Parents and teachers continue to report their dismay at National Standards and how it is narrowing the curriculum, how some children are being overlooked in favour of others, and how the stress of it all is even upsetting Year 1 students.
This is from Russel Norman, Leader of The Green Party.
Over the weekend I got a first hand account of the disastrous impact of “national standards” on poor kids’ education. I spoke with some young teachers at a low decile primary school. I have known them for some time. The kids at the school are really struggling and most are failing the standards due to things like transience, poverty, lack of food etc. The principal and teachers are getting it in the neck from central govt because their kids aren’t making the standard.
So now they have been forced to focus their efforts on the small number of kids who are close to meeting the standard but just below it. If they can get this small number of kids over the line then they will get a tick from the government. But what it means is that those kids who are well below the standard get less teacher attention than ever before, and those very small number of kids well over the standard also get neglected.
In practical terms, one of the teachers has a class of well over 30, none of whom are over the standard but less than 10 of whom could make it. So now this teacher is being directed to put his effort into the small number of kids who might make it to the detriment of the rest.
How is this good for our kids and our society? And it is very demoralising for the teachers who went into the profession, and specifically into low decile schools, to make a difference.
We need to support our teachers to be great not force them to neglect our most vulnerable. And we need the Green party’s community hubs program to give kids the basics so they have a chance to get a good education.
This is not what education should be about.
The trouble is, this government will not listen to teachers or principals, not even to Professors of education. The only people that can force an end to this is parents. Together, parents can force a rethink.