Sunday, June 25, 2023

Lushington D. Brady: The Long Cost of the Moloch Option

The youngest Kiwis are still paying for Covid panic

As I wrote early in the pandemic, governments like New Zealand were choosing the “Moloch Option”: adults sacrificing children to their big bogeyman, in order to spare themselves.

Two years later, the children are still paying the price, and the adults are still lying: blaming the Covid Monster instead of taking responsibility for the all-too predictable consequences of their own panicked policies.

The education watchdog says the Covid-19 pandemic continues to hurt students’ grades, with some learners now more than a year behind where they should be.

No, the Covid pandemic hasn’t hurt students’ grades – New Zealand’s Covid pandemic policies have. School closures, lockdowns, the unconscionable fear-mongering… Those are what have and still are wreaking havoc on childrens’ minds and wellbeing.

A report from the Education Review Office (ERO) said NCEA achievement rates have fallen, with students from poorer communities the furthest behind.

The report said it was seriously concerned about the lasting impacts and it would not be easy to bounce back.

Key to the Covid policies was the grandiose delusion that a government could simply shut down an entire country and everything would just enter a kind of harmless stasis. On every measure, from the economy, to public health, to education and children’s welfare, this delusion stands exposed as a damnable lie.

The effects of panicked, unhinged policy are being and will be felt for years, if not decades.

Nearly half (43 per cent) of principals said learning was worse than would be expected at this time of year – a big increase from 2021 when the number was 27 per cent.

NCEA Level 2 achievement rates were below where they were before the pandemic.

Many principals highlighted writing as the biggest area of concern.

All this, despite the government’s desperate efforts to paper over what they must have known was a disaster.

From 2020 to 2022, modifications were made to award additional credits to acknowledge the difficulties students had during the pandemic.

If these changes had not been made, achievement in 2022 would have been even lower.

Achievement in 2022 was lower: the government just shifted the goalposts and dumbed-down the whole system, to try and hide it.

The pandemic has had a serious impact on attendance.

Regular attendance dropped as low as 40 per cent in term 2 of 2022 and had only recovered to 51 per cent by the end of the year.

The report said challenging behaviour remained a significant issue – four in 10 principals were concerned that learner behaviour was worse than they would expect – about the same as in 2021.

Despite Labour’s blatherskite about “equity”, their unforgivable policies have hit the poor hardest of all.

Principals in poorer communities were nearly twice as likely to say their school had not recovered from Covid-19 disruptions.

ERO said it was significantly concerned about the lasting impacts of the pandemic.

Then perhaps it should have spoken up when it mattered.

But then, they would have been labelled “dangerous conspiracy theorists” by the government, the bought-and-paid-for media, pink-haired frightbats posing as “experts” and its pet bootlickers in the “Disinformation Project”.

Lushington describes himself as Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. This article was first published HERE


Tinman said...

A report from the Education Review Office (ERO) said NCEA achievement rates have fallen, with students from poorer communities the furthest behind.

Therein lies the problem. Bad language from on high.

Students study, pupils are taught.

Gaynor said...

Socialist ideologies, the main driver in progressive education, are not actually concerned about academic achievement. It has for decades insidiously been eroding away our schools standards which last century were world class, being based on largely traditional methods.

Traditional methods have been shown over and over to produce equity while progressive child- centered methods and content widen the gap.

There would need to be a renaissance of some sort to chuck out the ideologically driven education system with which we are now lumbered.

If the present education bureaucracy were genuinel interested in learning they would not have foisted the ideological based Maori language and science, curriculum reset, gender and climate change studies, and dragomian lockdowns onto schools. They would have instead concentrated on addressing the catastrophic failure we have in the basics.

Thank you Lushington for your timely article.