An anonymous editorial in The Herald this morning really is atrocious:
Mediocrity rules under school plan
More than two years have passed since the Government announced an impressive plan for improving schools by paying them to work more closely together. They were to form clusters under an executive principal and share their best staff who would be lead teachers in their subject. A pot of $349 million was added to the education budget.
This “impressive plan” had several problems with it. It takes the best teachers out of their classrooms and tangles them up in new layers of bureaucracy. It ignores certain fundamentals of good teaching (context and building and ongoing relationship). NZ principals described it as unworkable. It didn’t work in the UK. None the less, schools worked with the government in good faith to try and create a workable scheme.
Two years on, a watered down version of the plan appears to be getting under way. About 10 per cent of schools have formed “communities”, not clusters, to meet regularly, share information and compare data. The typical community includes just one or two secondary schools and the rest are intermediates and primaries. It looks like a vertical integration of feeder schools rather than the cross-fertilisation of education at each level that the original plan envisaged.
Hekia Parata must be disappointed with the 10 per cent uptake of her plans to date. She admits she is disappointed that Auckland Grammar, which had joined a community of schools, has since walked away. Headmaster Tim O’Connor said the group’s focus did not align with Grammar’s plans.
If 90% of schools have rejected the scheme they do so on the basis of an assessment of educational needs, not “interference” by unions. I’m guessing that Auckland Grammar is not exactly a hotbed of leftie liberal activisim. However, our editorialist feels compelled to conclude:
The original plan was not “just about money”, as the PPTA would have it. It was about promoting talent and spreading best practice. That is unlikely to happen without substantial incentives. But the union has prevailed. Mediocrity rules again.
No, protecting education from unworkable policy rules again. Yon anonymous Herald editorialist needs to get off their union-bashing bandwagon and spend some time in a classroom.
Want to know who is really attacking education? One of the comments below that editorial gives us some clues:
National has persistently weakened and undermined public education ever since taking office.
National burdened public schools with nonsense like *National Standards*, which crush curiosity, critical thinking, and the capacity to question authority, while delivering nothing more than training in literacy and numeracy.
National decreased funding to public schools while increasing taxpayer subsidies to the private schools their own children attend.
National cut funding for Adult Community Education.
National abolished student allowances for postgraduate students.
National undermined postgraduate study by limiting eligibility for student loans.
National stopped anyone aged over 55 from receiving student loan living costs.
National weakened university councils to silence criticism and dissent.
National are privatising, corporatising, and commercialising our education system.
National have so much contempt for education that they even appointed a creationist, John Banks, Associate Minister of Education.
National are undermining the public education system while funneling public funds to their corporate cronies, and care nothing about improving educational outcomes for children.
Parts of that are a bit strong for me, but overall it’s a pretty fair summary.