Monday, March 8, 2010

Finally some sort of leadership

This whole national standards issue is a joke.

I dont know what is more embarrassing, the unions, the NZPF or the National Government.

All we ask for is some balance to the argument, and some leadership.

Im not sure who to credit for this article but it did come via the APPA (auckland Primary principals Association.

Now there is also another side, which is some schools are bloody useless and something is needed, my theory revolves around giving ERO the teeth to sack teachers and principals and having 8yr contracts for principals (ouch).

National Standards and concerns/issues

Our school will do what is required in 2010, but we have ongoing concerns about the standards. These concerns include:

  • The standards have not been trialled in NZ and respectful requests for a trial by a number of organizations and individuals, including respected academics, have been rejected out of hand by the Minister of Education, Anne Tolley and the Prime Minister, John Key.
  • This system has failed in other countries to improve student achievement
  • The Minister has an advisory group of academics to advise her about the implementation of the standards in schools that does not include a teacher or a principal
  • We already use a range of assessment tools and the processes involved in deciding where your child sits on the standards will involve extensive moderation work. Our school is not resourced for this work, nor are schools being resourced to attend training in the implementation of the standards
  • There has been insufficient genuine consultation with teachers or principals about the standards
  • Each standard has a number of descriptors that will make it extremely confusing to align the standards with standardised assessment results, the NZ Curriculum levels, and overall teacher judgment
  • Children begin their formal schooling at varying levels of capability and they progress at different rates. National standards do not acknowledge this
  • Learning is individual, it takes time, it is different for everyone and it is emotional. Placing harmful pressure on young children is likely to be counter productive to their learning and development
  • The national standards will label some children during their first year at school as failing. This is of major concern to educators as early learning must be positive for children
  • The possibility of “league tables” that publicly compare schools will have a detrimental effect on many schools, particularly those located in low decile areas
  • We would much prefer government funding going into learning support programmes that we know work well to improve student achievement
  • Principals and teachers are feeling that our profession has been totally discredited and that the tail of under achievement is the fault of schools alone. We all know that there are other significant variables that contribute to low achievement levels

These issues and concerns need to be understood by all parents and caregivers and they need to be debated and acknowledged. Please feel free to call in to school to see our senior staff to discuss anything related to this new government requirement.

Yours sincerely



Allanah King said...

Well said- you itemised many of my concerns as well. I forwarded your post on to others to draw their attention to the issues as well.


Marlene campbell said...

Hey Luke political mumbo jumbo is that too many of our Principal colleagues are sitting on their hands and saying nothing! Invercargill Principals have tried to keep this alive for debate in the public arena, major City centres however have been resoundingly silent? WHY? This is simple, either you believe in having a community designed curriculum or you want a teaching to the test system. The reality is you will not get both.Their is NO educational research anywhere in the world that states National Standards work for children, their is much that states it is an educational disaster. Our Principal colleagues are being naieve if they cannot see the next steps and layers behind this! Like performance pay, league tables, fudged data, the new bright flight!more student failure. National standards is not an educational policy it is a political policy that will fail kids.The NZ Curriculum that was auctioned on Trade Me was a document that brought hope and innovation to the educational arena. Tolley is delusional if she believes that the Nationals National Standards are embedded in there they are NOT!The Maths standards do not align with the Strategy stages! What do you think classroom teachers will do with that? New Zealand has the chance to actively resist this happening, but only if we stick together and continue to send the same messages. When Tolley and her merry band of advisors can supply evidence that national Standards works for kids we will look at it again. Until that time it is civil disobedience! Law or no law. There have been laws about people riding buses, people wearing a Star, and people drinking out of water fountains. The people that stood against these laws were the ones that went down in history as truly making a difference.

Podgorani said...

man i need to take a deep breath Mars after that tirade. Um i thought i was radical - you are right, we are like sheep walking to the slaughter, not saying anything. I will need a few days to reply, re-think my strategy. cheers for keeping me honest.