Unfit Teachers

(In response to newspaper items suggesting the NZ education system is over-populated with incompetent teachers. Not particularly well written perhaps, but this article makes some interesting points.)

“Tip Of The Icecube” By Thomas Lumley
The Dominion-Post is reporting ‘hundreds of unfit teachers in class’. They haven’t made any attempt to scale this by the number of teachers, or compare it to other professions, or basically anything that would make the number interpretable.
The number of teachers employed at State or State Integrated schools in NZ as at April 2011 was 52460. This misses out the non-integrated private schools, but they are a small fraction (4% of students). With 664 complaints over two years, that is a rate of 1 complaint per 158 teachers per year. About half the complaints are dismissed.
For comparison we need other professions where the public can make complaints to independent adjudicators.
• As of June 2008 there were 8230 sworn members of the police force in NZ. In the most recent single year where data are available (2010/11), there were 2052 complaints to the Independent Police Conduct Authority, that is, 1 complaint per 4 police per year. Half the complaints were Category 5, ie, minor, too late, or otherwise not worth proceeding with.
• As of the last Census, there were 4284 people in NZ employed as reporters, editors, or sub-editors. This probably overstates the number of journalists relevant to the Press Council, since it includes technical editors, book editors and so on. The Press Council received 149 complaints in 2010, the last year for which they have published a report. In that year, 65 complaints went to adjudication (1 complaint per 66 journalists per year), and about half of these were upheld.
In all three professions roughly half the formal complaints that make it to the independent adjudicators are upheld and half are dismissed, but journalists are twice as likely as teachers to receive formal complaints, and police are about forty times more likely.
It’s quite likely that the headline is literally true: there probably are hundreds of unfit teachers, but that’s likely under 1% of all teachers. It’s worth trying to weed them out, but not without considering the costs. In any case, the amount of fainting and clutching of pearls the situations warrants is pretty limited.
Note: According to the UMR survey Teachers rank #3 and police #4 on a table of public respect for occupation groups. I wonder where on an extended list journalists would sit (lie?)

DO YOU AGREE?

In this article in a local newspaper the following confidence or ‘respect rankings’ based on the opinions New Zealand public were published, each position arrived at by their ranking determined out of a possible 10 points. It was constructed following a poll of 750 (supposedly random) people surveyed by telephone. Would you agree? And if you do, would you allocate the named groups (basically) the same numerical ranking number? (I ask this because I feel that one or two at the lower end of the list have rather too many ranking points than I would give them!! I understand, of course, that the ranking number is the survey result rather than a number given by those responding- that is, I may have given a number lower than that shown, but another respondee would have modified that number by allocating a higher one.)
NURSES 8.6
DOCTORS 8.3
TEACHERS 8
POLICE 7.9
DAIRY FARMERS 6.8
BUILDERS 6.8
CHEFS 6.6
PUBLIC SERVANTS 6.2
BUSINESS LEADERS 5.9
LAWYERS 5.6
BANKERS 5.3
POLITICIANS 4.6
SHAREBROKERS 4.2
INVESTMENT BANKERS 4.2
REAL ESTATE AGENTS 4.1
It is a bit scary, though, that those holding the most lowly positions on this list are ALL involved in activities that others rely on for security and material comfort, and who have to be trusted by those relying on them, but who are clearly not trusted! We mistrust those who we believe are feathering their own nests at the expense of us who are just trying to make our own nests a wee bit more comfortable.

(I seem to remember a story that goes something like- ‘if a lawyer and a politician fall in the sea, which would drown first?…answer- who cares?’ Maybe it needs to be reviewed before being retold?)

PUBLIC TO MARCH IN WAIROA

After the incident at a rugby match in Wairoa where a gang member fired a shot-gun into the crowd, Detective Sergeant McKay said “it’s about time the public stood up and said ‘enough is enough'”. Does a public march satisfy this urging? Will any sort of public meeting change the mindset of the scum who behave as those the public voice is against, do? I doubt it. It’s going to take a deal more than tens, hundreds or even thousands of well-meaning but pissed off people to generate change in the minds of these lawless thugs.

What WOULD generate change would be the leadership of the gang saying “Enough is Enough! We will not put innocent lives at risk any more!” There is no doubt at all that the gang structure is such that there is authority, and the ‘old hands’ have that authority. If what was done at this match was not sanctioned by the gang the guy who fired the shot would be in deep shit. He would be punished. What the punishment might be I have no idea, but I can guarantee he would regret his actions!

Is the laying down or ‘the law’ by the gang heirarchy going to happen? I doubt this also. It’s a pity, it’s probably the best, and maybe the only solution for Wairoa (short of enacting draconian laws and mobilising hundreds of police and turning the district into more of a battle-ground than it is at present.)

That’s what I reckon, anyway.

I was at a conference once that was addressed by a black leader from Harlem. He spoke about the gangs in New York, how it was that there were so many and how much loyalty the members had for their particular gang. His explanation for the success of gangs was simple almost in the extreme- they provided what was missing in the youth’s lives- love (tough love admittedly, but in lieu of none at all it fits), rules for living (not those that ‘normal’ society abide by, but…) and guidelines for living, with limits imposed where the gang desired. The same can likely hold true for the gangs that exist in New Zealand. They are providing the same security for the at risk and ‘lost’ youth that our society has produced. Few people who have been brought up in a loving and sound family environment will end up in a gang, unless it’s a rugby team, a dance-class, or the police force!!

Ms Bennett should perhaps be taking this sort of message when she visits places such as Wairoa, considering such imperatives when she talks with the gangs, and investigating ways of strengthening families when talking to her Department and her caucus colleagues.

Cop This Humour

Who thinks cops in the United States are lacking in good humour? I guess many who’ve been shot by them, or beaten by them, or have been ‘framed’ by them for an offence they didn’t commit. BUT here is proof that at least some aren’t. These are all statements made by arresting officers in The States.

These are comments made by 16 different Police Officers. The comments were taken off actual police car videos around the country:
1. “You know, stop lights don’t come any redder than the one you just went through.”
2. “Relax, the handcuffs are tight because they’re new. They’ll stretch after you wear them a while.”
3. “If you take your hands off the car, I’ll make your birth certificate a worthless document.”
4. “If you run, you’ll only go to jail tired.”
5. “Can you run faster than 1200 feet per second? Because that’s the speed of the bullet that’ll be chasing you.”
6. “You don’t know how fast you were going? I guess that means I can write anything I want to on the ticket, huh?”
7. “Yes, sir, you can talk to the shift supervisor, but I don’t think it will help. Oh, did I mention that I’m the shift supervisor?”
8. “Warning! You want a warning? O.K, I’m warning you not to do that again or I’ll give you another ticket.”
9. “The answer to this last question will determine whether you are drunk or not. Was Mickey Mouse a cat or a dog?”
10. “Fair? You want me to be fair? Listen, fair is a place where you go to ride on rides, eat cotton candy and corn dogs and step in monkey poop.”
11. “Yeah, we have a quota. Two more tickets and my wife gets a toaster oven.”
12. “In God we trust; all others we run through NCIC.”  (National Crime Information Center)
13. “Just how big were those ‘two beers’ you say you had?”
14. “No sir, we don’t have quotas anymore. We used to, but now we’re allowed to write as many tickets as we can.”
15. “I’m glad to hear that the Chief (of Police) is a personal friend of yours. So you know someone who can post your bail.”
16. “You didn’t think we give pretty women tickets? You’re right, we don’t.. Sign here.”

????

We hear that police in Wairarapa have over 100 unheard/unallocated/uninvestigated/improperly actioned/open child abuse cases ‘on the books’. Now we have a case of child (13 year old girl) sexual abuse being dismissed through lack of evidence.

Is there a link here? Is this case (which actually got to court, so we have to guess there was something of a case to answer) the dismissal came on new(ish) instructions of the Solicitor General who outlined requirements of evidence (“From January 1, the Solicitor-General’s guidelines require prosecutions to reach a significantly higher standard. In the past that standard was one of prima facie (on the face of it). The test now requires “evidential sufficiency”. Fair enough.  An admission by the police that they couldn’t present such ‘sufficient evidence’ meant the case was dismissed.

My question is, again, is there a connection, here? What could cause the police to change their minds if it is not because the case wasn’t investigated properly? Surely if there were sufficient cops to do the investigation AND IT TURNED UP INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE the case would not have arrived at court? If there were insufficient police to investigate the case properly, what were the other policemen doing (instead of  investigating the case)- highway patrol related duties to keep revenue collection up? (God forbid we are seeing police inefficiency, incompetence or indifference!)

To have a situation IN ONE POLICING AREA that has ‘over 100’ child abuse cases going without sufficient investigation and consequential closure is inexcusable.

The situation in NZ Law and Order is, by growing instances, becoming less of both.