30th November 2009
For Immediate Release
Taskforce Recommendations Take Education Back Not Forward
New Zealand’s education system has much to fear from the just released Taskforce 2025 report, according to the education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa.
The Don Brash-led Taskforce advocates that governance and accountability structures in the school sector be reformed to provide better incentives for stronger performance and greater accountability for teachers, principals and schools.
NZEI President Frances Nelson says this will raise alarm bells for school communities and boards who currently have a major role in determining the best way forward for their students.
“This type of policy position, like the rushed development and imposition of National Standards, begins to unpick the fabric of Tomorrow’s Schools and the governance of community-focused schools.”
The report also recommends a for-profit approach to education by which private providers could set up and receive government bulk-funding for its students. It claims educational outcomes and accountability would be improved through incentivising schools and teachers with performance-based payments.
Providing education to turn a commercial profit is the wrong driver for educating children and sets up a parallel education system couched in terms of more choice.
“The words ‘for-profit’ and ‘education’ do not sit comfortably together,” Frances Nelson says.
“There is also no evidence that tying teacher pay to performance raises student outcomes or creates better learning environments for them. It is a flawed and discredited method of measuring teacher skill and competence.”
“Dr Brash and his team should look to strengthen and support what we know works in New Zealand rather than seeking to impose failed policies from other countries or the distant past.”