Welcome back, John Armstrong. In your piece today you wrote about John Key’s emergency efforts to cover for Anne Tolley’s disasterious handling of national standards:
“It is effectively the first of what is likely to be a series of initiatives this year to bury the overstated claims that he has been a “do little” prime minister”
Couldn’t even bear to write it, eh John?
Rodney Hide actually called Key a ‘do nothing’ Prime Minister. More precisely, he said Key “doesn’t do anything”.
And, I have to disagree. I don’t think showing up for a half-hour press conference and deciding at the last minute to put out $200,000 worth of taxpayer-funded propaganda* to try to rescue national standards counts as ‘doing anything’. It shows how little he is doing that he let things get this bad in the first place.
While I’m on the topic. That made-up ‘30% of teachers need to lift their game’ that Key pulled out yesterday really reveals the true agenda behind national standards. Like ‘No Child Left Behind‘ in the US, it’s a trojan horse for performance pay for teachers. And why is performance pay for teachers such a bad idea? Because when you pay teachers on the basis of their pupils’ marks you encourage teachers to ‘teach to the test’ rather than give a broader education, you cause grade inflation, and you make it more lurcative to work at high decile schools so the poor kids end up with the worst teachers.
*(I wonder if the leaflet was designed by the graphic artist Key has employed in his office. Yup, he’s got his own propaganda designer. Guess they don’t count towards the cap on public servants)