Bad news

Our education system  is ok.

In  the  way the media like to report on the plane  that crashed not the thousands that didn’t, here  is a hard to find  piece about how the  New Zealand  education  system is pretty good.

John  Hattie, who advised the current government  on  their  National Standards,  told the  Labour Party  conference  that:

“We are way up there at the top. Something is going right.”

Hard to see the need for National Standards then.  I remember writing  about this after Lester  Flockton came to our school and I discovered that New Zealand students did very, very well compared to their international peers:

  • NZ Maths literacy – 5 countries higher
  • NZ Reading literacy – 3 countries higher
  • NZ Science literacy – 2 countries higher

This is the kind of thing our education  system should be getting  a pat on the back for.  Instead,

Each year we reinvent the problem at the start of the year. So I think it is impressive that our system and our teachers are able to take our kids and get them up to that high international status every year.

Mr. Hattie again.

The national narrative about education  always seems to be about  how standards  are falling, and New Zealand is falling behind, and how we are becoming a third world country.  Yes, I know there are other stories behind the rankings  I listed above.  There is our “long tail” of underachievement, and  there is the increasing risk of our education system being  used to train the future doctors of Australia and Britain,  but let’s not rush so quickly away from the good news.

Recently I have had quite a bit to do with the health system.  The national narrative on health is often pretty poor too.  The key words in  that story are usually: underfunded,  overcrowded, cuts, and Australia.  Well, I am sorry to report that we found  the health system  to be in good shape, and  filled with hard working, intelligent  and compassionate  professionals who really tried to get the best outcomes for my family.


It’s why I pay tax and don’t have health insurance,  and  it’s why our daughters  will go to a state school.  We have an outstanding  civil service who are getting good results.  If National want  to tinker on  the edges and give more “choice” to the rich – so be  it.  Just so long as we are not foolish enough to  begin taking apart systems that are often the envy of the world.

2 thoughts on “Bad news”

  1. Yes, cb, but only if you use question marks when you ask questions. We’re pretty strict on grammar down here.

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