At what point, I wonder, will National figure out that they’re in a hole over “national standards” and finally stop digging? Stuff reports:
Letters scathing of National Standards
The parents in charge of 48 different school boards have written to the Government at a rate of more than one a week complaining about aspects of the National Standards, newly released documents reveal. …
Of the 50 school boards, 48 expressed varying degrees of concern about the national standards. Only one expressed full support and one simply asked for more information. The letters were received between July last year and mid-May this year.
“You say this is what parents want but I’m wondering what parents you are referring to, [because it is] not anyone I talk to,” one letter from a parent states. …
Tolley has continually batted away criticism of the standards, arguing that it is motivated by the vested, political, interests of teacher unions. The release of new papers from the parents who run 50 of the nation’s primary school boards appear to challenge that notion, however.
Among the correspondence, Dennis Matiu, chairman of Horeke School in Northland wrote to advise that his school would not be implementing the standards. “We, like many others in our region, are concerned that national standards have continued to be introduced despite overwhelming opposition from educators,” Matiu wrote. “We are totally opposed to using these standards in our school and are therefore returning our school’s initial distribution of copies.”
Another, Janice Bromell, who was chairperson of the Tahunanui School in Nelson, complained that one-and-a-half months after sending a letter to Prime Minister John Key outlining concerns about the standards, they had heard nothing in response. “This process was supposed to simplify reporting to parents, not add confusion,” Bromell wrote.
Jonathan Spencer, the chairperson of the Mangorei School board of trustees, in New Plymouth, wrote “to express alarm at the unseemly haste with which National Standards are being introduced”.
The board of Poroti School in Whangarei wrote in a joint letter of “deep concern and opposition to the National Standards regime”.
And the chairman of Weston School in North Otago, Russell Bryant, wrote of concerns about a lack of resources to get the standards to work. ….
That’s how Education Minister Anne Tolley described school trustees attitude to her national standards last month:
“The trustees, who govern schools on behalf of communities and parents, were extremely supportive,” says Mrs Tolley.
“They have a positive approach to the Standards, and are clear that parents should be given plain language information about how their child is progressing in reading, writing and maths.
Meanwhile, Ministerial correspondence uncovered with the OIA shows a different picture, with 96% of school boards who wrote to Tolley opposing the standards, and only one supporting them. So if 2% is “extremely” supportive, what’s 96%? Universally opposed? And if the government’s standard for action is 75% (as expressed by Steven Joyce) does this mean they’ll dump this stupid policy? …
Trevor Mallard also weighs in, with video of Tolley from question time.
Hey Mr Key. You like to tell us that you’re pragmatic. Interested in what works. Let’s actually see a bit of that pragmatism. Because ignoring all the expert advice, ramming standards through against all opposition, unleashing your teacher bashing morons, and claiming the support of legions of imaginary friends doesn’t look very pragmatic. It looks like an ideological crusade.
[Update: Tolley is being asked to explain her claims. Good.]