National’s education policy, released yesterday, will go down as the lowest point in this year’s election campaign,’ says the President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation, Peter Simpson.
‘Parents, communities, Boards of Trustees and the teaching professionals who have tried for three years to engage the Minister in intelligent discussions about National’s flawed standards policy now know that this government has no intention of listening to them,’ he said.
The National party policy will continue to drive its culture of competition and will continue to apply its business accountability model of assessing children on the national standards to produce a performance measure for teachers and schools. Professionals and experts both in New Zealand and abroad have all concluded that this is the wrong direction for educating children of the future and will not lift the achievement of children.
New Zealand teachers are arguably one of the most accountable professional groups in the country. Schools are audited by the Education Review Office, teachers have stringent Teachers’ Council standards to abide by, every teacher and principal has their performance evaluated every year and teachers are answerable to parents through regular reporting and parent interviews.
‘As a profession, we have never shied away from accountability,’ says Simpson. ‘What is disappointing about National’s education policy is that it is applying a model of accountability that best suits a factory production line producing same sized widgets which have just three characteristics,’ said Simpson.
‘Children do not arrive at school as uniform vessels with three empty spaces labelled reading writing and maths which teachers are employed to fill up for them in some standardised way. The accountability model which emanates from the National party policy assumes however that they do.’ said Simpson.