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Standards headlines

Written By: - Date published: 1:32 pm, July 12th, 2010 - 11 comments
Categories: education - Tags: ,

A couple of headlines on the topic of National Standards caught my eye this morning. At time of writing the front page of Newsroom has the following:

National Standards Support – Education Minister Anne Tolley says the overwhelming message from principals and school trustees gathered in Christchurch at the weekend is that National Standards are being implemented across the country.

The overwhelming message is that the standards “are being implemented”? Well, now that’s high praise indeed. Especially considered in the context of this related headline:

Schools warned to report on standards or lose funds

The Minister of Education has warned schools they will miss out on extra resources if they do not provide national standards figures to the ministry.

I don’t think you need me to paint you a picture of the connection between those two stories. Other coverage of Tolley’s supposed support is here, and includes the claim that “initial feedback from parents has been very positive”. These are the astroturf parents of National’s heartland “insert region here” no doubt. Meanwhile at the grassroots level Tolley is desperate to bully any and all of the many dissenting voices into silence. She has threatened principals and school boards, and schools (as above), and even gone so far as to censor the Parliamentary Library. Tolley is a disgrace and her national standards are worse. Get rid of both of them.

11 comments on “Standards headlines ”

  1. If ever you needed proof of Lorraine Kerr being in Tolleys pocket it is in her (Tolleys)speech to the NZSTA http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1007/S00178.htm when she says:

    “And for a great example of stepping up, you should look no further than your President, Lorraine Kerr.

    Lorraine is in her fourth year at the helm, and has been a school trustee for all of the 21 years since self-managing schools were introduced.

    Lorraine is well-known for her calm, common-sense approach. But she is also a formidable woman, as many in the education sector have been finding out recently.

    Despite some pretty horrible personal attacks Lorraine has refused to budge from her position. That is, parents, communities and school boards are entitled to good information on the progress being made by students. And I know this view is shared by the Association.

    I want to acknowledge the effort that Lorraine and your Association continue to put in, to ensure that the voices of parents are heard by principals and teachers”

    This is the same Lorraine Kerr who bases the NZSTA’s support of Nationals Standards on a survey of 20 odd schools – all before the Standards were even explained to them. Spin upon spin upon spin.

    The truth is schools in Auckland, Northland, Southland, Canterbury and in areas of the Bay Of Plenty have publicly opposed this daft policy. Many more are doing so quietly.

    Get real delusional Anne.

  2. Michelle 2

    Lorraine Kerr should realise after 21 years at the helm of the NZSTA that schools have been providing excellent information pre-National Standards about student achievement.

    I care about my children’s achievement, so I tore up my kids reports without reading them. To relegate some kids to the scrap heap from age 5 ie not achieving to the required standard for their age, is a disgrace.

    Who doesn’t want educational achievement raised (despite that by world standards we are doing pretty well in most areas) ? But the link between these ridiculous standards and raising educational achievement just isn’t there – think Britain’s ‘lost generation’ of kids subjected to similar testing.

    I just hope that the punters wise up to the dangerous game that Anne Tolley and Lorraine Kerr is playing with our kids futures.

  3. ianmac 3

    Fabregas4 Wonder if there are numbers on the number of BOTs who are active members of STA?

    And it should be pointed out that the majority of Principals who have spoken out do so on behalf of most of the 15,000 Primary teachers and of course the kids. The teachers cannot say much but Principals can and do, even though they deeply resent being put in that position. They have enough to do. I cannot think of another issue imposed by a politician, that caused such disquiet except perhaps for Bulk Funding, but then that was not a matter directly impacting on the kids.

    As for with-holding funds from BOTs ………. This would directly disadvantage the kids! Shame!

  4. Schools should withdraw from NZSTA in protest. In the main it is the industrial side of NZSTA that schools use and this is available whether schools are a member or not.

    I have googled ‘opposition of National Standards” – the number of schools newsletters that come up is amazing.

    The problem is that Principals are members of Boards, the professional leaders, and employees. It is a very difficult balancing act – especially when Tolley and Kerr talk about Principals who are getting on introducing the Standards as ‘professional’ implicitly suggesting that those who do not are unprofessional. This is a clear tactic for undermining the relationship between Boards and Principals and I have seen it used several times now.

    In fact it should be an expectation of all Boards that their Principal thinks critically about the policies that affect teaching and learning in their school. Happily many Boards have and I have heard many comments that Boards are supporting passive resistance of the Standards.

  5. Maggie 5

    Also interesting to see the widespread opposition in the USA. I am no educationalist but firmly believe when teachers and principals speak out they deserve to be heeded.

    • Fabregas4 5.1

      Thank you Maggie. It’s the same across all jobs. I wouldn’t dream of advising other professionals about the best way to do their job. Me looking over the shoulder of a doctor or electrician or social worker would be a disaster! But I am a teaching professional – I deserve, as do all teachers to have a say in my profession. Most importantly, rarely do teachers work for their own self interest. I have lots of discussions around money at my school – never for the teachers themselves but rather they are always asking for more resources and opportunities for the children. I thank them for this – it demonstrates that they care about their job and the children. The truth is that whilst teachers care the politicians quite frankly do not. The teachers will be there long after Tolley and her cronies – working in a difficult, and increasingly difficult job, for the best interests of children and their families – they deserve the best support and a modicum of respect from the government.

  6. Dan 6

    I was reminded of a quote from someone way back. I think it was Russell Marshall: “Those who can, teach; those who can’t become the Minister of Education.”
    And when I see the Minister conferring all sorts of praise on Lorraine Kerr whose head office STA wants even more powers and responsibilities to school trustees, I weep. They struggle at the best of times to do their job and I see a Minister hiding behind communities who will be required to make a drastic shortfall in educational funding by fundraising or bulkfunding.
    Tolley must go.

    • ianmac 6.1

      BOT have a job of Governance and are not supposed to interfere with the content of the school program. Anne Tolley seems to want to erode that distinction. As Fabregass4 says, the Industrial side of STA can come in to help when the Governance side of BOT becomes blurred. If Tolley keeps going by encouraging the blurring there will be much trouble at the mill!

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