The Dom Post reports:
After months of disputes, Education Minister Anne Tolley has struck a deal with primary school unions that will see them work together on its controversial national standards policy.
Under the agreement, the Government has confirmed it will make it as difficult as possible for the media to produce league tables that rank schools.
It’s good that the unions will not try and boycott the national standards (as they are important), but I’d like some more details on how exactly the Government plans to make it difficult for the media to produce league tables. I sure hope they are not talking a law change.
It follows a threat from hundreds of primary school principals to boycott the policy unless changes were made to limit public access to performance data.
The peace deal with NZEI, the Principals Federation and the School Trustees Association follows months of disagreements between the groups over the introduction of the policy, which will see pupils from years 1 to 8 assessed in numeracy and literacy against national academic standards from next year.
Mrs Tolley told The Dominion Post the deal was a “a momentous occasion”.
“I can’t stress enough that it took my breath away that we have all for the first time sat round the table and said, ‘Yes, we are going to make this work together.’ That is fantastic.”
She said she told the groups she was prepared to work with them to stop the use of league tables. “We want to make it as difficult for you [media] as possible. It will be too hard and too much work and not worth it in the end. There are a few ideas we will discuss as to how we can do that.”
I’m fascinated as to what these ideas might be, because I can’t see what will stop media requesting achievement info for a school under the OIA, and then using that to compile a league table – should they so wish. Personally league tables have limited value and are overly simplistic, but I don’t believe you stop the media from publishing them, if they decide to.