All available evidence and expert opinion suggests that National Standards, as the government is introducing them in our primary schools, won’t work. As some wag put it, no matter how often you measure the pig, measuring it won’t make it fatter. National standards won’t raise educational achievement, they may actually do damage. According to the international evidence:
Tests blamed for blighting children’s lives
Landmark study of primary schools calls for teachers to be freed of targets
Children’s lives are being impoverished by the government’s insistence that schools focus on literacy and numeracy at the expense of creative teaching, the biggest review of the primary school curriculum in 40 years finds today.
Sadly the Nats are steered not by evidence, but by blind ideology. They are ploughing ahead with the standards. School boards have been threatened and warned not to speak out. It a measure of the level of resistance to the standards that some schools are taking action anyway:
School boards revolt over national standards
A Dunedin school and two in Invercargill are believed to have categorically refused to implement the Ministry of Education’s national standards. The School Trustees Association has warned the schools’ boards of trustees they could be sacked if they do not back down.
They are among eight schools nationwide which have taken a stance against national standards, and NZSTA president Lorraine Kerr said the boards of the schools would face consequences if they continued to rebel against the standards “in much the same way there are consequences if we break any law”.
This puts our bully government on the spot – what to do? Well they could start by ignoring the comprehensively stupid suggestion of DPF, to reduce funding to the schools. That’s right, National’s spinster suggests punishing the children. Nice. Back in the real world, seems to me that the Nats have only two choices, negotiate with the school boards (which will obviously never happen) or sack them and impose their own rule (as per Canterbury). Trouble is that the latter is not going to win them any friends in the local communities. Interesting dilemma. And to think that it could have all been avoided if National had just agreed, as educationalists and teachers everywhere advised and asked them, to trial the new standards before arrogantly forcing their introduction.