The Dim-Post

July 7, 2014

Makes sense

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 8:34 am

Voters routinely tell pollsters that they consider education to be ‘the most important issue’. It’s an area where National has made themselves weirdly vulnerable, deciding that our high-performing education system needs to be ‘fixed’ by adopting a bunch of crack-pot ideas from the US and the UK, both of which rank far lower on the international comparisons of student evaluations, and they’ve chosen Hekia Parata to champion those reforms and stuck by her through a series of ongoing public debacles. It’s a natural target for Labour in a way that the health system – usually the second ‘most important issue’ – simply isn’t.

And the launch went well too. A positive lead story on TVNZ on a Sunday night is just about as good as it gets, and something I don’t think Labour have accomplished once this year, until now. So it’ll be interesting to see if this reverses their decline in the polls. It should, but if it doesn’t pretty much nothing will.

20 Comments »

  1. So it’ll be interesting to see if this reverses their decline in the polls. It should, but if it doesn’t pretty much nothing will.

    Oh yeah? Just wait until Snowdon’s revelations about NZ’s complicity in spying on your porn consumption. Or Dotcom’s evidence that Key personally led the raid on his mansion emerges. Or it is revealed that Murray McCully is a werewolf who feasts on MFAT mid-level officials every full moon … . Do you not read the Daily Blog?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — July 7, 2014 @ 9:32 am

  2. Well, Cunliffe wasn’t exactly stellar on RNZ this morning in supporting the pitch. His flacks need to pull their socks up.
    They know the perennial question is going to be either “How is this going to be paid for?” or “What evidence is there that this will work?” so potential government Ministers need to be adequately prepared for both questions.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 7, 2014 @ 9:36 am

  3. Voters routinely tell pollsters that they consider education to be ‘the most important issue’.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradley_effect

    Comment by Phil — July 7, 2014 @ 10:08 am

  4. DPF is pushing the Hattie study saying that class size was number 106 in a list of education policies by effectiveness. Guess what’s at 107?

    Comment by pete — July 7, 2014 @ 10:13 am

  5. @Phil: Sort of ironic that NZ’s Bradley effect is voters too embarrassed to admit voting for Winston Peters.

    Comment by pete — July 7, 2014 @ 10:18 am

  6. @pete 10.13am

    I give up.

    Comment by Andrew — July 7, 2014 @ 10:46 am

  7. 4.DPF is pushing the Hattie study saying that class size was number 106 in a list of education policies by effectiveness. Guess what’s at 107?

    I just googled this, and it’s quite interesting. While class size itself is ranked very low on the list, some factors that I would imagine are affected by class size are ranked very highly, for example: Classroom Behavioural (#6); Teacher-student relationships (#11). I’m not an education specialist, but I’d imagine that teachers would be able to form more quality realtionships with their students if they were teaching fewer of them. And maintain a better standard of behaviour with a smaller group.

    Of course, I could well be wrong.

    But at least class-size ranks higher than charter schooling.

    @simonpnz

    Comment by simonpnz — July 7, 2014 @ 11:16 am

  8. @Andrew: Charter schools.

    @simonpnz: It really depends on how they’ve defined “effect of class size”. If it’s the effect of class size after controlling for most of the expected benefits of smaller class size then it makes sense that they’d get a really small effect size. Hard to tell if the estimates are ceteris paribus or mutatis mutandis.

    Comment by pete — July 7, 2014 @ 11:29 am

  9. We’ll have no Greek here, Sir!

    Comment by Gregor W — July 7, 2014 @ 11:35 am

  10. The Hattie Report lists “Teacher Training” at #124 – I guess that can be canned as well.

    Comment by Hayden — July 7, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

  11. Number TWO on Hatties list is Piagetain Programs !

    We all knew that.

    Comment by ghostwhowalksnz — July 7, 2014 @ 3:19 pm

  12. @pete I may be wildly wrong here but Hattie’s metastudies look like a prime example of misusing statistics. How you could test all those variables across a heterogeneous dataset, correcting against data errors, known complexities of the distribution etc etc.

    Comment by bozo — July 7, 2014 @ 4:50 pm

  13. Only when you consider how the Dom Post *spit* led their article on it: “Cuts only half the story – educators: Classroom, students, pupils, learning, high school, secondary school Labour’s proposal to reduce class sizes at schools has failed to win a universal gold star” do you realise how deeply compromised our political MSM are.

    One day analysis of NZ’s declining political reporting (particularly leading every headline/article on Labour policy with a comment from John Key) will make good fodder for someone’s media studies class.

    Meanwhile, we’re all fucked.

    Comment by the pigman — July 7, 2014 @ 6:01 pm

  14. “5.@Phil: Sort of ironic that NZ’s Bradley effect is voters too embarrassed to admit voting for Winston Peters.

    Comment by pete — July 7, 2014 @ 10:18 am ”

    You have the wrong party pete.
    If you look at the Morgan Poll, and I choose that mostly because it is the easiest to find on-line, you will find that New Zealand First numbers in the last poll before an election are very close to their actual result.
    The party that drops a lot from the last poll to the actual result is the Green Party. They get a lot less than their pre-election polling numbers. People like to give an impression that they are willing to sacrifice for the environment but when they actually come to vote they come to their senses.

    Comment by alwyn — July 7, 2014 @ 6:23 pm

  15. Unless Labour are totally inept in how they sell this (no comment!), it is indeed potentially quite a nice wedge and good politics. I mean National might be campaigning to keep class sizes the same rather than larger after their 2012 experience, but relative to Labour, National are now back in the position of campaigning for larger class sizes (i.e. than Labour). And we know how that went for them. While 4% of NZ kids over all are at private schools, from memory well over half of this cabinet of our ‘representatives’ had their kids at private schools. You go to the homepages and “smaller class sizes” are a feature. National supposedly believe in rational preferences and markets, and so that’s what they prioritise when they exercise ‘choice’ in the educational market. Sure the Dompost gives a flavour of what Labour are up against, but at least the policy itself has the potential to be sold, isn’t bad optics. And yeah I’m not all that convinced that “Hattie is God” research stacks up the way it is sold and can withstand finer grained analysis and logical correlations – as some of folk above have very helpfully highlighted.

    Not least, many of the fellow parents I know aren’t that excited about the implication of the Nats policy too – “hey great news, we have identified that your child’s teacher is an outstanding individual … and so we’re going to take him/her away from your child for 2 days a week and put in a relief teacher”. Labour has to push that button too.

    Comment by Joe-90 — July 7, 2014 @ 7:16 pm

  16. “from memory well over half of this cabinet of our ‘representatives’ had their kids at private schools”

    Unfortunately, Labour’s frontbench are in a similar position.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — July 8, 2014 @ 2:44 am

  17. God, nothing surprises me about the Labour caucus anymore. I guess at least their public policy is not in contradiction to that, whereas the Nats are in the position of direct hypocrisy – smaller classes for our kids, larger classes for yours. Indeed I’ve since seen Key’s quote that he sends his kids to private schools for smaller class sizes over at The Standard. Based on their reaction, they are still in knots over this. Still believe in the policy, only pulled back so they wouldn’t implode before their 2nd term was up. Labour should be ruthless on this.

    One thing I think parents know instinctively, is that it’s a hang of a lot easier to improve teacher student ratios than quality, and that the ‘stock’ of existing teachers aren’t going anywhere fast. So all things being equal, your child will be better off if the (say) average teacher s/he has is teaching say 25 kids instead of 28 and that this can probably be migrated to faster (i.e. while your child is still undergoing their journey through the system) than a wholesale change in teacher capability can be achieved etc.

    Does anybody know if there is any research showing that all things held equal, smaller classes lead to worse outcomes? I’d like the Nats to table it. They really need to be flushed out over this.

    Comment by Joe-90 — July 8, 2014 @ 8:54 am

  18. “Unfortunately, Labour’s frontbench are in a similar position”
    I can’t see that this in inconsistent with their policy regarding class numbers? If their rational for private schooling their kids is class size, and they are closing the class size gap between state and private.

    Comment by aj — July 8, 2014 @ 10:19 am

  19. That’s a good point, aj.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — July 8, 2014 @ 12:07 pm

  20. “whereas the Nats are in the position of direct hypocrisy – smaller classes for our kids, larger classes for yours.”
    More hypocritical than the supporters of Teh Big StateTM sending their kids to schools only the rich can afford?

    “is that it’s a hang of a lot easier to improve teacher student ratios than quality”
    Don’t all the studies point to better outcomes with an outstanding teacher leading a class of 40, than 2 “average” teachers with classes of 20? Particularly when 2 average teachers cost a shed load more than one outstanding teacher…

    Comment by Clunking Fist — July 8, 2014 @ 2:28 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: