14th April 2011
For Immediate Release
Government needs to be called to account for National Standards Sector Advisory Group
The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says serious questions need to be asked about what the government’s National Standards Sector Advisory Group is actually achieving.
The group is meeting for the fourth time today after it was set up by the Education Minister in September last year. It was supposed to provide an opportunity for sector groups to share experiences, identify issues and then feedback to the Education Minister.
“The only thing this group seems to be doing is talking to itself about the difficulties and confusion that exist around National Standards while failing to come up with or communicate any solutions,” says NZEI President Ian Leckie.
The sector has called for the implementation of National Standards to be deferred until the real issues have been addressed. It feels schools should not have to set student achievement targets, label children or report to parents based on unreliable and untested information.
Ian Leckie says “the implementation of National Standards is a shambles and there is no confidence that they will have any effect on student achievement. Yet there is no sense that the advisory group has changed its terms of reference or work programme to reflect any of the professional concerns. To date it has contributed nothing and there is no interface with the sector at all.”
NZEI withdrew from the group earlier this year out of frustration and disappointment with its failure to address the real issues.
“It is increasingly clear that the advisory group, which includes several handpicked individuals who have very few links to schools and the sector, has been set up to support the implementation of National Standards and tell the government what it wants to hear,” says Mr Leckie.
“It is failing to meet its own stated goals and is not working within its own terms of reference. Its value and its future should be seriously questioned.”