New Zealand Educators

Comments by NZ Educators Which Reveal Schooling’s Purposes Are Other Than Generally Believed

Sir Neil Waters

Past Vice-Chancellor of Massey University

NZ Qualifications Authority Board Chairman

From an interview in the NZQA’s magazine LEARN, Issue 10, November 1996, p. 8.

(The punctuation of this paragraph is exactly as it appears in the magazine.)

“If you ask what schools are for the obvious answer is to educate kids, but there’s an equally important answer. And that is to socialise them, to bring them up to be comfortable in adult society and I think this has always been a feature of the education process, otherwise it wouldn’t take so long. You don’t need 15 years to educate somebody but you need 15 years to socialise somebody. I think we should use the schools for the socialising role and we should somehow or other try to separate the educational role from that so that as a pupil you were in the class with every other 14 year old but you might be doing maths with adults and Japanese language with 10 year-olds or whatever. So everybody learnt at an individual pace but you were socialised at a chronological pace.”

Dr John Clark

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy of Education

Department of Policy Studies in Education

Massey University

(From his course notes for Understanding Education in Aotearoa/New Zealand, 1997.)

“Schools are social instruments designed to bring about the attainment of extrinsic goals which lie outside of and beyond the schools themselves. For our purposes, four functions of schooling can be identified. One of the clearest functions of schooling apparent from the first day parents leave their children at the school gate is the role of the school as a baby-sitting agency….[Another] thing schools set out to do is socialize young children into a set of moral values and cultural practices….[T]he task…is made all the more problematic because of a lack of agreement over what sorts of values and beliefs ought to be inculcated.” (The next two functions are: preparing children for the world of work and the promise of upward social mobility coupled with the reality of cultural and class reproduction.)

Hon Trevor Mallard

Minister of Education

In a speech launching the UNESCO and Living Values Trust

“Values Education” seminars, July 2000

“Whether we like it or not schools and teachers have a strong influence on the developing values of young people and they have that influence whether they plan to or not. We have to acknowledge that all people live by a set of values and that there is certainly no such thing as value neutrality in education. It is not an easy thing to meet the obligation to include attitudes and values as an integral part of the New Zealand curriculum. The implicit values education that comes from the way a teacher behaves, the way they speak to children, the kind of control they operate in their own classroom, what is sometimes referred to as the hidden curriculum, cannot be overestimated

Phillip Capper

President, PPTA

Dominion Sunday Times, 14 October 1990

“What I would like to see in the political debate about education is a recognition that public education is an exercise in social engineering by definition.”

Dr Colin Knight

Principal, Christchurch Teachers’ College

Manawatu Evening Standard, 4 December 1990

Unresearched government-decreed practices in schools could socially, emotionally and intellectually deform children, says Christchurch Teachers’ College principal Colin Knight. Dr. Knight said the education system placed children at risk by continuing to neglect educational research. “It is of serious concern to me that, despite the far-reaching effects of teaching on society, few educational practices have a sound research basis.” He said changes in what went on in schools were mainly brought about by politically initiated reviews and reports on questionnaires and Gallup polls, by parliamentary debate and political expediency.