Thursday, June 25, 2009

Party on, Garth

If you do a Google image search for "garth george", this is the second result:

This is the sixth:

The fifteenth:

And, finally, seventeenth:

Inspirational, isn't it? The progression from bitter wrinkly to blonde celebrity, to powerful politician, to omnipotent being seems... fitting?

Anyway, I digress.


Garth say -
The trouble with any bureaucracy is that it is wedded to the philosophy that one size fits all and, it seems to me, its practitioners are actively discouraged, from the moment they join it, from thinking outside the square.
Well, it's hard to disagree with that, right? Overcentralisation of services like health and education, ridiculous rules written by committees and out of context locally, etc. etc.

This applies obviously to the bureaucrats of the Ministry of Education, who have decided that some of our most dedicated, committed and experienced early childhood educators will have to be laid off unless they achieve further academic qualifications.

[...] [Education Minister Ann] Tolley has said she has asked education officials to come up with ideas for more flexible qualifications, but she will have to keep on their hammer because flexibility is a frightening word to bureaucrats. It means they might have to think.

Hear hear. What bureaucratic schemes will be next to face the cleansing might of Garth's anti-bureaucratic glare? "Bring me my bow of burning gold:/ Bring me my arrows of desire:/ Bring me my spear: O clouds, unfold!/ Bring me my chariot of fire!"
And that's the guts of the matter. For it is deeply flawed ideology that has put our education system in dreadful disarray and the reason our literacy and numeracy standards have slipped alarmingly across the board.
That's right! Let's get rid of the bureaucratic, "one-size-fits-all" mentality! What shall we do next, Garth?
The stranglehold these two organisations [the NZEI and the PPTA] hold over education policy and practice will have to be smashed if the Government is to succeed in meeting its election promise of setting national standards in literacy and numeracy and having regular assessments of the performance of every primary and intermediate school.
Uh, yeah... the setting of one-size-fits-all national standards in literacy and numeracy? Regular assessments of the performance of every primary and intermediate school? The assessments won't be carried out by bureaucrats, of course. It will be done by... hey! Look over there!

Alright, so maybe we can't expect him to be consistent. But at least he's dropped that whole misogyny thing, right?

Instead of tinkering with things like early childhood qualifications, the Ministry of Education would be well advised to start doing something serious to attract young men to the teaching profession, for the feminisation of our education system is seen as one of its greatest drawbacks.

So bad has the dearth of male teachers become that in many schools the few male teachers who remain refer to the staffroom as "the henhouse".

Regularly we hear deep concern expressed that our boys and young men are not achieving well in our schools and the fundamental reason for that is that there are too few male teachers to guide their steps.

Wait, I thought it was the bureaucrats and lack of national standards. Anyway, it's so good that we have the traditional mainstream media to maintain standards of reporting and truth. If this article were on, say, Wikipedia, where any old crazy can go on and edit, any article saying "the feminisation of our education system is seen as one of its greatest drawbacks" would immediately be tagged as inappropriate for using 'weasel words'. It's lucky then that the high standards of... erm... Hey! Look over there!


Most excitingly, I am reliably informed by Lew that Garth George is appearing this afternoon on National Radio. I am slightly apprehensive - I worry that his actual voice, no matter how gruff, can only pale in comparison to my MindGarth. I'm too incompetent to find the exact time, so maybe someone can point it out in a comment.

As for me, I won't be blogging it until tomorrow, streaming it from the website. It's my birthday, it's midday, and I'm going to the pub.


  1. Ha ha, you've nailed it James. Once again, he's drawn us in with a seemingly reasonable political and moral stance, well enough agued if you ignore his overuse of the word bureaucracy, until the last three paragraphs, where he exposes himself for the bigot we all knew he was.

    For a while i thought that perhaps this article WAS written by a member of the Womans Weekly staff, as joked about in your earlier post. Especially since it appeared to support an under-qualified woman teacher in favour of an authorative government agency, which was only enforcing it's own delicous rules.

    But I fear Garths master plan may be flawed even beyond its moral/ethical implications, because, if I may partake in my own misogynistic views, I imagine the types of men that would take positions as early childhood teachers might not be the types of male role-models Garth has in mind. (Oh, be nice)

    Christ, I'm as bad as him.

  2. Bravo, and many happy returns. The Panel is on from 1600-1700 on Afternoons with Jim Mora - yes, a whole hour (less bulletins).

    I look forward to it.


  3. You didn't mention this entry on google images:

    This must be doing significant damage to Garth George's brand- the horror of sharing your name with someone who appears to be a, gulp, foreigner.

  4. Garth's objection to the "feminisation" of education appears, as far as I can tell, to be based on the assumption that women shouldn't be educated at all.

    His version of society, with everyone toeing the line and conforming to his small-world view, will need a hell of a lot of bureaucrats to make sure nobody breaks the rules.

    What a sad old fool.

  5. Happy birthday James..!

  6. I'm a new secondary teacher and male... If Garth did his research he may just find that enrolments to secondary teacher training courses are now roughly 50/50 male/female. Granted it certainly isn't the same for early childhood, but it's a bit much to say the whole education system is overly feminised...

    He should also realise that without the PPTA and NZEI, teachers would be paid less, have larger classes, less contact time, and new teachers would start with full teaching loads. i.e. the kids would be worse off!

  7. I took great joy in listening to him "harrumph" at everything Jim Mora said yesterday, especially when he got to rumbling on about how kids' "Childhoods are being eroded"; classic stuff. His voice was its same old growl, the snarl of the sort of person who mistakes rudeness for bluff honesty. He seems to have modelled it on some kind of macho, man-alone, good keen bloke stereotypical Kiwi everyman who never actually existed.

  8. On that Jim Mora show he said kids were being made into mini-adults, well that's what they were until comparatively recent times...

  9. Poor Garth, it might blow his mind if he knew that the very organisations he blames for the feminisation of our education system (the two teacher unions) are in fact trying to actively encourage more men into the system. (I work for NZEI, but I'm doing this on my own time and from my own thoughts). And as Graham points out - teachers working conditions are children's learning conditions.

    I could go on and on about all this unregistered teachers in ECE stuff, but that would be a bit too much like work. But I would dearly like to ask Garth if he'd be ok with untrained and unregistered teachers in school? No? So then why the difference? I suspect his answer would get to the crux of his views without all this malarky about teh Bureaucratz.

  10. Also - hope you had a great birthday!

  11. Wheres a picture of Garth Brooks and Geogre Strait.