New Zealand schools achieve excellent results and they are very cost effective. (There are kids who fail at school in all countries but this is largely for socioeconomic reasons.) The Nats are determined to break our excellent school system. For purely ideological reasons they are forcing through national standards, against the advice of their own experts and all the international evidence on the damage that standards cause.
England has realised that standards are damaging. Some of the leading educational theorists in America responsible for implementing standards have woken up to the truth. Now comes tacit acknowledgement from the US government that “No Child Left Behind” (the American version of national standards) has failed:
10 states get education waivers
President Barack Obama on Thursday will free 10 states from the strict and sweeping requirements of the No Child Left Behind education law in exchange for promises to improve the way schools teach and evaluate students.
The move is a tacit acknowledgement that the law’s main goal, getting all students up to par in reading and math by 2014, is not within reach. .. A total of 28 other states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have signaled that they, too, plan to seek waivers — a sign of just how vast the law’s burdens have become as the big deadline nears.
No Child Left Behind requires all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Obama’s action strips away that fundamental requirement for those approved for flexibility, provided they offer a viable plan instead. … In September, Obama called President George W. Bush’s most hyped domestic accomplishment an admirable but flawed effort that hurt students instead of helping them. …
For all the cheers that states may have about the changes, the move also reflects the sobering reality that the United States is not close to the law’s original goal: getting children to grade level in reading and math. Critics today say the 2014 deadline was unrealistic, the law is too rigid and led to teaching to the test, and too many schools feel they are unfairly labeled as “failures.”
We’ll get to the same realisation here in NZ eventually of course, but only after we’ve repeated the mistakes of other countries. Only after we’ve damaged the education of kids in primary schools for many years. Is that an acceptable price to pay for the Nats’ arrogance?