Duff Talks Absolute Nonsense

It is a classic defensive tactic for people with an inherent interest in the failure of certain groups to protect their power through accusing others of doing what they specialise in.

PPTA relic Robin Duff writes an editorial in Herald on Charter Schools that first of all talks abject nonsense and then shifts the blame for educational failure to anywhere but his PPTA members.

Mr Duff begins with clichés – “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” That happens to be a counter to the old – “If the PPTA is against it then it is probably a good thing for kids”.

Mr Duff then makes several baseless assertions re the success of one model of schooling – that currently runs 125 schools and has changed the pathways of 1000s of African American children for the good. Duff tries to cover himself with phrases like “tend to”, “magically”. With all due respect to Mr Duff the achievements of the KIPP schools make Mr Duff’s pale into insignificance. There are also plenty of other good models around the world that are doing things the one size fits all model the Duff advocates cannot do.

Without having been to a KIPP school Duff then makes completely unsupported assertions about what goes on there:  “renowned for drilling and teaching to the test – again creating the impression that marks are improving, but whether there is any deep learning going on is a moot point.” Of course it is a moot point if you don’t bother to actually find out.

And how on earth would Duff know this:

“This battery-hen model of education is not what the charter school pushers would ever choose for their own children” – does he know to which schools the Charter School advocate send their children. Sure the NZ teachers that are represented by this lack of integrity must ask for Duff’s resignation.


“drawn by the profits to be made”. Here Duff must know he is not telling the truth as he surely must be aware most Charter Schools are not-for-profit.

Apart from the nonsense which people have come to expect – there is something more disturbing that the PPTA/NZEI have not yet answered. Why do they have an inherent interest in the sustained failure of Maori children? In this editorial Duff chastises the Maori Party for coming out in support of the Partnership Schools proposal. I mean – how dare they be so concerned that over 30% of Maori children are not achieving the basic numeracy and literacy qualifications? How dare the Maori party be concerned about the 20% differential to non-Maori at Level 2 NCEA. We have a “world class system”. How dare the Maori Party be keen to trial something new and work with interested groups in the community on it. Surely they know that their place is to listen to experts like Mr Duff – like Bob the Builder – he will…..it.

Also disturbing is that Duff shifts all measurable responsibility from his part of the profession:

“Educational improvement is a long, hard road that requires perseverance in dealing not just with schools but with the range of economic, health, housing and welfare polices that impact on learning.”

In other words. I, Robin Duff, don’t like the Charter School idea as it may threaten my power base. I don’t have any other ideas and, anyway, it is not my/our fault, and don’t expect anything to change in the near future. Teachers aren’t idealists you know – they can only do so much….

Where is Duff right?

At one point only. To counter the unsubstantiated nonsense people like him are talking and, more importantly, because the children will be funded on a per child basis through the taxes their parents, and others pay – the process should be absolutely open to public scrutiny.


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  • Fat_Sally

    Didn’t you post a table the other day about where NZ is ranked in a range of different things and Education was ranked 2nd in the world?
    Something in education must be working.

    • greybeard

      If my memory serves me correctly, the 2nd place was based on satisfying a list of processes and procedures, but never addressed the issue of actual outcomes and improvements as far as the students were concerned.

      • Fat_Sally

        Yet people on here were quick to praise the economic outlook based on the same table. Right.

  • Allyson

    Heaven forbid we remove the state dominated, trade union lousy educational model with greater choice and better educational outcomes for the disadvantaged. I’m sorry Mr Duff but our children come before your trade union members.

  • trisha

    excellent post..
    robin Dick ….if we could bag all the shit that comes out of your mouth…we could feed the world…….on the vegies it would fertilise.
    my 5yo grandson had speech probs……so off to a $500 a week school…….1 year later I have better conversation with him than most adults, I kid you not……due to circumstance he then went to a state run prison/school ….2 weeks later he was not the same little chap no real teaching, no real structure, total confusion and a huge class …the teacher was a new mother and always tired.FFS..back to paying school…..peace and sanity reins again
    state run schools are expensive union run child minding facilities, pedofile hunting grounds, full of pontificating pricks like robin Dick..
    teachers are educated out of most of their common sense by PPTA they forget why they wanted to be teachers in the first place
    thats my opinion and it counts in my world.