About the Author

Avatar photo

Dr Muriel Newman

Being passionate about education

Print Friendly and PDF
Posted on


Last week a fifteen year old schoolgirl created an uproar in the education sector when she dared to publicly criticise the teaching profession. Asked to “write a persuasive speech” about something year 10 students had strong opinions on, Anela Pritchard of Napier Girls’ High School wrote about the school system and teachers. After delivering her speech, she emailed copies to teachers and posted it up on her Facebook page.

The reaction to her address was extraordinary. Instead of recognising that Anela was essentially just a teenager exercising her right of passionate free speech, she was told to stay at home until she and her father could meet school principal Mary Nixon. Ms Nixon claimed the speech had shocked and upset colleagues and students, but said the matter had been “resolved”.

It had been resolved because Anela didn’t go back to the school, saying: “A lot of teachers and students now strongly dislike me and I didn’t want to put myself in that situation, where it is everyone against me”. She is now moving to Sydney where she is enrolled in a school and will live with her brother.

So what was said that caused such offence?

Along with insinuating that some teachers are only in the job for the pay cheque and questioning the relevance of some of the material being taught – such as going “over the treaty Waitangi every year since I was literally 5” – Anela’s biggest gripe was that too many teachers failed to properly help struggling students: “You know….the school system is really screwed up …. We have all these teachers that don’t enjoy their jobs and are all angry about the cut backs in their pay checks. Making us feel like complete idiots and making us feel useless. Like it’s our fault that we don’t understand the work! Maybe some of us just don’t understand it! Or maybe the teacher didn’t teach it very well, but we’re the ones dealing with the consequences of failure.”

She believes that negative teacher attitudes are partly responsible for students dropping out: “Its teachers like this that make us students want to skip class and not go to school because we think we aren’t good enough for the certain subject. Like we are stupid and will never understand it…. Teachers are PAID to TEACH us… not paid to hand out a piece of paper with words on it and sit around and do nothing!!!!!!!”

She ends with a plea for better teaching: “I’m not saying all teachers are bad, and I understand that us as students need to make an effort. But our teachers chose this career and need to try to cater for each individual’s education. We spend 7 hours, 5 days a week, plus extra hours on top of that going over the day’s work, revision, studying, completing unfinished work and also homework, working to please every single teacher, the least they could do is have some understanding and simply teach.”

It was a passionate speech – some might say it was courageous, even heroic – one for which Anela should be congratulated. Unfortunately, it seems some of our teachers do not appreciate passion and courage, when they are being criticised.

The reality is that the anger Anela’s speech generated is symptomatic that all is not well in our education system. For teachers to be so sensitive to criticism suggests that deep down they know there is truth in what she said.

Certainly our national test results indicate that not enough is being done to help struggling students. An analysis of the 2014 NCEA results, just published by Stuff, shows that when roll-based measures are taken into account only 72.9 percent of secondary school students passed Level 1. That means more than a quarter of fifteen-year-olds failed to achieve a basic level of education. While this is a significant improvement over the situation ten years ago, when the pass rate was only 55.2 percent, it still means that far too many young people are being denied the skills they need to gain a decent job.

The country’s poor performance in the basics has been showing up in international education studies for some years. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study, which compares the performance of 15-year-olds in 65 countries in reading literacy, maths and science every three years, showed New Zealand has slipped from 5th place in reading, 11th in maths, and 7th in science in 2006, to 13th, 23rd, and 18th place respectively in 2012.

Similarly, in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), which is held every five years, New Zealand 9-year-olds finished equal last in maths amongst peers in developed countries in 2012. In response to the fact that almost a half of the children tested could not correctly add 218 and 191, the Minister of Education was considering a return to basic arithmetic for primary school children. Further investigations by the Ministry of Education revealed a third of students hitting high school did not know their times tables, and had only a limited knowledge of division.

Problems with the teaching of mathematics are not new. Following concerns raised in the 1990s, the Ministry of Education introduced the Numeracy Development Project in 2001 to improve the confidence of primary teachers in teaching maths. While the aim was to lift student achievement by prioritising problem solving strategies over basic skills, the project appears to have made the situation worse.

While many readers of this newsletter will have memorised their times tables as a child, rote learning fell out of favour some years ago with the educationalists who designed our national curriculum. As a result, many of today’s youngsters struggle to perform the mental arithmetic that underpins most mathematical processes.

For example, instead of learning the nine-times table so that in response to 6×9, the answer 54 pops out, children are encouraged to use problem solving techniques. The Ministry of Education’s NZ Maths Easy Nines resource, shows three ways of working out 6×9:

Method 1 – “Using my 10 times table: 6 x 10 = 60. One group of 6 less: 60-6=54.”
Method 2 – “Down a decade and digits adding up to 9: It will be in the 50s. 5+4=9, so it’s 54.”
Method 3 – “Using my 3 times table: 6×3=18. Double 18 is 36. Add 18 and 36 to get 54.”

Rather than helping to improve overall student performance in mathematics, this approach appears to have confused children, teachers and parents alike, causing a serious decline in the understanding of basic maths.

The big question is, what should be done to arrest New Zealand’s slide in educational performance?

While parents obviously play a significant role in helping children to succeed – those who value education give their children a great start and support them as they go through school – family is not the biggest determinant of educational success. Some studies estimate that home background and socio-economic status account for only around 15 percent of the explained variance in student success.

The key is the culture and climate of the school, especially classroom discipline, teacher quality, educational leadership, school autonomy, a knowledge-based curriculum, and most importantly, high expectations for students – the over-riding belief that all students can succeed.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator is leading Australian educationalist, Dr Kevin Donnelly, the Director of the Education Standards Institute and co-chair of Australia’s school curriculum review, who argues that school autonomy and a market-driven approach lifts educational standards:

“In Britain, the recently returned Conservative government has signalled a significant overhaul of state education, announcing plans to transform an additional 1,000 underperforming schools into independently managed academies by 2020. Academies were introduced when Labour’s Tony Blair was prime minister and have become a key plank in reforming England’s education system, endorsed by both major parties.

“The British academy schools operate in the same way that charter schools in the US and Sweden and Partnership Schools in New Zealand are operated. Schools are managed locally and are free of top-down, bureaucratic control in areas such as staffing, budgets and the school curriculum.

“Initially championed by US economist Milton Friedman and more recently by two economists specialising in educational research, Eric Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann, charter schools are based on the argument that the best way to overcome disadvantage and lift standards is to allow a more market-driven approach.”

Those economists are also behind a new study from the OECD, “Universal Basic Skills: what countries stand to gain”, a global survey of education standards amongst 76 countries. The report argues that “poor education policies and practices leave many countries in what amounts to a permanent state of economic recession.” By showing the link between education and economic growth, the researchers suggest that all countries should adopt, as a minimum goal, that “all youth achieve at least basic skills as a foundation for work and further learning”. They explain that the resulting lift in economic growth would be significant, citing how the country at the bottom of the table in 76th place, Ghana, would increase its current GDP by 38 times if all 15 year olds achieved basic skills.

Singapore was ranked at the top of the table with the highest education standards, followed by Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Finland was in 6th place, Switzerland 8th, Canada 10th, Australia 14th and New Zealand was ranked in 17th place.

The study estimates that one in five New Zealand youngsters leave school without reaching a basic level of education, and it calculates that if all students were enrolled in school and acquired basic skills, the country’s growth potential would increase by 172 percent – adding US$286 billion to our economy.

The report debunks the myth that national wealth is the key to educational success, by pointing out that many higher income OECD countries including New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France and Norway have at least 20 percent of students who lack basic skills. It explains how Singapore, which had widespread illiteracy in the 1960s, transformed itself to become a world leader in educational achievement through its commitment to lifting standards for all students.

Included in the report is a case study of South Korea, which also had extensive illiteracy, but deregulated the school system in the 1990s to lift standards. By 2000, Korea’s performance in the PISA test was on par with New Zealand’s, but since then it has improved to rank in the top three in the world.

Korea’s attributes its accomplishment to a number of factors including new assessment tools that enable the public education system to be held to account, and that also track the performance of every student to identify where additional support is required.

A further key to their success is the quality of teachers – not only is great store placed on improving the performance of struggling teachers, but also on providing pathways for professional development.

In fact, all high performing countries understand that excellent teachers are the key to lifting performance across the board. That’s why, whenever they have to make a choice between smaller classes and better teachers, high performing education systems will always opt for better teachers.

Excellent teachers have high expectations of all of their students: “Top school systems expect every child to achieve and accept no excuse for failure. They realise that ordinary students have extraordinary talents and they embrace diversity with differentiated instructional practices”.

Ordinary kids in New Zealand also have extraordinary talents. All Kiwi children have the capability to achieve wonderful results, but some need extraordinary teachers to help them realise their potential. Ensuring Kiwi teachers have the skills and motivation to do that is the key to our future; which is exactly what Anela Pritchard said. 


Should Anela Pritchard have publicised her speech?

Vote x 120

 *Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.


Click to view x 120


Couldn’t agree more with her comments. There is so much “dead wood” amongst our teacher ranks & “modern” PC teaching practices are worsening the problem. Needs to be more teacher accountability and relevance to conditions out in the working world. Rex
This was a very bold critique by a young school student. She needs to be congratulated on her boldness and should have been commended by her school. Instead she was stood down because the school faculty was unable to take criticism. As the expression goes – ‘the truth hurts because it cuts them to the very coure!!’ If this is the perception of a 15 year old school girl, the school is obviously doing something very wrong! They asked for a ‘persuasive speech’; they got a persuasive speech – then they couldn’t take the heat. What a pathetic education system.! The sadest thing about the New Zealand education system is the lack of oversight from BEYOND the system. Having trained and worked in education many years ago, I am aware of how destructive the system is. So many good teachers leave the vocation because of how they are degraded by teachers and administrators who don’t like teaching. These people stay in the system because they are incompetent and are unfit for any other employment. Congratulations Anela on taking a stance against a system which is still riddled with incompetence. Peter
Yes the truth hurts. Pay our teachers more but this should be based on results. Robert
Schools are far too busy jamming Maori propaganda down our young peoples throats, they have no time to worry about teaching them things of value. Stevo
The problem should be open to debate. Des
I don’t really care, but she is just another 15 year old pushing to find out where the boundaries are. Peter
It is excellent that Anela Pritchard questions the relevance of the Treaty of Waitangi propaganda outrage while basic maths understanding, amongst other basics, are not being taught or understood by politically-correct and unionised teachers. Monica
Should Anela Pritchard have published her speech? YES. She has made all of us think about the problems of education, and the effect this is having on NZ business efficiency. Those who have been critical of her comments are most likely numbered amongst the groups she has identified. They should be ashamed of themselves. We desperately need better teaching because the problems Anela has identified have a direct effect on the efficiency of NZ business. Dr. Newman has identified in her report the problem areas that have been introduced into education by the revisionist politicians and educationalists. Now we have to find a way to get back to “old-fashioned education” that will train every student to learn good reading, writing and mathematics. I moved out of product design engineering into teaching tertiary studies because I could not recruit specialist staff I needed from local sources. I thought I had better get out and teach people the skills I needed in the work place. My close contact with students and teachers/lecturers and learning about their education problems shocked me. The people I was now teaching were directly involved with the small/medium business sector as well as large companies. Their education problems were having a direct effect on a business’s profitability. Let me give you a couple of examples. I was asked to teach a class of engineering apprentices basic maths. We were working on a case study to purchase materials for a specific project. All of the students had a calculator. I asked a student for his answer. He gave me a wrong answer. Without discussion I asked four other students for their answers. All were different and not one was correct. One day I was helping a builder with some of his problems. I asked him what he was charging in $ per square metre floor area for building a new house. He quoted me a figure and I asked where this figure came from. He stated that another builder in his town was charging this amount and that he was driving an expensive new car, so it must be right. I checked his costings and found that his actual expenditure per square metre of floor area was just under $300 more than the figure he had quoted me. When I showed him my calculations he nearly had a heart attack. My experience of working with the small/medium business sector as a business advisor and business educator shows very clearly that education problems are creating a major problem for NZ business people. We must act on Anela’s comments. Ernest
Most definitely. We need more people to speak out in the same manner on issues that are not necessarily to do with schooling. I can not believe that the Treaty of Waitangi is being rammed down kids throats in such a manner she describes. I would question what version of the treaty is being used? It is no wonder everyone is being led up the garden path with a lot of fabricated jargon. Bruce
Do we believe in free speech or not? Ray
But the Media should have reported it sensibly and not hyped it up as they always do. We need sensible discussion not sensationalised reporting. I taught Singaporean students for some years and they had rote learned all the answers to tests. Simon
In the 1950’s I had a similar experience at school. Inadequate teachers with poor communication skills but they had the strap and the cane to ensure discipine. Modern childrens lack in discipline bought about by disregard for their inadequate teaching system. So nothing has really changed in the New Zealand education system. What is needed is only allowing people in the top 10% of their class at University to be able to becomne teachers like Greenland does. This would make the teaching profession a more respected and better qualified group to impart knowledge to our children. Poorly educated teachers can not inpart great knowledge to their pupils. What they give is limited by their own lack of abilities. Gary
If Anela Pritchard had known the consequences maybe she would not have publicised her speech, but without publicising it no one in the world would have been aware of her problem. I believe her problem is a very real one because I suffered it too in the many years ago I was at the same level in our education system. Apart from having difficulty with some aspects of mathematics (and this was entirely due to the inadequacies of the teacher for those particular years) my main problem was: “I have come here to learn. I”m passionately eager to learn everything that may be important to me in future. Why, oh why is it like sucking blood out of a stone? Why is it all so agonisingly slow. Why can’t they for heaven’s sake rattle their dags and move on a bit faster?” The opinion of many may be to dismiss Anela’s protest as that of a spoilt child but I believe there is a ton of justification for what she said and how she said it. Robin
6×9=54 Everyone who has learnt their times tables (best way is by rote) doesn’t need to think any more about it because the answer is known. My Granddaughters know their times tables because we have made sure they have learnt them. They are posted on our wall and they are quizzed on them regularly. So yes, Angela was quite on to it by publishing her speech. The School system is letting our kids down, dumbing them down and jamming flawed maori/treaty crap into their heads. Unfortunately, youngsters believe almost everything they are told by their teachers, so this is ideological brainwashing being done to our children. Neil
Good on her for embarrassing the goverment as a parent I know full well the failings the curriculum has! Shane
Well done Anela! Why don’t schools take note as there seem to be so many students under achieving in basic skills. Nancy
What she said just highlights how inept our education system is. We must go back to basics and get rid of all the left wing rubbish and especially the Treaty rubbish. It would not be quite so bad if what is actually taught about the treaty was the truth and not the re-written trendy lefty version that is rammed down our students throats. Ronmac
I respect Anela’s courage but feel her action was unwise. However, that was her choice. Ann
What she said needed to be said; if teachers cannot take criticism then they shouldn’t be teaching; after all, don’t they dish out criticism frequently to their students? They need to realise that criticism is the first stage of beginning the task of improvement., which is essential for everyone, especially teachers. Maybe they need to grow up, listen up and skill up. It should also be borne in mind that much of what happens in the classroom is due to govt requirements of overassessment of students and is not the choice of the teachers, who are very constrained by ‘the system’. That is the main reason I left classroom teaching to teach in the outdoors and real world. Alan
Her timing was perfect – she knew she was off to Australia. As usual the media has blown this out of all proportion. Who would want to teach. Fiona
Yes as NZ believes in free speech and facebook is a major part of children’s life style today. However, that does not entitle her to ‘direct it at her teachers or make people feel uncomfortable. All children need to have set boundaries for behavior and adhere to the rules of the school. In this they need to be supported by their parents who should be supporting the school and its set of rules. It is most inappropriate, as in the Christchurch school where the parents took legal action to overturn the Headmaster’s ruling. That doesn’t help anyone. This acknowledgement of adherence to a set of rules must start from a very early age at home otherwise children grow up to cause all sorts of difficulties at home and elsewhere when they push boundaries, as they will, in the teenage years. Chris
In a free democratic country she had every right to express her opinion, and if lambasted for that by her school, to publish her speech so that her side of the story is knowk to all. Brian
Many school pupils perform educationally better away from the school environment. David
Basics should be taught.Forget the Treaty of Waitangi. Charles
I have experienced teachers who are only there for the money – some took leave to explore other opportunities and only came back to teaching because they couldn’t get the same money elsewhere. Janet
We say we have freedom of each.Students were asked to write a strong motivated speech.Most of us would agree with what she says in particular about the treaty. Gordon
Well Done, I agree with her comments. Ian
Most definitely she should have because I believe what she said to be correct. What she said was most definitely the case when I and my children were at school. The problem is it seems that most teachers are left wing. Gary
It was interesting to note the media conveniently left out the bit about going over the Treaty ever since she was 5, I never heard it mentioned once, obviously they have been told that Maori issues are taboo. Stevo
I am sick of hearing about statistics of who’s passing what, but still students don’t know the basics of education.. I’d say Anela hit a few nerves and her points need to be addressed and not swept under the carpet. Ngaire
Not because of her simplistic grasp of the issues involved, but because the whole education system is mired down in political correctness, as well as pie-in-the-sky education theories that teachers keep getting saddled with by the Ministry. Also, if more parents did a better job of teaching their offspring to respect others then teachers could spend less class time managing disruptive students and more on helping struggling ones. Colin
Far too much emphasis on the “treaty” and Maori, we are all New Zealanders! Don
Yes – the whole so-called Education establishment needs to be jolted out of its complacency. Scott
Anela had a right called freedom. This is what our men died for in wars gone past. Freedom of Speech is a right we all have. If the School did not like it there must be something wrong in the School. Robert
The full facts of the education system would not have been aired had not there been an article such as this to debate. Dennis
I returned to NZ in 1994, We had 4 children. Our eldest was 9 then 7, 4 and a baby. The 9 and 7 year old’s started their schooling in a Singapore Govt. School, I chose not to send them to an international school which I could have as the company would have paid. It was clear to see how far behind Singapore NZ was when we returned. I had to change primary schools because our local one wouldn’t put them in classes that they were to young for but ahead of in ability. Every year we would go back to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur for holidays and I would see they were falling further behind. And what were we told at parent teacher interviews year after year, when I showed teachers what level their cousins (same age) were at in the Malaysian schools? NZ is at the top in educational achievement Asian countries are coming here to copy our educational policies! Yeah right! Rob
Good on the girl for speaking out but to universally label teachers as losers is unjustified. The poor buggers are only working within the confines of an absolutely stupid system. Not all children are meant for university. Bring back the “good old days” when, if kids weren’t academically inclined, could leave school at 15yrs of age and enter a trade. We used to have fully qualified tradesman in the workforce before their 20th birthday. Now our ridiculous education system requires our kids to have a Year 12 qualification to enter a trade apprenticeship. What bloody good is Shakespeare and quantum physics to a young bloke who wants to be a motor mechanic, chippy or plumber? Seems to me that the social engineers have got their heads so far up their bums that they can’t see the light of day !!! Steve
I have heard similar comments from students at High School. Dianne
When I went to school in the 50’s our class was on average 32-35 students but the teachers had respect and most were brilliant at teaching so we should go back to what worked in those days, like the strap/cane and respect for others. Richard
Yes, definitely. It is of no use giving the teachers a shake-up while the state is in charge of our education system. One purpose of state education is to indoctrinate young impressionable minds with the politics of whatever government is in power. Government teachers do not have to face and maintain the higher standards of teaching that a free market demands. While tax-funding and state control continues our young minds will be told what to say rather than how to think. Don
It is bound to do more good than harm. Theodorus
School should take speech in its stride but also look at issues raised. Ruth
Yes definitely. The standard of her English is an indictment on her education so far. Terry
Go girl. Martin
Keep it up you have a brilliant future. Many teachers are just ho hum meaning some have more teaching skills than others. Ray
About time The teaching sector needs a Damb good shake up and it will only come if more people have there say, I feel teachers pay should be adjusted to results, the good teachers should benefit like there students and the drones should be kicked out or paid a lot less give them the incentive to pull there socks up or get out. Tony
As a grandfather to my 18year old who has just left school, I asked her what Life Skills she had learned in her college – like for example cooking. She replied “we learned to make a pizza one year and in another year”how to make a hamburger”.If this is true, is it any wonder that we have a generation who has learned nothing about raising a healthy family and now we have hungry kids turning up to school. Good on Anela for pointing out the shortcomings of her education. Peter
Our soft system of over-zealous PC and never uttering any words to offend anyone has led to a nation of emotional wimps and that includes both teachers and students. Good on her for saying what she thinks. Liz
She was right to point out that some teachers are not giving the support and teaching that they should! Many are not interested in finding new ways to teach difficult students especially and those who find learning hard! A brave young lady and one who is standing up flor students! June
If I didn’t know off the top of my head what 6 X 9 was back in 1963, I probably would have found myself writing the 9-times tables out 25 times! The ‘experts’ tell us things like the times tables are bad because they rely on rote memorisation. But everything in life relies on rote. We know our own names and the names of common objects because we memorised them. Professionals also rely heavily on rote. What would you think of a doctor who had to look up the symptoms of common ailments every time because s/he hadn’t committed them to memory? Barend
As en ex school teacher who used rote teaching of maths every day which allowed 6 & 7 yr. olds to know their 7 & 8 times table (in a sole charge with 37 pupils) I think it will have given some teachers and educationalists, a little food for thought.. Albie
I have changed my view after the article. The maths teaching is confusing I am glad I learnt the old ways by rote. Anthony
If she hadn’t we would not be having this discussion. John
It’s time to stand up against all the PC garbage taught at school and bring in performance based pay for teachers. Laurie
Here is someone who thinks & asks questions. I consider that she should be congratulated for her speech.. There is too much political claptrap in education today and not enough common sence Brian
I can empathise with this young lady. There are many dedicated teachers who are constrained by the system they are forced to teach in. There are also many bitter teachers who are there because they are unable to gain the employment they would prefer. These are the ones who seem to delight in ignoring victimising and undermining students and other teachers. As a parent methods I have observed include denying having received work submitted by a student and telling a student they do not qualify for particular university courses when they do. Kerry
It goes further back than that! Today even the teachers don’t know their table and can’t spell. How about the Dean of English commenting”Don’t worry we are all going to be speaking Maori!” when asked about a student’s lack of English?? Eoin
She did what was asked of her. David
It would appear that NZ is being run or maybe just operated with no real truth to reality as always to the continuous changes that life throws up. Lance
The result of this poll should be 100per-cent yes, with an award for honesty & brilliance given to the author. Society in general & education in particular, have become so PC,that problems can never be solved, because it may cause offence to someone. Here we have a student, honest enough to speak the truth, & now she has to leave the country. Congratulations Lefties, you have made us the disgusting society that should never been allowed to happen. PS. I think last weeks poll result simply reflected the lack of trust that the public have for politicians. Allan
Freedom of speech. As a student that is the way she saw it and I have to agree with her 100%. She will make a good honest politician. The way I see it teachers jobs and teaching are becoming less onerous year by year because teachers have more and more aids to make their jobs easier. There are the dedicated teachers of course who do or try to do one hell of a good job but Parata , MOE and the system try to block them all the way. Everything is done for the cheapest… Rog
Long live free speech. Phil
In the 1950’s as a Marine Engineer I studied in the Marine schools in Liverpool and was told time & again the N.Z. had one of the best education system in the world. Our results tended to give proof to this. The answer to our problem seems very obvious !! Graeme
Free speech has become increasingly stifled by the ‘politically correct’ faction. A wakeup call hurts no-one, even if it offends some people. Most teachers are dedicated but there are those who just do it for a job. As the young lady pointed out. “Who needs to be ‘educated’ about the Treaty of Waitangi for five consecutive years? Mitch
Wrong in principle. She is a little too juvenile to understand the implications of life, learning and living, Lessons are to be learned in order to cope with any of the above. To read and learn a set text is not new, it’s been part of education since Athens, Rome and ancient history. Spoon feeding may be great for babies, but as one goes through the schooling years one has to learn to read, interpret, and if needs be discuss and argue a point in which one has developed a belief. One does not just stand on a box and throw (verbal) rocks. Grow up, little lady, the world is not waiting for you to come and tell us how to teach. Learn good behaviour first! Maggie
She certainly did what she was asked to do. What a petty reaction from the school principal. Roderick
We are suppose to believe in free speech. This is one persons point of view and a worthy one at that. This has cause discussions and that has to be good for the nation. Sue
The schools reaction was at fault. The school should have discussed the speech with Anela because although she my have had some valid points she was out of line with others. Some life skills eg paying income tax are up to the individual to take the the responsibility to learn. There is a degree of self responsibility in life and she needed to have that discussed at the time. Lew
Please explain why one would live in Singapore rather than England or N Z. John
Anelas comments are just the tip of the iceberg. Dear David Lange was the first to really stuff up the education system and the downward trend has continued. Bring back the strap and /or the cane for boys and watch the improvement Jack
Did she publicise it by sending a copy to agencies outside school or did the story become public to sell newspapers? I wasn’t aware that she set out to make a public statement although I’m glad she did typical reaction from those being criticised . Education stats falling against international comparison. Teachers outraged that they could be judged for competency. There is a message for them here and we would all benefit if they listened and acted . Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings etc . Mike
She will be seen (fortunately) as a catalyst towards a long over due shake up OUR teachers standards, NOT ..the students, faults! Pepper
Of course. Why not? Somebody has to give them the wake up call!! Mike
Well what do you know. it has taken a school student to state the obvious. Well done Anela! Ian
Yes why not she had nothing to be ashamed off. Peter
Having been involved in Education for 44 years & now an observer of the system as a grandparent I believe her view was valid & worthy of a wide audience. Cyril
Freedom of speech is essential. John
No No No. This 15 year old should learn that respect come before make yourself shine. We all know that the education system needs a big repair. Teacher need help, a lot need re-educating thenselfs. Yes, there are some persons standing in front of the class for the wrong reason buty most teachers are really trying to do it for the right rteasons and they are entitled to our support. I wonder how good is her parental support. Johan
Allotting too much teaching time on treaty issues isn’t helping kids education. Barry
She raised a topic that needs to be addressed. Shiree
She told it as she saw it. John
For the good of our educational system. For her own comfort No. Rodney
She is very brave girl who has expressed her frustration with the present so called education system. There is something radically wrong when 20% of children cannot read and write when they leave school. The answer is charter schools that improve some of the worst children into good pupils but the PPTA want to close them down to protect their own members some of whom should be anywhere near the school classroom because they damage so many young lives. Colin
It needed to be said. Roy
Are we losing the right to free speach in this country ?? Good on her for speaking out against a failing teaching system as she sees it from her perspective. She obviously has hit a nerve to get that sort of reaction. Now that the teaching debarcle has been laid out in the open ! the education dept had better revisit why the system is not working and get it fixed for future of our country and the next generation. Wayne
Good on her after all she obeyed her instructions and said something she was passionate about! Michael
This young lady is to be commended for speaking out and revealing her views on the education system in this country. The system has been very adept at dumbing down to a low standard, heralded by the insane times table method! I have witnessed this among my grand children and their friends, absolutely appalling and an oustanding indictment of NZs teachers along with the Education Dept. I despair for these children, and if we had not taken the task of teaching them times tables ourselves, with great success, they would be stumbling along with all the others. David
Too many teachers do not teach and the government is trying to brain watch us into believing things that are not historically accurate. Garry
And be prepared to accept any consequences. Blair
Good to see a 15 year old with the spine to expose substandard teachers. I’d give here a job tomorrow. Top Girl Go Anela. Greg
Why aren’t children learning their times tables by rote? All they have to do is add some movement like jumping up and down to help them learn easier. And being a Brain Gym Instructor I know that doing specific movements also helps students to learn and retain knowledge. Brain Gym should be taught in Teachers College as the results when introduced to classrooms is almost miraculous! So why are simple strategies ignored and if things work why change? Andrea
Gets it out in the open, doesn’t it. The education system, like most other “public services” in NZ, has been ruined by idiots in the name of “efficiencies”, cost-cutting and PC stupidity. There are now several generations of NZers who are entirely unable to provide for themselves, and they cannot communicate their situation because: A) They are not literate, and B) There is no body or even media for them to communicate with in the first place. Goodbye civilisation. Goodbye NZ. We’re the fools who have let this happen, and I’d say the situation is so far gone that it will take years for it to be rectified. Of course, the will to fix NZ society is not there. Distract the population with vital matters such as the “flag debate” and sport, and then carry on fleecing the country for short term gain for a select few. Yup, what a great country. Andy
It was absolutely necessary that the p[oints she raised had to be aired to bring to situation that exists into the open! Well done Anela. Your comments reinforce my thouight that we should sell NZ to Singapore and have them run the place!! Jim
She should have constructed her speech with a lot more consideration for the vast majority of those she attacked. As it is, that speech just comes across as a angry rant by a girl leaving for Australia and having a last slash at just about all those around her at school. Not understanding stuff straight off is not unusual at school, all you need to do is ask, ask anyone, a teacher, one of the pupils who have grasped the difficult notion. her rant makes her sound utterly lazy about her education, as though the teachers can give her a pill for learning. Yes I know there are dud teachers, they need to be named and shamed for their laziness or incompetence, or possibly helped where possible, but teachers are not responsible for students attitudes nor in the long run for their learning. That responsibility lies with the child and her parents. Raiford
She only spoke the truth from her heart and the teaching fraternity should be big enough to accept that critisism. I say well done to her. George
We have seen a down turn in teaching results for sometime now. We seem to be putting too much emphasis on Treaty Protocol and not enough on the 3Rs. It is not helped by the fact that Men Teachers have been frightened away by the now over whelming Left wing Feminists now running the Education scheme. Roger
If the speech had not been published none of us would have been aware of this aspect of the general malaise within the educational system. Colin
Good on her, she hit the right button !!! Mark
NZ is surpose to allow free speech and yes there is always room for improvement. Cherryl
A 15 year old knows nothing about the difficulties teachers face . With so many children from other countries with English as a second language and with parents who have language difficulties too no wonder our standard has dropped. This is just another problem caused by bringing in so many different races. Mary
Teachers need to stop being so precious. Des
The pot needed stirring. Laurie
There are comments made that should be addressed vigorously through channels of communications. Throwing every comment and thought into the public is not clever and shows lack of brain and discipline to argue a point on a personal level. Elizabeth
Teachers need to teach, to persuade, to motivate, and give a vision to kids growing up. PC
What a brave young woman. Tim
She was only telling the way it is.. A very brave girl, and the Headmistress should be shamed. There were similar `useless’ teachers when my three went to high school – [should never be in a classroom], and, there should be tougher monitoring of teachers throughout their teaching life. I hope a few more young folk will be encouraged by her speech and speak up about similar attitudes of staff in their schools. Elayne
Anela cites , if somewhat crudely, the perspective of a youth, which is the same concern worrying adults for some time. Very properly it should be viced, it should be examined on the evidence and it should be considered seriously , not suppressed on the whim of the half time troughers purporting to be teachers and their apologist minders. The inappropriateness of the NZ curriculum to everyday real life understanding, not the imagined aspirations of the teaching academic or socialist propagandist. And the gross slovenly standards, or lack of standards, in the newer generation of Teachers themselves. Teachers who by their arrogance and painful ignorance not only fail to deliver adequate teaching but are so patently and transparently dumb as to turn off the students to true learning every day. Charter schools with strong well balanced Parental input may change the situation, (hopefully), but I believe stronger powers to test and examine teachers under employ, by Boards and Trustees fulfilling their duties, and firm Trustee standards with swift employment release (without interference from unions) to ensure standards are fully maintained is the only way forward to correct a long downhill path created by rampant socialism that has degraded personal responsibility, and enabled the absolutely safe and unaccountable job entitlement attitude, now prevalent in the teaching Trade (hardly a profession with so many under-performing in employ). If this keeps up foreign private schools might be the only answer for parents with ambitions to prevent molestation of the child’s developing intellect. Richard
NO. A “persuasive argument”? Think again…just the whingeing of a spoilt brat. Mark
It showed how ignorant and self important she was – pushed by Father – look at her sad face before she ran away! Stuart
Of course. NZ has free speech, unless that is, you say something the govt. doesn’t want to hear. For example, anything against the half-breed maoris! John
Education in N Z needs to focus on success not confusing mental gymnastics and yearly repeats. Good on you Anela. Funny how truth often hurts those who think they are above criticism. Errol
Very definitely. I thought that at the time and I still think that after reading Dr. Newmans piece Ray
We all have opinions, Anela is no different. Its her opinion, and may be very well right. But once the media get a sniff, they will manipulate it for their own means. Ron
More PC BS. Larry
Our public schools are not a place excellence but a social service.quote by professor porter from Princeton university who was paid by the n.z. Govt report on our educational system.because of the teachers union our system is for the benefit of the teachers not the students.remember Anna Penn the trainer nurse who had to finish her training in Australia because she questioned cultural safety.yes the treaty has been forced upon students at every turn,some of it made up as they go.when I was at primary school during the 50’s with class sizes never lower than 40 and up to 50 everybody received a reasonable standard of education as shown by our high world standing at that time.one high achieving new York lower school success was put down to the fact they had not changed the school curriculum in 100 years. Morrie
As a retired school teacher I agree with her sentiment. Far too much liberal propaganda & teachers who only remain in the industry in order to satisfy their mortgage payments. Jerry
If she has a complaint about what she is being taught she should address her complaint to those responsible for the syllabus. Showing lack of respect for those trying to help her with the material given to them really shows her up rather than the teachers. Peter
She would have more impact if she approached the Head Mistress with her concerns. Then tabled her remaining concerns 2-weeks later. Dave
Free speech means nothing if it is limited to only what people want to hear. Graham
Make the speech, but keep it in school. Robert
A petulant and unwarranted outburst. Andrew
The educational system is a load CRAP….!!! Christopher
Criticism is generally seen as positive as it starts “the conversation” This is not the case obviously with Teachers who are not to be questioned or measured under any circumstance. John
Absolutely…..no doubt about it !!!! Ken
It is an emotive speech not a persuasive one. A 15 yr. old girl with a limited outlook expressing her angst. One can pick and choose extracts to push an anti school, anti teacher view point however I wonder if sh e was just getting back at a teacher who had reprimanded her. John
Absolutely. She is only voicing what many people have known for a long time. the standard of teachers has dropped, the system doesn’t work. We teach our grand children table bt rote, and by 7-8 years of age they are proficient at maths because of it. Schools should never have stopped doing that. Hone
But kept it in the class room No need to get herself on TV.The school has to maintain some form of disipline Hard enough in this PC world Jan
Highly motivated, highly paid, top quality teachers are key to educational success for the majority of students. Those precious few teachers who objected to the criticism should not be in the profession. Geoffrey
The response of teachers to Anela Pritchard’s speech was ridiculous. They should have acknowledges her honesty and passion – and that’s where the matter should have ended… apart from the fact that teachers should have taken a long hard look at how they deal with struggling students. Pamela
It is good to see that free speech is alive and well. It is the adults who should have been in trouble! David
It is a shocking situation that so many NZ kids fail in basic skills. And while the parents have a lot to answer for, as the research shows it is really the teachers who can make all the difference. Graeme
Kevin Donnelly makes some excellent points in his article. Removing the straight jacket of the state and union control is the only way to really lift educational achievement in this country. Bryan
Good on Anela – she was very brave to give that speech. Mark