The airy fairy fluff of poverty and culture

whichschool

Here at Which School in Auckland, we cut out the airy-fairy fluff which surrounds popular talk about secondary school performance. Instead, we focus on the heart of performance: results.

Which School

On my holiday even though I mostly stopped looking at the internet and read books I couldn’t stop checking Twitter, and I’m glad I didn’t.  New Zealand On Screen put me in touch with a 1974 David Frost interview with Norman Kirk, and a 1980s documentary about Katherine Mansfield – both were excellent – and Stephanie put me in touch with a website called Which School in Auckland.

According to Which School in Auckland the top ten secondary schools in Auckland are:

ws1

Private and integrated in most cases, these decile 7-10 schools have a predominantly European and Asian student body (with one exception a minimum of 70% of the school, and often a lot higher).  If you have a daughter and lots of money then you’re in luck: 9 out of the top ten schools accept girls.  None of these schools offer any special learning units so if your daughter is needing support to carry on her immersion in Te Reo, or is vision impaired or deaf, or presents challenging behaviours, or is disabled then you will need to look elsewhere.

If this were a rap song – and I offer this as a free service to Which School in Auckland – their advice to parents could go like this:

Some people ask us

“Which school in Auckland?”

Sometimes this

Can be a little awkward:

Chorus:

“Be white

Get rich

Co-mmute

…bitches”

And the bottom ten schools?

ws2

With the exception of St Peter’s College (which is either the worst school in New Zealand or about to take legal action) these decile 1-4 schools are all co-ed state schools.  Many of these schools have special learning units to support language, disability or behavourial challenges.  The population of these schools is predominantly Maori-Pasifika; generally more than 80% and often more than 90%.

Some people are discomfited by mentioning race, but inequality’s struggling face in New Zealand is almost always brown.  You should talk about socio-economic status – which is reflected in decile – but you should also be aware of how this pans out by race in our society because it paints a disturbing picture of the consequences of colonialism and cultural imperialism.  Unfortunately it paints and even uglier potential picture of a future New Zealand that will become essentially racially segregated by income.

At Which School in Auckland, we do not even look a school’s decile in order to maintain objectivity. Wealth is not a measure of performance. Results are.

This is a pretty weird way for a bunch of people creating a ranked list of schools and implying you should pay to go to a private school to look at performance.

Anyway, even I up on my soapbox feel my eyes glazing over with boredom.  Probably it’s better to run with the direction the wind is blowing and take this idea and apply it to other contexts.  Handily the Which School in Auckland website has a couple of suggestions:

An Olympic athlete’s performance is no good if they don’t bring home the medals. A boy band’s performance is no good if they don’t hit number one on the charts.

Which School

*****

Take One: A website for potential Olympic athletes

wnoe2

At the end of the day, performance is what matters. It is an athlete’s performance in the Olympics which drives their future, their career and their success.  Here at Which Nation on Earth, we cut out the airy-fairy fluff which surrounds popular talk about national Olympic performance. Instead, we focus on the heart of performance: results.

Our ranking of nations’ performance at the summer Olympics rates countries of similar population size against each other.  We then divide the number of medals they have achieved by the number of Olympics they have competed in.  This gives us each nation’s average medal haul per competition.

wnoe

1. Does your ranking system include national Human Development Index Ranking? 

Absolutely not. National HDI is not a measure of sporting performance.

A nation’s HDI is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and income indices used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. HDI rankings are misleading when presented in the wrong context. There are many instances of low ranking nations performing better than high-ranking nations.

At Which Nation on Earth, we do not even look a nation’s HDI in order to maintain objectivity. Wealth is not a measure of performance. Results are.

For example, here are the HDI rankings for our sample group, and we believe that you will be able to see that there is absolutely no relationship between HDI and Olympic performance.

wnoe1

These facts speak for themselves.

We don’t want to point fingers but if Congolese athletes are not moving to Norway tomorrow they will only have themselves to blame in the future.  Athletes of Liberia need to question their society.  “Why” – they should ask – “don’t I have a high performance training facility with 24 hour running everything?”  Palestinians should be telling their government: “cut the crap and the excuses: where is my velodrome?”

On the other hand we here at Which Nation on Earth are prepared to admit we could be wrong.  We can’t help but notice that our ranking of nations by Olympic performance perfectly matches this racial tree from the excellent 1932 book Races of Man:

races

We offer this as a tool to help athletes and have nothing to say about it otherwise.  We demand change!

*****

Take Two: A website for aspiring boy band artistes

whichschoola

At the end of the day, performance is what matters. It is a boy band’s performance on the charts which drives their future, their career and their success.

Our ranking of boy band performance is based on chart positions on the Bill Board charts over the last twenty years.

Our intention here is to offer a tool for aspiring boy band stars to help them determine which boy band they should join for the best possible personal results.

Top Performing Boy Bands of All Time

  1. Boys II Men
  2. Backstreet Boys
  3. New Kids on the Block
  4. ‘N SYNC
  5. All-4-One
  6. 112
  7. 98 Degrees
  8. Jonas Brothers
  9. Hanson
  10. New Edition

1. Does your ranking system include any kind of idea of which boy band would be the best “fit” for an aspiring star?

Absolutely not. “Fit” is not a measure of performance.

At Which Boy Band in the World, we do not even look at a boy band’s background or culture in order to maintain objectivity. “Fit” is not a measure of performance. Results are.

Let us use an example to demonstrate what we mean.  Here is a devilishly handsome boy who wants to be a boy band star:

009 (2)

Now if we were to go by “fit” and not performance we would be forced to recommend this for our spunky hunk of manhood:

nkotb

But why would you want to be in the third best boy band when you could be in the best?

boysIImen

We here at Which Boy Band in the World will not have a bar of cultural imperialism.  Just because a system benefits the group that set it up doesn’t mean we should have a more inclusive and flexible model.  If our boy band star really wants to do well he needs to get with the Boys II Men programme and learn to fit their system, their culture and their beliefs.

It’s all very well to want to be immersed in your culture with your mates, but performance in another person’s system is far more important if you want to be number one.  After all, who really wants to be a number two?

 

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4 thoughts on “The airy fairy fluff of poverty and culture

  1. Yeah, those dumb Olympic athletes who don’t even win, like, a bronze. Why are they wasting their time? When I read that quote I started thinking that maybe this piece was entirely satire. But no, there it is on their website. 😦

    Also, happy new year!

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