Fairfax’s Dave Armstrong Misses Where the Responsibility Lies

In his list of solutions to the PISA education situation Dave Armstrong forget to mention that teachers have to be good. After all – we are told they are a huge factor in student achievement.

Shock! Horror! Last week New Zealanders learned that our Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) rankings – assessing the reading, maths and science abilities of our nation’s 15-year-olds – were plummeting down the world table faster than the All Whites after a World Cup campaign.

As expected, Labour and National blamed each other. It might be sensible if we all addressed the problem together.

So in the national interest, I have devised 12 steps that might enable us to turn around our PISA rankings – in 20 years or so. 

He then goes on to list his 12 solutions. Among them he suggests that we stop the current obsession with testing suing the analogy of someone losing weight like that’s the same as education, beware of imitating Asia because school hours are long there…mostly they are facetious.

But how about 2 more recommendations:

1. All primary teachers have to have Maths, at least one Science and English to at least Level 3 NCEA (or Cambridge A levels). If they actually know the subjects themselves they might be able to teach them. If there are teachers in Primary schools without those levels then they need to re-train. After all if one of the police is unfit they have to do the yards.

2. Secondary teachers should have Masters Degrees. Finland does this and Finland is held up as the poster child of eduction.

Not sure how the unions would oppose those measures – there would still be the same number of teachers – only they will be more able. Just don’t tell them about the success of Finland with charter schools.

I’d add a third…abolish the teacher unions.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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