30 August 2012
More evidence Government on wrong track over education
A recently-released report on education once again indicates how the Government’s education policy will be damaging to our public education system, especially for those students who are struggling.
The report, Priority Learners in New Zealand, says schools need to be innovative, creative and responsive to address the needs of struggling students.
NZEI Te Riu Roa Past President Frances Nelson says sadly the Government’s changes to education are already starting to force schools away from individualised learning and creativity and into focusing on the narrow one-size-fits-all approach of National Standards. Introducing more competition into schools through publishing league tables and performance pay linked to student achievement would put further pressure on schools to narrow their approach.
The ERO report says it is essential that learners are treated as individuals who possess interests, strengths and capabilities.
“Sadly, the New Zealand curriculum, which has as its foundation the principles of individual learning and developing the key skills needed to be successful life-long learner, is being put at risk by the Government’s National Standards policy. The ERO report is another damning indictment of the wrong direction that the Government’s education policy is taking. The risk is that we will see severe damage to our world-leading public education system.”
The ERO report says the significant gap between our top performing students and our lowest performing students needs to be urgently addressed.
“We know that children who are struggling need more individualized teaching and better resourcing. We know, for instance, that Reading Recovery works. But there is a lack of resources for these successful intervention programmes. Out-of-school issues like poor health and housing have the biggest impact on a child’s ability to learn and develop to his or her full potential and schools alone cannot turn around the impacts of poverty.
“The ERO report argues that innovation, creativity and responsiveness should be the norm in all schools and for all students. We will not achieve that with National Standards."