Friday, May 31, 2013

Educational Readings - The Prophet or education for profit


By Allan Alach

As you read this, reflect on the attacks on children being made under the guise of school reform.

Your Children
Khalil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you, they belong not to you
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite.
And He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hands be for happiness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves the bow that is stable.

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

This week’s homework!

Class Matters. Why Won’t We Admit It?

Not class size, not year level, but social class - a timely article given the New Government’s miserly decision to spend $2million per year providing a very basic breakfast for children in our poorest schools, compared to the $40million granted to private schools, over $30million granted to the America’s Cup campaign, the $120million paid to advertise the selling of a state owned asset, $60million paid to Warner Brothers on the clearly suspect claim that this would ensure that “The Hobbit’ movie would be made in New Zealand (and so Peter Jackson could buy himself a new $80million corporate jet) and the $1.7billion paid to rescue wealthy investors in the failed South Canterbury Finance Company.

Adding the involvement of Sanitarium, who use their religious charity status to avoid paying tax, makes this seem a very dubious piece of political headline grabbing but little else.  New Zealand blogger Frank Macskay has used the very appropriate term ‘Weetbix Government’ to describe the NZ government - very appropriate Frank!

Note: authors Helen Ladd and Edward Fisk are presently in New Zealand, being, I’m sure, ignored by the government...

The learning gap experienced by malnourished children (via Bruce)

Another very appropriate article on the learning problems experienced by hungry children.

Teachers in Their Own Words: “A Plain Little Thing”

USA teacher Jeff Nguyen write about his concerns with common core standards in relation to five & six year olds, and also their effect on children with special needs. Do similar concerns apply to New Zealand’s national standards?

‘The effects of these standards are far reaching and go beyond the obvious concerns of limiting teachers’ ability to tailor curriculum to the needs and interests of their current students.’

The bottom line on ‘learning styles’

This example discusses ‘the notion of different “learning styles” and whether there is any real evidence for them.’

What do you think?

Are classrooms the antithesis to learning?

Are national standards the antithesis to learning? Is standardised testing the antithesis to learning? Is online instruction the antithesis to learning? And so it goes..

How school reform preserves the ‘status quo’ — and what real change would look like

Excellent indepth article from The Washington Post that provided plenty of material for the anti-GERM debates. Challenge pro-GERMers to come up with evidence to support their claims. To date New Zealand government Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye has not responded to a challenge from Save Our Schools NZ blogger Dianne Khan and me, to produce research backing her claim that charter schools will work.

How Can We Make Assessments Meaningful? (via Bruce).

The whole field of monitoring children’s learning is extremely problematical, yet is a pivotal area in the battle against GERM. We need to ensure, regardless of educational philosophies, that we have alternatives available to counteract the narrow mind killing numbness of standardised testing. Here’s one viewpoint.

And now for something completely different…

What does a teacher’s brain look like?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Democratic School Review ; an alternative to toxic external ERO and OFSTED reviews

A  multi-dimensional approach.  By James Park.

Reviewed/summarised by Bruce Hammonds

Published 2013 by Britain’s leading cross party think tank driven by the goal of a society populated by free, capable and powerful citizens. DEMOS’s approach challenges the ‘ivory tower’ model of policy making by giving voice to people and communities.

This report takes aim at the target-driven accountability in the English education system: principally, the Ofsted inspection regime, tests and school league tables. For the past twenty years, teachers and school leaders have worked under this regime in one form or another. The argument of this report is that this has proved profoundly toxic, damaging trust between staff, pupils, parents and policy makers, leading to adverse outcomes for students’.
New Zealand schools, since the establishment of self-managing Tomorrows Schools, have been exposed to a similar regime through ERO (Education Review Office) although up until now New Zealand schools have not been exposed to comparative league tables based on national literacy and numeracy testing but it is not hard to see that this situation could well change under the current government.
An incoming Labour/Green government could well consider the recommendations of the DEMOS Report if they wish to develop more community oriented schooling implicit in the, all but side-lined,  2007 New Zealand Curriculum introduced by the previous Labour Government.
Detoxifying School Accountability proposes an alternative model, one which is built around multi-perspective inspection. Such a model would value the opinions of leaders, staff, students, parents and inspectors about a school’s performance, instead of allowing the judgements of one group to prevail against others’. 
The report argues that, taken together, these changes would generate richer, more useful accounts of each school’s strengths and weaknesses, achieve greater buy-in from all key stakeholders and guarantee all schools are on a path to steady improvement. In turn, this would help to ensure that all young people have a rich experience of learning, and the best possible opportunity to learn.’
The report is concerned with the target driven accountability of the English education system principally the OFSTED (the UK equivalent of ERO) inspection regime, tests and school league table – the latter two are on the horizon for New Zealand schools.
In the UK schools, for their self-preservation, have found that focussing on literacy/numeracy targets have held them back from providing a good, well-rounded education for their students. This scenario is already unfolding in New Zealand as schools are being forced to assess students against National Standards.

An ERO visit - anticipatory dread

The report argues that the current model is profoundly toxic and failing to achieve its stated goal of improving education and sets out an alternative which would allow all children to achieve their potential while ensuring the quality of education in schools is of a high standard. The current system has a toxic impact on four groups of people:
School leaders - who must focus their school on achieving targets (in New Zealand achieving Standards) at the expense of wider educational goals. School leaders end up with what the report calls ‘door knob polishing’ to look good rather focussing on things that really matter. Such compliance culture creates a risk averse culture throughout the school. In such an environment ‘top down’ teaching becomes more common rather than delivering engaging educational practices where teachers work collaboratively with each other.
Teachers – who are under pressure to achieve targets (Standards) rather than providing a more fulfilling education. Teachers are being put in a position where they feel ‘they have to put on a show’ and that they have to sacrifice their own teaching beliefs to comply with imposed expectations limiting their ability to be creative, responsive and spontaneous. In such an environment teachers seem to prefer ‘the safety offered by formulaic lesson plans’ rather than provide opportunities for deep learning.
Students – suffer from test anxiety many of whom as a result of poor performance will develop negative impressions of themselves. If students were to be involved in school improvement disaffection would diminish and engagement increases particularly if students were to be assessed on their strengths through more personalised learning experiences and not just in targeted areas.
Policy makers – who continually tinker with the system to avoid perverse outcomes.
I would add a fifth, parents – who will judge the success of the children by narrow targets (Standards) and in turn not appreciate talents ignored by the targets (Standards).
The report argues that it is trust between all involved that improves educational outcomes and that the current system has eroded this trust. The singular judgements of OFSTED (ERO) ignore the voices of staff, students and other stakeholders. In contrast involving parents in their children’s education has been shown to have a positive effect on learning and this involvement is vital where schools face the challenge of helping children who come from areas of social and economic disadvantages.
The report argues that introducing a multi-dimensional perspective of leaders, staff, students, parents, along with official inspectors, would detoxify school review by engaging all key stakeholders.
Such an approach would make simplistic comparisons between schools by the media more difficult.
The multi –dimensional school review team would collect data from staff, students and parents about their experience of the school and the use the data collected to inform in-depth conversations involving all involved about what the data means and how they can demonstrate ways in which the school can improve teaching and learning. In this way the whole school community has the opportunity to analyse the factors that get in the way of great learning and suggest solutions.
The review would conclude with an honest account of what is strong and what is less strong in the school, together with its strategy for improving the school to ensure all students were equipped with the skills they need to thrive in the modern word. The staff would then be involved in on-going action research to trial and assess improvement ideas.
The advantages of such a multi-dimensional approach, the report states, would be:
The analysis and the solutions would be generated within the school rather than be imposed on the school. Carried out at least once a year would enable schools to generate more up to date accounts of their progress than through OFSTED (ERO). The reports would be more responsive to parents. The data collected would assess a wider range of learning dispositions (as outlined in the 2007 New Zealand Curriculum) rather than a narrow range of targets.

External reviewers

Such a multi-dimensional review process would make it harder for politicians to distort educational principles for political ends. Politicians , the report states, ‘what tends to be forgotten in arguments about accountability, is that schools are sensitive, multi-layered organisational systems seeking to engage in the subtle and sophisticated process of developing individual learners’ and continues, ‘schools need to be helped to grow organically, to build on their strengths and to cut away at their weaknesses.’
The current system has created the belief that schools cannot be trusted to assess their strengths and weaknesses nor develop improvement strategies unless under the supervision of outsiders whose judgements are heavily influenced by how well students perform on tests in core subjects. Both in the UK and NZ educators who speak out against the current system of accountability are spoken of disparagingly and are thus ignored.
One reason why the much admired Finnish system performs well on international tests is the level of trust between teachers, parents and policy makers. Pari Salberg, the systems roving ambassador has written that the Finns emphasize the importance of ‘collaboration, equity and trust based accountability’ in contrast to the neo liberal ideology of imposed accountability, standardised testing and school choice( a privatisation agenda).  In contrast Finland has no national curriculum or testing.
The system in England ( as in New Zealand) is reasonably good at promoting the achievement of around half its students, and rather poor at promoting the achievement of the rest, a significant proportion of whom come from socially and economically disadvantaged homes. The report argues that the current testing and accountability system is contributing to schools failing disadvantaged students. The current system ‘fails because it does not recognise the need for schools to build trust, open up communication and build up their internal capacity to become more intelligent about themselves.’ The current inspection system (OFSTED or ERO) risks subverting and sabotaging the development of the school’s own systems for finding answers to important questions as to what will enable disaffected students to become fully engaged in their own learning? How can we develop the creativity of all students?
The future will require students with more than standards in basic subjects; we will need entrepreneurial and creative individual with identified diverse talents who can find solutions to intractable environmental and social problems, who have the imagination to work with others for the common good and not just selfish ends. In the 2007 New Zealand Curriculum we have a guiding document waiting to be made central by the possibility of a new reforming government in 2014.
The people who will be most valuable in the future are students, who through their personalised educational experiences will have identified their unique set of talents and skills (built on a strong foundation of literacy and numeracy skills) as outlined in the New Zealand Curriculum. The current standards approach is pushing schools in the wrong direction.
A multi –dimensional approach to school review is a way to ‘release a schools intelligence about itself’ – an approach that encourages honesty and openness rather than the anxiety created by an imposed system. As long as people are being judged by external agencies (often by unclear criteria) people will be careful about what they reveal, in contrast those who work in a school will know much more about its strengths and weaknesses. The ‘dipstick’ or ‘tick box’ approach of OFSTED (or ERO) needs to be replaced with a collaborative and negotiated process. Currently schools may collect the data but the ultimate responsibility lies with the external agency.
The trouble with school based review is that it could look like the profession’s attempt to take on the power to decide what happens in the school rather than a way of sharing power with all stakeholders; school based reviews do not promise not enough protection to avoid senior managers subverting the process.
The multi –perspective inspection avoids such distortion. Although staff, parents and students gather the data publish reports and suggest improvement strategies there is still a need for accredited external agencies to work with schools Such external review people ( reformed OFSTED/ERO)  would need to check the process involved in the review has been followed, to check the quality of the inputs, and to ensure the improvement strategies are valid and, if needed, to make suggestions.
Such reviews would create a strong sense of shared ownership in the school and improve relationships between all concerned and create a positive school climate or ethos. This is not to say there would not be healthy debate especially with those who will have to learn to share their power and learn to value others perspectives. It will take real leadership to ensure all involved feel that their voices and concerns are heard, valued and acted upon. It is important that ‘we are interested in what was said, not in who said it. This is important if people are to be completely open in describing their experiences. This applies importantly with students and parents.
The multi-dimensional approach opens up the possibilities of richer conversations about the way young people in particular experience the school. The role of the external agency (reformed OFSTED/ERO) is to keep the space open for those different perspectives to be heard and reflected on. As perspectives are gathered up patterns emerge both where they help to promote learning and where they block it. Such conversations recognise that everybody has some responsibility for what happens. When ideas have been identified plans can be made to try out solutions – involving staff, students and parents as appropriate. With experience schools form cultures where people are continuously identifying issues, tacking problems, and revising approaches. The advantage of this system is that solutions are derived from within rather than being imposed and final report would communicate what is really going on in the school. And the process itself would model to the students the learning skills, the research process, students themselves need to employ grappling with complexity, as they move into adult life. Such research will become part of the daily life of teachers as they try out possible solutions – often in collaboration with their students over such things as behaviour or developing engaging learning challenges.
The validity of this sort of multi – perspective inspection would largely derive from the need to reconcile the perspectives of multiple participants.
Schools could also be encouraged to work together to diagnose sources of problems and devise solutions that are in their mutual interest.
A wider role for a reformed external agency ( OFSTED/ERO) would be to gather information about what schools are doing and synthesising this into reports on what is successful and then to disseminate to schools. Such reports would move away from making judgments to collecting data on innovative and inspiring work that is going on and to providing guidance on what works in particular contexts.
To conclude a multi-perspective school review process has the potential to empower all involved and to ensure all students are given the opportunity to develop positive learning identities, to be given the best opportunities to learn and grow and to release the creative energy of everyone involved in the school community.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Educational Readings -' shonky' standards data

By Allan Alach

The big issue in New Zealand before the end of May will be the government’s release of  data that will supposedly show children’s achievement against the set national standards in the 2012 school year. For many reasons this is a very dubious exercise of minimal value. One of these reasons is the lack of validity of the national standards process, which has been examined by Waikato University Professor of Education Martin Thrupp. I’ve written an appraisal of a newspaper article about Martin’s findings, and intend to follow up with a review of his full report.

My initial analysis:

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

This week’s homework!

Skills Versus Content in the Early Grades (via Bruce)

‘For decades, U.S. schools have been engaged in a failed experiment that attempts to cram more content into a typical teaching day than is humanly possible. Schools ask children to learn overwhelming content at younger and younger ages without taking the time to build the foundational skills needed for learning or behavioral success.’

Dystopia: A Possible Future of Teacher Evaluation

Warning: do not read while holding a hot coffee or tea. May be hazardous to mental health. Antony Cody outlines a nightmare scenario for 2018.

To encourage creativity, Mr Gove, you must first understand what it is

Sir Ken Robinson, commenting on UK Education Secretary Michael Gove’s view of fostering creativity in education. Gove is a true technocrat and so Sir Ken is able to shoot big holes in his ‘paint by numbers’ nonsense.

School leadership and the new cult of personality: some thoughts on extravagance in Academyland (via Joce Jesson)

Observations from UK about the pitfalls of Academy (a.k.a. charter) schools:

‘..the new corporatisation of schools, with high salaries, bonuses and performance-related pay for a few are a threat to these public service values. Intentionally.  They are meant to create divisions – between school leaders and teachers, and between teachers and teachers.’

Sussex academy pays £1 heritage.00,000 to use 'patented' US school curriculum (via Joce Jesson)

As the proposed model for charter schools on New Zealand allows for free choice of curriculum, the door is open to whatever the proprietors deem to be suitable. The teaching of creationism, in religious themed schools is one example. However there is another probability, the purchasing of complete curricula from overseas, and thus depriving the children of their heritage.  I wonder how parents would feel if they were aware of this? Here’s an example from the UK.

The Ultimate Education Reform: Messy Learning & Problem Solving (via Bruce).

Canadian educator Ian Jukes is a must see, if he’s in your locality. He has a farsighted vision of where education should be headed, and his presentations are stimulating and entertaining. Here he introduces an article by Tim Holt.

Parents, Students, Teachers…Meet Pearson Publishing

Following the theme, often expressed, that we need to look overseas to see what is coming our way, this article about Pearson Publishing (including Adobe, Scott Foresman, Penguin, Longman, Wharton, Harcourt, Puffin, Prentice Hall, Allyn & Bacon) is very revealing.

Government to introduce charter hospitals

‘The National Government has today announced plans to introduce a number of charter hospitals, similar to their charter school counterparts, in major population centres around the country. The hospitals, which would be owned, operated or sponsored by private enterprises, would dissociate themselves from the current public health system and not be required to follow the regulations that most health institutes are beholden to.’

31 Signs You’ve Been A Teacher Too Long

C’mon, ‘fess up - how many of these ring true?

Monday, May 20, 2013

New Zealand's Got Talent? The role of schools in talent development

It has been a wet weekend and by chance I have watched parts of talent shows on TV. What impressed me were the individuals that, until they begin their presentation, are often discounted by judges and viewers. One young man had a debilitating lisp which disappeared as he began to sing.
Contestants are judged by what they can demonstrate.

This ought to be the basis for education. Imagine schools premised on the development of gifts and talents of all students rather than assessing them on their ‘success’ in standardised tests and then only in a narrow range of subjects.
Creativity is not in the forefront of teacher’s minds. The arts seem to have reduced to formulaic illustration or decoration rather than the ultimate form of personalised expression.

Sir Ken Robinson, a leading authority on creativity and innovation, believes that finding one’s passion changes everything. Although widely admired his advice is not translated into action by schools still focusing their programmes on achieving in literacy and numeracy. As a result many young people leave school unsure of their talents – worse still many feel alienated.
This is not to demean literacy and numeracy but for teachers to ‘reframe’ them in the service of authentic student inquiry learning.  Placing personalised student inquiry learning central would make a real difference but few schools do this.
It is easy to see where schools place their importance by the hierarchy of subjects and the time allotted – the arts at the rear. Add in standardised testing and this results in very narrow view of intelligence and an overvaluing of particular sorts of abilities and stifling of others.
In recent decades politician have had far too much influence for ideological reasons – much of it to provide data ( in literacy and numeracy) to allow, so called, parent choice, competition through league tables and, in many countries, the privatisation of education as seen in the Charter School movement; the provision of standardised tests in now big business.
Schools seem unable to provide the real alternative – to rethink the purpose of education for the 21st Century, to really value the diverse nature of human talents, and to celebrate the diversity of their students. Ironically New Zealand teachers can access the ideas of Elwyn Richardson who provided the genesis of a solution in the 1960s in his recently re-published book by the NZCER ‘In the Early World.’

There are inspiring models of creative education to draw inspiration from. Sir Ken is impressed with the Reggio Emilia schools of Milan established in the 60s.  The Emilia schools are true community schools where the curriculum is child directed and teachers take their lessons where student’s interests dictate. The curriculum is built around projects in which students make discoveries from a variety of perspectives. The teachers consider themselves as co- researchers learning alongside their students. Many older New Zealand teachers will recognise such a holistic approach.
There are still schools, where there is courageous leadership, that continue to base their curriculum on the provision of exciting experiential experiences that naturally integrate literacy and numeracy and encourage collaboration between teachers to access a range of disciplines.  Innovative Brazilian businessman Ricardo Semler has establishes his Lumiar Schools along similar lines.  I know of New Zealand schools that make use of American middle school educator James Beane’s concept of developing curriculums around student generated questions.
Chinese born American educator Yong Zhao  believes that American education is at  a crossroads. He worries about the increasing standardisation of education believing that this approach will be disastrous to the future of America – particularly as China is doing its best to develop creativity in its own system.  He believes that America needs a ‘citizenry of creative individuals with a wide range of talents to sustain its tradition of innovation’.
One idea Zhao shares in his book ‘Catching Up or Leading the Way’ is to build on school talent shows – school assembly performances in the New Zealand situation.  I envisage New Zealand schools building curriculums around integrating science and maths fair projects, and art performances, as part of an on-going years programme.
Yong Zhao believes that such activities recognize a broad range of talents, they teach children to respect each other, to take initiative and responsibility, to appreciate that they all have different talents and to provide opportunities to discover new talents.  Such presentations, exhibitions and demonstrations encourage students to face consequences of their choices and actions; facing public audiences of their parents and families does take courage. Add in the range of sporting and extra curricula activities (both of which need to be mainstreamed into the curriculum) and schools would be transformed.
Most of all, writes Yong Zhao, such ‘activities sends a strong message to the community… that our schools value different talents, that their children are talented in different ways’. ’Lastly, he writes, ‘the activity helps all the children to be proud of their strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses’.
 Most schools now accept Howard Gardner’s idea of multiple intelligences independent of each other. Gardner writes ‘that we are born to be good at something but poor at others. As a result, each of us has a unique talent profile.
As long as school focus on the importance of academic learning, concentrating on literacy and numeracy, schools discriminate against other talents.
Expanding the definition of success means how we measure success – success that cannot be measured through standardised testing. Indicators of success would need to include student products, teacher observations, and classroom and school wide performances.
Schools Young Zhao writes, need to be held ‘accountable for providing the best educational environments for all students’ rather than ‘holding schools accountable for raising test scores’. He writes, ‘we need to hold schools accountable for ensuring all students have the same high quality educational opportunities’
We don’thear our current Minister talking about the personalisation of learning, ‘the drive to tailor education to individual need, interest and aptitude so as to fulfil every young person’s potential’….’ Giving every single child the chance to be the best they can be, whatever their talent of background’

Schools who wish to focus on discovering and cultivating the strengths of each individual child instead of focusing on proving and remedying their ‘deficiencies’  as measured by questionable standards need to ask some pertinent questions ( from Riane Eisler 2000):
1.     Are each child’s intelligences and capabilities treated as unique gifts to be nurtured and developed?
2.     Do students have a real stake in their education so that their innate enthusiasm is not dampened?
3.     Do teachers act primarily as lesson-dispensers and controllers, or as mentors and facilitators?
4.     Does the curriculum not only effectively teach students basic skills as the three Rs of reading writing, and arithmetic but also model the life-skills they need to be competent and caring citizens?
5.     Is the structure of the school, classroom one of top down authoritarianism or is a more democratic one?
6.      Do students, teachers, and other staff participate in school decision making and rule setting?
Seems like good questions?
 Does New Zealand have talent? Or are we leaving it to chance? The latter I think.

Time for schools to step up.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Educational Readings - Sir Ken Robinson, Kelvin Smythe,Diane Khan,Bruce Hammonds et all

By Allan Alach

One of the zillions of overseas websites that I follow includes a weekly ‘Secret Teacher’ blog. It strikes me that there maybe many teachers out there who have very strong feelings about educational matters in their own country, but who are naturally afraid to speak out due to employment matters. Having been hit by the clobbering machine myself in late 2011, I can sympathise with this.

Darwin finally had a good idea!

I’d like to offer the chance for any disaffected teacher to sound off in absolute anonymity. If you would like to do this, email your article to me and I will post it as a Secret Teacher posting on The Treehorn Express. Avoid defamatory and abusive language, both for legal reasons, and also because that’s the approach beloved of right wing trolls - we don’t need to descend to their level. Rational, well reasoned and well referenced articles are much more powerful!

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

This week’s homework!

The Current School Reform Landscape: Christopher H. Tienken (via Kevin Woodley).

-      Christopher Tienken, Ed.D. is an assistant professor of Education Administration at Seton Hall University in the College of Education and Human Services, Department of Education Management, Policy, and Leadership.

This video is about the USA educational scene, however it is very relevant, in most part, to New Zealand and Australia. A great watch.

‘Is it necessary to have every child master the same exact material at the same level of difficulty?’

Spelling and grammar test for all 11-year-olds to tackle poor literacy

-      Up to 600,000 (English) schoolchildren will be required to sit a new exam in spelling, punctuation and grammar amid fears that almost a quarter of pupils are starting secondary education with substandard literacy skills.

While GERM down under may be causing grief, things could be much worse.

The Power of Metaphor

A commonly expressed concern of the intensely limited focus on the 3Rs that is implicit in GERM, is the neglect of the arts. This article by Pat Buoncristiani provides another window on how this will affect vulnerable children’s development.

How to escape education’s death valley

Sir Ken Robinson - no other introduction needed.


Could it be our understanding of ‘Quality’…that is BROKEN, perhaps?

Blogger Tony Gurr, writing from Turkey ( proof of the international nature of the battle for true education) touches on a vitally important issue - what is ‘Quality’? Tony includes the vital reference here, Robert Pirsig’s ‘Zen and the Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance,  a discussion of Quality. If you’ve not
read that book recently, or not read it at all, then you have some homework. I’m on my 3rd copy, having read the preceding copies so many times that they fell apart. This understanding of quality underpins the battle for holistic, rich, child centred education. You will note, in Pirsig’s book, many similarities between standardised education and the lack of quality that he contends is destructive to modern life.

Shonky Data and Shabby Journalism – Must Be National Standards Time Again

Save Our Schools NZ blogger Dianne Khan has joined the ranks of contributors to The Daily Blog. Here’s her excellent first contribution.

Education Should Liberate, Not Indoctrinate

Another excellent link to Yong Zhao - one of the main players in the international anti-GERM disinfectant battle.


How do Finnish kids excel without rote learning and standardized testing?

More of the same but no less valuable for that. Finland remains our most effective tool in the battle to disinfect schools from GERMs.

The biggest topic in New Zealand education this week was the debate in parliament on the Education Amendment bill that will pass legislation to establish charter school. Here are postings by Bruce Hammonds and Kelvin Smythe about this.

New Zealand education. A choice between Creativity and Charter Schools

Charter schools are …