A Kiwi education?

My first impressions of the New Zealand school system was 10-year-old Otterboy not being able to read the comments I wrote in his book because he wasn't ever taught cursive writing. Not impressed at all.

Since then, I have had to make sure that both he and Missy used correct punctuation, since bad grammar of any kind was rarely corrected on their work and they were never marked down for not using capital letters or punctuation. What am I saying? They don't even get marks here...just that #&$@# 'good work' crap that doesn't teach them a thing except that they don't have to put in any effort if they don't want to.

I was an evil stepmom and made them both memorize their multiplication tables. What an ordeal! But, at least they see that it was a good thing after all.

The spelling words that Otterboy has in 8th grade are pitifully under his grade level and don't even come close to the ones that are his level according to the internet.

It's a wonder they learn anything at all, since his class (and Missy's too at that age) was off on some field trip every other week and swimming 3 or 4 out of 5 days the last three weeks of the school year. And, don't even get me started on the money for these trips.

I did complain to the Ministry of Education and the principal spent an hour and a half proving that he did all that was required of him. He's a nice guy, but he was so defensive and never really answered any of our concerns.

I know that year-round schooling takes different structuring than what I was used to in the States, but I still feel that we pay teachers to teach them. In the classroom. So going on a week-long trip before the first month of school is over every year is not my idea of teaching.

Missy spent her first year of high school (9th grade) just going through the motions because the class was so disruptive that the teachers couldn't teach without other adults in the classroom.

Now in her second year of high school, she is streamed into more appropriate classes and she's enjoying most of them. Yes, she is pretty smart, but I still fear she won't be prepared for the real world in a few years.

I was talking to a lady whose daughter graduated last year from this same high school and she had to have tutors at university just to get through her first year.

Another lady said that she thought the NCEA testing has lowered it's expectations so that more of the kids could be considered for uni. Sadly, I fear she is right.

I just don't know about this Kiwi school system. But, then, I suppose it probably isn't worse than any other place. Am I worrying for nothing? *sigh*


Bitsa Lit said...

Thanks for still commenting on my blog! I love to hear from ya!

In response to your questions... If the education system is truly at that low of a level then something should be done to challenge it. Not only will the world view of Kiwi education be bad but a lot of truly gifted students sill never get the challenges they need to shine.

Im not positive what the system in NZ or even in the US really is, but here in Canada all of the public schools are supposed to be equally funded and education criteria is the same for all provinces (except Quebec where they have a 13th grade instead of the regular 12) I think some sort of consistency between all of the counties (or whatever they may be called) of NZ is a great place to start.

And yes...regardless if the teachers are being paid by the government or privately by parents...They are not being paid to babysit but to teach. It should not be up to the parents to make sure that their kids are learning what they should be, that is the job of the teacher.

Just a question before I finish rambling... What are the teacher quallifications in NZ..? Do they need a Bachelor of Arts or Science and a Bachelor of Education like we do here or is it more of a two year teachers course?

That could also be a root of the problem, under-qualified staff...?

Whatever the case may be, I hope that the problems find a solution ")

Anonymous said...

every education system is different and unique...

hugs and love


Sarah said...

Interesting subject and one I am not fully in a position to comment on as yet. I only have one child, so far, at school. She's been at school one year and is very bright. For the first six month's she was frustrated and bored. Thankfully, her school is very solutions orientated and sought ways to challenge her further, within her class group. After six month's they transferred her from new entrants to Year 2. Since then she has been much, much happier. I can only hope her future school life meets with solutions orientated teachers, such as she is fortunate to have at the moment.

I grew up in England and my schooling was very good - but I am 35 now so I am not in a position to comment on current schooling standards in the UK.

Honey Mommy said...

That would drive me crazy too! Kids are in school to learn!

Southern Ange said...

Hi there...just happened onto your blog and saw this interesting posting. I have to agree with you totally about the sad education system in NZ....and I AM an Kiwi!!! However, I have been ridiculed when I have dared to suggest that the kiwi education system is below par. For this comparison, I am basing my comments on having put my two boys through school in Canada and Australia AND NZ. Out of those 3 countries, NZ is the one where I have had the most concerns. Little or no grammar is taught, maths basics are left till 'later in life', spelling is substandard or left uncorrected etc. But at least, the schooling community is friendly! :)

Unknown said...

Your fears were justified Peachy. Now that I am at university I can offer a useful perspective.

NCEA is a load of crap.

Coming to think of it, most of what I was supposed to know before coming here to the University of Otago is stuff that I learnt outside the classroom with all my time spent in the library reading random non-fiction texts.

Barely anything I learnt in the classroom was up to par with the university standards. If it weren't for my freaky curiosity and love of books when I was younger I would probably be struggling along with the rest of my classmates. Instead I am the got to girl for my peers when they seek information.

What is worse is that the year below me was the first year of an NCEA restructuring that has not fixed any problems, but has in fact made NCEA even easier to pass! There is a saying that things always get worse before they get better. Well I hope they start getting better soon, because i don't think they can get much worse!