Teacher unions call on schools to flout the law

John Hartevelt at Stuff reports:

Teacher unions have told schools to flout the law and refuse to release national standards data to the media.

But some schools have already released figures showing how many of their students are meeting the standards and what they’re doing to improve achievement.

The Dominion Post has asked schools across the Wellington region to release the information they were required to send to the Education Ministry about the number of pupils at, above, below or well below national standards in reading, writing and maths.

The ministry declined a request for the data, but acting senior manager Dennis Cribb said individual schools could be approached.

About 10 have already responded with information and others have indicated their data will be forthcoming.

Some of the data released includes results from 2010 and 2011, showing pupils’ progress between years.

But teachers union, the New Zealand Educational Institute, said schools should not give results to the news media and should instead refer any requests for the information to the ministry.

“We are entering a new era of `naming and shaming’ schools in order to sell newspapers and even worse, the publication of league tables will be unfair and based on faulty, misleading and valueless misinformation,” NZEI president Ian Leckie said.

The Principals’ Federation has also advised schools on ways to try to prevent league tables being created from the information they supply.

In an “urgent” advisory, NZPF president Paul Drummond suggested schools should “consider reporting in general terms”.

Mr Leckie said parents wanting to know about a school’s performance should talk with the teachers and principal. They could also look at Education Review Office reports.

I never knew that the Official Information Act did not apply to schools. Oh wait, it does.

One should read ERO reports and talk to teachers and principals at schools. One should also talk to pupils and parents. But one should also have an interest in the assessment data for the school. All of them together help make for informed decisions.

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