750 Principals vote ‘No Confidence’ in National Standards Policy - 9 April 2011
Immediately following an address by the Minister of Education, Anne Tolley, at the New Zealand Principals’ Federation annual conference today, the President of the Federation Peter Simpson moved ‘that at this point in time, the NZPF Membership has no confidence in the education policy and direction of the current government, in relation to National Standards, as led by the Minister.’
“750 Principals have today sent a clear message to the government”, said Peter Simpson. “The vote signals that New Zealand principals are galvanised in their views that the National Standards policy is the wrong way to go if we want to address the 14% of underachievers, and prepare children for the future.” he said.
The vote comes at the end of the three day conference at which principals have listened to educational experts from China, the USA, Australia and Canada who have all warned against the introduction of a culture of narrow assessment and testing which throughout the world has resulted in negative effects on children’s achievement levels. Countries that had adopted this approach are now reviewing that decision as their world rankings in achievement have suffered.
“The world experts who addressed our conference this week endorsed what we have been trying to communicate to government for the past two years”, said Simpson.
“We have known from the outset that the National Standards are fundamentally flawed and will narrow not broaden children’s learning. They focus on the old fashioned notion that the 3Rs are what count in the curriculum, when in the 21st century, the experts are telling us that the skills children need today are also creativity, innovation, critical thinking and problem solving.”
“Our New Zealand curriculum is geared for the 21st century and is one of the best in the world”, says Simpson. “National Standards would only serve to undermine it. Our concerns have been endorsed by academics, by hundreds of Boards of Trustees, by teachers, by thousands of parents and today 750 principals who represent 14,000 collective years of experience with learners,” said Simpson
For more information:
NZPF Spokesperson: NZPF President, Peter Simpson: 027 226 9441