More NCEA review backlash

The Herald reports:

Minister Chris Hipkins has issued an open invitation to Auckland principals to meet with him later this month as a further 23 secondary principals joined the 37 from Auckland who took out a full page advertisement criticising the review of .

The group of 60 principals dubbed the NCEA Coalition have called for the review of NCEA to be halted, describing the consultation process as “bizarre,” putting the views of children ahead of professional educators and lacking proper consultation with school leaders and teachers.

In Parliament Hipkins remained unmoved by their calls, saying he still believed the process would be sufficient.

However, he said as a result of the principals’ advertisement he had set aside the morning of Friday July 20 to meet with any Auckland secondary principals who wished to do so. 
“That’s an open invitation and I’m more than happy to engage with any of them.”

He said he had no plans to extend the consultation period, which still had more than two months to go, and was being overseen by a group of principals and the Ministry of Education.

“I don’t agree with the assertion put forward by the principals that this Government is placing too much emphasis on the voices of young people in this process. I think young people’s futures are what we are taking about and they have every right to be heard in this.”

The reviews being done in the education space are farcical. I speak as someone whose job is to design meaningful surveys.

One of the questions is along the lines of “If you were the boss of the education system, what would you change”. This will not get you anything useful. It is a feel good question designed to give the appearance of consultation.

True consultation will have specific issues and usually specific options.

The principals’ spokesman, Glen Dunham of Massey High School, said the Minister’s office had been contacted and the group was happy to meet the minister in Wellington at any time.

He said said they were from a mix of deciles and while they agreed NCEA needed to be reviewed, professional educators had to be at the heart of that.

“Principals are appalled at the lack of consultation and how this bizarre process is going to hurt the life prospects of a generation of young New Zealanders.”

The consultation process is so amateurish that there are really only two possible conclusions you could reach about it. They are mutually exclusive:

  1. The Government has absolutely no idea about what to do in education, and is hoping to get some ideas
  2. The Government knows exactly what it wants to do, and the consultation underway is a trojan horse to be used as “proof” the public were consulted

I suspect it is No 2.

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