If you want proof that this National government cares not for anything other than themselves and their ridiculous and defunked ideology you need look no further than the headline I’ve just read in the New Zealand Herald – or as I like to call it, the National Party Daily Newsletter.
School funding shakeup looms…
…it said in big letters.
Ok, I thought. I wanted it to mean that the education system would actually be funded at levels where we would be able to deliver a 21st century education to 21st century learners.
Then I read the first paragraph.
The Government is looking to fund schools according to the progress their pupils make, the Education Minister has revealed.
And in one single sentence the Herald on Sunday has announced our fantastic education system, the education system that developed a curriculum that was the envy of many other countries around the world, is doomed to become an utter joke.
We will become an a system like the United States of America where students with special needs are excluded from schools because their “results” are not up to the high standards set by the Education Ministry and the minister.
As any teaching professional knows, student learning is not a linear process. No child moves through their years at school achieving at a constant rate. Some years, as things click into place, “progress” as measured against stupid bloody standards, may look, for want of a better word, slower than everyone else. That is just the “normal” children who don’t have specialised learning needs.
Yes… that’s right. Specialised learning needs. If you have any of these and you have to travel through an education system with any kind of nationally set standards, then you are deemed a failure right from the start of school until you exit – possibly too early and without qualifications because your learning needs are not catered for by the narrowed and weakened curriculum that standards of this nature give us.
So what happens when you link either a) teachers’ pay or b) school funding to the performance of students?
In short, schools pressured by media and government bureaucrats will, in turn, pressure their teachers to such a degree that they will be massively overworked and stressed. When you have a situation like that, bad things start happening.
Schools begin to “fiddle” with their standards results. If your funding was about to be cut and your school would lose a teacher because your students were not achieving at the desired rate, what do you think would happen. Fraud is wrong but it happens everywhere (except banks – no banks are free of even the slightest hint of fraud).
This policy, or as I am dubbing it, this shit-storm of dick-headery, will ruin our education system. Teachers will leave, schools will fail, and, ultimately, New Zealand students will be worse off.
One of the key problems with the Global Education Reform Movement is that it takes so long to show its abject failure. The United States, which has been “reforming” for the greatest length of time, is only now seeing a ground-swell of protest from parents against the corporate takeover of their public education system.
The most unfortunate and saddening thing about this whole business is until kiwi parents (i.e. voters) start seeing their kids harassed and stressed by high stakes testing, until they see their child’s love of learning disappear quicker than you can say “Parata did this,” until they start seeing education policy impact on their daily lives, it is unlikely that we will see any change from the current direction.
People will only vote against a government if they are directly affected. Not everybody has a special needs child. Not everybody lives in a lower socio-economic area. Not everybody is a teacher. Until such a time as the majority of parents are affected by this policy, a change is unlikely.
Unless National get voted out in September because everyone realises how utterly corrupt and devoid of vision they are for anyone not running a business, farm or Chinese dairy conglomerate, then their arrogance to implement any policy they see fit will continue unabated.
Sad but true.
Post Script: I refer you to my previous blog posting Dipping my hands into the elephantshit to explain how the minister will “strongly incentivising pupil progress” as the she puts it.
School funding shakeup looms: Herald on Sunday – March 16, 2014
How charter schools choose desirable students: Washington Post – February 16, 2013
Teachers indicted in biggest standardized testing scam in U.S. history: Washington Examiner – April 2, 2013
Secret Teacher: why our working hours just don’t add up: Guardian – 15 March, 2014