The apparent incoherence of National’s position on national standards has been bugging me. They claim that the standards will improve outcomes and are so crucial that schools must be forced to use them whether they want to or not. Yet strangely they aren’t crucial for charter schools at all. These schools are supposed to improve outcomes too but they’re allowed to opt out of standards. Blatantly inconsistent (how do they get away with it?).
Well I’ve been a bit slow on the uptake, but pondering a bit further it makes perfect sense after all. Here’s how it works.
The Nats claim that the good parents of [insert region here] are “desperate” for league tables. Against all advice they push ahead with providing such tables (even though they admit that the data is unreliable). Those schools that teach to the test (or juggle the books) most successfully will score well, low decile schools will score poorly, the rest in between. Some parents will be influenced by the league tables, and so of course…
A Waikato education leader says parents choosing schools based on National Standards data will create “ghetto” and “magnet” schools, further widening the gap between achievers and those falling behind.
Obedient schools will be rewarded (never mind that the real quality and breadth of education has suffered). Disobedient and low decile schools, will be punished, accused of failing. What do we we do with failing schools? Why – we privatise them!
Using the charter schools “trial” programme as precedent, there will be a process of privatising large numbers of “failing” state schools. Public money will flood into the hands of private suppliers. And will these second generation charter schools do any better? That’s the real beauty of it! The Nats can claim anything they like, because charter schools don’t need to report on national standards. They cannot be compared. They can be both cash cows for the private sector and invisible ghettos for the poor…
“Clever”, isn’t it.