Wednesday, December 8, 2010

So, what else is fucking new?

Seems like just about the same story in the news every year (hell, more frequently even):

A 65-country study, comparing 475,000 15-year-olds on reading, mathematical and scientific literacy, places New Zealand fifth, fifth and 10th.

But the study, the third in an OECD triennial programme, also shows New Zealand has one of the widest gaps between the top and bottom 5 per cent of pupils – with Maori and Pasifika pupils languishing near the bottom.


Well, duh. Any measure of NZ educational achievement has its overall score lowered by Polynesians. And the education professionals' response:

"The majority of our young people are really well-served by the system ... but we have these groups of kids and the pattern's remained the same since 2000, that we are not doing well for."

Wrong. All of our kids are extremely well served by the system. It's doing a good job for all of them. There isn't some evil voodoo that makes our system an excellent one for every kid on the planet except the ones from Polynesian cultures. Don't look at the system, look at the fucking culture.

I know sod-all about Pasifika cultures, but the Maori one values words only as oratory and genealogy. For anything beyond that, actions speak louder than words (which is not a value judgement - people for whom actions speak louder than words are in a lot of cases way more useful to have around than people like me). However, it does mean Polynesians are going to be pretty well represented in the sports and arts (music, dance, acting etc) but not well represented among the intelligentsia. If people really want to change that, they're going to have to change the culture. Expecting the education system to do something about it is pointless.

14 comments:

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

It's not the culture which needs changing, it's the slack arsed behaviour.

Five generations ago, some local Maori gave land to the crown on condition it built and staffed a school to educate their children to a standard at which they could cope in the new Pakeha world. Most of the parents spoke no english. The school and the Maori kids in it have been remarkably successful over the decades.

These are the same Maori people whose highly intelligent forebears invented trench warfare and beat the pants off the British army.

WAKE UP said...

I take absolutely no notice of any New Zealand "statistics" unless they are broken down into ethnicity, religion, age, culture, education history, work record, and amount of time they have been “New Zealand citizens”. And I also want to know who asked the questions.

Almost every socio/political decision in this country is based on bullshit "information" and shonky statistics- the current propsed constitutional review to "better incorporate Maori" being a cperfect example.

Falafulu Fisi said...

I think that Psycho is right on this one. One thing that I have noticed since I came to this country that fresh islanders who came here for the purpose of education (usually continuing on either @ the very senior high school level, either from 6th or 7th form, then uni afterwards or straight to uni when completing senior high school level exams in the islands) are more successful than those islanders kids/students who were born & bred in NZ. There hasn’t been any formal study on this one, but this is just my observation in the large Tongan community in Auckland.

I include myself in that category of the fresh islanders. I don't know why, but I guess that those of us, who were brought up in the islands and then came here to continue our education, have seen the difficulties & poverty first hand back home when we were growing up & going to school there. When we come here, we already had the determinations in our minds that there is no alternatives but drive ourselves to succeed in education. The NZ born & bred islanders however don't have that sort of mentality, because if they fail, then there is the dole available out there to start with. That simply reduces motivation for them to try harder.

The second point is that I am amazed @ how religious the NZ born & bred island kids/students which are being pushed by their immigrant parents from the island. Church related youth activities tend to dominate their life, in which education work and commitment from those kids becomes a 2nd, 3rd priority to them (i.e., they treat don't their education seriously).

So, I agree that cultural mentality has something got to do with it.

JC said...

"If people really want to change that, they're going to have to change the culture. Expecting the education system to do something about it is pointless."

Maybe its us who need to change..

Right now we have a system that insists on a tiertiary education to change nappies on preschoolers, nurses have to have a degree in nursing and so on.

In 1980 there were something like 40,000 tertiary students, today we are approaching 500,000. Now, you cant tell me the population has gone up tenfold.. or in a basic agricultural and small manufacturing base we suddenly need such a massive tertiary population.. the fact is by world standards we are over educated for the work we do, and we give preference to these people for simple jobs and cut out the pacific/Maori population.

Its no accident that Maori migrate in proportionately greater number than Pakeha. They want to work, but not necessarily behind a desk.

JC

Anonymous said...

Wrong, wrong, wrong

With 20% - 25% of school leavers functionally illiterate (depending on which statistics you want to believe) has nothing to do with ethnicity. The system is at fault.

We need more flexibility in the system to cater for the different way diferent individuals learn. It's not a case of phonics vs whole word recognition but having the ability to apply what works best for the individual.

Paranormal

WAKE UP said...

"With 20% - 25% of school leavers functionally illiterate (depending on which statistics you want to believe) has nothing to do with ethnicity. The system is at fault."

Bullshit. The "system" was developed by an advanced, sophisticated culture a long time ago, belongs to that culture, and is still a superior system, integral with, and inseparable from, the modern world.

There has been ample time since for this to become obvious, and for the need to adapt and plug in to be understood. Hasn't happened. Funny things, evolution, atavism and hypocrisy.

Psycho Milt said...

The second point is that I am amazed @ how religious the NZ born & bred island kids/students which are being pushed by their immigrant parents from the island. Church related youth activities tend to dominate their life...

You learn something new every day, huh? My anything-but-knowledgable assumption was that it was a hangover from island culture. Maybe one of those things where the immigrants exaggerate those features they imagine were characteristic of the "old country?"

...20% - 25% of school leavers functionally illiterate...

I keep hearing stuff like this, especially from enthusiasts for the govt's national standards approach, but it seems to based on truisms like "half the population is below average intelligence." Yes, the bottom 25% of school leavers on any measure of educational achievement you can come up with aren't going to look any too flash. That's because they're the bottom 25%.

Psycho Milt said...

These are the same Maori people whose highly intelligent forebears invented trench warfare and beat the pants off the British army.

I'm certain the current generation is as intelligent as the preceding ones. But no matter how clever you are, if you regard reading, writing, maths and science as foreign bullshit, academic achievement isn't likely to be your forte.

FAIRFACTS MEDIA said...

Despite his often much critiised liberalism, PM his right on this one.
Polynesians need to do more to value education.
Many of the do and they succeed and prosper. I have worked with them.
Too many however do not, and I have socialised with them too.
And of course, there are too many white kids that don't value education either.

Polynesian culture does need to change.
But the education system needs to change too.
It is too accepting of brown/black failure .
It is the same in Britain and the USA too.
There is too much pussyfooting political correctness about.
How can polynesian political leaders tell thier mokupuna that education is the best way out of the ghetto.
The Maori Party needs to push education more than cry about any perceived 'racism.'

Anonymous said...

"All of our kids are extremely well served by the system"

Bull Shit.

My eldest son has learning difficulties, kids like him get tossed into the too hard basket by teachers, we had to battle to even getting the school to get around to putting him into the learning support programs that the education department has and encourages schools to use.

It was simply easier for the teachers to ignore him, and us and our concerns, until we got somewhat belligerent.

Andrew W

WAKE UP said...

Andrew, I'm sorry for your personal situation, and I hope that it works out for you.

But that doesn't alter the broader picture, where the fact remains that immigrant/Polynesian/other communities still fail to access what is still a very good eductaion system because of vested interest, ignorance and (often spurious) atavism.

Suz said...

Andrew, my advice would be to write to your Board of Trustees about your concerns regarding your son; we were in a similar situation, with teachers white-washing the situation, but things soon changed after attending a Board Meeting, where the school's inadequacies were made public. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Culture is just another name for your mother. If you want to stay tied to your mother's idea of what life is, well fine. In some cases it will be exemplary, in others you will need to cut the umbilical cord, grow up on your own, or look forward to the same results in life that she has.

George

Anonymous said...

PM yet again you show that you are part of the problem. You assume it is the 'bottom' 25% that are functionally illiterate. In fact there are some very intelligent people the school system just lets pass through without teaching to read.

The system is failing both our brightest as well as those on the 'bottom'. if you want proof just take a look at the people in prisons. There are some individuals with very high IQ's that were let down by the school system.

If you are looking for statistics look no further than the OECD reports. The most recent I recall being about 2008 showing the 20% illiterate and 40% without maths or reading skills to survive in a modern age.

And this is not an age old system. The pointy heads at teachers college and universities are experimenting with our children - and have been for the past 40 years. Quite frankly they are failing our children. My great uncles left school at 11 to go and work on the farm. There was nothing wrong with their three r's and they ran a successful business for decades. Now it is a very different story.

We desperately need reform in our school system to allow teachers the flexibility to actually teach our children.

Paranormal