Laws on National Standards

Michael Laws writes:

And so into this surreal realm has been injected the future discipline of . An idea so sensible and overdue that one wonders what took so long. The logic is self evident. Except, it appears, to the teaching profession.

In steeling themselves against such external discipline, teacher unions – and their membership – have made themselves utterly risible. They are opposed to defining standards of age-group achievement, opposed to parents knowing their children’s level of competence against those standards, and opposed to schools providing such information to the Ministry of Education.

Basically sums it up. Worth reminding people that Labour is also opposed to parents knowing how their kids are doing against standards.

Why? Because they are scared witless by the concept of accountability. That a national tool might soon exist that identifies under-performing schools, under-performing teachers and under-performing kids.

The Government does want to know which kids are not meeting the standards. Not to punish the kids, or the schools, but quite the opposite. They want to then deliver extra funding to those kids and schools to maximise the chances of bringing the kids up to the desired standard before it is too late, and they become one of the many who leave school unable to read, write or count.

There is another subterranean theme running through the union dissent. That not all their membership is opposed. Many teachers see national standards as their chance to shine. They perceive them as an opportunity to test their imprint upon their charges. To establish a baseline for the norm of achievement for their age and socio-economic charges, and then beat it.

Better still, to be able to communicate the truth to the individual parent without having to find distracting commentary. And confirm bad teachers in their midst.

Little wonder that the School Trustees Association has thrown its public support behind Education Minister Anne Tolley, and dismissed the objections of teacher unions as illogical. The opportunity to be open, honest and transparent around what a child knows and what they do not, has the capacity to revolutionise teaching standards.

It is only the Luddites who are opposed. They, rightly, fear change. Because it will require them to justify their existence and their methods. And that is no bad thing.

Some people welcome accountability, and some fear it.

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