Sunday, August 24, 2008

National Testing or Labour Beat Up ?

Ive been told by local MP Paula Bennett that there is no intention of having National testing in our Primary Schools. BUT they will insist that schools report to parents about where children are at nationally.

I think that national testing is an absolute load of shit and wont achieve anything. Any wanker who thinks that it is a goer in Primary schools has their head up their arse. There i said it. 

Lets be honest here I don't trust my fellow schoolies to test correctly and I know of schools testing incorrectly as well as bumping their grades so they look good. Some of it is deliberate and some just incompetence. We know how pathetic it gets overseas where schools results are published and in America where funding is withheld from poor performing schools. This results in "testing practice" and a complete "shutdown of learning" while children are asked to remember stuff, which we all know is the lowest form of thinking.

Ok now that I have given a quick argument for how much national testing sux lets look at the real issue. Is this a beat up from labour who want national to lose a few thousand votes from the teaching sector. I get a press release from Paddy Ford who is a fish head from NZPF that says and i quote -

The New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF) is very disappointed with National’s proposed education policy, which is looking to introduce compulsory national testing.
“National testing is such an old-fashioned idea,” says NZPF President Paddy Ford. “What’s more, it is ineffective. In every country where national testing has been imposed, learning outcomes have not increased. National testing is, quite simply, a backward step.”
it goes on to say - The NZPF is disappointed that the National Party is taking this approach to education policy. “This policy shows a lack of understanding of what is already happening in our schools,” says Ford. “We have some of the best systems in the world, and with adequate resourcing we could become number one. National needs to concentrate on improving resourcing for programmes such as special needs and reading recovery. They also need to fund appropriate administration time, which will allow principals to focus on teaching and learning. That’s how we will improve educational outcomes for pupils.”

So i have sent the following email to Paula Bennett 
Hi Paula
You told me there would be no national testing of primary school kids, I get this email from the NZPF president, I presume that it is Labour propaganda being played out by the NZ education Unions ie: NZEI and NZPF who often attack National, Im surprised they havent brought up Bulk Funding again...!!!!
But I would like you to tell me again the National testing is not going to happen so that I can tell Paddy Ford to stop spreading this nonsense..
I'm annoyed and agitated that they would get stuck in to this if its not true.

SO LETS SEE WHO IS FULL OF BULLSHIT i will get a reply from Bennett and give Paddy a right of reply and see whether its a beat up or a balls up. 

By the way - this isn't personal, Paula is a good chick and Paddy does an unenviable job, I haven't met him but he'd be a decent bloke.
I just want the truth cause I aint having National Testing.

Stay Tuned
so paula has replied asap
Hi Luke
Paula is out of the office so I called her and asked about your email.
She asked me to tell you that you are right and there will be no national testing. Please see the link below and also the media release, they back up Paula’s statement.
Please feel free to contact us if you need anymore info.
Kind Regards
Jackie Fairweather
Constituency Agent to Paula Bennett MP

Anne Tolley MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman
24 August 2008     National makes no apology for standards policy

National Party Education spokeswoman Anne Tolley is welcoming the opportunity to restate National’s determination to lift educational standards to ensure our children are better equipped for the future.

“National standards will give every child access to the best teaching methods for literacy and numeracy. We want more teachers to be taking advantage of the best practice techniques that many of our most successful schools are already using.”

Mrs Tolley is responding to statements from the New Zealand Principal Federation criticising National’s policy which aims to reduce the number of children who leave school unable to read, write, and do basic maths.

“We have to do more to make sure every child learns the basics required to contribute to the community, the country, and the economy. It’s time for every school to use the best methods.

“I am mystified by the Federation’s references to National testing. We have explained our policy many times to the sector over the past three years and they know we have not proposed national testing.

“Our national standards policy has been well received by school principals and teachers because it is flexible, and builds on the best-practice methods that are already getting good results.”

I sent this to Paddy ford and am awaiting a reply.

hi paddy

i have a question regarding national testing
I have to ask you what your response is to national MP paula Bennett who i emailed asking what the hell is going on, she told me that national testing wont happen,
I'd like an answer as to why you put the press release out when it appears to be untrue.
I am totally against national testing...just like you, and no national party git either, but i do want some transparency.

and here comes Paddy :
I attach here the link to Johns speech and the key points he raised. when you click on the link you can hear John saying what he thinks and some of it is concerning. he states that 90% of schools already do the testing (which is true) but he also states that parents don’t know what the standard is. well if you fill out a report or have an interview and you tell the parent that their child is below average then you are doing exactly that.
Because 10% of your children are naughty you don’t 'require ' them all to be in time out.
90% of schools manage their property effectively yet all are 'required' to have a property manager
Its about compliance to me. If we are required to do something that 90% of us are already doing their will be another layer of compliance, more beauracy and you will be able to publish league tables.
We do not ever ,never need a ‘required’ test. We have an excellent resource in NEMP. Why have more tests. Its just not on.
Some of this might be reds under the bed stuff but I see it as a thinly veiled attempt at National testing.
We don’t need it. We are already doing a great job and using assessment effectively

Johns speech
Clear National Standards: Set national standards in reading, writing and numeracy. The standards will describe all the things children should be able to do by a particular age or year at school. They will be defined by benchmarks in a range of tests.
Effective Assessment: Require primary schools to use assessment programmes that compare the progress of their students with other students across the country. Schools will choose from a range of tests, but there won't be national exams.
Upfront Reporting: Give parents the right to see all assessment information, and to get regular reports about their child's progress towards national standards. Schools will also have to report each year on the whole school's performance against national standards.

So where are we.. who is on the bullshit... me thinks its the unions and the red flag brigade, but hey it might just be me.


Mac Stevenson said...

Hey Luke

Why didn't you ask about bulk funding as well? After all with Roger Douglas in the mix of a right leaning govt this is certainly on the cards.

Resourcing granted according to national testing. Goodbye learning hello test teaching.

Another great leap backwards.

Podgorani said...

cheers mac I think its the same old oyster being cut open, the red vs the blues. Still we all know they can shove their league tables and tests but i think it aint gonna happen

Pedro said...

Like the "There, I said it." Feelin the fear and sayin it anyway mate.. Ha!
National testing or trust?

Trust thanks. It's the only way we bring out the best. No guarantees, but there never are either way.
See the brilliance that comes from choosing to trust those wriggly kids we sometimes teach.. see the damage we cause when we treat them with distrust/disrespect.
The only guarantee is the damage.

Podgorani said...

true pedro, its important that our GOVT shows and trusts us, whether it be Key or Clark we cant let compliance get us.
I held back with the (really) bad language but thought that I got the point across without really cursing it out. It would need to be a very emotive topic for me to really cut loose, that or a few to many woodies.