School principal Pat Newman posted the following as a comment on Red Alert. It’s not a polished piece written with distribution in mind, but it’s from the heart, and well worth reproducing here (minor typos corrected). Pat added several further excellent comments, follow the link above.
I speak as a principal of a Decile 2 school that was just ERO’d last year in December and has also had independant research done on how we are performing, involving parents and community etc. Both these were superb. I have been a principal for over 28 yrs in a wide variety of schools throughout NZ, and have a reasonable profile in education in NZ. I include the above not to grandstand, but to validate hopefully my comments.
I am adamantly opposed to standards as discussed. I am not opposed to parents have good accurate information and they should be getting that now, and if not their parents should be loud and vociferous to get that info.
That also requires parents to pick up some responsibility to attend school, talk to their teachers and discuss their children’s progress though!.
I am opposed because standards will not identify poor teachers and they shouldn’t anyway and in my opinion, there are already existing avenues for that to happen, that are working. The figures reasonably accurately thought to fit that category are about 1% at anyone time, not the 30% Key reported. He got that figure from a sample survey/report from ERO that said about 30% of junior children were not coming up to standards. That sounds appalling but the reality is about 30% of our NZ children are coming into schools at about a 3 year old level.
In my school only 12% attain standards in Yr 1 (for a 5 yr old), 28% in Yr 2 and by end of Yr 3 99%. I have superb teachers. We pour heaps into kids, and make 5 yrs progress in 3 yrs for most of them, yet under this proposed system my school would be deemed a failure!
We have had extra money for funding lots of targeted funding to assist with his. Unfortunately this year that money has dried up and is going towards the nearly 60 million for standards and 30 million for private schools. For us to get back some of this money under the new standards we have to be labelled as failing school!!!
Private schools and homeschooling are exempt. Although the government is paying tax payer funding to both, the government seems to take it for granted that they never have poor teachers, all their children are up to ‘Standard’ etc . reality is quite different!
Hopefully that might show some of you why many of us are extremely angry. I also suggest you google ‘No child left behind’ and look at the parent group websites, and see its effect on American schools. I have visited schools overseas that are involved in such programmes and have seen the effect on genuine learning.