This week I had the privilege of announcing Labour’s plan to lift achievement in primary schools – or more accurately, years 1-8. We called it “Reaching for the Stars – Whakamaua Nga Whetu” and it spells out the way forward from the debacle that is National’s national standards.
Our policy ensures that parents get plain language information they require on their child’s achievement, progress and next learning steps without schools having the flawed national standards imposed on them. Labour will require schools to use recognised assessment tools and teacher judgement to assess children against the celebrated NZ Curriculum. Simple really – no major drama.
Meanwhile, the Government has resorted to having the Ministry write national standard targets for the non-compliant schools. So much for self-managing schools! As we speak, those school boards are now being threatened with the sack if they return those charters to the Ministry with the words “under duress” on them. This Government seems determined to go to war with the education sector, rather than work with them to get good outcomes. As Labour’s policy shows, its all so unnecessary.
It is telling that Mrs Tolley hasnt been able to work out how to attack our policy. She started off with ” the policy is written by the unions,” but then changed tack later on to say it was a “watered down version of national standards.” Of course, neither is true – but the contradiction in her statements demonstrates how Crosby Textor are struggling to find the attack line on our policy. Which all adds up to it being just more great policy from Labour.
I prefer for our educators and school boards to be focused on providing excellent education for our children, than going to war with the Ministry of Education. Labour’s policy lets them get on with the job, while making sure parents are kept in the loop too. After all, we know that our kids’ education thrives when parents and teachers work in partnership.