Saturday, July 30, 2011

National Standards and Resourcing What Matters

One of the things that annoys me about National Standards is that I think it is a waste of valuable resourcing that could be spent on really making a difference to education in New Zealand where it matters.

The National Government sold the idea of National Standards to voters on the basis that our education system is in crisis and needs fixing.

However this was manipulative electioneering and as move into the next election continues to be so.

We have a very good education system in New Zealand - this is well proven by our results in OECD research. We are listed in the top countries for literacy and mathematics. However we do have a tail of underachievement. This tail comprises mostly of Maori and Pasifika students.

The National Standard policy is supposed to address this tail of underachievement. But it will not. How can continually testing students make them improve?

I believe that the money that is being put into National Standards would be better spent on a national strategy to address the underachievement tail.

Reversing the staffing cuts to early childhood centres would be a good place to start on this issue.

Imagine if all of the funding that is going into MOE officials hasseling principals and schools about school charters, the employees salaries that are tied up in the promotion of National Standards, training, media and the like went into a national strategy on addressing the real issues of underachievement.

Now that would make a difference.

Meanwhile the next meeting in Auckland for Boards of Trustees Against National Standards is to be held at Freemans Bay School on July 12. These Boards of Trustees and Principals are demonstrating courage around what they believe in: That we have a high quality public education system in New Zealand and that the resourcing that is being spent on National Standards would be best spent elsewhere to address the underachievement issue in our system.

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