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“National Standards” obsession drives education policy

21 November 2011
For Immediate Release

“National Standards” obsession drives education policy

National’s education policy for schools is one dimensional and is all about tick-the-box compliance driven by the flawed “National Standards”, says the education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa.

Under its just-released policy, “National Standards” are the centrepiece of National’s agenda and will now be used as the key accountability and performance measure across all schools.

“Almost everything in this policy is underpinned by National Standards,” says NZEI immediate past-President Frances Nelson.

“Professional development for teachers will hinge around “National Standards”, there will be more expert advisors to implement them, schools will be expected to publish plans and targets against them by a certain date, provide templates of clear school reports, and schools and teachers will have their performance measured against them.”

“It’s frightening to see how much more time and money National is willing to throw into “National Standards” when parents, teachers and school communities continue to have so little confidence in them," she says.

National is also making it clear that it will do nothing to stop public league tables being drawn up based on “National Standards” information.

Frances Nelson says schools will be very alarmed by this.

“Schools know that because the Standards are so flawed, the level of moderation is so inconsistent, and implementation is so varied around the country, any student achievement data based on them is completely unreliable. It is unfair and dangerous for ‘National Standards’ to be used to compare and judge school performance, let alone as an accountability measure”.

NZEI is also concerned that National wants to shift the resourcing model to ‘incentivise school performance’ as it suggests that money will be removed from those schools which are not complying with ‘National Standards’ or are not performing against them.”

“More measuring doesn’t make the pig fatter and National’s policy will simply increase the bureaucracy in education without adding value to the people who matter – children,” says Ms Nelson.

NZEI also believes it is unfair that National has left it so late to release such important education policy in the lead up to the election.

“We know National has an agenda for education. It should be flagged honestly and within a timeframe that people have an opportunity to debate it and make an informed decision,” Ms Nelson says.


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