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Matt on “The Panel” on Pat Brittenden Mornings – with Craig Heilmann

June 7th, 2012 by Madeleine

Radio RhemaIf you tuned in to Radio Rhema at 11:00am (NZ time) on 7 June 2012 you would have heard this blog’s Matthew Flannagan and Craig Heilmann discuss topical issues such as education in New Zealand, whether the new social welfare measures proposed are intended to stop procreation and Destiny Church’s new ‘City of God’ among other issues, on “The Panel” on Pat Brittenden morning.

You can listen online here.

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  • @ Matt

    I was curious about your comments concerning the quality of state schooling in NZ.

    I’m surprised that this is your view, given that New Zealand has a high performing education system, as shown by the results from a 2012 OECD evaluation report and PISA rankings that reflect the absolute quality of New Zealand teachers.

    Emeritus Professor Warwick Elley was reported recently as saying, “the reason it should provide us assurance is because the authors of this report are top experts from other OECD countries… Using a set of rich data, they are able to provide an independent, comparative perspective and are ideally placed to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the New Zealand education system”.

    This view is confirmed by our rankings on The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). It is a worldwide study by the OECD of 15-year-old school pupils’ scholastic performance on mathematics, science, and reading. New Zealand consistently scores in the top half dozen OECD countries, even though, according to the evidence gathered by the OECD, we spend far less per student than nearly all of the other 34 OECD nations.

    The great majority of our students are repeatedly up with the best in the world. In the latest survey, New Zealand students were ranked fourth in reading literacy, fourth in scientific literacy and seventh in mathematical literacy.

    “It is not easy to maintain these rankings and New Zealand has consistently maintained its overall ranking on these measures since they were first introduced in 2000,” said Dr Lind.

    Three examples illustrate the significance of New Zealand’s achievement. Australia has recorded a significant decline since 2000 on all the skills measured. England has slipped from seventh in 2000 to 25th in reading, eighth to 28th in maths and fourth to 16th in science. The United States only rates around the average of all OECD countries.

    I’m curious to know what causes you to state with such certainty that our education system is poor, when confronted with evidence that does not support your view.

  • Paul,
    That study addresses the scholastic achievements of NZers relative to other students, on certain indicators of scholastic achievement.
    My comments were not aimed at or based on scholastic achievement. They were intended to be comments about whether the system of public education as it exists is sound. I have serious objections to state education in general, and also to how we do it in NZ. which are quite independent of scholastic achievement.
    As to the study, I am not sure it shows what you think it does. The study compares the achievements of 15 year old students with that of other students overseas. However, not all 15 year old students in NZ are educated in the state system, a significant number attend private or intergrated schools, others are homeschooled and or learn by correspondence. So unless one removes all these students from the study it does not tell us the quality of “state education” in NZ.
    Similarly, one would have to compare the results of students educated in private, independent or homeschooled, context with those educated in the state system to know whether the state system was the dominant factor in achievement.
    I’d also be a little sceptical of assessing a person education merely on their “ reading literacy, scientific literacy and mathematical literacy” what about general knowledge regarding history or culture in the world? What about there analytical ability, what about there ability to think critically and logically? What about general verbal skills ( which is not the same as literacy) what about research skills knowing how to asses sources for example? Also there is a long important philosophical and theological tradition which sees educating children as involving incluculating character and virtue and disciplines. (I attended an elite private school in Hamilton which had an extremely high academic and sporting achievement, it was one of the most racist and mysoginistic enviroments I had ever been in. I would not consider that a quality education for my children.)

    Interestingly these are some of the areas where I have questions about public schooling. I have no doubt it can teach people to read count and regurgitate scientific theories accurately.

  • Matt,

    I agree with your comments concerning what actually constitutes a “Good Education” and with over twenty years experience teaching both here and in the UK I can certainly offer both criticisms and suggestions for change to various aspects of the system that I personally feel would improve it.

    However, the fact remains that using the standards that are internationally recognised for this kind of assessment, New Zealand has one of the best education systems.

    With regard to the validity of the study, around 4% of all New Zealand pupils attend private schools and around 2% are home-schooled. Now I may not be that good at statistics, but I can’t believe that that 6% of the entire school age pool would be able to skew the results to such a large extent that we see the outcomes that we do, so my comments stand with regard to the vast majority.

    Having said that, I’ve taught in both private and state schools, so can say from firsthand experience that the quality of education is generally higher than in state schools, but then again I’d be surprised if it wasn’t given the lower pupil/teacher ratios, the level of parental support and guidance and the fact that those schools are able to provide greater resources given both the fees that they charge and the ever increasing subsidies that they receive from the Government.

    In fact you even state that the private school that you yourself attended is one that you “Would not consider that a quality education for my children”, so you are not blind to the issues associated with some so called “Elite” schools.