Dom Post on teachers

A stinging editorial:

At least one school head has outrageously threatened publicly to undermine the education policies that contributed to National’s election win last year it promised to set literacy and numeracy standards for primary-school kids, and make the results available to parents.

Teachers, afraid that, because such results will be subject to the Official Information Act, the public will be able compile “league tables” that show how each school compares with its fellows, pretend theirs is principled opposition. Rubbish. Their objections are political this Government is not stuffed with former teachers and university lecturers and visceral. …

They fear any weaknesses will be exposed and that parents, some of them able to see for the first time that the empress in front of the class is naked, will opt to send their littlies to a school that does better. …

Though inspirational teachers are integral to the process, at the heart of public education should be the six to 16-year-olds for whom it is compulsory.

And regrettably often, these kids are let down. Last year, research showed that 90 per cent of prisoners are “functionally illiterate” their reading and writing skills are inadequate to cope with the demands of daily life.

Yet most of these inmates passed through a New Zealand primary school. As these kids struggled to read, write and do arithmetic, their teachers happily collected pay rises they saw as entitlements.

How can these teachers live with themselves knowing they have failed so many children? How do they explain the uncomfortably long tail of under-achievement throughout the public education system? How do they rationalise the millions the taxpayer must now spend helping the illiterate and innumerate recover wasted years? …

You know the more some try to suppress information and stop the public knowing how well the school is doing, the more you wonder what they are hiding.

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