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.