Union says supression of school information a bottom line

The Dom Post reports:

Federation president Ernie Buutveld warned league tables would create a “blame and shame” culture, which could lead to schools being shunned and children feeling inadequate.

Principals wanted the performance data exempt from the OIA. The issue was a bottom line, he said. “This can only impact negatively on our children.”

A bottom line. That’s fighting talk.

The more the education unions demand that school assessment data be made more secret than SIS data, the more I want to see that data.

It is very sad that this is now the unions’ top priority in education – hiding assessment data from parents. I think it explains a lot of the problem we have in the education sector.

Trans-Tasman had a very witty peice on this on Thursday also:

Education Minister has an intriguing battle on her hands – one which is going to make or break her as Minister, and possibly make or break the Govt. The battle over centralised reporting of school results, and the scare campaign over “league tables” has probably only just begun. The Principals Association, the Post Primary Teachers Association and the primary schools union, the NZEI, all came out bitterly against the proposals, as did the provisional wing of the teacher unions, the Labour Party.

The provisional wing of the teacher unions – that is so damn apt.

The Government should stay absolutely firm on this. Certainly I hope the teacher unions see sense, but if they don’t – then Labour and the teacher unions have just handed National a battleground issue which will be hugely popular. Those on the side of suppressing school information will be amazed at how out of step they are with most New Zealanders on this issue.

What is most disturbing is the profound contempt it shows for parents and the public. Yes a league table can be a dodgy statistic. But hello there are many dodgy statistics out there. The job of Government is not to suppress information because it thinks people are too stupid to understand its limitations. You explain it. You put it into context. You provide further information.

is a nice man, who would rather everyone compromise and stay happy. He doesn’t go picking fights to make himself look good.

In a way, it is a pity. Labour and the teacher unions seem to be auditioning for the role of Mrs Thatcher’s National Union of Mineworkers with their threats of refusing to report information, and that suppression of assessment information is a bottom line.

If I was a political Machiavelli I could think of nothing better than a year long stand-off against the teacher unions, and making the next election a referendum on whether or not teacher unions or the democratically elected Government gets to run the school system.

It is an issue on which you are guaranteed the support of every outlet in New Zealand – except the education reporter for Radio New Zealand. This suppression of assessment data is primarily aimed at stopping the media accessing it.

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