The Nats have a long and dishonourable history of trying to gag those who would speak out against them. This includes multiple attacks on schools — threats against principals and school boards who were exercising their rights to free speech, threats to sack dissenting boards, threats of withheld funding. And these are just the threats that we know about.
Today we see further effects of this bullying:
Third of rebel schools appear to soften stance on standards
Nearly a third of the schools that said they had no confidence in National Standards have told the Ministry of Education they do in fact plan to implement the controversial scheme.
A group called Boards Taking Action Coalition said last week that the trustees from 225 schools around the country had issued a vote of no confidence in National Standards. As a result those schools would refuse to set student achievements targets for next year until the system was reviewed.
The next day the ministry starting contacting all of the protesting schools’ boards of trustees to check the claim.
The Ministry was not “checking on the claim”, they were working through their script of escalating threats against the schools. We know this because a senior official in the Ministry
resigned refused to participate in protest at the unethical bullying tactics. Fortunately the Herald piece quoted above gives at least some attention to this side of the story:
Mr Rush said it was very hard to test the veracity of the information gathered by the ministry but he did know some board members were upset with the tone of the calls they received.
“Board chairs have inundated me with calls complaining at the tone of ministry questioning in recent telephone calls. Ministry officials seem to have been instructed to put the fear of God into board members.”
Some board chairs said the ministry callers implied they would be sacked if the standards were not implemented in full.
Schools are boycotting national standards in a last ditch attempt to protect children from a flawed system which is likely to do them nothing but harm. Because they are so utterly unable to listen to expert and professional advice, because they are so utterly ideologically obsessed with “victory” over teachers, the Nats are determined to press ahead. They are desperate to contain the current boycott. The only way they can do so is to continue their campaign of bullying threats against schools. Every school board threatened in this way should speak out loud and clear.
Anne Tolley Dec 2009:
Education Minister Anne Tolley says she will sack the boards of primary schools which allow teachers to boycott national standards, saying they would be refusing to obey the law.
Anne Tolley Nov 2010:
Education Minister Anne Tolley says she does not intend to dismiss school boards which fail to implement the new education standards. … “That has never been my intention,” she replied.