Anne Tolley National Standards Gail Woods Morning Report

So Anne Tolley has bowed to the inevitable. If there is a group of New Zealanders with a bigger collective heart – of a bigger collective concern for the good of children – than teachers, I can’t think of it. If the teachers won’t move and their motives are ethical, the Minister must accomodate, the only question then is the amount of grace shown in the back-down.

Given her intellect, Tolley did as well as she could, and it is telling indeed, to note that this has been swept back past the next election – clearly National don’t want it on the table as an election issue, which suggests they are on shaky ground….

The figures from the UK (now who leaked / supplied those, in so timely a fashion?) clearly show what we all know – national standards don’t change the ‘actual’ of where kids are at, they just set up a regime of competition. Competition between teachers, schools, children. This is the free-marketeers approach, but it is ultimately flawed – fatally so, as Peter De Savary and Michael Fay found in their America’s Cup ‘campaigns’.  In a finite sphere of operations, it produces losers in vastly greater numbers than it produces winners. In a second plunge of the knife, it urges the losers to emulate the winners, totally impossible within the closed system. Good for the ego’s of the few, no good for the collective wellbeing of the many. No wonder this philosophy goes hand-in-hand with ‘three strikes and you’re out’, it has to repress the unrequited angst it has created.

Really, children should be given the skills to address the future – the real one – that they will face. The base problem with that, is that Anne Tolley and her kind haven’t the faintest idea what that future will be. They will be forced (not asked, forced) to pick up the bill left unpaid by Anne Tolley’s generation, while they are concurrently being hamstrung by that legacy. This is a little like the laws of old, where a bankrupt was thrown into Newgate prison, and not allowed out until he had discharged his debt…… (how, pray tell?)

Those children will inherit a polluted country, (waterways, tussocklands, wetlands, forest, arable lands, aquifers, coast) and a derth of energy to address it with. They will inherit an innapropriate infrastructure, decaying at an exponential rate (as infrastructure does) with a lack of physical resources and energy to do maintain it. They will have to triage that, dropping what thay can’t keep, patching what they need. They will be faced with refugee issues from ‘overseas’, and the need to live within finite chemical and physical restraints, with their own children in mind. Tolley’s mob want good little economists hell-bent on growth. Kind of like training blacksmiths in the ’50’s.

The interesting thing to watch in this debate, is the intellectual difference between the Radio New Zealand education reporter, Gail Woods, and Anne Tolley (and to a lesser extent, John Key). Gail is a fantastic ambassador for the New Zealand Education System, Tolley (” What we want is the best interests of the kids”) is not. I suggest a Night Class in English, Anne….. Damn, where did they go?????

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