Sunday, April 17, 2005

Blitz day!

We have just completed an excellent weekend of campaigning in Pakuranga.

After blanket leafleting the Gossamer Drive area yesterday, a group of activists hit the ground today to blitz the area with doorknocking, a stall at the local shops, and our first flash of signage this campaign.

We hoed through around 200 houses, and received a very good response. The area is a good one for Labour (we won the Party vote reasonably comfortably at the local booth in 2002, and I think that Maurice and I were about even stevens), and there is a high proportion of young familes.

In particular, we drew peoples attention to the fact that their local schools (Elm Park Primary, Riverhills Primary, Pakuranga Intermediate, and Edgewater College) would be exactly the kind of schools which would suffer under National's policies. These are all good local schools which provide a sound compulsory education. Notwithstanding that, National would allow richer schools nearby to pay their teachers more, resulting in good teachers moving away from the local schools.

I maintain that face to face contact through door-knocking is one of the best methods of campaigning, and we will be conducting weekend blitzes on other parts of the electorate in the coming months (we'll be repeating the refreshing beer at the London Shed afterwards too).

Thanks to everyone who helped out!


Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,
It is always good when Polies go door knocking. I am just picking up on your education discussion. I believe that both parties have actually missed the real issue in Education. The biggest issue across all state schools is that there is no centralised reporting or monitoring of students academic progress and no regular or standardised testing of students from class 1 through to 13. In other words there is absolutely no way that you can tell how well your child is performing when compared with all other children in NZ from year 1 to year 13. The implementation of NCEA has now taken this even one step backwards with the introduction of more internally assessed subjects. In addition there is no centralised truancy database or truancy coordination. There is no centralised IT coordination (sure there is an IT HD). In fact the only centralised function I can think of is the reporting and auditing of the schools financials. The core focus of any education policy should always be the improvement of children’s academic performance. Without centralised recording and monitoring of children’s academic performance you will never know whether the wide sweeping changes with funding models (bulk funding) or qualification models (NZCEA) were positive or negative on the children.
Cheers Toa

michael wood said...

Thanks Toa, I think you raise some good points.

I agree that one of the central goals of the education system should be encouraging good academic performance - every system of funding or assessment will claim that it achieves this!

I'm not entirely convinced yet that the sort of rigorous and constant testing you suggest is the way to go though. A lot of the research I have read on the effect of this in the UK and USA suggests that it is counter productive. It can simply result in kids becoming terrified stress bunnies at age seven, and teachers being pressured to "teach the test" (to the exclusion of all else) in order to improve schools ratings.

I agree with you on the need for a more centralised check on truancy though.

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,
You hit it on the head with every funding or assessment system claiming to improve academic performance. Yet they can never prove it because there is no centralised testing, reporting and monitoring of academic performance. For a NZ model we would just have to make sure that we learn from the US or UK models. I am sure our Educational Intelligentsias could come up with ways in which the testing was not stressful on the children. The key is to come up with a model that helps the children in the early stages with remedial classes for those who are struggling and advanced classes for those that are ahead. At the moment the struggling children end up repeating a year and the advanced children are held back.
Cheers Toa

Jeremy Naylor said...

2 ticks for Labour!

Go Michael go!