Audrey Young writes:
It’s not that Tolley was that brilliant. She sometimes sounds like she has had 10 briefings too many from Ministry of Education officials when she falls into jargon like “unpacking” the national standards.
But she has better grip on the subject than the last time Mallard made mince meat of her in the House over moderation of national standards. And once parents join her in the debate, she wins, as was evident yesterday.
And the parents are what this is all about.
Tolley talked about her own kids – two of whom had been “very bright but very lazy” and her five year-old grandson who has started school in Rotorua. He had told her matter of factly that he was now in group 3 reading, not group 4 where he had started – the point being that kids knew exactly where they were in relation to other kids.
That reminds me of my first year at school. I joined the class in September and it was assumed would need to catch up in reading with my classmates so was placed in Group 4 (of 5). By December I had moved into Group 3, Group 2 and then Group 1, and finally because I was such a good reader myself and one other were placed in our own special group where we could read outside unsupervised. I was so proud of that, after having started in Group 4.
That was a rebuttal to one of the Onslow kids who had Tolley on about the brutality of the new reporting system to parents that would show them (and the kids) exactly where they were in relation to others and could be discouraging.
What is brutal, is allowing kids to drop out of school unable to read or write.