I opened the New Zealand Listener today (I know, I know) and something happened that summed up what really makes me annoyed about Nationals Standards. A brochure for the very worthwhile charity Kids Can fell out of the magazine. The charity provides shoes, raincoats and food for children in need.
These statements are included:
Every day is an uphill battle if you arrive at school without shoes, three meals a day or a raincoat to keep you dry
Children who miss out on the basics can’t participate fully in the classroom
Kids Can is dedicated to removing barriers preventing less fortunate children from getting the most out of education
We meet the basic needs of Kiwi kids living in poverty, ensuring they get and through the school gates in a better position to learn.
These guys get it. They know who the so called tail of achievement is made up of. I bet they even know (like every educator on earth let alone in New Zealand) who National Standards will show as underachieving.
Enough is enough, we live in New Zealand ‘Kids living in poverty!’ how can this be in a country like ours and how can this government ignore the facts that everyone else, including the good people at Kids Can can see so plainly. It’s not the schools, or the teachers, or the Boards of Trustees, or the Principals – it is that we have allowed close to 30 years of robbing the poor to pay the rich, lowered incomes, reduced job opportunities, and invested less and less on the common, decent Kiwi man and woman preferring instead to glorify the rich and sell our best assets to those overseas.
National Standards are nothing but a diversion from the real and substantial problems we have as a society – it is as plain as the scowl on Tolley’s face and as clear as the fake grin on John Key’s ugly and uncaring mug.