Monday, July 16, 2012

Have we seen something like this before?---100 high-level

I heard a report today that more than 100 high-level ‘Educationalist’ have signed a ‘letter’ to try and change the mind of the Government to release ‘League Tables.’ I have not seen the content as yet but the move reminds me of an event many years ago when the Labour Government led by Bill Rowling was under fire.  The ‘Citizens for Rowling’ campaign backfired baldy.
Many prominent people sign the ‘petition.’ I remember seeing the huge list in the herald at that time and wondered I thought that the Government couldn’t fail after that. I was so wrong. The Labour Party was thrown out of office in a landslide and we had to put up with the Muldoon Administration for many years.
I am not saying that this present campaign is the same and I strongly agree with the sentiment. League Tables are just another platform to grow the agenda of the ‘Right’ in NZ politics and in our educational institutions. That there is a great deal of research to show that it will not work in any way to improve the education our kids receive is just not getting through to Key and his associates.
It seems that they come up with idea after idea and continue to press their case despite the warnings from here and overseas. They don’t get it. Their ‘competitive model always hurts the lower decile schools and any flickers of improved achievement are more than wiped out by the losses that schools struggling to meet the needs of their students incur.
What is it with this Government? They are incapable of understanding the real issues in NZ education. They seem to be hell-bent on destroying the gains we have fought so hard for ever the years. They have turned their backs on the wonderful ideals of Peter Fraser way back in the 1940’s, where he stated that ‘every child should be able to achieve their full potential.’ How are the moves of this present government aiding that lofty ideal?
So maybe the thrust of the idea of the 100 ‘signees’ is laudable, but I hope that it does not become a target for a Government willing to use any tactic at its disposal to launch yet another attack on New Zealand’s top—class Education system. The least the 100 can do is raise the level of the debate about what is really happening in the area of educating our students in New Zealand. Many of us not so prominent educators would love to sign alongside our colleagues in the list.

All 'Dunne' and dusted-- better late than never Mr Dunne.

Giving Peter Dunne a hard time over some of his stands re various issues (The Asset sales coming to mind) has been both easy and necessary over the past few years. His do anything to keep the baubles of power approach has caused many to mistrust him.
 I have to give him credit for his belated stand re ‘party Pills’ though. Cabinet is finally going to act and put the onus on importers and sellers of all ‘Party PiIls’ to prove that a substance is harmless. That will effectively remove all such pills from outlets (it’s dairies that gets me the most annoyed) and hopefully making it much harder for our young people to buy these terrible pills. The news that ‘Bath Salts’ has reached our shores must have been the final straw.
I am giving Peter a bouquet rather than lambasting him about his other failings today so here goes----‘well done Mr Dunne. Now we may consign all the pills to the place they belong--- the dunny!’
But before we get too carried away in our praise we better not slip into some na├»ve position that the problem has gone away completely. Unfortunately, there will be other ways of sticking this evil stuff ‘out there.’ There always has and always will be the underworld that will continue to supply such substances. All we can say about the latest moves is that at least for some of our kids (and yes--- adults) it will be harder to get the pills.