41 Comments
Mar 25, 2023Liked by David Slack

As a former teacher, I have throughts about this. Firstly, what are the tests actually measuring? Are they measuring educational targets from 40 years ago or are they measuring what is important now? To be fair, rote learning of times tables and mental arithmetic in schools stopped here maybe 45 years ago. Yes, some of us have retained all that but I would be hard pushed to remember how to use the slide rule and log tables that preceded the advent of the calculator - then seen as the devil's invention for lazy children. Is anybody younger than middle-aged disadvantaged by not having instant recall of 11x 12 or 9x6? Yes, I can out-perform my adult children in this area but they run rings around me in other areas like technology, scientific understanding, the ability to absorb huge amounts of new information and they are easily my equal in critical thinking. The need to know how to write letters has changed (some will recall the rules about indents on addresses). What is needed now is some grasp of appropriate language and which technologies are appropriate to different situations. Nobody writes much by hand any longer, certainly nothing important, and even with my former near-perfect spelling, I will use a spellcheck not a dictionary. Are we even measuring the skills people need in today's world? Also, there are other forms of assessment than damn tests or exams and many of these are more appropriate to learning.

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Mar 26, 2023Liked by David Slack

Bravo.

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Mar 25, 2023Liked by David Slack

Excellent summary of the real issues around education thanks. I hate that his sloganising got so much coverage.

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Mar 25, 2023Liked by David Slack

Nailed it. Brilliant. Quick, send it to Jack Tame BEFORE he interviews Luxon Q&A this morning. That way we just might get an interview rather than a promo

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Mar 26, 2023Liked by David Slack

It was Erica (I-must-speak-really-fast-before-people-realise-I-don't-make-sense) Stanford on Q+A today. While Jack did challenge her on some things, he let her get away with gross simplifications and outright nonsense. Carmel did a better job of dealing with the underlying reasons in the previous interview.

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This should be editorial in The Herald this morning. The coverage of this 'new' education policy from the gNats has exposed the sore lack of pre-neo liberal experience in the modern fourth estate.

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A wonderful summary David. Teachers need all of those supports you list and the public needs to understand that testing does not improve education it only informs it. For me 1989 was the year our education system began to really feel the strain. There’s lots more that could be added to this like Lockwood Smith!!!!!

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Mar 25, 2023Liked by David Slack

Well said! Unfortunately I have no faith that anyone in our MSM would put these questions to Luxon and Stanford.

You could drive a Ford Ranger through the holes in Nationals education policy.

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Mar 25, 2023Liked by David Slack

Absolutely agree. Superbly expressed. We must not have a return to neoliberalism. It has almost destroyed our society

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Mar 28, 2023Liked by David Slack

Neoliberalism can’t return, because it hasn’t gone away!

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Mar 28, 2023Liked by David Slack

True, but the neoliberalism of Morrison’s Liberals, the Tories in the UK, and the Republicans is particularly odious and we must, at least, stop moving in that direction

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Mar 25, 2023Liked by David Slack

Testing eh. A lot of us oldies will remember the dreaded pass/fail of School Certificate. One of my mates missed by one point. I hated that. Stuck out another year to get University Entrance then told the principal I was sick of being in the sausage machine and went out into the working world. Easy then. Now testing would stop so many dead in their tracks. Enough kids are turned off school as it is. Went down a rabbit hole this morning to a private school in Northland. Magic exam results, and guess what, a teaching ratio of 12 to 1. That’s one of the most important things for quality education, testing is shortcut for observation when classes are too big.

And yes schools should be treasured community resources for night classes, health outreach and recreation. We had a large boys high school up the road before Hekia Parata swung her wrecking ball at Christchurch schools. There were night classes until those were wrecked by National. The squash courts and playing fields were used by the community. Now there’s a primary school on part of the land, and the squash courts and gym were saved by a community fight, for the community. So much missed opportunity.

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Mar 25, 2023Liked by David Slack

So very, very good, David. As a retired teacher still doing a bit of relieving, education is my passion, and National just have no clue! Thank you for this excellent piece, which I have shared.

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Mar 25, 2023Liked by David Slack

This idea of seeking clues about how to improve school education from countries that are *actually* succeeding at it (eg Finland) rather than ones that fail abysmally (USA,UK) seems a bit of a no brainer really.

Also can i humbly add that Finland has a strategy to house homeless folk that actually works?

Happy Sunday DS 10/10

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Mar 26, 2023Liked by David Slack

An excellent column, please publish it more widely.

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Mar 25, 2023Liked by David Slack

Perfect David. Thank you for the well-framed argument. Thank you for the words. Thank you for your speech writing. We are lucky to have you. Barb Taupō

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Mar 25, 2023Liked by David Slack

Thanks David. Slicing deftly through the crap and clarifying the real issues. Repeated emphasis on what lies beneath is SO important right now as we get layer upon layer of cosmetic made-up—on-the-spot BS.

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Mar 25, 2023Liked by David Slack

Thank you for taking the time to understand the issues in education and write so eloquently about them. One thing I always remember form teacher training is that the best predictor of success in literacy is how many books are in the house when a child is born.

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Mar 25, 2023Liked by David Slack

This is one of your best newsletters! Right on the button! As I was reading I just kept nodding and thinking this is so spot on. Kept reading bits aloud to my husband! So scary to think what might happen if national get in, I get Christoper Bishop’s newsletter by email, one came this last week, if you want a read I can forward it to you, it was sooo sooo scary! Arrgh! Blatantly disregarding the work teachers are already doing! Shows how worried they are they they would go to a school in Chris Hipkins hood, of all the schools they could of chosen in the country! To announce the policy!

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Mar 25, 2023·edited Mar 26, 2023Liked by David Slack

Just finished listening to someone explaining antidotes to Alzheimer's disease and thought oh well too late for me but socialising was important . I do some of that, socialising, at our public library where I can read the out moded local newspaper for free. I pester the librarians who encourage me to use the electronic book issuer instead of asking them to do it for me at the counter and I mingle with the souls in there to get through the day, warm and dry till closing. Not Wayne Brown's kind of people. Some of them know my name. Some ask for money. Anyway I suppose I am saying the education system as an election issue is not one I will be thinking about when I cast my vote in October or November. My own experience was no kindergarten and no public school until Oamaru North in my 6th year although I did have a month before that at Casa Nova Primary (run by retired missionaries ex Bolivia) but I was expelled for using the girls toilet. After that followed some 10 or 11 primary schools and 4 secondary schools. I did not enjoy school. And it was not just nga rangatahi who got the strap. David, I googled KPI and the first word Key turned me off. Anyone who cannot remember whether they were for or against the Rugby Tour that divided NZ is a liar. It is my intention inshallah to be voting for the Party with the most charismatic leader. All political policy promises are BS

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Mar 25, 2023Liked by David Slack

Great comment there Winston, in response to a really marvellous MTAF 💖. I feel acutely what you say about socialisation. After hospitalisation nearing 5 months and serious illness which so far has taken 11 months of the last 12, it brought me to stiffly concealed tears, to precursively and just to say gidday, re-enter my work environment of 47 years; an environment where I am gifted the opportunity to embrace my community, and my predominantly poor community embraces me. There's no beating it. All power to the upliftment of souls (for that is the antidote to arse-souls) and fuck the recreational helipads! Please tell me your public library is near mine. We could make a fine old "Best of the Summer Wine". Bags not be the pompous one 😁

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Mar 26, 2023·edited Mar 26, 2023Liked by David Slack

The H B Williams Memorial Library in Gisborne. Not sure books in paper form will last much longer tho. BTW I was a Regional Solicitor at Dept Maori Affairs - ie R/Sol

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Mar 26, 2023Liked by David Slack

Oops - Wayne Brown (not Len)

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Thanks Michael

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