NZEI still trying to supress data

January 30th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Victoria Robinson at Stuff reports:

Schools might withhold student achievement statistics if the government does not prevent information being used to create league tables, the New Zealand Education Institute says.

All schools must submit their student achievement data based on national standards to the Education Ministry by May 31.

But the said yesterday some schools might refuse to do so if the government did not prevent the information being used for league tables comparing each schools’ academic achievement.

The Government can not prevent media from seeking school assessment data and reporting it. It’s called living in a free society. The only way this could be prevented was to amend the Official Information Act to exclude school assessment data.

Anyway I have a solution for any school that refuses to submit their student achievement data. No parent should be forced to attend a school which won’t tell parents how well the school is doing, so I’d remove all zoning protection for any school that with-holds assessment data.

This would allow parents to vote with their feet. Any child at that school would automatically be guaranteed entrance into any neighbouring school, if the parents wish to have their children at a school that doesn’t suppress achievement data.

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7 Responses to “NZEI still trying to supress data”

  1. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    School zones don’t protect schools from having people leave, they protect schools from having too many people.

    I know this is primary, but one school in one area refusing to submit data isn’t going to magically create extra space at whatever the primary school equivalent of an Auckland Grammar is…

    [DPF: They do prevent people leaving, because if an unpopular school has spare capacity, they won't allow more popular neighbouring schools to expand their capacity.

    So the key thing is that the neighbouring schools would be allowed to expand, if students wanted to enrol with them]

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  2. redqueen (563 comments) says:

    Better yet, why not just cut their funding if they refuse to comply with the law? The Ministry of Education, pay for most schools, shouldn’t be obliged to actually hand over money when the school refuses to obey the state system rules. Thus, any school which ‘disagrees’ with league tables, or national standards, etc. is welcome to privatise and face real market competition (including, as DPF has proposed, removing catchment area rules). Maybe this is an attempt by NZEI to actually increase the number of private schools in NZ?

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  3. MT_Tinman (3,190 comments) says:

    Removing funding is not the answer, removing the headmaster’s salary until the information is provided would be a damned sight more effective.

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  4. David Farrar (1,898 comments) says:

    Removing funding is the ultimate step, but then the students get caught up in the middle. Giving students and parents the ability to go to a school that doesn’t suppress how well it does, avoids that issue.

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  5. Red Sam (122 comments) says:

    The NZEI isn’t against individual parents knowing about the achievement of their child. Why the constant obsession with comparing students with each other and comparing schools? Surely ERO and the Ministry of Education are well aware of schools that require further support. Hence a number of schools currently have statutory managers or commissioners.

    As NZEI said in the article, all a school’s National Standards data will do, when compared with other schools, will pretty much reflect the various decile of each school. Many on the right, including Hattie at times, downplay the role of social class to determine academic achievement, but while it’d be great if class was irrelevant, the reality is quite different. Those folk need to spend a couple of years working in a decile one school and then work in a decile ten school. Believe me, the differences are explicit, and if anything needs fixing it’s the educational inequalities within this country’s public schools.

    In my view it is Tomorrow’s Schools and so called ‘self-managing schools’ that has exacerbated inequalities and inconsistencies between schools. In twenty two years Tomorrow’s Schools has not served our low achievers well. We need to be looking at school governance/management models of some of the European jurisdictions.

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  6. HB (321 comments) says:

    DPF says “Anyway I have a solution for any school that refuses to submit their student achievement data. No parent should be forced to attend a school which won’t tell parents how well the school is doing, so I’d remove all zoning protection for any school that with-holds assessment data.

    This would allow parents to vote with their feet. Any child at that school would automatically be guaranteed entrance into any neighbouring school, if the parents wish to have their children at a school that doesn’t suppress achievement data.”

    I don’t get this… you would resource the ‘better’ schools to expand capacity (by building extra classroom and funding all the extra resources required IF there is physically room to do this) and let the ‘failing’ school lose its roll. This would then lead to empty classrooms and other unused resources.
    Also, the majority of schools you can enrol in from out of zone anyway, especially if you get in early enough – around Oct/Nov the previous year. The parents who care enough will do this. Usually children who have caring parents do better anyway (they are fed properly, homework is completed, they are read to etc). The failing school then gets worse as the ‘better’ students leave.
    The ministry must (if they are doing their jobs) know which schools need support and/or someone to take over management. If a school is having serious problems shouldn’t this be addressed instead of letting the school continue to fail the majority of students. Not all parents will choose to move their children or will be able to.

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  7. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    I agree with MT_Tinman. Withholding the salary of the principal until the information is released would do the trick. Releasing the information is part of the job. If you don’t do it, you don’t get paid. Simple.

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