Well Said

The national standards debate continues...

Perry Rush a colleague from Island Bay school in Wellington has written what I consider a very comprehensive article, published in the NZ Herald, on the topic. He opens with stating there is an issue that does need attention.

National has championed its education standards policy as being the saviour of the long tail of underachievement and muddy reporting to parents. This rationale seems convincing - both issues need improvement.

The Minster tells us that the standards will be a "disinfectant" for schools. Just what does this mean and more importantly what does it really mean.

As the formal (and very brief) official consultation round begins it is important to remind ourselves that no child ever improved their reading because they were sent to stand in the corridor.

Tolley's "disinfectant" is not an aspirational idea and it has no place in our shared effort to eliminate the tail of underachievement and improve reporting for parents.

Perry concludes with a couple of paragraphs that sound a warning to all of us that have a stake in our education system, parents, teachers and of course the children. Great learning and teaching is not about meeting a standard, it is about creating, igniting a passion for progress, learning and success.

It does little to support the sort of partnership and trust that each child requires between teachers and parents. In a thinking economy we should not be reducing information about student achievement to the lowest common denominator.

And therein lies the challenge. Teachers, schools and parents want the very best for children. But national standards are deceptive.

They have been dressed up as a feel-good exercise for parents and an effective tool for teachers when really it is a way of standing schools in the corridor. The danger is that it meddles with the very relationship that has been at the core of Tomorrow's Schools: the trust, partnership and collaboration between schools and the communities who govern them.

The full article can be found here

I have been informed... sorry consulted

Guess what, hold your breath... good teachers matter