Photo of the Day

Six Dots

Louis Braille

How a tenacious boy created one of the most life-changing inventions in human history

Louis Braille was born near Paris, France on January 4th, 1809. At the age of three, he lost sight in his left eye due to an accident in his father’s workshop. A year later, an infection took his vision in his right eye as well.Six dots. Six bumps. Six bumps in different patterns, like constellations, spreading out over the page. What are they? Numbers, letters, words. Who made this code? None other than Louis Braille, a French 12-year-old, who was also blind. And his work changed the world of reading and writing, forever.

Braille would later attend the Royal Institute for Blind Children in Paris. There, he learned of a system used in the military known as “night writing” which allowed soldiers to communicate without light or speech. This system utilised 12 raised dots used to represent different sounds,

Intrigued, the young Braille adapted this system and created the modern Braille system as we know it today. The system has been adapted to most languages and it is still the most popular way for the blind to read.

“Communication is health; communication is truth; communication is happiness,” Virginia Woolf wrote in contemplating the elemental human need for communication. Indeed, a life deprived of that essential sustenance of the soul, whatever form it may take, is a life of unthinkable tragedy.

In the first few weeks of 1809, three baby boys were born who changed the course of history: Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States; Charles Darwin, British father of the theory of evolution; and Louis Braille, the French inventor of a means of literacy for blind people worldwide. Unlike Lincoln and Darwin, Braille’s genius is little known outside his native land, except among those who have been touched by his gift of literacy.

No cultural hero has delivered more people of that tragedy than Louis Braille (January 4, 1809–January 6, 1852).

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Who really needs to change their culture, do some soul-searching?

A self-described Teachers’ Union apparatchik talks about the culture of police and military and how it needs to change:

I find it strange that he never acknowledges the abuse of young people by their own and the cover-ups that go on within the education sector, mostly by people represented by the union.   Read more »


He was registered, so he thought he’d grab her by the pussy

Teacher Registration is supposed to protect the kids. That is what Chris Hipkins tells us, that is why Labour opposes Charter Schools.

Yet, almost every week we see stories like this.

An Auckland teacher has had his registration cancelled after he put his hand up a colleague’s skirt and commented on the size of her breasts.

However, the New Zealand Teachers’ Disciplinary Tribunal said if Wayne Mackay re-applied for registration, he should be treated with positive consideration, but only if the Teachers’ Council believed he was rehabilitated.

In 2012, Mackay was accused of putting his hand up his colleague’s skirt and touching her genitals while he was employed at Pakuranga College.

The case was heard in November 2016 after Mackay delayed it through legal action.

The tribunal found Mackay guilty, according to a decision released on Monday.   Read more »

Who will take responsibility for the failure and create genuine change?

In the middle of an opinion piece on the failure of streaming in schools, Andrew Dickens repeats an astounding statistic:

“[New Zealand’s] 15 year old’s maths scores have dropped by more than any other developed nation over the past 17 years. There’s a similar story in reading and science scores.”

Who will accept responsibility?   Read more »

Duncan’s right, I wouldn’t want teachers doing it either

For once Duncan Garner has got something right.

I’ve been lucky to get a reasonably good insight into what goes on in our schools in recent years.

In many ways I’ve had a front row seat in the classroom, and I’m not sure it’s always been a privilege.

And that’s not because we have bad teachers and poor schools, not at all.

What I’m talking about is the huge and ever-increasing demands that are being piled upon our teachers.

My wife is a teacher-aide at a decile 4 school. I hear stories that could regularly lead news bulletins.

Schools have become more than a learning environment, they’re now a one-stop welfare agency without the corresponding resources required.

And I blame, among other things, bad or absent parents, stress, drugs, poverty, alcohol and general societal breakdown.

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Who is in charge of education?

Education is in a shambles, that is if you believe the news media and the Labour party.

Labour wants to rid us of charter schools yet this is what the media have said about the education system in just the past week.

Illegal in school payments:

Teachers may have been granted “illegal” long service leave payments to go on overseas holidays in a case uncovered after the Ministry of Education stepped in at one south Auckland school.

A number of financial irregularities were uncovered at Papatoetoe Intermediate School, including funds that could have been used to support student learning being spent elsewhere.

Meanwhile pupils’ National Standards results lagged at up to 70 per cent ‘well below’ in reading, writing and maths.

It’s one of nine schools that are currently under the control of appointments directed by Education Minister Hekia Parata.

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Parata to make “prison cells” inside schools illegal


Education Minister Hekia Parata is planning to introduce new legislation to make the rooms illegal, saying they are unacceptable and it needs to be clear in the law.

The Ombudsman is investigating the use of such rooms in schools, following complaints about Miramar Central School in Wellington and Ruru Specialist School in Invercargill.

At the Miramar school, one 11-year-old boy, described as autistic and with the mental age of a toddler, was reportedly put in the room 13 times in nine days. Read more »

E-mail from an angry unionist

I thought I would share with you an e-mail from a teacher and unionist that Cam received yesterday. It is nice to know that the other side of the story is being read even if it may not be agreed with. I have described the writer as angry as he used CAPITAL LETTERS which in the online world denotes shouting. Before publishing,  I did a quick google search to find out if this was an ordinary teacher and member of the PPTA who felt so strongly about the issues he raised.

I found an article from 2002. Back then Chris Bangs was a PPTA Branch Chairman.

Mr Mallard said the national executive of the Post Primary Teachers Association supported the Auckland action, and he was disappointed “that action of this nature was planned without even giving PPTA members the opportunity to consider the latest Government offer”. About 2000 teachers belonging to the association refused to teach third-formers yesterday. They will do the same with each year level throughout the week.

Waitakere College branch PPTA chairman Chris Bangs said the problems and stresses faced by city area teachers, including poverty and other extreme social problems, had made Auckland members want to jump the gun on national strike action, scheduled for April 29.

-The Herald

I also found a more recent article from 2010 where once again Chris Bangs was quoted in an article about PPTA strike action.

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Goff wants to be mayor – so trashes PPTA schools

Phil Goff gets up union dominated schools in South Auckland who are failing their students.

At last week’s Auckland mayoral debate on Morning Report, the city’s four main candidates blamed ‘white flight’ on a divided society and poor schooling.

Mark Thomas said the council’s role was to provide more affordable housing and better facilities.

John Palino said it reflected Auckland’s changing society.

“I mean as far as schools, why pakeha go to different schools is because parents want their children to go to better schools.”

Phil Goff also blamed poor education at many of the south Auckland schools.

“My kids went to one of those south Auckland schools, it’s a decile one school, Papakura. I don’t think that it does its duty by the students that go there. I think we are not getting the quality that we need in some of those schools.”   Read more »

Watch what is being taught inside Muslim schools in the UK