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Mike's Minute: We are ruining our kids with mediocrity

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 7 Dec 2023, 11:59AM

Mike's Minute: We are ruining our kids with mediocrity

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 7 Dec 2023, 11:59AM

Several things out of the PISA results in our schools that didn’t get covered properly yesterday. 

Firstly, the most eye-opening headline that sums it all up: ‘NZ records worst ever PISA international test results, amid global decline’. 

Worst ever... think about that and what it tells you. 

Then, turns out, our results were most likely higher than they actually are because our participation rate was so abysmal. 

In other words, their thinking is those that did take part were from more successful schools so the numbers such as they are skew higher. 

The most worrying thing for me personally, was the fact that when you crunch the results it turns out there are fewer kids doing really well, and more kids doing really badly. So we are in the midst of a proportional shift.  

And by way of comparison, Singapore, also a small island nation with 5 million people, turns out to be, yet again, at the top of the pile in every single category. 

How is it a similar sized country in similar circumstances gets such a disproportionate result? 

Then ask yourself this: given the entire world went down, and it was due in part to Covid, why isn't Covid and its approach a major part of our Covid inquiry? 

Who cares how the jab got rolled out and how many hospital beds were occupied when an entire generation of kids has been hobbled educationally because they couldn’t go to school, and those that did, did so in a gerrymandered-online kind of fashion. 

The critical decisions around tech support, the variation in quality of teaching during lockdowns, the length of the lockdowns in places like Auckland all had a material, potentially lifelong effect on hundreds of thousands of young New Zealanders, and what part is that part playing in the inquiry? The answer is none. 

It’s scandal piled upon scandal. 

We can hide a bit, if you want, behind the fact everyone sank, but that’s the mediocrity part of all this. 

The simple fact is we are failing and failing badly.  

The system needs major overhaul and yet the establishment, from teachers, to unions, to previous governments defends it and, at best, tinkers with it. 

Apply it to your own life:  

The worst, fill in the gap, ever. The worst what? Job, decision, risk, plan... The worst thing you ever did or made, would you accept that for yourself? And yet we do for our kids. 

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