Video: Never forget, the most powerful unions in the country are education sector unions

This is what he had to say:

“We need to be a bit careful if we are going to busy ourselves reviewing NCEA.

This, of course, is part of the overall overhaul of education now a Labour-led government is in charge of it. Never forget, the most powerful unions in the country are the education sector unions. They are driving a lot of this change, given they don’t like most of it, and they have serious influence over Labour.

In fact, the irony is my entire life, from school to parenthood, the education union message has not varied. Whatever the current state of play is, they don’t like it. They need more money, and teachers do too much.

So to the reform.

I like national standards. They’re a marker parents can get their heads around. They’re not a magic bullet, nothing in education is, but parents previously lacked specific detailed information on where our kids are at. Standards, at least, in part addressed that, so their demise is a shame.

League tables were a guide. They were a bit ropey and open to manipulation, so it’s not the end of the world if they go.

Charter schools, so far, seem successful. They were a creative alternative for a lot of kids who don’t fit the one-stop shop approach so many of the lever pullers in education favour. They hopefully will survive with just a bit of minor tinkering.

But NCEA is your party piece of modern schooling, and because it’s so big and comprehensive, it’s impossible to bag it or rave about it.

Four of our kids are currently in some way shape or form immersed in it.

Here’s what we have learned:

  1. Choice is good. There is a world of variety that never existed when we were at school.
  2. Some of that choice is dodgy. Courses aren’t created equal and some courses offer a very soft way out of real education learning and discipline.
  3. The whole system is too dumbed down. It’s nigh-on impossible to not get NCEA, and that advice comes from our kids. If they’ve worked it out, Lord help us.
  4. There might be just a bit much rote learning going on, and if you can regurgitate material you’ll fly through.

So, I don’t think the model is a fatally flawed one. But the over-arching view of the reformers – that we need more learning and less testing – is deeply flawed. Unless you test, you don’t know where you are at.

So there’s nothing wrong with a review. And if I was marking NCEA, I’d give it a merit. Not a merit endorsed, or an excellence. But there is enough there, if they don’t cock it up with ideological madness, for it to be a polished and productive way to educate our kids.”

Source: NZ Herald

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