Why Don’t You Do Yourself and the Rest of Us a Favour?

“It’s Best if You Cark It”

Kylee Black Does Not Want to Die

A terminally ill person has made a submission on the Death Bill now before the New Zealand Parliament’s Select Committee.  Kylee Black is terminally ill.  She is 31-year-old.  She has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome [EDS], a “genetic connective-tissue disorder that is progressive and incurable”.

In fighting against and persisting in living with the disease–when there is no hope of a remedy or cure–Black raises the problem of depression.  Who would not get discouraged and depressed with such a bleak outlook preceded by years of pain? 

But Black does not want to die. And she does not want doctors suggesting death as an option to her, especially on her darkest days.  “I personally have seen over 20 specialists through my local district health board. If I was asked to consider my options as things progress by even a handful of these, I would certainly feel very pressured to consider euthanasia.”  [NZ Herald]

When professionals such as doctors suggest to a terminally ill patient that it would be better for the suffering patient to die, we have to ask, Better for whom?
  Well, definitely better for the terminally ill sufferer, they would say–but better for everyone else as well.  Think of the time, money, and distraction of the medical fraternity who could better spend their time taking care of someone who has a prospect of recovery.  And what about the strain placed upon loved ones having to bear the burden of watching a beloved sibling or child suffer.  And then there is the cost to the wider community.  If the terminally ill are made to think on such things, then the pressure to die becomes almost overwhelming.  Only an evil, unthinking, uncaring, stubborn, self-centred person would persist.

Of greatest alarm to Black and the disability sector is the inclusion in the bill of people with grievous and irremediable medical conditions.  Black is not alone when she says this term is ambiguous and vague, and opens disabled people up to pressure and even coercion to end their lives early.

“We have been in dark places, and I know for myself there is a high chance that I would not be here today if euthanasia was legalised earlier in my journey.”  During Black’s most recent hospitalisation she was bedridden and in debilitating pain from the umpteenth dislocation.  Complications from her condition led to a sepsis infection and she was eventually discharged confined to her wheelchair, with nerve damage in her leg and arm from the dislocation.

But Black does not give up. And she does not want those charged with her care to give up either.  “It only needs one doctor to have a conversation [about euthanasia] for it to plant the thought, for one to start considering it.  “We all have times of struggle. We all grieve. But if we can truly be supported through that time, we can go on to find meaning and quality in life again, despite the struggles that we may face each day.”

Of course once the evil genie is let out of the bottle, who knows where it will run.

Black, once a fully abled person, has submitted against the End of Life Choice Bill and said its clear message to the disability community was, “People are better off dead, than disabled”.  “Some people will be more vulnerable to external circumstantial pressures, and this is putting them at further risk rather than supporting them. How is that a fair, individual choice?”

She pointed out that the bill in its current form does not address whether a doctor is allowed to raise euthanasia with a patient. And that a doctor is not permitted to dissuade a patient from euthanasia if they are eligible.  “What happens if I, as a young person with an irremediable condition, wheel into a doctors and say, ‘I’m suicidal, my life has suffering. I want euthanasia’, and a person without a health condition goes in and asks for the same thing?

“For people not eligible for euthanasia, support to live is given. Does that mean healthy people get access to suicide support, but those with an incurable disability do not?”

The current bill which seeks to legalise assisted dying is being roundly condemned by health care professionals.

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero said the End of Life Choice Bill undermines years of work to change perceptions of disabled people in New Zealand and poses significant risks to them.   “It’s my role to reflect the concerns of the disability community and what I am hearing is that there are significant concerns about this bill, particularly the inclusion of grievous and irremediable (but non-terminal) medical conditions,” Tesoriero said.

She said the bill had wider implications for the disability community and was not just limited to terminal illness.  “Before we start talking about how disabled people can end their lives, we should be talking about how they can be supported to live their lives to their fullest potential.  In its current form, the bill undermines the position of disabled and vulnerable members of our community. It devalues their lives and poses significant risks to them, as individuals and as a group.”

IHC director of advocacy Trish Grant said the bill’s current wording around grievous and irremediable medical conditions was ambiguous and implied the burden of any kind of medical condition could be justification for ending someone’s life.  “Further, the bill assumes all people in New Zealand have access to the same level of care and support to enable them to have the best quality of life and therefore able to make an informed choice about their right to die.  “But we know people with disabilities do not receive the same level of care and support.”  She said the “unintended consequences of the bill needed to be acknowledged and remedied” before any comprehensive decision could be made.

If you concede the principle that suicide is a moral and righteous act, all these concerns and arguments, however, are just details.

We insist upon the contrary: suicide is always wrong. Prothanasia is always wrong.  It is the ultimate act of rebellion whatever the circumstances.

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request refused

marmsky March 2018 (19)

request refused

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2325

Numbers 20:14-21

Num 20:14 Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom: “This is what your brother Israel says: You know all the hardship that we have encountered:
Num 20:15 how our fathers went down to Egypt, and we lived in Egypt a long time. And the Egyptians treated us and our fathers cruelly .
Num 20:16 And when we cried to Yahveh, he heard our voice and sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. And here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your territory.
Num 20:17 Please let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or vineyard, or drink water from a well. We will go along the King’s Highway. We will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left until we have passed through your territory.”
Num 20:18 But Edom said to him, “You will not pass through, or else I will come out with the sword against you.”
Num 20:19 And the people of Israel said to him, “We will go up by the highway, and if we drink of your water, I and my livestock, then I will pay for it. Let me only pass through on foot, nothing more.”
Num 20:20 But he said, “You will not pass through.” And Edom came out against them with a large army and with a strong force.
Num 20:21 Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his territory, so Israel turned away from him.

request refused

The Israelites had no quarrel with their relatives — the Edomites (descendants of Esau), and had no desire to take their land. But the Edomites refused their request to simply walk through Edom. This choice would set the Israelites back, and there seemed no reason for it.

During our lives we will often face times of meaningless hardship, and we will struggle to understand those times. We have to trust God — that he is with us — even when our plans do not work out. It is all part of the journey.

FATHER, in those times when we do not understand and our way seems to be unnecessarily blocked, give us the wisdom to continue to trust you, and keep walking, no matter how bad we feel.



An Ideological Boondoggle

Not A Hint of Accountability Nor Contrition

The article below does not make any reference to “global warming”.  Nevertheless we have a deep suspicion that “global warmist” ideology is the backstory to the boondoggle.  For whatever reason sometime during the cruise, it became politically correct to develop dual-fuel, hybrid destroyers for the US Navy.

For some inexplicable reason the failed consequences of this boondoggle were not predicted by navy engineers.  It was a case of build in haste, and repent at leisure.  But it’s an inevitable consequence when ideology trumps common sense and the President D’Jour, Barack Obama was proclaiming at the time that Global Warming was the greatest existential threat facing the human race. 

US Navy Canceling Program

Gas-Guzzlers into Hybrid (Dual Fuel) Destroyers is Officially Destroyed

Former President Obama Reported To Be Dismayed

By: David B. Larter
Defence News

The guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG 103) transits the Atlantic Ocean. Truxtun will be the sole hybrid destroyer in the fleet for the time being because the Navy is moving to cancel the program aimed at making destroyers more fuel efficient. (MC3 Danny Ray Nunez Jr./Navy)

WASHINGTON — The Navy is canceling a program to install fuel-efficient hybrid electric drives in 34 destroyers, leaving only one destroyer with the technology, the Navy confirmed in a statement.

Citing “department priorities,” the service requested $6.3 million for 2018 to finish the installation on the destroyer Truxtun, but has zeroed out funding in 2019 and in the out years. The service has spent about $52 million on the program to date. The whole program was expected to cost $356.25 million, according to the Navy’s FY2017 budget submission.

“Based on the Department’s priorities, President’s Budget 2019 removes funding from Hybrid Electric Drive program in FY 2019,” said Lt. Lauren Chatmas in a statement. “There are no further procurements or installations planned beyond DDG-103 in the Future Years Defense Program.”  The Navy will use Truxtun as a test bed to see if the technology pays off in the long run, Chatmas continued.

“Installation on DDG-103 is in progress and when installation is complete, operational usage of HED on DDG-103 will be monitored and evaluated to determine the effectiveness of HED. This will inform future decision on the fielding of HED.”

The program developed with L-3 was designed to switch power to the drive shaft, which turns the ship’s propellers, from the main LM2500 gas turbine motors to the ship’s electrical generators at speeds below 13 knots. At those speeds the ship could perform night steaming, ballistic missile defense or anti-submarine operations, but not keep up with the speedy carriers.

As the program began to materialize and development progressed, a number of problems began to materialize, according to a former Navy official who spoke on background. Foremost among them was the intense electrical load that running the drive system on the ship’s two running generators was putting on the ship.

Destroyers have three generators, two of which run while a third remains in standby, which rotates through while generators are down for maintenance or in case of an emergency. Running the electrical motor that turned the shaft while also running the ship’s power-hungry radars and related systems maxed out the capacity of those generators.  “At that point you are a light switch flipping on away from winking out the whole ship,” the official said.

Furthermore running the generators at that load wasn’t exactly as fuel efficient as they had hoped it would be.

Those issues, while valid, could probably have been solved through engineering, said Bryan Clark, a retired submarine officer and analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
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Daily Meditation

Prayer’s Exclamation Point

All the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

John Piper

Prayer is a response to promises, that is, to the assurances of God’s future grace.

Prayer is drawing on the account where God has deposited all his promises of future grace.

Prayer is not hoping in the dark that there might be a God of good intentions out there. Prayer goes to the bank every day and draws on promises for the future grace needed for that day.

Don’t miss the connection between the two halves of this great verse. Notice the “that is why”: “All the promises of God are Yes in Christ. That is why (therefore) we pray Amen through him, to God’s glory.”

To make sure we see it, let’s turn the two halves around: When we pray, we say Amen to God through Christ, because God has said Amen to all his promises in Christ. Prayer is the confident plea for God to make good on his promises of future grace for Christ’s sake. Prayer links our faith in future grace with the foundation of it all, Jesus Christ.

Which leads to the final point: “Amen” is a full and precious word in times of prayer. It doesn’t mean primarily, “Yes, I have now said all this prayer.” It means primarily, “Yes, God has made all these promises.”

Amen means, “Yes, Lord, you can do it.” It means, “Yes, Lord, you are powerful. Yes, Lord, you are wise. Yes, Lord, you are merciful. Yes, Lord, all future grace comes from you and has been confirmed in Christ.”

“Amen” is an exclamation point of hope after a prayer for help.
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History Curiously Repeats

California Seeks Effective Secession From the Union
Life has a tendency to throw up some unexpected turn of events.  Or, as the saying has it, beware unintended consequences.  

The American Civil War was fought over the principle of States’ rights.  The fundamental question was how much original authority resided in the states versus how much resided in the Federal government.  Did the Federal government hold a higher authority than the states when it came to managing their own affairs?  The signature issue at the time was slavery.  The Civil War “answered” the question: federalism triumphed over states’ rights–by force of arms.

In recent years we have seen the re-emergence of the doctrine of states’ rights, however.  It has come from an unexpected quarter.  Cities (and states) in the US have begun to assert a “sanctuary status” for illegal aliens, which means that they refuse to support or comply with Federal Government law on immigrants.  Leading the charge for this recrudescence of doctrines of states’ rights has been California, one of the most “liberal” States in the union.
  But they are fighting a lost war.

The doctrine of “preemption” dictates that, as federal law reigns supreme over state law, states may not enforce laws that frustrate federal policies. It has a long history, dating back nearly to the dawn of the Republic with 1819’s McCulloch v. Maryland. In the immigration context, the doctrine was widely heralded by open borders advocates in 2012, when the Supreme Court relied on it to strike down sections of Arizona’s tough SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration bill in Arizona v. United States.

The legal shoe is on the other foot now, as the Trump administration seeks to have California’s leading-edge sanctuary laws overturned on a similar theory.  [Breitbart News]

The thing is that California has decided that it will not comply with federal law when it comes to illegal aliens within its own state.  California has made itself a sanctuary state for illegal aliens.  The US Justice Department is taking action in the attempt to assert Federal authority over California’s States’ Rights claim.  It’s a case of “back to the future”.

The defendants are the State of California, Gov. Jerry Brown, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra – the elected official who, perhaps more than any other, has made protection of criminal illegal aliens and “resistance” to President Donald Trump’s immigration agenda his signature policy.

Becerra oversaw the passage of three state laws which made it an offence for Californian businesses and citizens to co-operate with federal authorities in carrying the nation’s immigration law.   So, the poor citizens of California faced a dilemma.  Either they refuse to co-operate with the Feds and risk Federal legal liability, or if they do co-operate with the Feds, the State of California will prosecute them.  This is a most perverse form of double jeopardy.

During the first round of ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] raids after HB 450 went into effect, Becerra was very clear that his office “will prosecute” employers who cooperate.

Who would have thought that liberal California would step out and become a new Confederacy, asserting its own version of States’ Rights?  Who would have thought that California Governor would become the modern incarnation of Jefferson Davis, former President of the Confederate States of America?  States’ Righters, all.  As one sage put it, “It’s deja-vu all over again.” 
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great miracle, great tragedy

marmsky March 2018 (18)

great miracle, great tragedy

Devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2324

Numbers 20:1-13

Num 20:1 And the people of Israel, the whole congregation, came into the desert of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh. And Miriam died there and was buried there.
Num 20:2 Now there was no water for the congregation. And they collected themselves together against Moses and against Aaron.
Num 20:3 And the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Would that we had perished when our brothers perished in the sight of Yahveh!
Num 20:4 Why have you brought the collected assembly of Yahveh into this wilderness, that we should die here, both we and our animals?
Num 20:5 And why have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink.”
Num 20:6 Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the collected assembly to the entrance of the conference tent and fell on their faces. And the impressive appearance of Yahveh appeared to them,
Num 20:7 and Yahveh spoke to Moses, and this is what he said,
Num 20:8 “Take the staff, and collect the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock in the sight of their eyes to yield its water. So you will bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their animals.”
Num 20:9 And Moses took the staff from in the sight of Yahveh, as he commanded him.
Num 20:10 Then Moses and Aaron collected the assembly together in the sight of the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: will we bring water for you out of this rock?”
Num 20:11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock.
Num 20:12 And Yahveh said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you will not bring this collected assembly into the land that I have given them.”
Num 20:13 This is the water of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with Yahveh, and through them he showed himself holy.

great miracle, great tragedy

This passage combines a great miracle with a great tragedy. The people assemble against Moses and Aaron, and they both come into the LORD’s presence for instructions. He tells them to take Aaron’s staff and speak to a rock and it will provide the water that the community needs.

Instead of following those orders exactly, in anger, Moses speaks to the people and strikes the rock twice with the staff. The water flowed, but so did condemnation. As a result of this failure, neither Moses nor Aaron would enter the promised land when the nation returned to it.

LORD, teach us how to stay calm and committed to obeying your instructions.



looking beyond death

marmsky March 2018 (17)

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2323

Numbers 19:14-22

Num 19:14 “This is the law when a human dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent and everyone who is in the tent will be contaminated seven days.
Num 19:15 And every open vessel that has no cover fastened on it is contaminated.
Num 19:16 Whoever in the open field touches someone who was killed with a sword or who died naturally, or touches a human bone or a grave, will be contaminated seven days.
Num 19:17 For the contaminated they will take some ashes of the burnt mistake offering, and fresh water will be added in a vessel.
Num 19:18 Then a pure person will take hyssop and dip it in the water and spritz it on the tent and on all the furnishings and on the souls who were there and on whoever touched the bone, or the slain or the dead or the grave.
Num 19:19 And the pure person will spritz it on the contaminated on the third day and on the seventh day. Thus on the seventh day he will purify him, and he will wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and at evening he will be pure.
Num 19:20 “If the man who is contaminated does not purify himself, that soul will be eliminated from the midst of the collected assembly, since he has defiled the sanctuary of Yahveh. Because the water for impurity has not been tossed on him, he is contaminated.
Num 19:21 And it will be a permanent prescription for them. The one who spritzes the water for impurity will wash his clothes, and the one who touches the water for impurity will be contaminated until evening.
Num 19:22 And whatever the contaminated person touches will be contaminated, and any soul who touches it will be contaminated until evening.”

looking beyond death

In the old covenant community, refusal to become ritually purified after coming in contact with a corpse was in itself a capital crime. It was a choice to reject the LORD offered — hope beyond our present mortality. A dead body is a reminder of our ancestral sin, and the price we all pay for that event. To refuse the LORD’s purification is to embrace that death — that is not what God wants of us. We must accept that death will happen, but we must never forget that it is am abberation.

LORD, give us the courage to trust in your solution for the problem of death — to look beyond it to the resurrection.


Rampant Official Insecurity

China’s War on Words

Anything used to insult Xi Jinping, banned

Jamie Seidel
NZ Herald

China’s new President-for-life doesn’t like criticism.  Since claiming the eternal throne of an Emperor earlier this week, he’s clamped down — hard — on any hint of dissent.  Censorship has always been a way of life under China’s one party state, reports News.com.au.  But things have just ramped up to a whole new level.

Authoritarian Rule is Being Established.

Earlier this week the Communist Party Council announced (a day before it actually met) that the limit of two five-year presidential terms will be abolished and Xi Jinping’s guiding philosophy would be written into the constitution.  Immediately, Beijing’s censors set to work.  They’ve attacked the very words people would need to use to express discontent.


“Two term limit”.


These top a long list of terms now blocked by China’s state controlled social media platform, Weibo, as well as the search engine Baidu.  And while you cannot burn electronic books, Beijing’s done the next best thing.

Animal Farm.


Brave New World.

Simply mentioning the names of novels and authors which paint dystopian pictures of worlds under authoritarian leadership is no longer permitted.

But the blocking of just one basic word demonstrates the full extent of Xi’s desire to rewrite the dictionary.


This is what it prompts:

“Sorry, this content violates the laws and regulations of Weibo’s terms of service.”

Many within China reacted with shock at the leadership announcement earlier this week.  They knew their words were being watched.  Still they tried to express their fear of life subject to the whims of just one man.  “Argh, we’re going to become North Korea,” one Weibo user wrote. He was referencing Kim Jong-un and the Kim dynasty which has ruled since the 1940s.

But Xi Jinping is doing all he can to put any negative reaction to his power grab in a bottle before it can spread.  Within hours, all such posts on social media or internet services were deleted.  And Xi’s thought police embarked on a crusade against compromising memes.

Popular children’s character Winnie the Pooh was one of the first victims.

“It would be funny if it weren’t so serious,” says Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) analyst Fergus Ryan. “Behind the gallows humour is growing despair.”  Chinese social media has long seen a similarity between the portly features of the honey-loving bear and Xi Jinping.  So cartoons featuring the character have been exploited to indirectly mock their leader.

Shortly after the announcement earlier this week, Weibo users started circulating an innocent post from Disney’s official account.  It showed Winnie Pooh hugging a large pot of honey.  Beneath was the caption “find the thing you love and stick with it.”

It — along with every other Pooh reference they can find — has been exterminated by the censors. . . . .

The Power of One

Immediately after the social media clampdown, Beijing-controlled traditional media went into full-swing.  Their praise of Xi has been profusive and prolific.  Their top articles — along with many of those deemed to be ‘trending’ — are entirely supportive. They argue the military, the Communist Party and China’s economy will benefit from Xi’s enlightened leadership.

The formal proposal to eliminate the two-term presidential limit will go to next month’s annual meeting of China’s parliament.  It’s usually little more than a rubber stamp for the Communist Party’s Central Committee.

Now that stamp will be wielded by just one man.  Xi. . . .

Some word bans have already been lifted.  Wives are once again allowed to ‘disagree’ with their husbands electronically.  Many, however, remain in place.

Book publishers, internet services — even scientific journals — have been accused of censoring works out of fear of offending powerful Chinese government groups.  “One by one, big Western companies like Apple, Daimler, Marriot International and Yum Brands are being cowed by hordes of nationalistic trolls for the crime of crossing patriotic red lines,” Ryan states.

“To what extent are our own companies, politicians, journalists and academics already self-censoring for fear of offending Xi’s China?”
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Daily Meditation

Following in His Footsteps

Thou shalt love thy neighbour.  Matthew 5:43

Charles H. Spurgeon

“Love thy neighbour.” Perhaps he rolls in riches, and thou art poor, and living in thy little cot side-by-side with his lordly mansion; thou seest every day his estates, his fine linen, and his sumptuous banquets; God has given him these gifts, covet not his wealth, and think no hard thoughts concerning him. Be content with thine own lot, if thou canst not better it, but do not look upon thy neighbour, and wish that he were as thyself. Love him, and then thou wilt not envy him.

Perhaps, on the other hand, thou art rich, and near thee reside the poor. Do not scorn to call them neighbour. Own that thou art bound to love them. The world calls them thy inferiors. In what are they inferior? They are far more thine equals than thine inferiors, for “God hath made of one blood all people that dwell upon the face of the earth.” It is thy coat which is better than theirs, but thou art by no means better than they. They are men, and what art thou more than that? Take heed that thou love thy neighbour even though he be in rags, or sunken in the depths of poverty.

But, perhaps, you say, “I cannot love my neighbours, because for all I do they return ingratitude and contempt.” So much the more room for the heroism of love. Wouldst thou be a feather-bed warrior, instead of bearing the rough fight of love? He who dares the most, shall win the most; and if rough be thy path of love, tread it boldly, still loving thy neighbours through thick and thin. Heap coals of fire on their heads, and if they be hard to please, seek not to please them, but to please thy Master; and remember if they spurn thy love, thy Master hath not spurned it, and thy deed is as acceptable to him as if it had been acceptable to them. Love thy neighbour, for in so doing thou art following the footsteps of Christ.
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NZ Education System: Ideologically Driven Mania

Stupidity That Beggars Belief

The New Zealand government education system is a mess.  It is the product for which both major political parties (Labour and National) are to blame.  Both parties bought into the fundamental egalitarianism of the system: no child should leave school without a qualification.  No child would be left behind.  

The egalitarianism of the Left required that there be no failures, no rejects, no-one without qualifications.  In order to achieve this, the government education system has had to broaden its curriculum to the point that its entire system has become either insignificant or meaningless.  So many of the creaks and groans of the current set-up arise from the utopian attempt to build an education system which would enable every child to “pass” in some subject or other.

Simon Collins, the NZ Herald education reporter has illustrated the problem:

Pukekohe High School final-year student Atarangi Thompson is in no doubt: physics is hard.  “Some subjects like English, maths and science are a lot harder mentally to understand,” she says, after a lesson that included the equation for splitting the atom and having to explain why the energy lost in an atomic explosion is equivalent to the increase in mass.

But in our system the intellectual rigour of those subjects is not given greater value. “Demonstrate understanding of atomic and nuclear physics” is worth 3 credits at Level 2 of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). “Experience day tramps” is worth exactly the same.  “Walking can be hard physically,” Atarangi says. “But this stuff – it’s more that you need to learn more. I think that harder subjects should be worth a lot more credits.”

Did you get that little gem: going on a walk will earn the avid student “three educational credits”.  So will hard core, vital subjects such as English, maths, and science: three credits all.  This is egalitartianism driven mad by the gluttonous consumption of ideological steroids. 

The consequences for our school system are immediately apparent.

The first is that our schools are overstaffed, on the one hand, and (surprise, surprise) there is a teacher shortage, on the other.  There are so many more “subjects” to be taught, from advanced tiddlywink techniques to post-Newtonian physics.  Madness.  Ideologically driven myopic madness.

The second is the vast bureaucracy required to write, deliver, and administer fatuous qualifications.  The NZ Qualifications Authority–supposedly an arms length independent bureaucracy–is constantly adding worthless achievement standards and qualifications for an ever expanding list of “subjects”.  It should be scrapped immediately.

A third consequence is overcapitalised schools.  The cost of putting up a new school is now in the hundreds of millions of dollars range.  Why?  Well, it has to cater for a huge range of subjects.  Performing arts complexes are just as necessary as science labs–and much more expensive, we may add. But these days, no good school worth its salt can be considered credible without one, so that pupils can get educational credits in the rarefied subject of spontaneous Patagonian dance.  Earning credits in performing arts is just as valuable and important to society as wrestling with Newton’s Law of Gravity, after all.

A fourth consequence is widespread public incredulity and scepticism over the government education system.  People know it’s a rort.  When they hear of earning educational credits (with merit) for walking in the outdoors they know it’s a rort.  But they are too embarrassed to tell their children.  A vast conspiracy of silence descends on our communities.

Finally, the students themselves know it’s all a crock.  These are the real victims of this Monty Pythonesque folly.  They are told that a bright future awaits them if they are diligent to work through the system with all its numerous, grandiose subjects promising the world and delivering irrelevance.  As soon as they realise the vast con in which they have been forced to participate they mentally and physically disengage and drop out.

And that’s enough to make ordinary folk very angry indeed.  And so they should be.

We have nothing against trade or career orientated schools.  A far more focused curriculum has enabled the Vanguard Academy for instance (a soon-to-be-shut charter school) to succeed with students who would have otherwise been the stock standard failures of the present government educational system.  But Vanguard was set up to prepare pupils for careers in the military, the police, customs, border security, and the like.  That brought a focused culture and a focused curriculum–and students were saved from the dark recesses of failure.  Their lives were given meaning, hope, and new found aspiration.

We give the final word to the NZ Herald:

We have deluded ourselves into thinking we are doing well because students leaving school with at least NCEA Level 2 have increased dramatically from 58 per cent of school-leavers in 2005 to 80 per cent in 2016.  But in the same period our 15-year-olds’ scores in global tests for the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) have been sliding in all three subjects – reading, maths and science.

Using NCEA data, you would think the educational gaps between our socio-economic and ethnic groups have been marvellously closing. In the five years to 2016 the proportion of 18-year-olds with at least NCEA Level 2 leapt by 17 percentage points for Māori, and by 13 points for Pasifika, compared with only 9 points for Pākehā.  Yet in University Entrance (UE), which does not count non-academic subjects such as “Experience day tramps”, the ethnic gaps have actually widened slightly since NCEA began in 2002.

The proportions of both Māori and Pasifika school-leavers with UE rose by 11 points from 2001 to 2016, compared with an average gain across all school-leavers of 15 points.

NZ Initiative report author Briar Lipson, who helped start several academy or charter schools in Britain before moving to New Zealand last year, quotes research by Herald journalist Kirsty Johnston, who found Māori and Pasifika students are disproportionately channelled into non-academic subjects such as hospitality and retailing.  “It is hard to avoid the suspicion that at least some of this apparent improvement is based on learning that is of dubious value,” Lipson says in the report.

“To create a national assessment system that pretends all subjects – from meat processing to mathematics – are equal, is a deception, and one that falls hardest on the very students most deserving of protection.  “There is no magic bullet or shortcut to educational equity. But NCEA disregards this difficult reality and instead places a deceit at the heart of our national assessment by suggesting to children that filling plastic containers holds the same value as studying literature, physics or Te Reo.”


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