by name of Graeme Ball, was quoted as saying he welcomed this news from the NZQA..

But perhaps we should not be too surprised.  The first objective on the list of his association’s aims is to “promote and encourage the teaching of history”. 

The teaching of the English-language component of the three R’s obviously is somebody else’s problem. Continue reading “Just a trivial misunderstanding – history students’ ignorance won’t be penalised by NZQA”

After expelling the charter schools, Hipkins is pressed to do better on teachers’ pay

So who  do you feel  sorry for:  primary school  teachers  who  say they are  undervalued, underpaid  and  overworked?

Or Education Minister  Chris Hipkins, who is  “disappointed”  teachers are  going  on  strike, despite the government’s “strong new offer”.

Political aficionados might find some irony  in the  whole  affair. Teachers   were   desperate  for  the Labour  Party to win the  Treasury benches,   knowing it    would be a relatively  soft touch  after  nine years  of  a flinty-faced  National government.

And  Hipkins  early  in  his term  sought to cosy   up  to the teachers’ union  by  bending to  their   demand  that charter  schools  be abolished.

Continue reading “After expelling the charter schools, Hipkins is pressed to do better on teachers’ pay”

$5bn surplus divided among 17,000 teachers – it’s not so simple when Robertson becomes involved

The looming teachers’ strike poses a real headache for the Ardern government. In throwing down the gauntlet to Education Minister Chris Hipkins, the teachers’ union has talked of a “crisis” in the schools, a desperate shortage of teachers, and of principals “in tears” with the stress of trying to ensure there is a teacher in every classroom.

Hipkins says he is disappointed, but not surprised, that primary teachers will strike again.

The government has raised its initial bid of an increased 2.2% to 2.6% a year to 3% a year over the next three years but the the gap between this and what the teachers are demanding remains wide. Continue reading “$5bn surplus divided among 17,000 teachers – it’s not so simple when Robertson becomes involved”