The public can’t be trusted syndrome

I’m appalled at the attitude from the principals’ union that they may not report results from national standard tests, because shock horror they might be made public.

Even worse Labour is advocating a law change, so that the public can be blocked from being able to obtain information under the Oficial Information Act.

We (the taxpaying public) spend almost $6 billion a year on the school system. They are meant to be accountable to parents and the community/public. And instead they are demanding a law change to hide what their performance might be, backed by Labour.

I don’t care much one way or another about league tables.  Certainly the Government has better things to do than publish such things.

But there is a massive difference between whether or not the Government should publish something, and whether or not it should prevent members of the public from obtaining information on a school and publishing it in any form they like.

It is appalling arrogance to demand that such information be suppressed because you can’t trust the public to interpret it properly. That is the start of the slippery slope to an Orwellian country.

If someone wants to go to the trouble, they should be able to publish “league tables” on schools on as many criteria as they want.

One organisation could do a league table based on drug offences at school. Another could do a league table based on the level of “voluntary” fees. Another could do a league table based on suspensions for misconduct. And another could do a league table based on the average number of years experience of teachers. And shock horror someone might do a league table based on exam results. And hey someone else might do one based on exam results, but adjusted to take into account socio-economic factors in their home zone. And yet someone else might do a league table based on sporting success.

The answer is not less information, but more. If you don’t like a league table compiled by an organisation, then criticise it, or do your own one. If you think the media’s reporting of local results is sub-standard then blog about it.

But whatever you do, don’t support Labour’s plan to exempt schools from the Official Information Act to keep the teacher unions happy.

UPDATE: No Right Turn has already blogged on this also, and pleased to say he agrees that what Labour is proposing is wrong.

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