Principals’ principled stand for quality education

Written By: - Date published: 10:59 am, August 23rd, 2010 - 28 comments
Categories: education - Tags: , ,

National Standards have been slated by all of the education and assessment experts in New Zealand as being fundamentally flawed. Anne Tolley’s recent admission that she has failed to find a way to ensure that League Tables (the most educationally damaging aspect of the National Standards policy) will be avoided is the final straw for principals around the country.

They have decided that enough is enough and are putting their own money where their mouth is by contributing up to a days pay to educate the people who will really suffer from this policy – parents, and to protect the nations children from an initiative that will only have negative consequences for them.

This can only be seen as a positive and moral decision by Principals who care deeply about the children in their schools and the community’s that they serve – I say congratulations to them and well done.

– Fabregas 4

28 comments on “Principals’ principled stand for quality education”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Definitely need to get the information that Nationals’ Standards are damaging out amongst the people so good on them.

    • A Post With Me In It 1.1

      Absolutely. A question though:

      Was this on the front page of the Timaru herald?

      I have not seen it reported elsewhere yet?

  2. g-sus 2

    Absolutely. More power to teachers.

    Now they just need to reject that limp union and simply throw the whole damn standards thing back at govt. I mean what are they going to do? Fire all the teachers?

  3. tc 3

    It was blatanatly obvious that this was all about League tables from day 1 and Tolley is such an incompetant minister as she should’ve gone about this in a more sideshow/blinglish/machievallian manner.

    No surprises about the truth but what does it say about the competance of Tolley being unable to prevent it getting to this…..ah for another Smith or Brownlee when you need it.

    Let’s all wade ankle deep across the NACT pool of ministerial talent….Tolley was adamant there would be no league tables and now admits otherwise…insert confidence here.

  4. Len 4

    They also need national standards for the teachers to see which teachers are not up to standard

    • d14 4.1

      Do you think the NS measure what they say they are measuring and will return consistent results across pupils, teachers, schools and time?

    • loota 4.2

      Sheeesh Len wasn’t NS about the education of children? Are you saying that its actually about micromanaging teachers? *Gasp*

      • lprent 4.3.1

        The first one is the more interesting of the two because it identifies the key problem. If you read through it, you find this interesting set of points as being the most effective in improving educational outcomes:-

        Teachers require better training in how to teach effectively and how to run a class. Moreover, they need frequent updating on techniques. The teachers that teach teachers need more classroom time.

        The problem is those things all require more resources put into teacher training. That is something that the education department and cash-starved schools haven’t been able to do effectively. This is largely because every time that it starts getting done, the short-term morons in NACT come in and start effectively cutting budgets to finance their short-sighted tax-cuts.

        Instead we get the stick of national standards purely because it is cheaper than doing what would actually help.

        • comedy

          Perhaps if the cocks in parliament (Carter, Mallard, Tolley etc etc etc) stopped using education as a political football and the unionised education sector stopped the National bad Labour good meme we could get some progress in the primary and secondary education sector.

          The thing that rang the most true in both those articles is that some teachers are naturals and some, despite I’m sure the best intentions, should find another job. there’s certainly a number of teachers I’ve come across as a student and a parent that should have been moved on years ago and others who are clearly brilliant should be paid a heap more and other teachers should look to mimick.

          • Fabregas4

            The National’s Standards debate has nothing to do with teachers remuneration, but rather the affect that they will have on education.

            The thing that rings most true is that schools are no different from any other workplace where some employees are better than others, some are outstanding and some poor.

            If there is an expectation that all teachers have to be perfect then this is an unrealistic one.

          • The Voice of Reason

            No question that your English teacher should be paid heaps more, comedy. It must have been one hell of a struggle even getting you to this stage.

            How do you accurately measure the ‘clearly brilliant’? How do you pay them?

            • comedy

              Why are you so scared of measuring and rewarding performance ?

              We do it with kids, why not do it with teachers ?

              • The Voice of Reason

                I asked how not why. Comprende?

              • lprent

                Read your first link again.

                Basically providing incentives for teachers was mildly useful, but didn’t make a hell of a lot of difference. That really was quite a good article.

                The teachers performances are measured and have been for a long time – internally to the schools.

                Incidentally about “measuring and rewarding performance” for kids. That only really works on some kids and not even that many of them – mostly the kids (and adults) that need external validation.

                Personally I drove teachers nuts because I really didn’t listen to them that much, ignored assignments and tests except as required to jump through hoops, and concentrated on the important task of learning what I thought was interesting. My school reports were an unbroken litany of “could do better” because whatever the assignments were on I’d already learnt that years before, and I didn’t want to expend much effort on proving it to anyone else. I passed tests and exams with minimal effort and at passing level only because they weren’t important to me. I only won school prizes by accident.

                Of course anything that I considered was important was always performed very well and with panache. But that was in real work and organization rather than artificial targets set for people that required external validation. As far as I could see the tests and assignments were largely there for the teachers and parents.

                Any teacher will tell you that there are always a couple of kids like me in every class

          • Draco T Bastard

            The thing that rang the most true in both those articles is that some teachers are naturals and some, despite I’m sure the best intentions, should find another job.

            Did you read past the first page? I’m asking because you seemed to have missed this bit:

            When Doug Lemov conducted his own search for those magical ingredients, he noticed something about most successful teachers that he hadn’t expected to find: what looked like natural-born genius was often deliberate technique in disguise. “Stand still when you’re giving directions,’ a teacher at a Boston school told him. In other words, don’t do two things at once. Lemov tried it, and suddenly, he had to ask students to take out their homework only once.

            and this bit:

            LEMOV WAS NOT the first educator to come to the conclusion that teachers need better training. In the spring of 1986, a group of university deans sat in an apartment near the University of Illinois at Chicago, tossing bets into a hat. They had come together to put the final touches on a manifesto that would denounce their own institutions — the more than 1,200 schools of education — for failing to adequately train the country’s teachers.

            Which would indicate that it’s not natural ability but something that can be learnt. Which requires training and which the National Standards aren’t addressing. The teachers we want are ones that are passionate about teaching who happen to be well trained.

          • lprent

            ..some teachers are naturals..

            comedy: Did you read the first article fully? That is not what it said at all.

            It said that training in how to teach was the main factor to having successful teachers and that not enough effort was being made in it.

            You should really read the links that you provide. It makes you look like a comedian falling flat otherwise…

            • Pascal's bookie

              Be fair, he had to click on DPF’s links, and cut and paste the addresses over to here. You expect him to read the articles too?

              They were about education! And Farrar said!!

  5. belladonna 5

    So how would you judge teachers with special needs children in their classes or low decile schools?

    • Craig Glen Eden 5.1

      Len would have no idea bella he just trott’s out the line. National cant even work out what or how to measure closing the wage gap with Aussie let alone doing something as complex as measuring teacher performance.

    • comedy 5.2

      Against other teachers with special needs children in their classes or low decile schools?

      • bbfloyd 5.2.1

        on the other hand C… the governments approach is going to succeed in motivating teachers to learn at least one new skill. finding ever more creative ways to doctor exam results.
        this is actually, on the governments part, a brilliantly conceived plan to bring teachers into the new age of conservatism.
        as you probably are aware, children learn more from watching what adults do rather than what they (children)are told to do.
        i for one cannot think of a better way to produce a new generation of reactive, short sighted youth that will grow into tomorrows self centered, greedy, irresponsible adults. perfect national voting fodder.

  6. A recent newsletter from the Principal’s federation contained this statement from Ernie Buutvelt:

    This government has sold National Standards as a panacea to fix everything from welfare dependency to the crime rate. They have shown utter intransigence on this issue, along with many others (mining excepted) in the face of dogged public opposition. If they are to continue to ignore the pleas of the sector, there is little for us to do but to ensure that the damage that the current National Standards will do – in labelling children, in misleading and damaging school league tables, in limiting the curriculum, in damaging the learning of tamariki Māori, in not being a solution to under-achievement are mitigated in every way possible.

    Good on them. I cannot ever recall the principals being so incensed about an issue. But it did not have to be like this. If only Tolley knew the meaning of “cooperation” and “trial period” and “good for education” …

  7. richgraham 7

    You state \”National Standards have been slated by all of the education and assessment experts in New Zealand …\”.
    Listening to National radio this morning I heard Mr John Langley, former head of the Auckland College of Education and education consultant state that he was in favour of National Standards.
    Does this mean he is the exception that proves your rule ?
    You undermine your case by making silly statements like \”..all of the education and assessment experts…\”.
    As the parent of children whose education at primary school suffered from the ineptness and at times downright incompatence of some teachers, I strongly support the idea of national standards. The resistance by the teachers unions to national standards confirms to me that they still stand in the way of public education improvement. Sad isn\’t it, because there are a lot of good teachers out there.

  8. KJT 8

    This may sound corny. But how about performance pay for politicians? Tying their pay to 5 times the average wage with an 85% abatement tax rate on any other income sounds about right.

  9. jellytussle 9

    Oh dear……Principals speaking up, that will never do! Just keep watching and we’ll see how the Nats will act to gag school leaders in order to keep them quiet.

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