How many good educators are we losing all over the world each week due to the GERM (Global Education Reform Movement)? This one in NZ? This one in the USA? Or this bunch in the UK? Or these twelve in Iberia?
- How many are over the excessive testing that is about data collection not about student learning?
- Or are fed up with the wonky teacher assessment methods that negate trust in senior staff and instead bow before the altar of data points?
- How many are just plain fed up of being bullied?
- How many are fearful for the future of education?
Because judging students just on their scores, or weighting the scores so heavily that the students feel they are judged as people by them, is not a way to educate and grow good people. Students should be and are tested throughout schooling, but it should be done to personalise their learning, with fast turnout and feedback, and about growth not about a line in the sand that is called The Standard.
And what about all of the factors that impinge on student learning? How come they get so little air time from the people demanding reforms left, right and centre and insisting they only care about the kids? Forgive my cynicism, but could it just be that there is no money to be made in solving those problems but heaps to be made in selling educational materials to panicked parents?
It is a sick world we live in where we blame teachers for the ills in our societies and don’t look at the root causes of poverty, ill health, poor homes and hopelessness that factor large for those not achieving all they otherwise might.
Poverty does not automatically mean poorer achievement, but usually it does. The OECD reported that “education experiences remain strongly associated with social disadvantage. In many countries there are large numbers of people with very low education levels whose family origins were impoverished and characterised by disadvantage. Whilst education can break such intergenerational cycles of disadvantage, it can also act to reinforce them: for example, if education policy is not designed with egalitarian notions in mind.” Source (page 7).
That is the disgrace and shame of all so-called first world countries, and that is the reality many countries are facing right now, including in New Zealand.
Is that truly the country you want? If it is, then GERM is your friend- let it run rampant and do its business all over our education system.
But if you want better for our country as a whole, then you need to say “No more”.
No to rampant global reforms in education that are far more about $$$ than they ever were about learning or improving.
Let’s get back to research-based, well-thought-out improvements for all schools that truly are about raising achievement for all.