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Amy Thomasson – Talkin’ ‘Bout Our Education l Week 7

Amy Thomasson

27 February 2017

My last week in Wellington was bittersweet. While I’m looking forward to coming home and sharing my experiences with everyone, I’ll definitely miss everyone at The Initiative, and Wellington itself. I’ll be counting down the days until my return in July, although I’m, hoping to soak up some sun in the meantime.

Photo with Molly, my colleague/favourite comedian

The second report of three in The Initiative’s education series was launched on Monday and received a barrage of media coverage.

The Initiative typically conducts its research projects in three parts – the first report identifies domestic issues, the second looks at how other countries have tackled similar problems, and the third provides policy recommendations.

I wrote about the report launch in my first piece for The Initiative’s weekly newsletter, Insights. You can find the article here. I really enjoy the writing process, and it has been incredibly useful to get feedback on my work from people with experience.

I’m looking forward to developing these skills further when I start working at The Initiative in July.

Selfie before Molly's show

While much of the response to the report was positive, a few people took issue with taking pointers from countries with imperfect education systems. The places the report’s author visited when she was researching were the UK, New York, Boston, Washington DC and Houston.

While the schools in those places undoubtedly have issues, this critique misses a crucial point –  The Initiative chose the countries included in the report not in spite of their problems, but because of them.

Or rather, because they have implemented innovative ways of identifying and reforming their failing schools.Taking into account the successes and failures of other countries is important part of policy development.

New Zealand’s education system is far from perfect. Some schools have been chronically failing for over a decade. This is largely due to a lack of follow up after interventions and a failure to put students at the centre of such interventions.

The third and final report in the series will provide recommendations for addressing these and other issues, building on lessons learned from overseas.

Leaving drinks with my colleagues

One of my colleagues does stand up, so we went to see her Fringe show, Hangry Americans, as a workplace on Thursday night. Needless to say, she was hilarious and it was a brilliant night – I was even invited on stage to make a S’more of sadness. Wellington finally came through with summer on my last weekend here, so I made the most of the good weather by spending Saturday at the Rotary Fair in Petone (getting Mr Whippy was the highlight) and Sunday on the beach.

It’s been a pleasure to share my experiences in these blogs, and I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have writing them.

Goodbye icecream with my flatmates

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