Shearer shoots! He Scores! Oops!

David Shearer has a post up at Red Alert waxing lyrical about an initiative at MIT.

Met with Stuart Middleton at the Manukau Institute of Technology today, the driver behind NZ’s first tertiary high school where students are simultaneously enrolled at school and MIT. The idea is that they transition from school, where most are about to leave anyway, and pick up a course at MIT. It’s a model that deserves copying.

Mainly because students can see some outcome of their learning – and therefore get really passionate about it – the Tertiary High boasts impressive success. Their latest results for NCEA Level 1 for Maori and Pasifika are below, and remember this is from a group that otherwise were on the path to dropping out of school.


Nationally – 60.8% at MIT – 80%


Nationally – 54% at MIT – 71%

Pretty good results. We have a 20% drop out rate in NZ – 20% of 16 year olds are no longer at school. The big factor, according to Stuart, seems to be that once kids drop out it’s really difficult to pick them up again. Instead if they move to some other learning, it doesn’t matter which so much, but one that gives a qualification, the chances are incredibly high that they go on to another qualification.

Not rocket science, perhaps, but a scheme that’s based on principles worth instituting into policy.

Shearer says this is an idea worth copying – hang on a minute!

Shearer thinks it’s a great idea to keep teenagers at school or college who are at risk of disengaging. Errr – he doesn’t know about the Youth Guarantee and Trades Academies.

And wasn’t he listening during the Budget 2011 announcements?

  • $66.5 million over four years in new funding for the wider Youth Guarantee to keep 16 and 17 year olds engaged in education and training. This will provide up to five new Trades Academies and eight new Service Academies.

This is a Government initiative – part of the Youth Guarantee and was announced by Anne Tolley. Stuart Middleton praises this on his website:

The continuing support and increased funding for the Youth Guarantee is also worthy of wholesome praise. This government appears to understand something that continues to escape other governments in other countries and quite a number of researchers and educators: the issue with disengagement and educational failure can only be addressed by our working differently. Do the same and get the same. That is not only unpalatable from a social equity position but also a considerable risk from an economic point of view.

Labour have no grasp whatsoever of education and no policies of their own – so it is nice to see they are endorsing government policies. Perhaps this is the reason why on the Education select committee they have given up the silly attacks on Anne Tolley.


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  • davidw

    Good on David Shearer for making a call on what he sees as a good and effective policy initiative without having to try and make cheap political points in the [process. He will get much more respect by taking that approach and perhaps will have a bit more credibility when he does come out with some criticism. Certainly makes a change from trying to beat up the PM’s travel arrangements so big ups for looking at important things.

  • abjv

    No. Simply the “Pagani Paradigm” being applied. John said “don’t oppose the Govt in everything it does; people out there like them and sometimes they get stuff right” or words to that effect.

    Has Shearer been listening to Pagani? We all know that Goff didn’t.

  • Is Shearer making a play to replace Goff as the main main for the centrists in the party?