Thursday, 7 June 2012

Education in New Zealand. A few thoughts.

Can our Prime Minister explain why he supported an increase in class sizes in state schools (where the vast majority of NZ children attend school) when he is on record as saying that he would send his own children to a private school because they have smaller class sizes and are better resourced than state schools?

Also, why are these "well resourced" private schools given additional state funding by our government - money that could be saved without detriment to our state schools?

Unfortunately education in New Zealand has become a political football. We are in the top group of OECD countries for our education system and yet politicians, particularly around election time, keep telling us we are failing our children, our teachers aren't up to the job and, if we will only vote them in, they will fix everything.

Much has also been made of the fact that 1 in 5 children are 'failing' (sorry, I really don't know the source of that statistic - I only know it is quoted just about every day at the moment by just about every politician I hear speaking about our schools)

FACT: We have a very good education system
FACT: No education system will ever get 100% success

This is not because we have poor teachers although the politicians would love to make you think this is the case.
Each student is an individual. They have their own strengths and abilities. They come to school with different backgrounds and skills and experiences. We cannot produce identical cans of baked beans from different raw materials.

We CAN help each student to be the best they can.
We can. We are. We do.

Last thought... I honestly have yet to meet even ONE person who is critical of teachers (you know the comments - good pay, 9 to 3 work hours, awesome holidays) who would actually do the job.
They don't want a bar of it.

"Those who can, teach. Those who can't pretend to be experts in education and try to tell the teachers how to do their job."

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