Dom Post on charter schools

The Dom Post editorial:

Among those most depressed on election night were probably many teachers, their trade unions, and school principals.

I’m not so sure about “many” teachers. Most teachers don’t give a stuff about politics and just want to get on with teaching. It is the teacher politicians who devote most of their energy to educational politics that would have been depressed, but they are a minority of teachers.

The first John Key-led government made a priority of ensuring children can read and write – the foundation for all later learning – and parents getting school reports in plain English.

Known by its shorthand name, , the policy was steadfastly adhered to by Mr Key, who consulted educational experts before the 2008 election on what would make the most difference to the one in five children who leave school illiterate and innumerate.

The policy was equally steadfastly opposed by the primary teachers’ union and the Principals’ Federation, chiefly on ideological grounds.

Their biggest fear is that once data on how schools are doing under national standards is reported to the Education Ministry, it will be available to the whole community, which will learn which of the schools they fund from their taxes perform best.

Outraegous. I’m waiting for Labour to announce a policy that they will ban league tables not only for schools, but also for hospitals. It is appalling that Tony Ryall publishes which DHBs have the quickest times for A&E waiting times and cancer radiation treatment. Not all DHBs have the same sort of patients, and Ryall’s hospital league tables should be banned as they are unfair to the hospitals not at the top.

But it is criminal that up to 20 per cent of students leave school unable to read, write and do arithmetic.

Former Labour Party president and new Howard League for Penal Reform chief executive Mike Williams gets it: he is desperate to find literacy teachers willing to help prison inmates. Why would that be necessary if current education policy works as well as teachers claim? After all, those jailbirds went to school somewhere.

The NZ educational system works very well for the average student. However it works very badly for the bottom 20% and not that great for the top 10%.

If children who are failing can be helped to succeed by a different prescription – think kura kaupapa or Rudolf Steiner, for example – the trial is worth conducting to see what can be learned from it.

Absolutely. A great win for and for New Zealand.

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