The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Monday, January 09, 2006

bring back the politicians

I feel like i haven't written a political post in weeks and weeks, there's just so little happening that moves me to write.

Except...

I heard Bill English on the radio again this evening attacking NCEA. "Defending the indefensible" were the words he used (about the new NZQA head's role in regard to NCEA) - and it was his actual voice, not a newsreader saying "Mr English says etc".

As Apathy Jack has pointed out in his excellent recent post on NCEA, the system that English is so scathing about (ad infinitum, ad nauseum) was actually proposed and introduced by National.

I've already whined about Bill's tendency to inaccuracy and hypocrisy over on Just Left, but I felt it was important to start the new year on the right note - pointing out how National's dreary vision for NZ's educational insitutions often seems to be based on urban myths about how the various systems operate and where they came from. The education stuff is additionally frustrating because from people I know who have met English, even about education issues, he genuinely does know about it all and even understand bits, he just seems to forget when it comes to his media work.

Obviously Bill's New Year's resolution wasn't to remember his party's history.

15 comments:

Chaucey said...

I think that actually shows more integrity, to admit that something you orignally helped set up isn't working and to try and get it fixed. And even though it was Nationals idea, it doesn't follow that the way the NCEA is today is completely a product of the orginal idea. I'm sure many changes and compromises have happened to it over the years.

I'm pleased he's thinking about important issues while parliament is on "holiday". Definitely better than what some mp's have been reported as getting up to this break.

Apathy Jack said...

"I think that actually shows more integrity, to admit that something you orignally helped set up isn't working and to try and get it fixed."

I'd agree if he had framed tings in terms of "We messed up. Sorry. Time to fix our mistake." He hasn't said that - none of National have: they've banged on about how inefficient Labour's NCEA is...

" I'm sure many changes and compromises have happened to it over the years."

Very few since it was introduced. Any of the really big changes from the original proposition would have had to have happened before it's implementation in 2001 - ie when National was still in power and had oversight.

As I said in the post Span linked to, I don't think Labour are much less guilty, but National are certainly the most hypocritical in this issue.

Ed said...

Regardless of who proposed it the system has had major flaws in it's implementation programme which have been swept under the carpet only to bulge out again when externals swing around every year.

stef said...

The system was neither Labour or National's really. It's NZQA's and the MoE... like some hellion child that gets shipped between relatives the parents at the time are honor bound to defend it even though everyone knows this kid is a lost cause

Comrade_Tweek said...

Hmmm...I don't know. Chris Trotter once told me that politics was all about developing amnesia.

Maybe that's just me being cyncial.

But, instead of developing practical alternatives, National appears to have fallen back onto the Adam Hamilton tatic of "oppose, oppose, oppose." It wasn't successful for Hamilton and National in 1938 and I suspect that it will not be successful now.

Ed said...

Tweek, correct me if I'm wrong, but National has quite practical policies over the NCEA system (http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleID=4621#3) , perhaps you're confusing it with Act's SCRAP THE NCEA policy ?

Stef has almost hit the nail on the head.

Michael said...

1999 was when Labour came to power, not 2002.

Most of the problems are post implentation - like marking inconsistency and schools bending the rules to increase pass rates.

NCEA is a step forward in education - taking away a narrow range of subjects and allowing a wider education to be made available.

A proper review (not by the select committee) with the errors fixed has to be done, but Labour are too arrogant to admit it's going wrong and National too arrogant to help Labour fix it.

Apathy Jack said...

Ed - National has very good policies in that link. My question is: Where were they when this thing was being developed in the ninties?

Michael - You misunderstand me: I meant that changes in NCEA would have to have happened before 2001, during a time when National were in power. Apologies for not being clear about that. As to the following point:

"Most of the problems are post implentation - like marking inconsistency and schools bending the rules to increase pass rates."

Well, yes and no. Those certainly are problems - serious ones. My school has a 100% pass rate due to maipulation of both of those things.

However, the system allows for it.

Note: I am not saying that I had to steal the car because it was right there, what did you ewxpect. What I'm saying is that when loopholes like this are built into the system, indeed are almost integral parts of the system, it's silly to expect places as corrupt as your average school to abide by the honours system...

Anonymous said...

Bill English is perilously cclose to over-playing his hand on this issue. If the government had a half a brain it would feed him juicey stuff until the parents of the nation take fright at the undermining of their little darlings qualifications and it all blows up in English's face.

span said...

that's a good point Anon - some of the rhetoric gets to the point where it is seriously devaluing the qualifications these students are working hard to get. just to score political points.

imagine if National got in at the next election and brought in a new system (which would no doubt have some flaws and get hammered by Labour in the same fashion, yadda yadda, ad nauseum).

all those students with NCEA qualifications would be stuffed - English and his mob would have beaten the value of their qualifications into the ground and then jumped up and down on them some more in the process of bringing in a new system because NCEA was apparently so hideously inept and useless.

Besides which can we really afford to be chopping and changing systems so much? Restructuring usually only advantages the consultants...

Mr Stupid said...

"Restructuring usually only advantages the consultants..."

Good God woman, do you want to give the game away?!! Repeat after me: there were no consultants. What you saw was venus on the horizon, which is often mistaken for consultants, especially when viewed through marsh gas, magnified by an inversion layer, and accompanied by ball lightning.

Now shup up about the consultants or you better believe there'll be black helicopters over Auckland today.

span said...

and so Mr Stupid reveals that his entire blogging career is in fact based on recycling his old letters to craccum ;-)

Gary said...

Apathy Jack - as Michael pointed out: Labour became government in 1999, 2 whole years before 2001. (2001 - 1999 = 2) Surely a lot of the detail of how the system was to operate was determined in this time. National may have been in power when the concept was introduced, but Labour certainly was when NCEA was bastardised into its current form.

Apathy Jack said...

Not accoreding to the training I got in 1999 - I was taught the system pretty much as it was introduced two years later.

Gary said...

And nothing has changed in the meantime, or no new info has come to light which could have prevented the failures of the system?