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*