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Topic: [ncsm-members] New Zealand Leads the World!
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
[ncsm-members] New Zealand Leads the World!
Posted: Oct 29, 2017 1:55 PM
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From Diane Ravitch's blog - A site to discuss better education for
all, Friday, October 27,2017. SEE
Phil Cullen: New Zealand Leads the World!

By Diane Ravitch

Phil Cullen of Australia is a zealous critic of his nation's national
testing and accountability regime.

He wrote about this important news from New Zealand, whose new
government has decided to abandon the Global Education Reform
Movement (GERM).

He wrote:

"New Zealand leads the world.

"New Zealand leads the way down under and maybe across the world in
caring about kids.

"Its determination to return to sanity, humanity, progress,
initiative and competence for its schooling system, which itself
determines national progress in the long run, is now being unpacked
and, I am told that the new coalition government contains a few
former teachers and school-active parents around as heavyweights who
can talk school and lead the conversion for a better world down under
"There's dynamic Tracey Martin, former School Board chair; Kelvin
Davis, highly respected former principal and Deputy Leader of the
Labour Party; and Winston Peters of NZ First and, Deputy PM who
trained as a teacher. In Australia we only have legal eagles.

"Parent groups in NZ are claiming that now, teaching will be returned
to the teaching profession and democracy will be returned to
schooling in New Zealand soon. The isles are shaking with joy for

"It's a country that has always been to the forefront of school
improvement but then, the take-over by the irrational managerialists
and corporate heavy-weights circa 1990, and the addition of GERM in
2008, has had a detrimental impact that has lasted for a decade.
They've had enough, now. We still tolerate it to our shame and
academic deterioration.

"How come New Zealand leads the world now in the decontamination of
the establishment's unworthy, useless, immoral, unethical,
unprofessional testucation procedures in schools? Well, there's been
a number of factors.

"Fortunately, during this period, it has had its crusaders for kids
who just don't give in too easily. It's been a long and arduous
battle, of the kind that must continue next door, in Australia.

"There's Kelvin Smythe, former Chief Inspector and Allan Allach,
energetic, thoughtful former primary school principal, reader and
writer and Bruce Hammonds, former principal, consultant and writer -
a valiant trio that has been unafraid to have their say. They set the

"There's Chris Hipkins, in particular, who has been the shadow
Minister for Education whose inspirational speeches and talks have
been based on a sound knowledge of schooling and who has been
unequivocal in his aim to rid the country of testucation and de facto

"There's the Primary Principals' Association which kept its
administrative distance from the government testucrats and compliant
GERMans, never properly complying .

"While "The Government will never listen and nothing will change and
we are just one little country." Some timorous principals said, there
were others of the association, especially the leader of the
organisation, Whetu Cormick, described as "The greatest teacher
organisation leader of our time,:" by Kelvin Smythe. We didn't hold
back, "At the other extreme are those like me," he said "who will
continue to fight to the end. We know that National Standards and all
the 'reforms' that go with them are bad for our young people. Our
young people have faith in us to protect their futures by continuing
to fight for the best education that our young people deserve."
Looking directly into the face of Nikki Kay, the then Minister, he
said, "Let's wait no longer to get our young people on the road to
success. Let's put up a big STOP NATIONAL STANDARDS." The organsation
has always been fearless...

"There's Diane Kahn and the Save Our Schools organisation whose prime
target has always been the elimination of 'national standards' and
was heavy and constant with dynamic opposition. [ ]

"There's an influential Kiwi sciolist [aka schooliolist - one who
pretends to be well informed about schooling] and academic testucator
who played a significant role in the introduction of testucation into
NZ.....who left the country at the right time.

"There are some messages for Australia. In world schooling terms, it
is the boondocks of failed political schooling, the backward West
Island of learning progress, the most over-tested country in the

"A political party needs to think. Does it believe in providing the
best schooling possible, or doesn't it give a damn as Aussie
political parties do?

"Listening to schooliolist academic know-alls, qualified testucators,
loud-mouth politicians, corporate unions [like IPA, BCA and Farmers]
inhabited by conservative capitalists, neo-libs and delcons, which
still rule the roost on the west side of the ditch, continues to lead
Australian schooling in the wrong direction. New Zealand has now told
these cocky roosters what to do with their distasteful attitude to

"Australian schools are in dire need of some Finnish-ing tactics."
said Wendy Knight in The Age....and we can now add: 'and some Kiwi
tactics'. What really happens in a good school system? Why don't we
look around and learn?

An example of off-the-hip, loud-mouth political interference is
contained in suggestions made in Treasurer Morrison's Shifting the
Dial, another imported kind of measurement.

"It presumes that the hiring of skilled subject specialists like
mathematicians will improve standards in schools. It overlooks the
reality that real teachers teach real pupils....real people! The
secret is in the interaction. They teach them about mathematics, to
like mathematics. They don't get up in front of a class and
pontificate about what they themselves know. Effective teachers of
anything operate from the learner's level. Socrates was a better
teacher of Maths than Einstein and a better teacher of literature
than Shakespeare. His pupils learned how to learn.

"A strong and outspoken principals' association can be truly
influential as they are in NZ. Protection of children and their
future as well as the provision of a rich holistic curriculum,
undaunted by fearful interruptions to positive learning, should
dominate the spirit of every principal's personal professional code.
Laxity, timidity, compliance and silence have no place in their
organisations when the chips are down for they are now in

"It's looking more evident every day that the lower half of the
existing Lib-Lab delcon group viz. Labor under Shorten, will be the
government after the next federal election in Australia. The lib-lab
neo-con conventions will probably continue as they did in the passing
of klein deforms from Labor to Liberal. Neither political group,
Labor nor Liberal, ever expresses any thoughts about the continuance
of the Klein system of schooling, now almost a decade old ; and which
should go because it is proving useless.

"Neither party knows much about schooling and hides its ignorance by
talking only Gonksi and funding and teacher quality. For them, the
plight of children lies in the dollar sign, not in compassion and
humanity and learning and in experience and excellence. Each remains
ultra-complacent by making do, making silly schooling decisions,
maintaining the mediocre, and supporting private schools before
helping public schools.{Remember DOGS - Defence of Government
Schools?} A country that treats its children the way that Australia
does, is in for big trouble....really big trouble.

"It just won't be able to handle itself in world affairs.

"It relies on the cockeyed Gillard Theory of Testucation, using
Kleinism to control operatives and operations, to no end except to
gather data; then ignores the basic laws of administrative order and
effectiveness [Campbell, Goodhart, Lucas and Common Sense] and treats
the electorate as if everyone is a dill or doesn't care what happens
to kids. The present government will go while it maintains these
attitudes to schooling and doesn't have the capacity to think. The
Labor Party will replace it and not do any better. Both need to think
seriously about schooling...very, very seriously.


"I'm deliberately apolitical and have voted informal at the last few
federal elections because I've been offered only lower-order policies
in general and crazy views about schooling. ...nothing that really
suggests that there is a healthy future for this wonderful country.
Schooling is the most important issue of this century for Aussie
citizens. If it is not rejuvenated, Australia has some big problems
coming up. I'll vote for any party -Pauline's, Bob's, Nick's,
Jacqui's, anybody who says that it will get rid of NAPLAN.

"I'll know by its standard of advocacy that such a party likes kids,
that it is thinking and will do something about our future. Our
present klein system relies on child abuse.

"I'll study the detail of course, but no party can be so blithely
ignorant of schooling as our major parties are at present. Their
mentors can only bark Gonski, data, scores, testing, funding, teacher
quality with schooliolist pedantry and no regard for the real spirit
of learning at school.

"Seriously - rejuvenation of schooling from the mess of mass
testucation will be very difficult. Unscrambling an egg always is.
Since New Zealand will have to do the job before Australia wakes up,
it might be wise to locate some observers there to learn how to go
about it.

"We need to do what New Zealand has done :


"It's rejuvenation time down under!


Jerry P. Becker
Department of Curriculum & Instruction
College of Education and Human Services
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
625 Wham Drive / MC 4610
Carbondale, Illinois 62901

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