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Local Body Action on National Standards

9th December 2010

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa is congratulating the Porirua City Council for taking the lead and becoming the first local body to pass a motion responding to deep community concern over National Standards.

Last night the Council voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion to “support parents, boards, principals and teachers in Porirua schools with requesting that the Minister of Education enter into discussions with the school sector about issues identified in the National Standards and its implementation”

The motion was put forward by Councillor Litea Ah Hoi who told the Council that it needed to reflect the views of the community by listening to school leaders and parents who are saying they have no confidence that National Standards will raise student achievement, particularly for Maori and Pasifika children. She also said the children of Porirua were too precious to experiment with.

NZEI President Frances Nelson says the motion is very significant in terms of the National Standards debate.

“This is the first time we have seen a local body stand up on behalf of its community, to send the Government a clear message that it needs to engage with the school sector over the growing disquiet about its National Standards policy and its implementation.”

“It is also great to see a local council making education a priority and looking at a government policy such as National Standards in the context of its own specific social and educational needs,” she says.

There are hundreds of other communities and schools which are expressing frustration with National Standards. The results of a recent UMR poll showed that the more people know about the Standards, the less confident they are that they will make any difference to student achievement.

“I hope other local bodies will have the same courage to follow in the footsteps of the Porirua City Council and take similar action to reflect those views,” says Frances Nelson.

ENDS

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