Good luck luv. you’ll be needing it.

The Herald reports how Hekia Parata is about to walk across a bed of burning coals:

Preventing the compilation of tables from the National Standards data is the “hill to die on” for the primary school union. Expect to see full weight to be thrown behind a campaign against League Tables. Or maybe not, The Hands up For Learning Campaign must have consumed a lot of resources. I’m expecting something interesting to pop up on The Standard anytime soon,

Personally I am opposed to National Standards in it’s current form. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Game Theory will see the pitfalls.
My main reason for opposition:: We parents who actually have children in school now or recently had no input on the process – no real forum to ensure the government has our ears.
¬†National Standards reeks of condescending ¬†“Blue Rinse Brigade” pap drawn up by those who have experienced teaching as the ability to cram the most facts and figures into children’s ears, as opposed to the ability to engage the child in a love of learning, despite what may be going on for them at home.

Since the advent of Tomorrow’s Schools and school boards, parents are used to having input in their children’s education. Less time and resources will now be given to involving parents and more to administrative processes. My generation are more engaged with our children’s learning – this will reverse the trend. ¬†I have been informed (rather ironically) that it was the union that was against the Tomorrow’s Schools concept, complete with School Boards: Heaven forbid we parents should have any input on how the schools were run.

I intend to address the following points individually from a petition I circulated in 2010:

1. Classing our children as above or below standard is ¬†labeling that we parents encountered at school. We have moved away from labeling and ‘streaming’ children.

2. The possible production of ‘League Table’s will gut communities particularly in lower decile areas.
3. Several principals of well-performing schools have stated National Standards will create a greater administrative and financial burden. This will reduce the amount of time teachers have to expose our children to a wide range of lessons and experiences within the classroom.

4. ‚ÄėUnder achievers‚Äô will be given extra tuition in literacy and numeracy that they may not be ready for. All of our bright, talented and gifted children will suffer from the deployment of resources away from nurturing their strengths to highlighting their weaknesses. Children who are identified as poor readers are already well catered for with our Reading Recovery programme which was developed in New Zealand and exported world-wide.
5. Just as infants do not all crawl and walk at exactly the same age, children do not attain a standard of literacy and numeracy at the same age. If a child displays a talent in a certain area, they are better to explore this talent in a setting that will allow them to transfer their skills to reading and writing when they are ready. That is why our best schools expose our children to a wide range of activities.

Finally: This policy is discriminatory and takes no account of the differences in cultures, particularly Maori, Pasifika and Asian communities.

National Standards= League Tables= Performance Pay
Depending on which side of the political spectrum you fall, you will either applaud or decry this phenomenon. I’m not saying there aren’t teachers who are bad at their job ¬†– square pegs in round holes buffeted by their union, for which we need processes to ease them into a more suitable role. I am saying National Standards, particularly with the implementation of League Tables will pit school against school, community against community while we parents have no real reassurance that our children are getting a better education.

To other parents: You know it’s political when you are told that League tables will keep those teachers in line and keep you more informed. Data that shows how your child is doing against all other children in NZ is already available on request.

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