13th October 2008
Education Crusade Is No Knight In Shining Armour
The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says the National's Party's literacy and numeracy crusade will simply support programmes and initiatives which are already in place to lift student achievement.
The Party says it will invest $47 million in what it calls a Crusade for Literacy and Numeracy and has released a ten step plan to support it. The focus is setting national standards in literacy and numeracy, assessing children regularly against those standards, and better reporting back to parents.
NZEI says while any extra money which supports teaching and learning is welcome, a system of assessment standards is already in place.
NZEI President Frances Nelson says "schools have a variety of assessment tools which they use to benchmark children and set targets for improvement. Saying a crusade is being launched is overstating the situation. The National Party is simply reaffirming systems and programmes which have been in place to raise literacy and numeracy standards for many years."
NZEI would also like to see more detail around certain areas of the Party's 10 step plan, particularly on how it intends to provide extra support to underperforming schools and to help schools deal with disruptive students.
"Teachers would also be uneasy over a proposal to celebrate the success of top performing teachers as it could signal a move to performance pay," says Ms Nelson.
"If National wants to get serious about addressing underachievement in schools it also needs effective policies which deal with poverty. Social issues and educational issues go hand in hand."