Educators will need to be consulted heavily if the overhaul of education announced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins today is to be successful.
NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said NZEI welcomed the reforms.
“We are generally pleased with the direction this Government is taking in education. We encourage the Minister to take the time needed to undertake the reform properly. Careful and planned implementation is needed and would set this Government apart from the previous National Government.
“There are huge and pressing issues that need resolving in education. Today’s announcement gives us some hope for these being addressed.”
The issues include: teacher shortages and the ability to attract and retain teachers, sufficient release time for teachers to teach and lead, ECE funding and a need to fix the ECE sector issues more generally, principal burn-out and stress, and more support for children with additional learning and behavioural needs.
“We want a world-leading curriculum and an education sector that fosters children’s love of learning and allows teachers to the freedom to teach and engage children in the learning that motivates them.
“However, the reforms will only be successful if teachers are meaningfully consulted in the development of the new programmes.”
Teachers were the experts in education and were able to bring to the table best practice and real world experience of children’s learning.
Over the past nine years under the National Government education has languished to the point that it is now in crisis.
It’s been a year of non-stop changes and proposals. Some call it a war on free public schooling in NZ – indeed it feels like a continuous battery of skirmishes with little to no break between attacks.
If the Minister is purposefully undertaking psychological warfare to break teachers down, then she’s doing it well, because we’re worn out; We just want to teach.
So far this year, NZ public education has faced:
- COOLs – out of nowhere and with no consultation at all, Hekia Parata announces plans for online charter schools for 5-18 year olds.
- Global Funding – a raft of proposals to bulk fund schools, including giving schools a set payment to fund teachers with the provision for schools to spend that money any way they want (including not spending it on teachers). This means government would cease to guarantee to maintain teacher/students ratios at current levels.
- Special Educational Needs – the Minister has proposed significant changes, but appears to have largely ignored the information collected at select committee. It was confirmed that there will be no additional money for SEN, despite a real issue with under-funding. There are proposals to divert current funding towards early childhood education and reduce funding for 5-18 year olds. Proposal to stop ORS funding at age 18 rather than 21. (And Hekia lied in the house saying the proposals have support where none exists.)
- Operations budget frozen – schools’ operations funding is frozen despite a hike in power and water bills, meaning a net loss of funds to schools. This means less money for things such as libraries, equipment, specialist classes, and teacher aides.
- Teacher Education Refresher course – ill-thought-out and inappropriate targeting of teachers for retraining costing $4k (and no student loans available for the course) causes huge amounts of stress for teachers and put pressure on schools as it gets harder to find relievers.
- Charter Schools – two more, despite the current ones missing targets set by Ministry of Education
- National Standards – the ‘National Standards: School Sample Monitoring & Evaluation Project 2010-2014‘ report was published and reported that “evidence strongly suggests that [Overall Teacher judgements (OTJs)] lack dependability, which is problematic as OTJs are a central element of the National Standards system”. Despite this, National Standards are still being pushed and continue to be used by government as if they are reliable.
- Pushing PaCT – schools being pressured to adopt the Progress and Consistency Tool for National Standards. This includes workshops that give school staff very biased and one-sided information. There are still concerns PaCT is being pushed in order to later use the data for performance pay, despite research and experiences showing that teacher performance pay does not improve student outcomes and in some cases lowers it.
- Education funding diverted to private sector – proposal to give a larger portion of the education budget to charter schools and private schools, leaving less for public schools
- Untrained Staff unsupervised in classes – Minister proposed a law change to allow untrained ‘teachers’ to work unsupervised in public school classrooms (this while at the same time forcing trained teachers to spend $4k to upskill if they are deemed to have not done enough classroom teaching over the past few years).
I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things – there have been so many – so please comment below if there’s anything that needs to be added.
Meanwhile, look after yourselves – there’s still one whole term to go and, as we know, a lot can happen in a few short weeks.
PS, more added below!
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Dear Mr Plested,
I had no idea that running a freight company gave one such insight, but since you clearly you know all there is to know about managing everything in the world, from trucking companies to education systems, I am hoping you will give me and my documentary making team permission to come and film at Mainfreight to see how perfect everything is there. So we can learn from it. Since you know everything.
We would like to do a one-to-one interview with you about your time as a teacher and principal, the pedagogies you use, your ethos, the professional development you have undertaken and your insight into child development. I feel we could learn a lot from you.
We would ideally like to film in the school you have running at Mainfreight and see the students in action. This will be inspirational for those poor teachers in the state system who don’t know what you know.
The mountains of evidence showing that performance pay for teachers doesn’t work (and not only doesn’t work but lowers student outcomes) needs to dealt to. Research is over-rated – all that peer-reviewed tosh! It’s time to show that none of that has any value by sharing your insightful reckons.
I for one am glad people like you are onto it. The education system needs more back seat drivers – that’s the very thing it’s been lacking all these years. Look how well it went when they handed all those English schools over to mobile phone execs and carpet moguls. It’s not like they had anything to gain from taking over all of those schools and taking the money that would have been wasted on students. Far better that it goes to businessmen such as your good self so that you can spend it on the important things like Vera Wang tea services, $1k meals and top-end Jaguars.
Let’s get this education system sorted. Get your people to call my people and we’ll Skype…
Dianne Khan & the film team
PS: It’s wonderful that you support experiments on school students, and I’m hoping that – as such an advocate – you will be happy to send your child/ren to the nearest charter school and let us track how they get on there in a fly-on-the-wall stand-alone doco.
Education reformers like to say they are doing it for the kids. That the reforms will improve the education system. Mountains of evidence shows this is poppycock and that education reforms overwhelmingly lead to profits being more important than the children’s education.
England As An Example
In England, the government has ruled that by 2020 Academies (charter schools by another name) will take over ALL state schools. Forcibly.
Whether parents and students want it or not. Whether the staff want it or not. Whether the school board wants it or not. Whether the school is doing badly or brilliantly.
It’s been mandated: ALL England’s public schools will be handed over to Academies.
Do Academies/Charter Schools Improve Education Systems?
If Academies raised standards, perhaps it would be understandable that the government wishes to hand all schools over. Acceptable, even. But they don’t.
Pro-reformers will point out this school or that as being improved under the charter school model. But the truth is, they are the exception. Under this model, there is a raft of bad practice: Suspensions rise. Inclusion goes down. Cherry-picking of students takes place. And when similar cohorts are compared between public and charter schools, it is clear that charter schools do not improve results.
Even the UK Department of Education’s own analysis shows that, overall, England’s state schools do better when run by the Local Education Authority than by an Academy Trust.
Which surely begs the question of why this is being done.
Follow The Money
If you want to know the reason for reforms, follow the money.
Ask yourself, who benefits from these changes?
It isn’t the students: England’s national and international test results have fallen since Academies were put in place.
It isn’t teachers: Classroom teachers’ work conditions and pay are often far worse in Academies.
So just who is raking in the money? You might want to take a look at Academy Trusts’ CEOs. And while you’re at it, have a look at the misappropriations and frauds that have already happened in Academies. (A reminder – that’s your tax money they are taking. Money that is meant to be used to educate students.)
And where are savings being made, to pay these CEOs? Excellent question.
Are Academy CEOs such brilliant businessfolk that they are able to use money so much more wisely than LEAs and school principals ever did? Is running a thriving carpet empire or a successful mobile phone business what it takes to make an education system great?
No, not so much.
UK Schools Minister Nick Gibb recently said, in a speech championing Academies, that “[n]o child should have to spend one day more than necessary in an underperforming school and as an urgent matter of social justice we are determined to spread educational excellence to every corner of the country.”
But does the rhetoric match the reality?
Indeed not, and the list of failures grows daily, with evidence showing that in England LEA schools out-perform Academies.
So what is really going on?
Cost Cutting and Untrained Staff
Let’s take this Academy school as an example.
Hatfield Academy primary school was, in 2015, rated inadequate at many levels. The OFSTED report specifically said that teaching was inadequate and stated that the school must “[u]rgently improve the quality of teaching”.
And yet this failing Academy is happily advertising for someone with no training at all to teach its students:
No knowledge of pedagogies. No research of good practice. No understanding of child development or psychology.
To put this further into context, this is a school where a school survey of parents showed that:
- 27% felt their child/ren were not making good progress at the school.
- 45% felt the school is not well led or well managed.
- 42% felt the school does not deal well with concerns raised, and
- 40% of parents said they would NOT recommend this school to another parent.
This is a school that thinks, with all of the above in mind, that employing untrained staff to teach students is acceptable.
This is global education reform.
The ACT party education policy proclaims that:
“all parents should have a chance to send their children to Partnership Schools. The best way to achieve this is to allow all State and Integrated Schools to choose whether they want to convert to Partnership School status.”
Despite the fact that charter schools do not have to have parents on their board of trustees, the ACT policy goes on to say that:
“Partnership Schools are accountable to parents and students.”
How, I wonder, if parents are not on the board and most information about the school can be kept secret due to it being a private business.
It is incredulous that ACT is still arguing that privatisation (of anything) automatically raises standards. It is patently untrue, as shown by the prisons saga and power companies.
What is true is that once a service is privatised, more money goes into CEOs’ back pockets and less to the workers or those they are meant to serve.
“Education is supposed to be for the benefit of New Zealand’s children.”
Ask yourself, who would privatisation benefit?
~ Dianne Khan
I could never work in an Academy. As an educator, a professional and a passionate believer in universal education, they represent a corruption of the principles of equal access to free education. Not only that, the long litany of problems involving finance, curriculum alterations and mistreatment of students and staff clearly outline that Academy schools aren’t great places to work. A friend of mine wrote beautifully on the subject a little while ago now.
In New Zealand we have Charter Schools a half formed cargo cult version. They’re already in trouble due to finance, curriculum and mistreatment of students and staff. Sounds awfully familiar.
The first UK Academy opened in 2002. Their introduction was aimed at reinventing inner city schools with significant results and management problems. Then sponsors got involved, either rich individuals or corporations (including educorps). They were supposed to bring in private sector best practice and management, like most privatisation is supposed to.
In May 2010 the Conservative-Liberal Democrat (Lib Dem) Coalition came to power in the UK. There were, at the time, 203 Academies in the UK – mostly Secondary Schools.
The term of the Tory education secretary Michael Gove saw a radical expansion of Academies. This was often as a result of OFSTED inspections, some of which classed schools as failing only a year or two after they had been called outstanding. Some schools were forced into becoming Academies, against the will of pupils’ parents.
Today there are 4,516 academies; 2,075 out of 3,381 secondary schools and 2,440 of 16,766 primary schools. The expansion was so rapid that many private Academy trusts took on more schools than they could cope with, leading to those schools failing and being taken back by the DfE until another Academy group could be found to take over. The free market of schools.
“It was the middle of last week when I heard that I could never work in the UK again as a teacher”
It was the middle of last week when I heard that I could never work in the UK again as a teacher. I’ve no plans to move back, I love Aotearoa New Zealand, but the crunching finality of knowing that there’d be no place that I could conscientiously work was sudden and upsetting.
In the Budget, Chancellor George Osborne (not the pig tampering one, the one who looks like a pig) announced that all English schools would be converted into Academies by 2020. Every single one of them.
What does this mean? Well, given the evidence already available it would mean none of the UK’s schools would be bound to teach the National Curriculum, instead being charged to provide a ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum. So what you’re taught in one school may be radically different from another. Not teaching style, actual content.
It’s not great for pupils, in more ways than one. Many Academies have operated a subtle and not so subtle selection process, choosing only pupils who are likely to be able to improve their results. Others, when dealing with those who are disruptive or failing, have placed pupils on study leave during exam or inspection periods, or placed them in study support centres outside of the school. This can take the form of pupils and parents being asked to leave by the school, rather than being excluded (which would show up in the all important league tables). Now that every school is to become an Academy, where do those pupils go?
Academies have, over the long term, not been proven to raise results any more significantly than schools in the UK operating under the LEA’s (Local Education Authorities, which will soon be defunded and dissolved). In fact, Academies have come under fire for exactly the same issues that LEA schools had in management, results and organisation, the same issues which saw the schools be forced to convert! Conversion turns every school into an individual Ltd company and scythes out the level of local support and oversight that was previously provided by the LEA. On such a huge scale, that’s far too much for the Department for Education to handle.
It’s going to cost money too. Newly converting Academies get a 10% funding boost, at a time when state funded schools have seen budgets cut year on year. But due to the rapid expansion of Academy schools and the lack of oversight, many have had to be bailed out by the Department for Education. I guess bringing in the ‘best of the private sector’ does mean being utterly sure the Government will spend millions trying to salvage the mess you make.
Overall, it’s had a huge impact on the profession. Academies are not bound by the collectively negotiated pay structure, meaning the UK’s Teaching Unions will have to bargain with individual Academy Trusts and schools. They’re also not bound by the negotiated terms and conditions of contract for teachers, which means many teachers find themselves on-call permanently or schools have employed teachers on the equivalent of zero hours contracts. The trend for Academies to lack unionisation, because of the ease with which you can be dismissed, makes this even harder.
It’s not great for Academies, either, though. Without a national pay structure, schools who can find more money will get the better teachers. Schools with wealthy backers will have more than schools that don’t.
As a male Primary teacher, I’m relatively certain that I’d be paid more than a female doing the same job with the same experience. Why? Because I’m rarer. Teaching is one of the few professions where pay equality was built in already. And they’re getting rid of it.
“Academies don’t have to employ qualified teachers”
There’s also the question of professionalism itself. Academies don’t have to employ qualified teachers. And hidden in the announcement of Academisation was the change to Qualified Teacher Status.
Previously, Newly Qualified Teachers (NQT’s) were assessed over the course of a year or two to see if they were able to meet the standards for a qualified teacher. With a huge teacher shortage looming in the UK, the plan is to allow teachers to teach for longer in the classroom and be certified by their Headteacher and a Senior Staff member.Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says this will drive up standards, and drive is an important word. She announced that allowing teachers longer to qualify and removing the strict schedule teachers had to meet will allow those NQTs who struggle more chances to make it.
As an experienced teacher, I look back on my NQT period as far, far less intensive than doing the job in the years that followed. It’s being presented as like a driving test, just because you fail doesn’t mean you’re a bad driver, right?
“…reducing the standards you require of a teacher doesn’t drive up standards and professionalism, it drives it over a cliff”
Fair enough, but with one report saying teachers would have up to a DECADE to pass, it makes you ask – if it takes you ten years to pass your driving test, maybe you’re just not a driver? Buy a bike. Or walk. Some people just aren’t meant for the classroom, some people just aren’t teachers and the attempt to try and fill the rapidly depleting profession by reducing the standards you require of a teacher doesn’t drive up standards and professionalism, it drives it over a cliff.
It also makes it trickier for teachers to do as I did and head overseas. There’s been a mass exodus of teachers from the English system, coincidentally or otherwise, in the last six years. By shifting the QTS award to something less substantial, overseas authorities may very well view them as insufficient evidence of an ability to teach. I’m glad I left when I did; others in future may not be so lucky.
There is already a growing and vocal opposition to all of the plans outlined above, as well there should. Announcing you’re ditching LEA oversight and support of schools, dumping the need for any school to employ qualified teachers, dropping the National Curriculum, scrapping nationally negotiated terms and conditions and placing schools in a bidding war for new teachers is a huge and complete evidence free attack on the quality and professionalism of education in the UK.
“For me there’s sadness.”
For me there’s sadness. My love of teaching was developed, as a student, in the UK system that’s now being explosively dismantled. I spent the first five years of my teaching career safe in the knowledge that I was a public servant, providing fair and equal education to all of my children as a professional. I was paid the same as anyone else who was experienced as I was, and I could talk with teachers from around the country about the curriculum and its delivery in the knowledge that we were all working together as equals. It was an education system for the whole country. If these plans are implemented, it won’t be any more.
In Aotearoa we should take lessons from the way in which Academy failures were written off or marginalised to the public and how concerted political pressure on inspection agencies led to the dramatic spread of privatised schools. The few Charter Schools in this country are already struggling, and what has happened in the UK this week shows us the future of education if they’re allowed to spread further.
~ John Palethorpe
Michael Rosen on academy schools: ‘Local democracy bites the dust’ – Guardian
England’s largest academy chain ‘failing too many pupils’ – BBC news
New academies laws were passed by Parliament last night: here is what they mean for you and your school – Time Educational Supplement (TES)
Anti Academy Alliance
Is it trained professional teachers?
Is it a balanced and wide curriculum?
Is it appropriate buildings and equipment?
Is it policies based on sound pedagogical research?
Oooh tell me, tell me, I need to know, how do we make the education system magnificent?
“How we talk about reform, how we deliver our messages, and with whom we communicate will make a big difference when it comes to winning the education reform conversation.”
Ahh. I see.
So the key to successful education reforms is not good policies or trained professional educators, or appropriate equipment and staff – it’s … wait for it …. Marketing.
And who tells us this? The wise and kindly people at Canvas, who are – they say – all about excellence in education.
And they must be, because they promise to teach us to “refine messaging to different audiences”, and we all know that sound pedagogy = a good PR campaign. Doesn’t it?
You can see from their brief CVs that they are indeed passionate educators:
- One worked for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
- Another was Jeb Bush’s communications director.
- One even has a background at Proctor and Gamble, marketing Bounce, and nothing says sound pedagogy like soft fluffy linen.
Oh, wait, you mean that not one of them has any background in education? Not even a brief TFA job. Go figure.
But look, let’s not be cynical – they must be good because the course is a full five hours long and can be done on your phone.
And it says that if you complete the course you get ‘a digital badge and a certificate’! Wahoo – gimme those pixels.
Annnd – unlike the tests these reformers like to foist on our kids – this course isn’t tested or examined! No siree, none of that testing carry on for the good ole education reform vanguard!
You’d think – given they are selling marketing skills – they might have done a better PR job on their own ‘boot camp’, eh? Unless, of course, it is aimed at those already on the reform bandwagon and they don’t really give a monkeys what us educators think…
This is how bad the corruption of the education
reform deform movement can be:
“Twelve parents from Bronzeville [Chicago, USA] and allies from communities across Chicago launch a hunger strike in front of Dyett High School to call out the injustice suffered at the hands of CPS and the appointed Board of Education and to demand the adoption of the Global Leadership and Green Technology plan for Dyett.
Stall tactics and patronage politics from CPS have driven everyday people to use their bodies to stand in the way of further injustice. Instead of honoring their commitment to the process they outlined, CPS and the new education chair for Chicago’s City Council, Ald. Will Burns, have subverted the rules to “grease the rails” for an underperforming contract operator to acquire Dyett High School.
The sabotage of and fight for Dyett has raged since CPS decided to convert a highly-successful middle school to a high school over a 3-month period in 1999.
Horrified by the inability of the first graduating senior class in 2003 to experience college prep or advanced placement classes or a full-time librarian; community members began to invest in the school through the local school council to infuse critical programs and neighborhood partnerships into the building.
The fruits of that labor yielded the highest increase in students attending post-secondary institutions in 2008, and the highest decrease in out-ofschool suspensions and arrests in 2009.
Despite steady significant gains, the Mayoral-appointed Board of Education members voted to phase-out the school in 2012; and the mass erosion of investment to prepare those students for success. Galvanized by this injustice and emboldened by their record of success, parents and concerned residents began to work with educational experts within Chicago and around the country to develop an academic plan based on the community wishes.
Through a series of focus groups, town hall meetings, and extensive consultation with community and educational institutions, the Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology academic plan was developed. Some of the same experts who have developed Level 1 high schools in Chicago led the design team that created this plan in direct consultation with the community over a 4-year period.
Neither of the competing proposals for Dyett come close to this level of community engagement or expertise. “We are willing to starve ourselves to bring justice to our children and our community!”
– Jeanette Taylor-Ramann
Show your support for the hunger strikers by joining the Thunderclap.
Peru has seen an improvement in its education system over the past few years, and Peru’s Education Minister, Jaime Saavedra, credited this in part to the teacher training undertaken by previously untrained educators. Even today there was a press release to that effect. So it seems utterly bizarre that those very same teachers – the ones who have gone back to university and undertaken the training, have been hit with a mass sacking.
Teacher Solidarity reported that over 10,000 teachers have been sacked in Peru – some with over 30 years service. It reports that:
“[t]he teachers were hired on temporary contracts, mostly to work in low-income areas, pending their completion of a teacher training qualification – they had all come straight from university. But with their salaries on average $350 a month, they were usually not in a position to fund the new qualification.“
These teachers were hired in the 1990s when teachers did not need to be qualified. In order to become qualified, they would have to find the university courses themselves, but with wages a low USD$350 a month, many have found this an impossibility.
‘The Dean of the Teachers Association, Julio Mendoza, believes that the sudden change in government policy has economic and political motives. He argues that, “Basically, the goal is to reduce salaries and save money, but on the other hand it is also trying to encourage private, for profit education. With all these difficulties that are presented for public schools, the other sector keeps growing.”‘
Many, including Mendoza, fear that Peru is gearing up to privatise the school system:
“While the state requires an education degree for someone who works in public schools, it doesn’t for private ones. Any person can teach there. While public schools require exhaustive and strict exams for directors, in private schools the only requirement is to have a university title. It doesn’t matter if you are not a teacher. Therefore, they make it easy for public schools to create a business.”
This would be a bizarre move, given the Education Minister identifying teacher training as key to Peru’s improved educational success, as teachers in Peru’s private schools do not have to be qualified.
Yet the facts speak loudly – around half of Peru’s schools are already private schools, and banks and businesses are investing in them. It seems Peru is yet another country falling foul of neoliberal ideology, which hits teachers hard and at the same time fails to benefit students.
Worldwide, in all manner of ways, education is under attack from the money-makers.
Thanks, Milton Friedman, you must be so proud.
Peru on right path in education, says Minister Saavedra
Peruvian Public Teachers Protest Over Ten Thousand Dismissals
Peru: 10,000 teachers sacked in privatisation drive
Excerpts from the readiness report on Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru charter school are startling:
After months of operation, ERO reported in September that the school was in a dire situation with inadequate teaching, poor management, disengaged students, and sub-quality learning. The eyebrow-raising list of findings is here:
It is admirable that the Trust want to help these students. But wanting to and being able to are two different things, and in order to serve any students properly, a school needs to be run well with properly trained and skilled staff that can engage the students. Without that it is nothing.
The school hasn’t even been undertaking proper planning or evaluations. How can you know what the students need without first evaluating where they are? And how can you move them forward without planning for progression?
If the school is mostly dealing with classroom management and behaviour issues, then the staff need to be far more skilled in those areas, which I would suggest takes very experiences teachers with a really special ability in that area.
“Limited feedback.” “Limited positive reinforcement.”
In any school that would be a disgrace. In a school that promised to cater to those most in need, it is doubly so.
Meanwhile, over on planet ACT…
“The New Zealand charter school model is the best in the world …”
said David Seymour, the new under-secretary to the minister of education.
I would ask Mr Seymour to look below at the huge list of this charter school’s serious weaknesses. Does that look like the best in the world to you, Mr Seymour, because it really doesn’t look remotely adequate to most observers and I very much doubt the students feel they are getting the best education possible.
Charter schools were and still are sold as innovative and able to do amazing things that state schools cannot. So far we have one totally failing school, three largely off the radar, and one posting good NCEA results but with very high rates of pupil attrition.
How is any of this improving the education system?
Perhaps I should print David Seymour’s statement in full so you can see what the real focus is:
“The New Zealand charter school model is the best in the world and ALL state schools should have the option to be one.”
David Seymour, the new under-secretary to the minister of education.
That’s the real aim of the game, eh, Mr Seymour; Privatisation at any cost.
Sources and further reading:
When TIME magazine decided to put out a front page depicting a gavel smashing a shiny red apple, with the tag line “Rotten Apples – it’s nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher: Some tech millionaires may have found a way to change that” they really didn’t think for one minute teachers would sit by and let that go unchallenged, surely?
Click here to thunderclap TIME to tell them you want an apology.
US teachers have a battle on their hands right now, regarding tenure. Tenure gives teachers the right to due process if they are being disciplines or faced with being let go. It is not a job for life – it’s merely protection from being sacked at the whim of your employer, without any good reason.
You’d think that wasn’t too much to ask in any job? If an employee is not suitable, then you can show that and they can be let go. Fair enough. But you can’t sack someone just because it takes your fancy, or because they disagree with your politics, or because they spoke out.
This is what’s going on in the USA, and this is why there is a push to ‘reform’ tenure – and by reform, I mean remove it so that teachers can be sacked without due process.
Why would anyone want that. You have to ask yourself…
And in New Zealand we are not exempt, small changes here and there in our labour laws, small changes here and there to the Education Act allowing untrained teachers, proposals to have a code of conduct for teachers that expressly states we cannot speak out about our employer (our school, the government, both?).
The Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) is on a mission worldwide, and it’s teachers they have in their sights now.
Tell TIME not to fall for it and to stop sharing GERMers’ lies.
This edited version of the cover is more truthful.
This from the Randi Weingarten:
In just the last 36 hours, more than 30,000 people have signed our petition demanding that Time magazine apologize for its offensive cover.
Next week, we’ll be delivering every petition we collect to Time’s headquarters in New York. Our goal is that they never again try to make money by attacking educators. First, we need to make sure they hear our message loud and clear. Will you help by sharing the petition and asking your friends and family to sign?
Time’s cover suggests that teachers are a problem that must be smashed. We know this image is far out of step with how Americans view our educators. I hope you’ll share the petition with your friends so we can show Time that people don’t think highly of bashing teachers to sell magazines.
Click here to thunderclap TIME to tell them you want an apology.
And well done to Schools Matter for their message to Time, below:
Sent to Time Magazine, Oct. 23, 2014.
Re: Taking on Teacher Tenure, Time, November 3, 2014
“Unassuming” tycoon David Welch is also unformed. He claims he prefers a world of “concrete facts” but still maintains that the American education system is “failing” because of bad teachers who can’t be fired.
The concrete facts are these: When researchers control for the effects of poverty, American students score near the top of the world on international tests. Our unspectacular (but not horrible) performance on tests is because of our high child poverty rate, about 23%, second highest among 34 economically advanced countries, according to UNICEF. High-scoring countries such as Finland have a child poverty rate of about 5%.
Poverty means, among other things, poor nutrition, lack of health care, and little access to books. All of these have powerful negative effects on school performance. The best teaching in the world has little effect when students are hungry, ill, and have little or nothing to read.
Our main problem is not teaching quality, unions, or the rules for due process. The main problem is poverty.
Control for poverty: Payne, K. and Biddle, B. 1999. Poor school funding, child poverty, and mathematics achievement. Educational Researcher 28 (6): 4-13; Bracey, G. 2009. The Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education. Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. http://epicpolicy.org/publication/Bracey-Report. Berliner, D. 2011. The Context for Interpreting PISA Results in the USA: Negativism, Chauvinism, Misunderstanding, and the Potential to Distort the Educational Systems of Nations. In Pereyra, M., Kottoff, H-G., & Cowan, R. (Eds.). PISA under examination: Changing knowledge, changing tests, and changing schools. Amsterdam: Sense Publishers. Tienken, C. 2010. Common core state standards: I wonder? Kappa Delta Phi Record 47 (1): 14-17. Carnoy, M and Rothstein, R. 2013, What Do International Tests Really Show Us about U.S. Student Performance. Washington DC: Economic Policy Institute. 2012. http://www.epi.org/).
Child Poverty: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre 2012, ‘Measuring Child Poverty: New league tables of child poverty in the world’s rich countries’, Innocenti Report Card 10, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence.
I sit here typing this at 6.20 in the morning because that is the only spare time I have to do this. I hear all the time of teachers who leave their job at 3.30, that start at 9 and have loads of holidays to do as they will.
I just wish I was one of those.
I have been teaching now for 19 years and this should be easier.
I spend at least 2 hours every day marking just to keep up.
We have fabulous new ideas called ‘responding to marking’ which means marking in depth, setting new activities or ‘gap tasks’ and ensuring the children complete those before the next lesson. I have a large amount of stickers and stamps but have still used up the ink in 6 purple pens since September.
We have been told Ofsted do not require unnecessary levels of marking so we will see if things change but I won’t hold my breath.
Our education system is now based on finances and results.
My pay is now dependent on my children achieving the results that were set before I even started working at the school. I get observed 3 times a year and have to achieve 60% outstanding to be seen as value for money.
The observations will be carried out by those ultimately responsible for managing and setting the school budget. You can make your own observations about that!
Tests and more tests are the everyday life for children in our schools.
They start in year 1 with our now legendary phonics screening check that measures decoding skills and is passed off as a reading test. The children get a nice little tag with pass or fail on it at 6 years old. As a teacher this goes against everything I believe. I am forced to label my children as failures at only 6 years of age.
If the children in your school struggle with these tests and your results suffer then you are exposed to the OFSTED machine that descends upon schools and puts them into a state of fear and misery.
Then if they are judged as failing, the whole school can then be sold off to the highest academy bidder. Land is then sold off, new uniforms ordered, a bit of new building works to impress parents and off you go.
Teachers are forced into school at 7am, expected to work including after school clubs until 6pm. There are even Saturday school sessions where staff are expected to attend.
We have a dedicated work force who have put up with a lot over the last years but there are signs this is changing.
We have teachers walking out of the profession even in difficult financial times.
I honestly feel if this does not change you will have a teacher shortage and a dominance of teachers who are so beaten down they cannot hope to perform to the best of their ability.
And who will suffer? The children who our government say are at the heart of what they do……
by Jennie Harper, UK Teacher
What’s left for education? How the Left should or could respond is the topic of this forum with Professor John Morgan and Associate Professor Peter O’Connor.
EVENT DETAILS: 6.30pm, Thursday 20th November, 2014 at University of Auckland, Owen Glenn Building, Lecture Theatre 5 (level 0)
Neoliberalism’s core tenants of free market ideology, unfettered individualism, and choice translated into the education sector sees the development of global metadiscourses or what Stronach (2010) describes as
“ hypernarratives which constitute the first global language of Education and allows politicians the world over to talk nonsense about educational outcomes, while singing from the same hymn sheet.”
The common narrative is one of market force determinism, privatisation, deregulation, high stake testing, and a narrow focus on literacy and numeracy that collapses and destroys a broad and progressive curriculum.
Reforms are called for on the back of government claims of a crisis in education that can only be repaired by market forces.
Charter schools, heavy state investment in private schooling sits alongside an ever decreasing funding of core services in state schools, especially in special education provision.
Teachers are held responsible for children not achieving in national and international testing, and outside factors including poverty and inequality impacting on student success are largely ignored or trivialised.
The return of a National minority government in the election presages a further dismantling of the state’s role in education.
How the Left should or could respond is the topic of this forum.
EVENT: 6.30pm, Thursday 20th November, 2014 at University of Auckland, Owen Glenn Building, Lecture Theatre 5 (level 0)
John Morgan and Peter O’Connor teach and research at the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland.
Your choice – actively work to change the direction of these reforms or accept that you are as much to blame as the reformers.
This from HuffingtonPost:
As I watch the education “debate” … I wonder if we have simply lost our minds.
In the cacophony of reform chatter — online programs, charter schools … testing, more testing, accountability … value-added assessments, blaming teachers … blaming unions, blaming parents — one can barely hear the children crying out: “Pay attention to us!”
None of the things on the partial list above will have the slightest effect on the so-called achievement gap or the supposed decline in [our] international education rankings. Every bit of education reform — every think tank remedy proposed by wet-behind-the-ears MBAs, every piece of legislation, every one of these things — is an excuse to continue the unconscionable neglect of our children.
As Pogo wisely noted, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” We did this to our children and our schools.
We did this by choosing to see schools as instructional factories, beginning in the early 20th century.
We did this by swallowing the obscene notion that schools and colleges are businesses and children are consumers.
We did this by believing in the infallibility of free enterprise, by pretending [our country] is a meritocracy, and by ignoring the pernicious effects of unrelenting racism.
We did this by believing that children are widgets and economy of scale is both possible and desirable.
We did this by acting as though reality and the digital representation of reality are the same thing.
We did this by demeaning the teaching profession.
We did this by allowing poverty and despair to shatter families.
We did this by blaming these families for the poverty and despair we inflicted on them.
We did this by allowing school buildings to deteriorate, by removing the most enlivening parts of the school day, by feeding our children junk food.
We did this by failing to properly fund schools…
We did this by handcuffing teachers with idiotic policies, constant test preparation and professional insecurity.
[The] children need our attention, not Pearson’s lousy tests or charter schools’ colorful banners and cute little uniforms that make kids look like management trainees.
[Our] teachers need our support, our admiration, and the freedom to teach and love children.
The truth is that our children need our attention, not political platitudes and more TED talks.
Read the rest of the article here.
Unhappy with news that England is to begin testing its 4 year olds and even 2 year olds, New Zealand Education Minister Hekia Parata has been busy this weekend not only avoiding the mounting calls for her to resign but also trying to figure out how to win in this increasingly tricky race for data.
After careful and open consultation with people she knew would agree with her, she has decided that henceforth all children should be tested in utero.
To avoid cheating and ensure the data is rigorous enough to share with businesses, mothers will be blindfolded and gagged so they can’t give their progeny help with the tests. Consideration is also being given to the idea of putting mothers’ heads in vacuum flasks so that they cannot pass on information by telepathy.
ACT raised the very real concern that twin and triplicate pregnancies could lead to siblings cheating. In has been agreed that, in this instance, the babies may be induced early so that they can be tested in separate rooms.
Education and medical specialists have raised concerns, which Hekia dismissed as “The usual hoohah from those with a vested interest in the status quo,” adding that it is “essential that five out of five unborn children have the right to know where to put an apostrophe and how to share a pizza fairly between five people.”
National Standards data will be published by Stuff.co.nz so that would-be parents can judge which doctors would give their unborn children the best chance of success. Doctors and midwives may, admitted Parata, be paid according to how clever the babies they deliver are.
Fetuses will also be allocated National Student Numbers (NSN) as soon as the little blue line appears on the stick, so they can be tracked through the system.
Parata was heard to mutter, as she walked out of the press conference, “Beat that Gove.”