There is no seed of a doubt in the Public mind that National is bungling through the Education system and are creating a great big mess along the way.
First we see the bungle from the Government of introducing National Standards in our schools. The teaching profession informed the Minister at the time that testing of our Primary School children in reading, writing and math was a narrow measure of learning progress and had the potential to narrow the way in which NZs rich curriculum could be delivered.
Many schools are meeting the reporting requirements of the Ministry not because they think it makes a huge difference to learning outcomes for children, but because they have to.
We have since found that there is a huge variance between schools and within schools as to how the Overall Teacher Judgment impact on a student’s assessment. Parents want to know how well their child is doing while they are at school, their rate of learning and what can be done to improve their progress.
New Zealand needs well rounded engaged resilient and creative learners confident in who they are. National just don’t get it! And they are proving it day-by-day!
Classrooms around the country are full of children with diverse learning needs and the Ministers response this year – cram them into larger classes – it won’t make much of a difference! Well the parents knew that things had got out of hand and mobilized.
When their children came home from school saying that they might not have a technology, science, art, drama, kapahaka, music or extension teacher, parents became very angry with the National Government. Many of these parents were possibly National voters and now they question that support.
Labour tabled research in the House which showed that larger classes for our youngest, most vulnerable and disadvantaged learners did not improve achievement outcomes. Labour committed to reversing such a silly policy.
Vigourous lobbying, damaging polls and finally common sense prevailed and the Minister had to back down and turn around her decision on larger classes.
That initiative it was supposed to make a savings of $114m over 4 yrs and be used for Teacher Quality and now the Minister is scrambling around looking for funding to invest in Quality teaching – stump up with the funds Minister!
Quality teaching does matter and should never have been considered as a trade-off. Get rid of the Charter school initiative, cap the amount of funding for independent schools, reverse tax cuts for the top 3% of income earners and you will have the resources necessary to address the ongoing needs of professional development, mentoring and training supports for teachers.
Hot on the heels of this bungle was another blunder, a rush of blood to the head saw the PM promote league tables, ‘but it would depend on the shape of the reporting so that schools would not be disadvantaged’ we hear. Whatever that means?
League tables and ranking schools based on reading, writing and math confirms exactly what education professional thought would happen after National Standards.
League tables will end up changing the culture of teaching from a collaborative to a competitive environment, drive teachers away from vibrant decile one communities, narrow the teaching curriculum and further stigmatise our most challenged learners. Under National the education system will be designed for winners and losers rather than developing the potential of diverse learners and all children.
Round pegs into square holes that’s what National want.
A fine example of National saying one thing before the election and doing the complete opposite after the election. Who is driving education is it Treasury?, Bill English? Or the PM? – Because it certainly isn’t the Minister in the seat.
The Bungle Bluster Education Bus is the name for it they want you to get on board, that’s Nationals plan for a brighter future.