Wednesday, December 17, 2008

National Standards: The Real Oil

my good friend Perry Rush who is without doubt one of NZ's best principals who runs a bloody great school has the real oil. here is his article published in todays Dominion Post:

So the Education (National Standards) Amendment Act has been rushed into law under urgency without so much as a flicker of debate.

Should we be worried?

In the midst of implementing a visionary future focused curriculum educators are confronted with a law change requiring schools to report on children’s achievement against national standards.

The drive to be open about children’s achievement is in itself laudable. Parents should have high quality information about their children’s achievement and in many schools do.

But it is the inference that student underachievement will be influenced by legislating schools into high stakes testing in reading, writing and mathematics that is troublesome.

The only reasonable assumption of such a policy is that schools are under performing and that testing will make visible poor performance that can therefore act as a public incentive to ‘do better’.

The reality is that New Zealand Schooling has been doing well for a long time.

The 2006 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) found that of the 572 countries participating, the mean reading literacy performance of only three countries was significantly higher than New Zealand, two countries were similar, and the other 50 countries were significantly lower.

Of the 57 countries participating in PISA 2006, the mean mathematical literacy performance of only five countries was significantly higher than New Zealand, seven countries were similar, and the other 44 countries were significantly lower.

By any objective standard New Zealand schools are doing an outstanding job at growing literate and numerate students.

Despite this we should not pretend that everything is rosy.

Our government and all New Zealanders should rightly be concerned about the long tail of underachievement that does mark New Zealand as different from other OECD countries. Maori and Pacific Island students are disproportionately represented in this tail.

The recent results of ‘Trends In International Mathematics And Science Study’ (TIMSS) are a cause for concern and should rightly signal the beginning of focused discussion across the educational sector to identify an appropriate response.

But welding a sledgehammer at schools to resolve concern about achievement does not reflect the sort of reasoned and intelligent approach required of a thinking government.

Rather it smacks of a play on our fears.

Substantive debate on the source of underachievement is overdue. It is not surprising though that simplistic analysis abounds and that teachers as easy targets find themselves in the crosshairs.

Consider Dr Pita Sharples comments. “Put the standards up there, teach to the standards, and if they don't reach the standards then fix up the teachers,” he said.

At the Australian Council For Education Research Conference in 2007, Dr Andy Hargreaves identified three significant barriers to effective educational reform: a conservative media, the nostalgia that parents have for their own schooling experiences and politicians that frame policy to capture these markets.

National’s Education (National Standards) Amendment Act represents smart political management but poor educational leadership.

The introduction of National Standards may well have dire consequences for children’s learning.

The corollary of the introduction of National Standards in Britain in the late 90’s was an overt emphasis on Reading, Writing and Mathematics to the detriment of everything else particularly creative endeavor.

The Bush Adminstration’s controversial “No Child Left Behind (NCLB)” initiative has at its core, high stakes testing in the guise of standards based educational reform. Recent studies into the outcome of the NCLB initiative by the Centre on Education Policy have shown that while the achievement gap is closing this cannot be attributed to the initiative.

Primary school leaders already understand and support the importance of core learning.

Changes to the National Administration Guidelines in 2000 placed an emphasis on achievement in literacy and numeracy in the first four years of schooling and there is no lack of awareness or skill in the sector in dealing with this challenge.

With the reality of National Standards on our doorstep, the government needs to step into the challenge of positively leading New Zealand through the difficult landscape of curriculum change.

Talking with school leaders to better understand what is being done to address underachievement before major policy shifts are rushed into law would be a great place to start.

The sector deserves a government who wishes to partner with schools intelligently rather than clobbering schools with blunt instruments.

The challenge exists for the education sector too.

Substantive debate by school leaders about National Standards has been glaringly absent. Strong professional advocacy is necessary.

Change will grow when educators confront misinformation about student achievement and seek to hold policymakers to account for their propensity to pander to the ‘Back to Basics’ cry.

Professor Alfie Kohn puts it nicely, “Accountability, (in the guise of tougher standards) usually turns out to be a code for tighter control over what happens in classrooms by people who are not in classrooms - and it has approximately the same effect on learning that a noose has on breathing”.

It is deeply troubling that in a strong democracy like ours there has been no debate about National Standards despite it being near the top of any international list of controversial educational reforms.

Perry Rush
Principal
Island Bay School






Tuesday, December 16, 2008

National Party

The crime against kids has started with simplified, dumb, uninformed decision making by the national party. this law reform is an absolute disgrace, the brain power behind the National Standards is contrary to every direction our world leading education system is headed. National will be confronted head on by principals like me who will refuse to do A national test and will scream it from the highest mountain. when law commands me to do it i will advise children to be sick, will refuse to supervise, or mark the tests, go slow on other legislative requirements and any other obstructional thing I can think of, to halt national testing...

NOW it is highly possible that National wont be doing national testing BUT if you dont consult with the leaders of education- principals , before bringing in poorly thought out, vote winning policy then EDucation will be the loser.
Im in this game for kids and At this point kids are looking like they will be the loser.

national are making decisions that go against what educators are saying see this article http://www.nzcer.org.nz/default.php?cPath=343_368&products_id=2289


I will give nats time to talk it through and make quality decisions, but i also wait with a megaphone, the power of the internet and a really big stick, as this is "a hill i want to die on". I wont stand by and watch kids crucified and schools go to war with each other over tests and their results.

have a great christmas

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Employing Staff 101

What gets a bit sickening at this time of year is the grab for staff for the next year. Interesting that the MOE needs 1500 more teachers to fill the need in the 1 to 15 ratio business (this is another can of worms i want to open on another day-doesn't hattie say class sizes don't matter?).  The teachers are needed in Akld but most of them are in Chch, Dunedin or Wellington. So we get on the big grab, taking anyone with successful teaching experience, anyone who speaks clear english, anyone who was trained in NZ, anyone who has lived in NZ for a bit, anyone who is white....? there I said it, its true ask my Sth African friend, no, no and no all day long in her applications..... It sounds really sad but seems to be a reality, schools grab after one interview, one phone call and offer positions on the spot. My experience in interviews has been that all of those interviewed have either just had or are going to another interview. Usually they have been offered a job and want an answer right away. 
I'm actually looking for someone who wants to be at my school, the problem is that we rate ourselves so high, that we think the best will come to us.
Not True.  If you don't get on the grab, those who don't know your school is amazing will just pass you by. So here are my tips in trying to nab those great teachers who have been offered jobs elsewhere, and persuading them that you are the best option.

In the initial phone call, say that you feel it is really important that teachers look at all options and rule out schools which don't fit for them, tell them that you want a teacher who wants to be happy and feels that the leadership team is one they want to work for.

Say that you hate how schools offer jobs immediately, when they cant be certain that the teacher has had the opportunity to think things through.

Tell them you want applicants to be able to judge you, against other schools and their management teams.

Tell them you know that everyone offers jobs, and that you are looking for someone who wants to look past their first offer to be sure they are happy with their decision.

Its important to get this in and said, before they say to you that they have another interview or that they have been offered a job already.

Ok so they get to interview: after the usual questions ask a few "other" questions.
What are your expectations of leaders in a school.
What type of leadership do you look for in a school.
These questions are there to tease out those other people who interviewed them , perhaps they were those greasy "job offer" type Principals. (you know)
After this ask about other jobs, other interviews, other offers. Have a piece of paper on the table that others in the interview can touch, if touched by your fellow interviewers then this person is a yes.
Now to close you can say that you can offer them a job, but you haven't spoken to the others in the room but you are so impressed that you want to make an offer, however I would like to give you time. If you want them and don't want to offer because its too greasy, say you are keen to have them but you want them to have time to accept. People shouldn't be bullied into a decision, and id like you to think about things, and I will let my DP to get back to you. Hinting that you are keen and want the person but will get someone else to do the small stuff.

They might leave having not accepted but you have the hook in the mouth just wind slowly.
One other thing, give a quick brain model test, that gives you a snapshot of the thinking type you are employing, this impresses the shit out of the applicant and can provide useful information for you.
If you are rejected then you were too greasy, your management team are stuffy and controlling, and you should all join an accountants firm.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What really matters

What really is important and what is not so important for children to have learnt by the time they leave school. It becomes more and more apparent that there is a complete disjointedness from primary to intermediate to secondary school. 

The secondary schools are forced to be result driven and primary schools are able to be holistically driven. Surprisingly though, even if us Primaries are allowed to be holistically driven we are still very focussed on our results in Literacy and Numeracy.  With this holistic philosophy we are able to be creative with the curriculum and are able to ignite thinking and creativity in classroom programmes. It makes for exciting teaching, fun in the classroom and a determination to be experts in the execution of teaching of Reading Writing and Numeracy.

I have dumbed down my expectations for my own son as he moves through intermediate and secondary school.
This is not, I hope, because of crap teaching but instead of the perception of what is valued and believed to be important. These schools are expected to be achieving results, gaining examination passes. The same old tricks of not letting the dummies sit exams, accelerating children into "Cambridge" classes as early as year 9 so they can "score well" for the school is the norm in our secondary schools now. Everything is about passing so schools can get a good name, and lets be honest schools are great at cheating. "Cheating" how dare you accuse schools of cheating, I use the word liberally, in the Richie McCaw sense, he obeys the rules but pushes them to the extreme limit every time he plays the game. A Principal who is not playing the game McCaw style is considered a poor principal.

The thing for me is that i don't give a shit about the actual exam results my son gains. Of course I'm proud FOR him if he does well, but I will be proud OF him if he succeeds in the things that really matter.

So what really matters.
How about: someone who thinks of and respects others
someone who is prepared to assess and take risks
someone who is a giver
a learner for life
a contributer to society
someone you are proud to call son

Saturday, November 8, 2008

GPC

The GPC conference was an excellent time to reflect, chat and seek out new knowledge. I am staggered about how much knowledge people hold. What I have come to realise is that it is important to be yourself. All the principals are doing things differently and we synthesise ideas and put these into practice in so many different ways, yet the values and beliefs of all principals was very similar. What then became so important was "how do you do things" what ideas, and actions do you use that I could replicate. The sharing sessions were honest and these were followed up by the multiple "unconference" conversations.
I saw how Principals need the big picture and it was great to see how everyone has cleverly thought through their systems, there was a lot of "blue" in the room. 
The absolute belief for strong values within a school community was blindingly obvious but with this group the great thing is that is isn't just "talk".

So what are the quick conclusions:
We do things different and thats OK.
Communication with colleagues, staff, community, kids, is paramount.
Being wrong is OK.
Take time to smell the roses.
Laughter.
Its about PEOPLE.
he tangata he tangata he tangata



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Get a panelbeater if you want the job done.

Why is it when your teeth are stuffed you head for a dentist, when your car needs repairs a mechanic and if the car needs further examination we may use a panel-beater or automotive electrician.
They go unquestioned. When Wayne the Westie says your transmissions stuffed, its stuffed. Wayne may not have passed school certificate in 1982, and he may have a mullet and bad breath and drive a really scratchy HQ holden, but he is unquestioned, he knows his weet-bix and we accept this.
Why then are teachers not taken and accepted. 
Parents can be fickle (we are dealing with loved ones) but many many parents listen, support and encourage. I'd probably say the ones that don't believe us, or argue, would equal the number who think Wayne is a rip off artist and try elsewhere (even though Wayne was right in the first place).
I think Parents are as accepting of our professionalism as any other profession.

I mean that we are more critical of one another, more picky, more pedantic.
My son had to write out a letter about the importance of Homework, he got his hwk wrong. The letter was an essay which he copied. It said that teachers worked hard, set high expectations for homework, and marked and fed back to students. My answer was "bullshit" this Doris had never marked homework, and had 30 of 33 boys re doing her homework cause they didn't follow her instructions. Seems her "high standards of hwk" didn't have very clear instructions.
I have dealt with three other teachers who are "hot" on their sons/daughters teachers and their schools.
Its a real shame, there are some amazing schools with innovative ideas, and some amazing leaders who are doing fantastic things. Why do we look to rubbish schools when a quiet whisper to the boss might be needed. Or a "trust us" card needs to be played. If it is good enough for the panelbeaters of this word to trust our schools then the teachers out there need to do the same.

I know we think we have inside information to things that happen in other schools, but the reality is that the whisper you get is only as good as the person telling you. Lets look at what we can control and what we can do and not worry about what we cant control.
Parents, Teachers, Panelbeaters relax we are doing our best and always striving to do better.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Essential skills have they got it right?


In another reflective practice meeting the unearthing of the obvious about the NZC was stated through another set of eyes. 5 team leaders, barb, mumbleboy and myself were talking 4 minute walkthroughs with Tony Burkin when discussion led to NZC. Tony shared a discussion he has had with colleagues about the "business" model of polarity thinking that has been applied to the Key Competencies. "What"! you say, thats what I said.
Polars are opposites and often polarity decisions are made - yes/no - black/white 
There is often a lot of ground in a decision between yes or no. If you were asked a simple question, "can we go to the all black test". The answer "no" is at the end of one polar and "yes" the other. But there can be a thousand other answers that fit between yes and no. Answers like "if we can get tickets" or "it depends on the weather".
Here was Tony's little gem - 
If we look at the key competencies managing self then its polar opposite is  relating to others.
If we look at Thinking its polar opposite is - doing - participating and contributing.
Does this mean that all other skills that we can think of are jammed somewhere between these opposites? Are we therefore covering the whole range?
If we plot this on a chart does this polarity thinking clarify things and make sence?

It's nothing new but just helps with clarity.
I suppose your question is: Where is languages symbols and texts it's a key competency?
True it is a Key Competency, and its a fancy way of describing Numeracy and Literacy. And Numeracy and Literacy needs to be taught explicitly where as the other 4 essential skills arent as clear cut.

So a simple model to ensure you are on the right path might be: Polars + Numeracy and Literacy = Winning

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fun


Is fun a value or is it not.
The staff have been looking closely at the NZC. The other day we ran through a few activities that would bring discussion to values. The afternoon was meant to be nothing about consensus and more about discussion and thoughts. After each activity we wrote down a few words that best described what we were talking about. These bits of paper were collated at the end of the meeting and mumbleboy beavered away in wordle to see what sort of language came from our discussions.

If we are talking about schools should we be looking at values that are relevant to learning and growing in society. 
What is "fun" doing there.
Why is "fun" a value.
I do think it is important - but should schools have "fun" as a key value. I wasn't looking for consensus but by using wordle it is fairly obvious that "fun" was the most used word when discussions around values in the classroom were had.

I can justify "fun" as a core value but will ERO ? Oh, I don't care about them but some do...
Keen on your thoughts here .......

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Teachers Contribution

Interesting observations from the funeral on the weekend of my uncle Boris Srhoj. The thing that stood out for me was that fact that many people in our family were amazed at how many people this great man had touched. Being at a secondary school for boys and being the 1st XV coach for 25 years, of course you will have emotional people and of course you will have made a big impact. Boris headed the middle school for twenty years and engaged hundreds of boys each year, watching them grow into wonderful men at Year 13. Boris was a great man with a fine teaching skill set, and he possessed the values we all respect and believe in, he lead by doing.

The thing for me is that teachers are all in the same boat as uncle Boris. We may not be in a position to get the response at our funerals but the great teachers make a similar contribution. We make a similar impact too, it is just that we don’t really realize how big. If you are sharing and practicing the similar set of values as Boris, if you possess that skill set that great teachers possess, if your actions speak louder than your talk, then you are making a massive contribution. Teachers, don’t belittle your performance, or ponder your effectiveness, just get out there and enjoy it. Its a rewarding job but that motivation comes from the inside.

By the way if you are a crap teacher then disregard everything above, because you are just clipping the ticket and getting on with other stuff, so don’t take any moral support from my ramblings.

Just while we look at the NZC and the collaborative values and beliefs that schools should consider, pause a moment, it is important. It might seem, politically correct and all these sickofantic discussions on vision and values, and all that bullshit, but it is important. So teachers drop the moaning, and the, “we’ve done this last year”, “ not the vision again” “do we have to”, and take some time to think how important it is to be on the same waka. Boris’ waka.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lead a Horse to Water

I had two ex students in the office the other day. They had been giving mum more grief and she was at breaking point. Nearing the end of our chat I asked the girls 12 and 15 if they played any sport or had any interests. They stared blankly at me, crickets chirped, tumbleweed rolled by. It was another moment of dejavu for me. My five years in the far north came flashing right back. While up there I suffered greatly from polyitis (a lack of polynesian students). Onehunga high was full of the sa's and tongans and on arrival up north I immediately noticed the difference. What was lacking was the family volleyball and cricket teams (every samoan grandma plays volleyball), the kids just didn't do things with their whole families. In the big smoke pakeha kids go to swimming, ballet, rugby, softball - whatever. Poly kids play family or church cricket, volleyball, they join clubs too. The maori kids as a whole in the cities are in the same boat, join clubs and pursue their sport. But while up there I tried in vain to get kids to be passionate about anything, to have them burning to do something that will start them off in life. I led the horse to water every week, I tried badminton, hockey, basketball, netball, sailing, rugby, cameras, movies, web design, kapa haka, tennis. I wanted to get a kid to try something that would be a hook, something they could be a star at. The talent was massive but the hook never held. I've always wondered whether it was a waste of time or was it just a matter of time before something or someone took the hook. Yes there were successes and these came several years after leaving Punaruku, but there were failures, two young men lost their lives while still in their teens.
These two young women who stared blankly at me, their favourite sport is texting. My grandmother lived well into her nineties, she was a passionate gardner, my dad is a fanatical golfer (two hip replacements, a triple bypass, a bit of cancer) and he is still going very strong. My grandfather followed horses and jockeys like religion. I think it doesnt matter what your passion is but you need something.
The challenge is for families : 
do stuff together
lead your horse to water
texting isn't a sport
a healthy mind = a healthy body

To teachers : lead by example
passionate teachers = passionate students


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Affluenza

I have for some time been a little bit disappointed at the direction New Zealand is headed. I have wanted to put my finger on what exactly it is that irks me and I often come back to the large gap between the “haves and have nots”. This doesn't really explain what I mean but things like the many, many “rich” people living in neighborhoods with bigger and bigger fences and the poorer neighborhoods which are now being called hoods. In the late 80’s I taught in Mangere and although the streets weren't affluent there were families, kids playing on the street, and there was a sense of pride, satisfaction and safeness in the community. Now on my recent sojourns to Mangere it is clearly not safe, dogs roam and scarf wearers walk the streets. It seems every low riding car is up to no good with its stereo blasting and a scarf being warn by a wannabe. So does this mean that in a poor suburb you have less hope or less chance of success. I’m not so sure we are that far down the track but the danger is if we do nothing then nothing will change or happen. Mrs Podgorani who avoids the web like the plague (online shopping aside) is reading a book called Affluenza by Oliver James.
It was a “nail on the head” moment for me, as soon as I heard the word Affluenza.
It is a plague, everyone wants what they cant have, or things that are out of their means. Keeping up with the Joneses in an obsessive, envious world driven by consumerism. All this is eating at the english speaking world, raising anxiety, addictions, and depression.
As I write this blog another tweet appears on the iphone and the keyboard backlight on my macbook pro kicks in, as the room dims slightly, arhhh consumerism.

How do we ensure that we pursue our needs and not our wants and how do we pass these values to our children.
Perhaps Affluenza will see a downfall of the affluent neighborhoods and the richness of culture in Mangere will again make it an area to be proud of. But I get the feeling that Affluenza is rooted too deeply in most areas of society, seemingly everyone has some sort of flat screen plasma or LCD. What can we do?

I pause a moment and think how do we keep it real.
Last night I attended the junior prize-giving at Waitemata Rugby Club. It was a “bring a plate” job. If you win a trophy you get a picture and the cup goes back in the cabinet. The club had an indoor bouncy castle, the NPC rugby was on the big screen, there was a smell of hot chips with vinegar and the bar was open for a few quiets.
All Black great Michael Jones spoke to the children about hard work, being honest, aiming high, choosing your friends carefully, and listening to your mum. Everyone stacked the local schools chairs up at the end of the night.
Today I dropped my son at the Hoani Waititi Marae for a kapa haka wanaga. Its a test night, the All Blacks are on. We go down for a look and we get a great feed of hot chocolate pudding with whipped cream. The boys go through their routine of waiata and haka and the quietly spoken twenty year old tutor congratulates with the skill of a classroom teacher. No sign of a TV but plenty of signs of laughter, mate-ship and aroha.

As schools we need to look at pursuing the needs of our children.
As parents we need to look at pursuing the needs of our children.
As adults we need to pursue our needs not our wants.
The (NZC) New Zealand Curriculum wants us to look at our values, if we don’t take this seriously and don’t consider the needs of students then Affluenza may be a plague. I get a bit annoyed at schools who claim they are already embedding the NZC and quotes like “nothing needs to change” or “we are already doing that”. Principals need to stop looking for reasons why NZC is bullshit and get on with the job of taking it seriously.

Mumbleboy pointed me to this little beauty from teacher tube

Monday, September 8, 2008

Failure to back you team will result in failure

Everyone has their weaknesses and often as Principals it becomes easy to identify weaknesses in staff. Staff too are able to recognize weaknesses in leadership. The thing though that all staff need to be able to do is to identify and appreciate the strengths. It’s I suppose the glass half full scenario.
BUT for me the most important thing is knowing when colleagues need support and recognizing that given time, opportunity and help, that success will follow.

Daniel Waaka was a very fast boy who could only take one instruction at a time. Not the sharpest tool in the shed. He was quick and was pointed at the corner flag and told to “run Forest run”. I asked his parents to stand in the corner he was pointed at and I said “wait for Daniel to score in this corner”.
The problem was that the opposition kicked a few times and Daniel got the ball in awkward situations, he was needed to do other things instead of running full tilt. By half time he was a liability and his confidence was as low as the looks of sadness on the faces of his proud parents. My wonderful assistant whispered “get him off Lukey”, before halftime. The writing was on the wall for poor Daniel.

The thing was that that the game was secured, almost, and the risk was low. Why not leave him there, encourage him, and hope the ball comes his way just once. By pulling him off his game was over, his confidence shot, and he wouldn’t play again at the tournament.
My head and heart told me he stays. So Daniel plays on, nothing comes his way, he continues to have a shocker, he leaves the field devastated, but we do win the game.

After a few ales my offsider mentions politely that Dan’s tournament is over. The next morning (and this is significant - the fact that I slept on it) we name the team for todays game. I start the meeting with “first name for me is Daniel”.
It was a game we needed to win, but Dan needed to be backed/supported more than the teams result. He needed success, we could cover for the times he got the ball in awkward circumstances, and we could give him early opportunities to run for the corner.
Dan started, and parents waited in the said corner, he scored three times before half time right in front of them. I was able to sub Dan at halftime and I watched him head for mum and dad, hugs, pride, success, confidence.

So Principals here is my inference for you:
Take your time over decisions.                                                 slept on it
Look at the big picture not at todays result.                          he needs to play again
Look for potential especially after failure.                             he can still run fast
Place a support network around if its required.                    got other players to cover for him
Line up the ducks so success becomes easier.                        called moves to put him in the clear
Measure success in small steps.                                                subbed at half time after success

We went on to win that Roller Mills Tournament in 1992 and Dan lined up with 21 others for his gold medal.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Life without a coach

Fred Dagg named his 1st XV in his anthology all those many years ago. E Hillary, D Dobbyn, K Te Kanawa, S Neil, A Curnow, R Hotere, P Jackson, L Tamahere, B Finn, N Finn, K Hume, M Mahy, J Frame.
Interesting that Fred should use rugby as a vehicle to hold up some of the true greats of New Zealand. Perhaps he was making a point about how important All Blacks are and how little we value our true heroes. Following on from my George Nepia theory perhaps we could take this a little further.
At a recent tribute to my uncle Boris, Marty Lee spoke how Boris used rugby as a vehicle to mould and teach boys the life skills, life lessons.
I've always run with the theory that you get life replicated within a tight team framework, and I know Marty was bang on the money when he suggested this.
Leadership in education is so closely replicated in a rugby coaching scenario. 

The Staff want everything handed on a plate
A staff member treats their peers with no respect.
A staff member wants to do what they want to do.
Staff members operate in clicks
Some staff are lazy.
The Principal has all the say.
The Principal dictates what everyone will do.
The principal runs and controls all self improvement.
The principal delegates everything and does nothing.
The Principal has a poor relationship with his teachers.
The Principal is a dip shit.

Now replace Staff Member with "player" and The Principal with "coach". What are the chances of this team winning a game. And the answers to the problems are easy if you look at them from a sporting perspective. If you cant find the answers, or your "coach" is a lemon either make lemonade or get a new coach.

Rugby is one of those games where you prepare as a team, you laugh, love, cry, bitch, argue, invent, reinvent, study, apply, analyse, reapply, sing, win, lose, laugh again, and to play with your very best friends is an amazing buzz.
Where I think Fred Dagg has missed the boat is that my very best 1stXV will play as a team, and they would have an awesome coach, one who can action all of those verbs above, uncle Boris Srhoj.

So Fred give us your coach or I will loan you uncle Boris and he will turn your team of champions into a champion team.




fred dagg from Luke Sumich on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

National Testing or Labour Beat Up ?

Ive been told by local MP Paula Bennett that there is no intention of having National testing in our Primary Schools. BUT they will insist that schools report to parents about where children are at nationally.

I think that national testing is an absolute load of shit and wont achieve anything. Any wanker who thinks that it is a goer in Primary schools has their head up their arse. There i said it. 

Lets be honest here I don't trust my fellow schoolies to test correctly and I know of schools testing incorrectly as well as bumping their grades so they look good. Some of it is deliberate and some just incompetence. We know how pathetic it gets overseas where schools results are published and in America where funding is withheld from poor performing schools. This results in "testing practice" and a complete "shutdown of learning" while children are asked to remember stuff, which we all know is the lowest form of thinking.

Ok now that I have given a quick argument for how much national testing sux lets look at the real issue. Is this a beat up from labour who want national to lose a few thousand votes from the teaching sector. I get a press release from Paddy Ford who is a fish head from NZPF that says and i quote -

The New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF) is very disappointed with National’s proposed education policy, which is looking to introduce compulsory national testing.
“National testing is such an old-fashioned idea,” says NZPF President Paddy Ford. “What’s more, it is ineffective. In every country where national testing has been imposed, learning outcomes have not increased. National testing is, quite simply, a backward step.”
it goes on to say - The NZPF is disappointed that the National Party is taking this approach to education policy. “This policy shows a lack of understanding of what is already happening in our schools,” says Ford. “We have some of the best systems in the world, and with adequate resourcing we could become number one. National needs to concentrate on improving resourcing for programmes such as special needs and reading recovery. They also need to fund appropriate administration time, which will allow principals to focus on teaching and learning. That’s how we will improve educational outcomes for pupils.”

So i have sent the following email to Paula Bennett 
Hi Paula
You told me there would be no national testing of primary school kids, I get this email from the NZPF president, I presume that it is Labour propaganda being played out by the NZ education Unions ie: NZEI and NZPF who often attack National, Im surprised they havent brought up Bulk Funding again...!!!!
But I would like you to tell me again the National testing is not going to happen so that I can tell Paddy Ford to stop spreading this nonsense..
I'm annoyed and agitated that they would get stuck in to this if its not true.

SO LETS SEE WHO IS FULL OF BULLSHIT i will get a reply from Bennett and give Paddy a right of reply and see whether its a beat up or a balls up. 

By the way - this isn't personal, Paula is a good chick and Paddy does an unenviable job, I haven't met him but he'd be a decent bloke.
I just want the truth cause I aint having National Testing.

Stay Tuned
so paula has replied asap
Hi Luke
Paula is out of the office so I called her and asked about your email.
She asked me to tell you that you are right and there will be no national testing. Please see the link below and also the media release, they back up Paula’s statement.
Please feel free to contact us if you need anymore info.
Kind Regards
Jackie Fairweather
Constituency Agent to Paula Bennett MP
http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleId=9908

Anne Tolley MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman
24 August 2008     National makes no apology for standards policy

National Party Education spokeswoman Anne Tolley is welcoming the opportunity to restate National’s determination to lift educational standards to ensure our children are better equipped for the future.

“National standards will give every child access to the best teaching methods for literacy and numeracy. We want more teachers to be taking advantage of the best practice techniques that many of our most successful schools are already using.”

Mrs Tolley is responding to statements from the New Zealand Principal Federation criticising National’s policy which aims to reduce the number of children who leave school unable to read, write, and do basic maths.

“We have to do more to make sure every child learns the basics required to contribute to the community, the country, and the economy. It’s time for every school to use the best methods.

“I am mystified by the Federation’s references to National testing. We have explained our policy many times to the sector over the past three years and they know we have not proposed national testing.

“Our national standards policy has been well received by school principals and teachers because it is flexible, and builds on the best-practice methods that are already getting good results.”


I sent this to Paddy ford and am awaiting a reply.

hi paddy

i have a question regarding national testing
I have to ask you what your response is to national MP paula Bennett who i emailed asking what the hell is going on, she told me that national testing wont happen,
I'd like an answer as to why you put the press release out when it appears to be untrue.
I am totally against national testing...just like you, and no national party git either, but i do want some transparency.

and here comes Paddy :
I attach here the link to Johns speech and the key points he raised. when you click on the link you can hear John saying what he thinks and some of it is concerning. he states that 90% of schools already do the testing (which is true) but he also states that parents don’t know what the standard is. well if you fill out a report or have an interview and you tell the parent that their child is below average then you are doing exactly that.
Because 10% of your children are naughty you don’t 'require ' them all to be in time out.
90% of schools manage their property effectively yet all are 'required' to have a property manager
Its about compliance to me. If we are required to do something that 90% of us are already doing their will be another layer of compliance, more beauracy and you will be able to publish league tables.
We do not ever ,never need a ‘required’ test. We have an excellent resource in NEMP. Why have more tests. Its just not on.
Some of this might be reds under the bed stuff but I see it as a thinly veiled attempt at National testing.
We don’t need it. We are already doing a great job and using assessment effectively

Johns speech
Clear National Standards: Set national standards in reading, writing and numeracy. The standards will describe all the things children should be able to do by a particular age or year at school. They will be defined by benchmarks in a range of tests.
Effective Assessment: Require primary schools to use assessment programmes that compare the progress of their students with other students across the country. Schools will choose from a range of tests, but there won't be national exams.
Upfront Reporting: Give parents the right to see all assessment information, and to get regular reports about their child's progress towards national standards. Schools will also have to report each year on the whole school's performance against national standards.


So where are we.. who is on the bullshit... me thinks its the unions and the red flag brigade, but hey it might just be me.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What's Our Kaupapa ?

My mate has gone and at 87 and we may say he had a “good innings” but it still is never easy to say goodbye. The one thing that I’ve always admired about Maori is they know how to say goodbye. It almost amazes me how pakeha NZ, sends their departed to a funeral home and a closed coffin appears at the church and thats it.
Although the Marae can be a daunting place for the pakeha, Maori shouldnt have to make excuses, the whole grieving process and respect for the grieving families is very much an example of the way learning should be. Maybe we should take a leaf from the kaupapa and see if there are linkages we can use.

1: Family is everything in terms of respect : note 1 - how many teachers know their Maori students families?
This may seem a bit silly that a teacher has to know a family to gain their respect.
While in the far north I met some very dysfunctional families, but through my friendship with firstly children, mums, and then through the rugby club, the men, I was able to raise the eyebrows to all the whanau. You wouldn’t want to meet some of these dudes in a dark alley, yet I’m able to pick up wasted hitchhikers ten years after leaving the valley and get treated with a “hey teach”.
2: Values: note 2 - you cant run two sets of values.
The children will respect your values as too will the families if you are constant. I had a community split by a church, you were either in or out. I sat on the fence but never changed my values. I know there were days when the churchies were rolling their eyes, but the bottom line was that the children were treated equally and the wiser church people could always be relied upon to settle the dust.
3: Sharing/Collaboration - being together, working collaboratively, joint success. Note 3 - How often do we as teachers want collaborative success ahead of individual results?
There is a strange feeling of satisfaction in working together to achieve, watching the contribution of everyone for this Tangi was humbling. A list of what the meal was for after the cemetery meant each person had one dish to prepare and they then grabbed the associate workers (anyone close by) to chop, peel and fetch. Meanwhile the programme was being prepared on the worlds oldest PC. Aunty was collecting a few bucks. A young nephew sent to town for supplies. Meanwhile the “never go to church” crowd gave their aroha by doing the hard work at the cemetery. Some of society’s poorest cases still found their way to contribute. Maybe this shows that we should never give up and that success at school is not as important as mana, and building mana to all is essential.
4: Self Esteem - Self Esteem and success is clearly missing in those who are failing yet they continue to come back to the well, they continue to help in the kitchen, fetch, clean, love but in their own way. The team effort of all over the last week shows how family, values, sharing and collaboration will build self esteem.

There are many success stories within our education system and to celebrate these is essential but my friends in the MOE hope that Ka Hikitia can be a start point for so much more.

Now the challenge is for us to learn a bit more, dig a bit deeper, take a big breath, and do it for poppa.
Watene Martin
e noho rä

Monday, August 11, 2008

Kiwi Leadership Principals- whooey - boo

I couldnt sit back and let this go by without comment. (Comments in brackets.)

The final Kiwi Leadership (what makes it specifically Kiwi?) for Principals KLP document was released on 7 August. Two copies of the document have been sent to all schools.
(So you can file one under W for waste of money and use the other to prop up the data projector)

Developed in collaboration with the school sector (who wondered why it was needed)

and underpinned by research evidence contained in the 2008 Educational Leadership BES,(which looked at a longitudinal study of 100 principals of which 1 was a kiwi)

KLP presents a model of leadership that reflects the qualities, knowledge and skills required to lead New Zealand schools from the present to the future. (yeah right - and it reflects no practical knowledge of what we do every day presuming we are all planning for the future of professional leadership)

KLP will be used as a reference point for developing the Professional Leadership Strategy. (how about you pay for this PD, and give us time for it by releasing management)

This strategy will provide a three to five year plan outlining how the Government intends to work with the sector to achieve the goal of strong professional leadership in every New Zealand school by 2012. ( boffins in wellington will now write this plan thus keeping themselves in a cruzy job for three to five years)

Some Thoughts : i wonder how many thousand the circular logo and web design cost ?
any chance of a set of badges saying "principals can achieve" and "leading learner"
It smacks of beaurocrats in wellington coming up with ideas, writing jobs for themselves, to keep themselves employed.

My personal opinion is that the MOE is full of people all ticking boxes and clipping the ticket. They are now working with the benefit of RESEARCH, research which has been interpreted by the experts as confirming their opinions (nothing new there).  With this new found backing the bloated bureaucracy is now out of control. The problem with this so called RESEARCH is that the practicalities of leadership and getting the job done are sacked for theory and stats. These University research types are brilliant people, Dr this, and Dr that, but they are notoriously aloof, mildly strange, difficult to converse with, appalling listeners, and absolutely terrible keynote  presenters.

Maybe its just a personality thing that has me choking on my Lion Red when the MOE issued the KLP stuff, Or is it just me.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Justice this time

It's possible the catholics had a little bit of help from above but they did get what they deserve in the end.
See the blog below.

Arrrhhh a happy ending.
Marist win.
video

Thursday, August 7, 2008

George Nepia and the NZ Curriculum

The revised Curriculum has tickled my fancy for where it can lead us. After several deep discussions with mrs bob and mumbleboy we kept coming back to those values listed in the document. I couldnt help but split them into life values and educational values until mrs bob connected George Nepia to both of them.
I was watching a documentary on Maori television (as you do) reading the subtitles in english. For an hour they portrayed the most honest, hard working family man. On the farm he preferred to walk and carry rather than using the horse or tractor. He went to England for nearly three years to play League during the depression so his family could keep their land (turangawaewae). He coached, captained and led men through actions, he truly was a great humble man.
In 1982 in his late seventies he went to Wales and was at an All Black game. The last time he had been in Wales was in 1924 with the "invincibles". Before the game Keith Quinn walked with George down the sideline to a seat. Keith tells the story of how the crowd started to whisper "theres George Nepia" after walking ten meters the applause started and whistled around the ground at "mexican wave" speed. Keith spoke of how some 50 years after being in wales, that a crowd could hold a man in such high regard. The ground announcer then said "ladies and gentleman we have a very special guest, please welcome George Nepia" the crowd erupted into a five minute ovation. George quietly walked to the 25 and tipped his hat. Keith says one of the great moments of sport.

Values are listed in the document as deeply held beliefs. Three listed values included are excellence, ecological sustainability and innovation. Well they are important but deeply held ?? Not for me.
Of course in our Curriculum discussion on values I chose diversity and respect as ones that I feel strongly about, enough to call them deeply held beliefs. There are other values, integrity, equity, community. All very very important.

Then mrs bob made the connection - Did George Nepia achieve:
Excellence by aiming high and persevering in the face of difficulty.
Innovation, by thinking critically, creatively and reflectively.
Ecological Sustainability which includes care for the environment.

The answer is yes to all and without going too deep, it shows that those dudes at the MOE did get a few things right. It shows to me that the NZ Curriculum should reflect excellence, innovation and ecological sustainability. Well done Wellington and thanks barb for making connections.
Please read the link to George Nepia above, a great man, Kia Ora Maori TV.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

You get what you deserve. But you may have to wait a while.

You get what you deserve. 
It's something that has been my saying for many years. I often use the analogy in Rugby terms. I had a friend who grew up in NZ age grade rugby and played NZ schools. He went on to play for Tonga in Rugby World Cup in 03. He played against the All Blacks and Tonga lost by 90 odd points. After the game he went to the All Black changing room for a beer and laugh with some of his old schoolboy mates. He got an empty stare, a filthy look from the coach, and was sent packing without a smile, handshake or even a raise of an eyebrow. 2 weeks later New Zealand were home not even making the final. Karma.

For the last 3 months I've been working with the Under 21 boys at the local rugby club and we have built a good team with a tonne of guts, and were knocked out today in the semi final. A good season and we certainly got what we deserved.
Marist who beat us, have won every game, only one draw (with us) and have now qualified for the final. Pakuranga who they will play in the final have gone through the season playing well but the attitude of the coach, sideline, and players has been very disappointing. Try this: Laughing at a broken neck (and the boy is still in a wheelchair) and threatening to do it to other players next time. Telling other coaches to bait the Marist team when you play them. Referee abuse and more. I hope they get a dorking next week in the final, but I have a funny feeling. Karma ?

I had a first XV a few years back and we lost every game and were relegated to the 2nd division. Yet they were a brilliant bunch of kids, they worked hard and played with courage. At our last game we nearly beat the top team. Captain Eugene Mulipola stood up and said that he had been in the team for three years and had some great wins but this was the best TEAM he had ever been in. So where was our Karma, surely we should have one one game?
I think the lessons of loosing and teamwork stuck with these boys for life. After loosing one of our boys Sam Raeina in a tragic accident, these men came out of the woodwork and I got a chance to see my team some 7 years later.
The money came from the pockets, the haka came from within, and the friendships ran deep with these men. Guys who came to school to eat their lunch are policeman and electricians. These guys a dads, workers, men, kiwis. Karma - yip.

This too relates to the way I work and make decisions. I think if you are prepared to give and give and give then things will happen. Givers make the world go round. Think of all those people you know who give time, effort, encouragement. 
I've met some awesome teachers, i've got some awesome teachers, but those who give are something special. It's a motto I try to live by and work by. Sometimes at home I'm probably guilty of not giving, and for that I apologise. Karma for me, I don't really give a shit about, having such a great job, awesome family, people who care, is Karma enough, I get my fair share.

But Marist ? I hope their Karma comes next week, they deserve it.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tame Iti made us run it from everywhere !

Now that I'm a week back from sabbatical the "dare to be different" model has saved my sanity. The problem is when you try something different we sometimes are forced to stick to it and sometimes we are loath to back down, and go back to what works. The change to something else needs to be tempered with what works, so analysis and gut feeling needs to take place. I have a theory I like to call the "Tame Iti syndrome".  I think that with the likes of radicals we need them to impose their outlandish ideas so that those in the middle look at the idea and think that's ludicrous but perhaps "this or that" would be ok. Those "this or thats" may well be right of center therefore Mr Iti gets a little bit of shift.
What I'm getting at is, that my week of doing the opposite has saved my sanity, kept me fresh but some of the work and ideas and things I did were fairly unproductive. 
I need to find out what I did different that was successful and build on that.
I'm likening this now to the All Blacks who in one week need to turn things around.
The All Blacks are going to be wrestling with an adventurous tactic, that failed,  will they back down ? Will they go to a "what we know" style ? Sometimes belief in what you do, needs to be paramount and belief in your team and their belief in you will get you through. 
In reality a team takes years to cultivate and this team of All Blacks is like any staff, Leadership, Tactics and Belief can get you a long way.

Monday, July 21, 2008

elearning-a serious moment ?

I was asked to write a blurb about our school and where we are at in ICT in the classroom, some information about our elearning vision and any links to what is happening. I wrote this for a group of Principals so excuse the simple sentences.

Summerland Primary School
Our elearning vision is an interesting one in that we dont specifically have a written one. Our school vision encompasses all that we do and it reflects where we want to be digitally. It is not accidental that we have only one vision but reflects how the delivery of elearning should be (integrated). A stand alone elearning vision is fine, but importantly the delivery of elearning needs to take place. Several years ago after the whole staff attended the Navcon conference in Chch I realised that it is easy to have words and talk and a fancy vision statement but “vision to action” is everything.
Our approach is full on emersion, try everything, encourage success, pile in PD from all angles, work hard and make it fun, build teams and teamwork, celebrate success and encourage life long learning. Web is massive in where the education sector is heading and we have taken many steps to make school an integrated, kid friendly, web environment that builds achievement and engagement. We are very aware of the impact of Web 2.0 in the classroom and are moving in many ways to see which parts of the web have a place for children. For every web 2.0 collaborative tool that works, there are 50 rubbish ones out there so it is a bit of steady as we go. We often see the web through different eyes as children. One thing that is important is to remember that our children are aged 5 to 11 and that the web for them is a totally different atmosphere. Adults have bookmarks, favourites, blogs, even delicious but kids have gaming sites, disney, hannah montana, rap music, wrestling, skateboarding and for me they donʼt have a “home”. We have our special places and so do they but are they doing the whole collaborative learning thing. We have worked hard at using out school site www.summerland.school.nz as a place for kids to go. They flock there by the thousands too, looking at each others work, leaving comments and talking to one another. By including them in the site through pictures, movies and podcasts and by kids creating the pages and content, we have captured the kids.
A few examples of whats happening.
blogs for the classroom
delicious in the classroom
visitors to our site
trash to fashion
school camp
singing video with high school
life size collages
competitions for kids
fiddling with flickr
There is heaps more on the school site with over 400 pages of stuff but the key is
collaboration and engagement, we are getting there.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

TV3 and Radio Live vs TVNZ and Radio Network

Well this is a big shit fight, Veitch has lashed out at his ex missus and the press went ape shit. I get the feeling though that the dirt was dug up by 3/Live and the two big entities have had a good old battle. Looks like TV3 and Live won the battle but it seems that the public aren't too impressed with any of them.

Veitch and the Ex, well who knows what actually happened and who cares, not me.

My question is whether he should loose his job, I know he resigned but why? 
I know teachers who have beaten up their wives, who smoke dope regularly, and who have been known to throw the odd punch. They walk into the classroom on a Monday un-judged and teach your children. These teachers area an exception but they are out there. If one of my staff was arrested or DIC or did drugs in their own time and didn't bring it to work, what grounds do I have to sack them and should they go?
In fact these guys are in every workplace, where does an employers job start and finish ? 
I'm not their bloody parents.

If punters weren't going to listen or watch Veitch on TV or radio he is no good to employ. If I had a staff member who got drunk had a fight and it was in the news, then parents would apply pressure to get their kids out of the class, it could be a nightmare as an employer. The question is, Is it news ?

Then the real questions emerge?
How bad is our press?
How impartial are they?
Is this the American Networks taking sides?
How fair will the Election Coverage Be ?

This is NZ's future it's important
It is too late though to trust the press and believe that news is news. John Campbell started the rot. His sickofantic condescending shit is a waste of 30 minutes most nights. Close up is no better, neither TV3 or TVNZ can be trusted. I know that the election coverage and the build up to this next election can be won and lost by the way it is reported, I don't know which way the channels are leaning but you can guarantee they will slay the fodder and slant their coverage for their own political gain. Impartiality in news in NZ is well dead.

Imagine being a different thinker in the political spectrum, or a small Political Party they are like shit in the tread of your shoes. Speaking of shoes, walk a mile in a maori party shoes, they get the boot by all New Zealand. 

I'm not feeling sorry for politicians I am pissed that Joe Blogs is being persuaded and dissuaded by crooked overpaid bastards who cant be trusted, ask Tony V.

Dare to be Different join George Costanza

School might be back but my mind still appears to be elsewhere, after getting a decent handicap for golf and pulling some great snapper I am really not looking forward to school. For years I have told the story of how someone has put wages in my bank, and I'm doing stuff that I love and I don't consider it work. I know that I will be in the groove quickly and I will be sweet in a few days, but I don't want to do the same stuff, that has always bored me. I have decided the best thing is to do a George Louis Costanza, when life was kicking him in the guts he decided to do the opposite in every action and decision that he would normally make. It made for a great episode and George got a job with the Yankees and his life turned to success.

George : It became very clear to me sitting out there today, that every decision I've ever made, in my entire life, has been wrong. My life is the complete opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have, in every aspect of life, be it something to wear, something to eat... It's all been wrong.
George : Excuse me, I couldn't help but notice that you were looking in my direction.
Victoria : Oh, that's because you ordered the same lunch as me.
George : My name is George. I'm unemployed and I live with my parents.
Victoria : (with a huge smile) My name is Victoria, hi!

Day One: Wear a suit and tie. 
Week One: Im thinking of making some sort of random film.
- other random thoughts -
eat sushi, no tea/coffee/hot drinks at work for a week, no lunchtimes in the staffroom
I'm gonna post some footage of week one for you.

This is how we hula dance around the leaky buildings


video




Shifting the deckchairs on the Titanic might result in you moving to the chairs situated next to the lifeboats. If you want to sit still and stale then more of the same is what you will get. Join me and George, drag a colleague, get off your arse, dare to be different.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Web Thr3

So web 3 is just around the corner, will this be the seize back of web from the corporate connectivity we are spiraling into with web 2.0. In our schools if you are using web 2 in the classroom you are hailed the new messiah. What about the interactive whitebaords, they are bringing web 2 to the touch and feel of kids, brilliant (not). So what will web Thr3 bring.

How about who gives a shit. In just four days in Whangaruru I have discovered that Wal is having his 60th at Ngaiotonga Marae, Ray Ray and Linda are cutting the flax and painting Warrens batch. Tutu the local jack russell died, he was one of the family at Bland Bay. The rain nearly washed away Aunty Bunny's converted milking shed where she lives.
Caribou Creek (farm) opened a local farmers market and three locals take their produce there every second Saturday. Petrol is busting through the roof, and its a 120km round trip to the supermarket, the only comment about petrol out here is that they are lucky to be away from the big smoke and the need to get in a car. The harbour is fishing well, Gary got 40 Parore, 20 Mullett a Gurnard and a stray Shark in is net the other day. Its been battered Lemon fish all round.
On the eve of the worldwide release of iphone 3g and the enormity of the blogosphere, you tube and the like, it seems to me that the slow moving world isn't a bad alternative. Local people bringing their produce together, perhaps even bartering fish for fruit. 

How will web thr3 grow the village?
Can we supply the market, cut the flax, catch the fish and contribute to web thr3?
Are we on a journey and not finding time to realise life's not a journey?

See you at Wal's.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tail still wagging the dog

So Sparc are the latest govt department who are basically inventing crap ideas then implementing them, to keep themselves in a job. On the way they pay over 100,000 to 25% of their employees. Brilliant stuff. The classic for me is that several years ago Susan Devoy toured the country looking for the reasons why we didn't win enough medals at an Olympic Games. Now we find out that her important findings have resulted in Sparc funding, and another bureaucratic nightmare.

Easy to criticise but i've had a fairly simple idea for a number of years.
How about Sports Coordinators in schools. I was a SC for eight years in a secondary school and had over 70 teams with many coaches in lots of different sports. For the job I did I felt it was a bit of a waste to have a teacher do this job. There are thousands of young kiwis who love sport and seek careers in this area. Every Secondary School has a sports coordinator now, yet Primary Schools just dont have them. Give me a guy for one day a week  and I will share him with four other schools. He can take kids all day and after school too. He can identify talent, introduce kids and parents to relevant clubs, he has TIME and a skill set.

2000 primary schools. 1 day a week 400 groups of 5 schools. 400 sports coorinators 40,000 each p/a. 16 million. Chuck in 400 cars at 8k each p/a. and 2 mill to administer and all of a sudden you have spent 20 mill. Just 2 million more than Sparc spend on a shithouse website.

An easier way is to divide 20 mill through the 2000 Primary Schools and let them employ sports coaches and coordinators and give some guidelines and let them loose.

Find a good teaching resource on Sparcs teachers section of their website and you get a free lollipop.
Find greedy pricks trying to justify theft in this article and you are on the mark.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Downward Spiral to Mud Pool

Seems the Reds are out and the Blues are in and yet they still seem to make crazy decisions. Damage control has been a feature of Aunty Helens reign but now the slippery slide is heading towards a smelly mud pool. Carter has brought in a brilliant "new idea". Try a little thinking behind this before jumping into another good idea. Compliance, teacher workload, oh and don't forget the $$$$ that this might cost. I see that the Govt is going to make this into a "web" resource,  I guarantee this will have some cool worksheets. The Govt will continue to grow their infrastructure while schools deal on the ground with bullying, and put ERO on our case to ensure there brilliant idea works. Absolutely nothing will change in my school and we will show ERO how we deal with bullying and we will get on with the job of teaching and learning. 95 % of schools will carry on regardless and the MOE will make a $250,000 dollar resource that will sit like christmas cake in the tin at the back of the pantry. 

Wake up and smell the roses this is a shit idea and follows fast on the back of another brilliant waste of taxpayer money

The argument is answered here and the embarrassment will only end at the election. Trying to fix a problem that we deal with daily with a "national solution" is pathetic and it comes on the back of Govt who are throwing money at every hair brained idea to buy votes and answer solutions they haven't addressed in the last nine years. The plasters are out but the dam is well and truly cracked.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Jimmy Coward

So Quentin Cowan (Jimmy from Gore) is on the piss and he cant handle it. Does this mean its a slow news week. If he was a decent player i wouldnt mind so much but reality is he will never ever set the world on fire, we are waiting for a few half backs to develop and  it seems fat boy from wellington is off to league so why go there. Its a drinking problem eh..... well that puts Quentin up with 100 previous All Blacks who have had the same problems. Keep him there until Moa grows up and or until Leonard gets fit. the rest of the 9's around are rubbish. But doesnt matter how well he behaves from now on, he is toast, a shit player with days that are numbered, News? NO.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Robbie

The golden glow of Robbie Deans continues with the NZ media. Australia were absolute crap in the first half vs France and in the second half they improved slightly when it became apparent to those watching (including those 500 weirdos who are now cheering for Australia) that France B actually stands for France Bloody-Hopeless.
TVNZ ran with the story of Wallabies exciting. If you consider that TVNZ shows coronation street twice a week then anything is exciting.

Aussie played ok vs Ireland without doing much, a bit like NZ vs England 1st test. Vs France they were crap and they look the weakest team in tri nations thus far. Keep your cash in the pockets for the Tri Nations as this comp will go to the wire.

All three sides are fairly even in talent terms, probably ranking them its SA then Aus then NZ but still very close. So we will see who is the best coach