NZEI betrayal again: this time computers

I was part way through a second posting alert about NZEI betrayal over CoLs and I said there was something sinister about NZEI and its behaviour generally. Then the computer madness struck.

The following is written hastily and in a far from tranquil mood:

NZEI is now modelled in structure and behaviour on the ministry

When a teacher organisation goes rogue, it is doubly destructive because changes brought in by the government are not searchingly challenged, and teachers are left feeling unrepresented, without a voice, helpless

NZEI in its structure is near untouchable

It ruthlessly cracks down on opposing views

The propaganda in favour of its head office-type policies is unceasing

It acts arrogantly in elections

The mysterious Frances Guy affair

A secretary who is extremely powerful

A clean out of permanent staff of those opposed to NZEI’s directions

Lost touch with the curriculum – the real curriculum

And now we have the fiasco of digital learning

NZEI failed to oppose Tomorrow’s Schools and look where we are

In international tests at the bottom of the Western world

And those tests are what Tomorrow’s Schools are all about

Goodness knows where we are in cognitive and aesthetic learning

The introduction of computers has led to a further fall in learning

The digital has a place but not where it is has been put now – at the centre of everything

The computer people promised it would be a tool, but now it is the purpose

We lost hundreds of wonderful junior school teachers in the past because of pressure for the digital – a further contribution to the decline in results

You promised it would be a tool, and now it isn’t

I listened, heard, and read everything to do with the launch of the digital to be at the centre of everything – and there was not one opposing voice from academia, politicians, or NZEI

In fact, NZEI was all over it, the main cheer leader, in fact

NZEI knew this was coming, did it organise for meetings from within schools, local areas, districts, then Wellington?

Now let’s get this straight, the policy is education madness

After years of propaganda talking away the madness, as happened with Tomorrow’s Schools, there will be a reluctant admission by NZEI that it got it wrong, but what help to all those children who were lost

Another generation of education decline

Why should all learning be harmed to help computer learning?

Computers are going to colonise the curriculum and exploit it

Another generation of wonderful teachers are going to be driven out

Driven out because NZEI thinks it knows better than teachers

And yes, that derisive expression ‘early adopter’ is being used to shame those who favour a holistic curriculum

Why should those insightful enough not to be future-panicked be bullied in this way?

Have we gone mad?

How should a curriculum change be made?

First, discussions in Wellington with leading computer people and leading curriculum people both from schools and from academia – NZEI ensuring a genuine cross-section

Then the lengthy discussions around the country

Workshops, the whole curriculum change process

Where was the New Zealand curriculum process?

In such a process, computers would be made to justify its place, and put in its place

Can’t you see you NZEI, a curriculum is a curriculum, it is already there, it has goals and aims, and now it will be gone, it will be something else

NZEI you have behaved like a bunch of bandits.

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11 Responses to NZEI betrayal again: this time computers

  1. Pat Newman says:

    Agree absolutely totally Kelvin, and have said so on radio Live and in TTPA Newsletter., I am of the strong belief that although funding for Digital Technologies will be welcomed by many, (and it is only $24 million of new money not $40 as announced), in Te Tai Tokerau, and many other parts of NZ, the appalling underfunding of Special Needs, the total lack of Child Mental Health Services, are more of a priority….
    We all know what we are consigning the children we have up here who need Child Mental Health Services (estimate at least 10%) to probable prison after years of hell, and after harming others!

    In my mind they are still the major priority for not only themselves but for society as a whole and their future victims.

    Over the years from what i have seen in education, from what I have seen re the millions spend on teacher training and actual;ly use in classrooms, IT/Digital Computers have over promised and under performed.

    • kellyned says:

      Absolutely endorse you comments Pat. As for adding another curriculum area to our already overcrowded curriculum – madness. Add to the fact that over my 30+ years they have only ever added curriculum areas it makes you wonder how we can keep on doing more.

  2. Jack P says:

    Problem is many principals neither understand nor facilitate holistic practice. On the contrary, whether knowingly or (most likely) blissfully unawares they actively discourage it through an uncritical and oftentimes arrogant imposition of MLE etc. So many excellent teachers are being hounded and harassed when they should be being championed and resourced.

    I suspect the same may be true of those principals on the NZEI executive. Because the national standards/data-driven philosophy is so widely embedded it is now possible for principals (and NZEI) to ease their own consciences by railing against it in theory whilst requiring their increasingly frustrated and dispirited staff to enforce it against conscience and better judgement. It’s a tragic unravelling of the teaching profession, led by the very people who should know better.

    There is an increasing disconnect between classroom teachers and principals. Because as a collective principals have themselves engineered this separation, soon the government will be able enforce a complete occupational parting. Why have certificated teachers as school leaders when business managers will suffice? Why have certificated teachers when digital facilitators will ‘do the job’ (but not educate children for life) much more cheaply?

    And what of education for the development of each unique individual to the fullest extent of his or her powers then? It will be very much a thing of the past.

    • Kelvin says:

      A particularly insightful comment. You will note I advocate the digital programme be put through New Zealand curriculum process so that it can be seen to serve the pertaining goals and aims. It will mean that not just computer-focused people have a say. We are all in favour of computers where they fit, for instance, coding fits well into problem solving in maths. Then if more is wanted some time might be allocated for it as a curriculum study, as long as what is dropped off is done openly. But they are advocating computers be used in every curriculum by right of its declared dominance of purpose. It’s a kind of populist madness.

  3. I agree with the comments that Pat has made. There are many more worthwhile things that (?$40 mill) could be put to benefit children’s education than introducing a digital curriculum. I wonder how the 5yr olds who cannot read are going to manage writing simple algorithms for computer programming? It seems to me it’s a bit like putting the cart before the horse ……….

  4. John Carrodus says:

    Kelvin, Pat….come on! Where is your sense of vision? Your many years of experience should tell you both that this shinny new vision is the yellow brick road to fame and fortune. Why?.. Politians hunting for votes love it, consultants can smell the next gravy train. ERO will be clapping their hands and rubbing their tummies. A generation of watch makers in Switzerland should be proof enough. All the kids in South Korean schools have been learning about building cars since the late eighties. Gezz guys…don’t you get it? It,s all about the economy stupid! Our kids are about to pay the price of another global balls up.

    • Helen Walters - Education Consultancy Ltd says:

      Oh John… I cannot agree with you more. It’s about votes, and control… not about our students achieving at their potential. You mention consultants
      ‘Gravy train’ however I won’t become an accredited facilitator because I won’t tow the part line. I am absolutely focussed on meeting the needs of each individual school’s and specific teacher’s needs. Maths through inquiry and looking at things holistically is imperative . Digital use in maths is a tool not a replacement for explicit teaching and learning.

  5. Zac says:

    Hi Kevin and Pat .
    This sadly is a another example , on a long list of decisions in supporting government policy but pushing media releases that say the opposition . As a country , both in education and in many other areas we have badly fallen by taking parts of an ideology approach rather than supporting most in need . I dont have the inside knowledge of practices in Wellington . What I do know is before standing for National Executive last year I thought I could make a difference , I was wrong . I was wrong because I believe in children and resourcing rather than supporting policy that is well down the list . I simply dont belong in that world of politics . What is sad is children and communities continue to suffer !

  6. Julie Hadlow says:

    I am wondering how they can even talk about that sort of expense. The money that would go into supplying equipment and also training of the teachers when they still haven’t sorted the appalling state of the buildings we are teaching in and this in, all levels of decile schools ie walls with water dripping down them, walls with cracks in their plaster reaching from floor to ceiling, teachers having makeshift classrooms in corridors, atriums, store rooms, staff rooms and school halls…. I am thinking how can they start this new initiative when we have overcrowding and need more classroom space? And what about all those children with difficulties in reading or behaviour who teachers would love extra funding for but can`t get because there isn`t enough funding out there in the special needs pot? ESL is doing a lot better with funding but huge gaps there too. Why did they waste so much time and money on NS if they are not going to do anything to help those students failing in the basics? I am wondering here, has the sense of reason and true needs gone and with it heart felt thinking? Where is the true care for the children, teachers, and community? And yes we will lose or squeeze out a lot of teachers who we really need . Many of them will be the ones who have the hands-on attitudes so dearly needed for these kids..aaaaaaaaah!

  7. Bruce Hammonds says:

    The new minister is enthusiastic about her brand new silver bullet – the new emphasis on digital technology. Something students will need to get jobs in the future. From what I understand the very technology being talked about will result in less and less jobs and the challenge of education will be to help all students identify and amplify their unique gifts and talents so they can live fulfilling and creative lives. The real benefactors of digital technology are the millionaires behind Microsoft, Google, Apple and Facebook – it is not right that they should be determining education. This is not to say the new technologies are not valuable – but they are a means to an end. With a holistic student centred philosophy in place they provide exciting means for students to learn with – but they must not squeeze out students exploring and creating through the related arts.

  8. Kelvin says:

    Very interesting Lara. Powerfully expressed.

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