Andrew Dickens refuses to follow the NZME party line: parents are to blame

Andrew Dickens recognises bullshit when he sees it and he’s recognised that it isn’t the government’s fault there have only been moderate increases in results from National Standards.

He’s even called out the union shills like Kirsty Johnson. He has gone up considerably in my opinion, admittedly from a rather low base.

Having pulled the housing issue apart over the past weeks my colleagues at NZME have now turned their attention to education.

The headlines all yesterday morning was that a quarter of our children starting secondary school are below the National Standards introduced by National in 2008.

This despite an investment of $250m extra by the Government to lift literacy and numeracy.

Cue Talkback. Teachers are all Marxists. NCEA is crap. Nobody rote learns any more. All anyone cares about is participation not success and winning. It’s PC gone mad. Kids can’t climb trees and it’s all social engineering. Blah blah blah blah.

There’s an awful lot of smoke and mirrors here.

Yes an extra quarter billion has been invested. But remember our population has swelled by 500,000 people in the last decade so that money was needed just to keep pace. When politicians say they’re spending more on health and education remember that they have to because there are more of us.

They’re playing politics. That’s because they’re politicians.

As an aside when was the last new hospital built in this country, which, by the way, is 20 per cent bigger than 10 years ago?

So the figure says we’ve flatlined. In other words the problems we have in education are exactly the same as the problems we’ve always had. We’re no better or worse than we’ve ever been.

The unions and Media party really have a cheek. They ran campaigns against National Standards and opposed implementation, and some schools have produced dud results on purpose. They are blaming the government for a lack of progress but it isn’t the government that teaches the children; it is the NZEI union hacks aka teachers. If there is a failure in National Standards the fault lies with them.

In 2008 John Key said National Standards will lift education. Who bought that? National Standards is only a measuring device. Nothing more. Not an advance in educational techniques.

In the end it’s down it’s still down to the teachers, the kids and their parents. You could say that National Standards is only successful in showing that we’re no better now than before. And before is no better than now.

Opponents of National Standards said that teachers would now teach to the exams. Well if they did then the pass rate would rise. It didn’t. Shame on those who thought that teachers would be that self-serving.

It’s the teachers who bear the responsibility…and the parents.

There’s a lot of PC crap going on here. It’s right wing PC to say PC has taken over. The right is just as PC as the left.

Of the 60,000 kids starting secondary school this year. 15,000 odd are below standard. I would say it’s not the education systems fault but… wait for it.. the parents.

There’s an inter-generational thing that says school sucks. It sucked for Mum and Dad and they tell their kids, often subconsciously that it sucks for them to. Plus there’s a lot that’s not their fault. Tough times. High rents. Moving house. The Housing crisis is hitting education. Stability is missing

The real truth is that the education system is just fine for working families with stable accommodation and aspirations. Like so many things in society today we need to motivate the people who feel they, and their kids, are on the outside.

Well said Andrew Dickens, well said.


– NZ Herald


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  • andrewo

    When the progressive left deconstructed the family unit a lot of collateral damage was done.
    Little Timmy doesn’t have his dad helping him with his algebra anymore because Dad shot through, only to be replaced by a series of ‘uncles’ passing through. Their version of helping with homework involves a fist instead…

  • Urbanviper

    I’m on a Board of Trustees and we’re constantly told by teachers the biggest difference between those who are up to standard and beyond in reading, and those who are below standard, is whether or not the parents sit down with them each night and do reading with them, keep them interested in books and help them with words etc…

    • Andinz

      In 1992 a Scientific American article looked at “Academic Achievement in SE Asian Refugee Families” see
      Examining 1400 refugee families they followed 536 school-age children chosen at random. Half the children obtained scores in the top quartile. Except that in language and reading tests the mean was slightly below average. (Understandable since English was their second language). The reason for their better than expected performance? “Although some of our findings are culturally specific, others point overwhelmingly to the pivotal role of the family in the children’s academic success”.
      The article is an easy read in a magazine which occasionally publishes rocket science.

    • Mick Ie

      I resent teachers blanket-blaming parents and I call BS on those that say that. We worked tirelessly with our kids. One devoured books like they were going out of fashion and we discovered the other could not actually read black print on white paper and as he got older, and the print and spacing became smaller it made it even more impossible for him to read (Irlens) adding to that he is also dyslexic. So, as parents we had to seek alternative learning outside of his primary school classroom to compensate for what he wasn’t getting at school (decile 10 and no spare funding available for special needs at the high end of the spectrum). Funding is not a problem for low decile schools.
      Instead of blaming parents, why don’t these teachers, whose students are not achieving investigate and supply alternative learning methods for those that don’t fit the mainstream mold. Trial a couple of terms with a small group of students, it might show amazing improvements in results.
      Or should these teachers get an NA (not achieved) on their report card too?

      • SlightlyStrange

        For the most part though, apart from those who are diagnosed or undiagnosed with issues, there is clear research that indicates the BIGGEST problem a lot of low performing kids have is parents not exposing them to enough language as kids. Many of them who do not have cognition issues could have been intelligent and highly successful in mainstream education if their parents had cared like you clearly did with your kids.
        Yes though, there needs to be more targeted funding for those who struggle, in all regards. But telling teachers that they just need to find “other ways to teach” to reach all those kids is not always going to work.

    • Mighty1

      Our school does not promote reading or maths, it’s more like a day care, they do all sorts of stuff but not the basics. I see the teachers as the problem. Principals pull the wool over the board and the tail wags the dog.

  • biscuit barrel

    Who is Andrew Dickens ?

    • pisces8284

      He is on ZB on Sunday mornings and he filling in for Ms Smalley at the moment

      • biscuit barrel

        His only claim to fame was 13 years as breakfast host for Classic hits, and his regular job is now the wasteland of Sunday morning. hes one step away from over nights or nothing.

        Who knew he has been interested in education policy all these years… but wait … whats that thats come in on the email…from the beehive… can I use that ?

        • pisces8284

          Ah a rhetorical question, sorry..

  • Anthony

    25% below standard sounds about right. There will always be people who have difficulties for one reason or another. At least now we are measuring it.

    • biscuit barrel

      Thats what they said about speed cameras… it will only tell us where the speed spots are so we can improve road safety…cough

  • MaryLou

    Kinda well said. I take a bit of issue with the last line, though:

    “Like so many things in society today we need to motivate the people who feel they, and their kids, are on the outside.”

    Depends what we mean by motivation. If you mean a kick up the behind, maybe, but the motivation for being a responsible parent who wants their kids to succeed, surely rest with…. the parent?

  • Steely Man

    “As an aside when was the last new hospital built in this country, which, by the way, is 20 per cent bigger than 10 years ago?”
    Andrew Dickens could have done a wee bit of research. There is a new hospital being built in Greymouth and a new hospital was opened by Tony Ryall in Whakatane as one of his last public actions as Minister of Health.
    Of course this begs the question as to whether hospitals were used efficiently prior (remember the beds in the corridors under Labour?) compared to now (elective operations have increased 26% since 2008).
    And finally he has no understanding that the health sector has being turning like an ocean liner to be more preventative so as to help people avoid going to hospital.
    These asides really annoy me as they don’t imply there is any debate to be had when they are just so totally off beam!