It’s a bit of a worry when the man who created the PISA rankings comes to visit NZ, meets with Hekia Parata, and starts waxing lyrical about how National Standards are going to do great things for our education system, but that’s just what Andreas Schleicher did.
It’s especially odd when, in the same breath, he is lauding our amazing school autonomy, our ingenuity, our innovation.
This is my article from The Daily Blog, pondering his strangely schizophrenic standpoint…
I have been left confused by a recent article by Andreas Schleicher.
In it he begins by singing the praises of ”New Zealand’s liberal and entrepreneurial school system.” He speaks very highly of the benefits of school autonomy, reflecting that “It would be hard to imagine [principals doing the same] in one of Southern Europe’s bureaucratic school systems” and ends with triumphant praise of the Kiwi schools that “have moved on from delivered wisdom, to user-generated wisdom, from a culture of standardization, conformity and compliance towards being innovative and ingenious”
Wow, I thought. He gets it.
He understands that autonomy beats bureaucracy, that creativity beats standardisation, and that Kiwi schools are doing a good job.
Then I remembered, this is the same man who, in a visit to NZ recently, sang the praises of National Standards, and alarm bells started tinkling far away in the back of my mind, but I read on…
Schleicher says there were Kiwi principals complaining to him that they have difficulties attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers, yet he doesn’t address this at all. Surely that’s a hugely important issue if we are to improve our system further?
Just ponder what school leavers and graduates might be thinking if they consider teaching as a career: Why join a profession that is being battered world wide? Why take a job that is used as a political football? Why pay for training when some are being paid to jump into the classroom with little or no training?
Because, really, if teachers can now go into schools after just 6 weeks’ training over the summer holidays while schools are shut or, in the case of charter schools, go into the classroom with no training at all, surely that will put a fair few off paying fees and taking years to get a teaching degree?
Are we slowly but surely giving up on the idea of trained teachers? And if so, how does that help raise the bar? Just how does it help principals’ concerns over attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers? Maybe that’s why he glossed over the issue – it’s easier for him to ignore it than address it?
But I would love to know what the principals think.
There is no discussion, either, of why teachers are leaving the profession in droves. Maybe it’s easier to gloss over serious issues like that? But you would think, wouldn’t you, that it might be worth a few lines?
No, because all Schleicher is really interested in, is promoting National Standards….
– Read the rest of the article at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/07/28/education-do-we-want-ingenuity-and-freedom-or-standardisation-and-control/#sthash.1GLLWKv1.dpuf
If you want to know what he thinks of National Standards, click the link and read the rest (and the comments below the article, too).
I’m still baffled by his strangely incoherent views, to be honest, and would welcome any feedback on his original article and my response to it.