GERM (Global Education Reform Movement) was a term coined by Pasi Sahlberg, leading educationalist from Finland, to describe the reforms touted by neo-liberalists to fix education systems they claim are in crisis.
Since the 2008 election campaign National has been claiming that New Zealand has a broken education system. That the system is failing with 1/5 students leaving school unable to read and write or do basic maths without NCEA Level 2
National and Act having been ramming these "facts" down the throats of the electing public for nearly six years now. Do you know where they got these facts from?
Below is a screen shot from The Daily Blog where you can read more about how National pulled the wool in regards to education:
So here we have National manufacturing "facts" to get National Standards legislation through parliament with little regard to the truth, and this has set the tone for what we have now: a government trying to force through yet another piece of legislation (Charter Schools/Partnership Schools/Hourua Kura) which was not even mentioned in passing in the 2011 pre election manifestos by either National or Act and yet they claim they have a mandate to do so!
Earlier this week Save Our Schools NZ posted a poll asking several questions gauging how successful you think the Charter Schools policy will be. This poll was advertised on the SOSNZ blog, SOSNZ facebook page, and then shared on other group facebook pages and by supporters.
Voting on the poll was tracking a long.... and then a certain oily blogger found out about it.
As you can see from the screen shot above (and I am not supplying a link to this bully's page) he called it a "union organised opposition". The commenters were venomous and downright bully-like with their comments, then they went on to vote in the poll, and then made every effort to have the blog and facebook pages for SOSNZ reported and labelled as spam in order to stymy the debate and derail opposition.
Let me assure you that the person who runs the SOSNZ blog is a stay at home full time mum of a pre-schooler who is deeply concerned about the direction of education in New Zealand. She is also a qualified teacher, is a member of NZEI as she does the occasional bit of relief teaching, but is currently focusing on being a mum, and until the class size issue last year was not paying a lot of attention to education issues.
But one of National's mistakes last year was to announce increasing class sizes. If one thing is going to upset parents it is the idea that their child will get even less attention from a teacher than what they already do. Parents did a great job of making themselves heard over that issue, and it means that they are now paying more attention to education issues all round. It has also ignited more organised opposition from not only parents and teachers (and their unions), but from grandparents, aunties and uncles, and just plain concerned citizens.
And now the Whale and his followers have ignited even more opposition due to their behaviour this week.
We live in a democracy. One of the basic tenets of a democracy is free speech and the right to protest. My disclosure statement at the top of this blog explicitly says that these are my views that I am expressing because I live in a democracy. I am open to express my views and to protest against those things that I do not agree with.
I believe that I support the right for all people to do the same.
However I do not agree with bullying and telling blatant lies and not checking your facts.
The Whale however is known, in my opinion and the opinion of many who have been oiled, for all these things.
He has been to court for breaking suppression orders for at least three cases (although I actually agreed with him on this count) so we know he isn't that worried about breaking the law.
Last year when the Ports of Auckland dispute was at its zenith he released the personal details of one of the wharfies, lambasting him as being a malcontent who earned an exorbitant sum of money (exaggerated by the Whale), had had mega amount of leave (the man's wife was dying of cancer) and accused him of all sorts of things.... and it turned out he had accepted money to champion the case of the Ports of Auckland. If you want to read more of this behaviour critiqued in regards to this issue click here.
Whale has a long history of targeting individuals. I know of two principals who were very active in opposing the GERM. One has since withdrawn her activism in order to protect her professionalism, school, community and family. The other has increased his activism and retired from the teaching profession. Why should one man's vitriol have so much influence?
And now I look at the lead up to NZEI's day of action and his lack of accuracy:
I have blanked out the names and pictures of the people concerned. They have suffered enough from this bully.
The second person was particularly upset to be oiled. For starters, her profile picture at that time included her grandchild and she did not think it fair that the Whale publicise the child. Secondly, this lady is not, nor has never been, a teacher. She joined the page because she is a concerned grandparent and worries for the future of education for her grandchildren in Christchurch. Since she is not a teacher (or teacher aide or any other kind of support staff) she does not belong to a teachers' union.
Did the Whale stop to check his facts? No.
In the course of writing this blog I have messaged several people who this blog mentions to check facts and mostly to get their approval to write about them. It is the ethical thing to do.
When the second person from the Whale's post above commented on his blog with corrections and to ask that the picture be removed, she received no apology and another unsubstantiated accusation was laid against her. Also in the comments section was an accusation against one of the people shown in the Whale's post supposedly outing them on a personal matter. I haven't included a link or a screen shot of that because I do not want to cause further unnecessary pain.
The point that I want to make here is that not only is the Whale a bully, but he encourages his followers to do the same, and he does not moderate. The abuse on this post and on the post about the SOSNZ poll was horrific and personal and defamatory. The SOSNZ administrator has been advised she should seek a legal opinion on the comments made.
On the 27th of March I watched Media3 (after Nightline on TV3 Wednesday nights, repeated late Saturday mornings). On this episode they were discussing the possibility of a new standards authority for media, including blogs. Currently blogs do not fall under any standards in regards to media and broadcast. The Whale appeared as his real self, Cameron Slater, and stated that he would most likely join the new authority.
I immediately gained the impression that this new authority would have even less teeth than the current authority governing media, because his blog definitely does not meet the standards that newspapers currently have to meet!
Earlier this week on that bastion of current events, Seven Sharp TV1 7pm Monday-Friday, Jesse Mulligan gave some great advice on how to take the piss out of Colin Craig without getting sued for defamation. Click here to view. So I am going to take a leaf out of Jesse's book an I am going to tell you some truths about the Whale.
- The Whale has suffered from depression. Hey, that's not unusual either in New Zealand as this quote shows: "Among the 10 high-income countries included, New Zealanders ranked second for people experiencing a major depressive episode in the 12 months before the survey and fourth for people having suffered a depressive episode in their lifetime." sourced from http://www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz/2011/07/27/high-depression-rates-in-nz-international-study/ - in my opinion, if you have a brain you have a mental health issue, so the Whale is in good company here.
- As a result of his depression, the Whale received pay outs from his insurance company Fidelity and when these stopped he lost the family home he shared with his wife. He went on a sickness benefit. See http://www.3news.co.nz/Slaters-wife-says-depression-fuels-bloggers-erratic-behaviour/tabid/419/articleID/158328/Default.aspx
- The Whale is the son of former National party president John Slater. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cameron_Slater/
- In 2012 the Whale was outted for having an extra marital affair. See above link.
- In October 2012 the Whale became the editor of the New Zealand Truth. See above link.
This next part is just something I want you to consider about bullies in general:
"Bullies were also at higher risk for mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and hostility.... Bullies tended to hold a negative view of themselves, suggesting they pick on others to feel better about themselves, and they may especially single out those who have trouble fitting in for other reasons." Sourced from: http://www.livescience.com/11163-bullies-bullying.html
"Q: What about a child who has been a bully?
A: Studies have shown that bullying in childhood is often a “gateway behavior” that leads to serious problems later in life, including:
- school failure
- law-breaking behavior
- substance abuse
- destructive personal relationships
- difficulty maintaining employment
- cruelty to animals
- violent crime
For all of these reasons, it’s imperative that a child who bullies others receives immediate help."
Sourced from: http://childrenshospital.org/az/Site2912/mainpageS2912P1.html
You connect the dots.
Basically, I am saying that the Whale is below the standard for how he runs his blog. His research skills are below the standard. His comprehension skills are below the standard. His critical thinking skills are below the standard. His behaviour as a human being towards other human beings is below the standard. His understanding of how a democracy works is below the standard. You failed the standard Whale Oil.