Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Treasury gives incoherent advice to Education Minister

Treasury gives “incoherent”, ‘misinformed”, “confused” and “wrong” advice to Education Minister on class sizes

Professor John O’Neill of Massey University has written to Hekia Parata, the Minister of Education, detailing why the advice given by the Treasury on class sizes was wrong.

“The Minister was told by Treasury that class sizes should be made larger, freeing up funds for initiatives that could better improve educational performance”, said Liz Gordon, QPEC National Chair.

The advice given by the Treasury was apparently based on John Hattie’s book Visible Learnings. But Professor O’Neill points out that Hattie himself notes that increasing class size is poor policy.

Key points made by O’Neill are that:

• All the studies in Hattie’s book that deal with the quality of teaching to learning are actually about tertiary students and their teachers, but Treasury applies it without evidence to schools;
• Hattie only included ‘broad-brush’ meta-analyses in his study (i.e. studies that analyse studies), and the kind of detail needed to make effective policy is missing;
• The Treasury appears confused about what Hattie’s analysis means, and has cherry-picked aspects that support its own views; and
• The Treasury’s view is just plain wrong. There is excellent, high quality research on class sizes that can inform policy that has been ignored. The main finding of such research is that implemented properly, smaller class sizes in the early years can improve the learning of low-achieving or at-risk students.

QPEC’s view is that there has been far too much poor policy made on the basis of ideological views of what should happen in education. Politics often overrides research, and it is distressing when quality research is dismissed in favour of uninformed policy programmes. It is essential at the present time that this does not happen.

“Ministers do sometimes find it convenient to ignore good educational research and go with other views when making policy. But so much effort is being put into programmes to raise the achievement of under-performing young people, and these programmes rest on a reasonably well-resourced classroom. Raising class sizes would be a dreadful policy to implement in New Zealand at present, and would put the reform agenda backwards. We urge the Minister to read Professor O’Neill’s letter and request a high quality summary of advice on class sizes from advisors.

“Alternatively, we are sure that Professor O’Neill would be pleased to help”, said Dr Gordon.

Letter to Minister (PDF File)

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Saudi Oil Refinery Crisis

So the US and the Saudis claim to have credible evidence that those Weapons of Oil Destruction came from Iran, their current bogey now that Saddam Hussein is no longer available.

Evidently, the world has learned nothing from the invasion of Iraq in 2003 when dodgy US intel was wheeled out to justify the invasion of Iraq, thereby giving birth to ISIS and causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. More>>


PM To Japan, New York: Ardern To Meet Trump During UN Trip

“I’m looking forward to discussing a wide range of international and regional issues with President Trump, including our cooperation in the Pacific and the trade relationship between our countries." More>>

PM's Post-Cab: "A Way Forward"

At Monday's post-cabinet press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a number of actions in response to the Labour Party's mishandling of sexual assault complaints. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Allegations Of Left Wing Media Bias

“Left wing bias” accusations date back at least to the mid 1990s... The charge of left wing bias was ridiculous then, and is ridiculous now. More>>

Next Wave Of Reforms: Gun Registration And Licensing Changes Announced

“The Bill includes a register to track firearms and new offences and penalties that can be applied extraterritorially for illegal manufacture, trafficking, and for falsifying, removing, or altering markings – which are a new requirement under the Firearms Protocol.” More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Mishandling Of The Alleged Sexual Assault

The focus of Labour’s alleged sexual assault scandal has now shifted from the party organisation to the Beehive... This is now a crisis of Beehive management and response, not something occurring at a distance within the party organisation. More>>


'History Rectified': Rua Kēnana To Be Pardoned

An official pardon for Tūhoe prophet and leader Rua Kēnana is one step closer after the Te Pire kia Unuhia te Hara kai Runga i a Rua Kēnana: Rua Kēnana Pardon Bill was read in Parliament for the first time today. More>>


Mental Health: Initial Mental Health And Wellbeing Commission Appointed

The Government has announced details of the initial Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission which will play a key role in driving better mental health in New Zealand. More>>


people outside the meeting house at WaitangiEducation: NZ History To Be Taught In All Schools

“We have listened carefully to the growing calls from New Zealanders to know more about our own history and identity. With this in mind it makes sense for the National Curriculum to make clear the expectation that our history is part of the local curriculum and marau ā kura in every school and kura,” Jacinda Ardern said. More>>


Sexual Assault Claims Mishandled: Labour Party President Resigns

Jacinda Ardern: “This morning I was provided some of the correspondence from complainants written to the party several months ago. It confirms that the allegations made were extremely serious, that the process caused complainants additional distress, and that ultimately, in my view, the party was never equipped to appropriately deal with the issue…" More>>





InfoPages News Channels