Dumb­ing down

The Northland Age - - Opinion -

Surely many of us have felt grave con­cern at how peo­ple of Ma¯ ori and Pasi­fika eth­nic­ity (even if it's only a small fraction in the per­son concerned) can be ac­cepted for some univer­sity cour­ses with lower NCEA Level 3 marks than all other new stu­dents must have. I don't think we would feel very con­fi­dent about con­sult­ing a pro­fes­sional who is of that eth­nic­ity, even though he/she had the ap­pro­pri­ate qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

The point would still be, just how well did he/she pass the fi­nal ex­ams for it?

Leav­ing out the mat­ter of eth­nic­ity, there is surely a much higher chance that a stu­dent who enters on those eas­ier terms will flunk out or vol­un­tar­ily drop out at some stage of a long and tough course. Also that, even if he/she passes the fi­nals to qual­ify, it will very likely be just a scrape-through pass and not a bril­liant one.

From the view­point of a pro­fes­sional

per­son's pa­tient or client, this could have very se­ri­ous con­se­quences - I don't need to spell out what they might be.

I won­der whether there are any of­fi­cial statis­tics that would tell us the facts about how many of the flunk-outs and drop-outs were those who be­gan the course on that priv­i­leged ba­sis, and per­haps also statis­tics of how well, if they got through the fi­nal ex­ams, what their marks were. But my guess is that, even if such statis­tics ex­ist, our au­thor­i­ties would be very re­luc­tant to re­lease them to us.

Even if we leave out the facts about those stu­dents who fi­nally qual­ify, there is likely to be a large waste of tax­pay­ers' money on the flunk-outs and drop-outs, so this would em­bar­rass the pow­ers that be if it be­came pub­lic knowl­edge.

H WESTFOLD WELLING­TON grease. Most iwi, through­out the land, have been suc­cess­fully pro­duc­ing squeaky wheels for a long time.

The boun­ti­ful sum of $80 mil­lion, ap­proved by Jacinda Ardern for north­ern Ma¯ ori, is an ex­am­ple, as are the ex­clu­sive funds for health, ed­u­ca­tion, so­cial wel­fare, and the large sums that were granted to iwi to make claims for con­trol of the coast­line.

No funds were made avail­able to the gen­eral pub­lic to chal­lenge the le­gal­ity of the claims.

They are do­ing well with the mul­ti­mil­lions spent on pro­mot­ing te reo, as it now, with three per cent na­tional speak­ers, takes prece­dence in of­fi­cial sig­nage over English, with 20 per cent in­ter­na­tion­ally, and still they keep on squeak­ing.

It is dif­fi­cult to ac­cept log­i­cally that a cit­i­zen with one-sixteenth Ma¯ ori blood should have spe­cial ex­clu­sive ad­van­tages over a cit­i­zen of one­six­teenth Scot­tish ances­try. Fif­teen­six­teenths of the part-Ma¯ ori's fore­bears were pos­si­bly colonists.

We should all iden­tify primarily as New Zealan­ders and share equally the bounty of this great land, and stop squeak­ing for a larger share.

Th­ese claims are not against Ma¯ ori but against di­vi­sive, avari­cious na­tional prac­tices. BRYAN JOHN­SON

Omoko­roa and cli­mate science de­nial, that are party to the spread­ing of dis­in­for­ma­tion.

This is ev­i­dent by Mr Jones’ use of mis­lead­ing ar­gu­ments, which don't stack up to the moun­tain of real ev­i­dence. Ob­vi­ously he is not fa­mil­iar with the green­house effect and the role car­bon rep­re­sents. This is sim­ple, ba­sic science.

It is not about left wing pol­i­tics, or sug­gest­ing an­thro­pogenic global warm­ing as an alarmist cult.

Th­ese sug­ges­tions are just a cou­ple of ex­am­ples of de­lib­er­ately fab­ri­cat­ing fake con­tro­ver­sies. Much more can be found in the misuse of data.

To be­come bet­ter in­formed on the sub­ject, read­ing up through Wikipedia is a good start. Katharine Hay­hoe, a cli­mate sci­en­tist, and her hus­band, an evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tian, both see the ur­gency that we have to act now to dras­ti­cally re­duce our car­bon foot­print. Her videos on you tube are well worth watch­ing. RAY PATER­SON


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