Not Our Kids

Teachers’ Rep. Lists Fears

About National Standards

March 25,2010

A Teachers’ Union leader has warned Kapiti teachers and parents that the Government must arrange a test trial of National Standards before attempting to bring them into schools.

Stephanie Mills, Communications Director of the NZ Educational Institute, says National Standards have failed in other countries and are being abandoned.

Ms Mills and a group of NZEI representatives arrived in Otaki and Paraparaumu this week at the end of a seven-week bus tour of the North Island.

Another busload of NZEI representatives has been touring South Island centres.

Just before Easter, the NZEI plans to present a national petition to the Education Minister at Parliament, calling on the Government to instate a National Standards trial.

When the NZEI bus arrived in Otaki, Ms Mills spoke to a group of more than 25 parents at Te Kura O Otaki, the Otaki Primary School.

The next day, speaking to a small group of people at the Paraparaumu Community Centre, Ms Mills said the Government is rushing to introduce standards without any evidence they will work.

She said the standards had been developed in three months by the Education Minister, Anne Tolley, with no real consultation with teachers and parents.

As a result, she said, the National Standards do not match the present test standards used in schools, which were based on evidence they were effective.

One of the basic flaws of the Government’s plan, she said, was the fact the Standards are pitched at arbitrary levels.

This means children who come from widely differing backgrounds will be labeled early as failures. — “and this is not the way to go in education.”

There is also great worry that National Standards will divide teachers and parents, with parents blaming teachers for their children’s alleged failures.

Even worse, says Ms Mills, the Government “has not excluded the idea of a league table for schools.”

I know from talking to people in Kapiti there is a very high level of support for the campaing for a trial of the Government’s National Standards. Please come to Parliament on 31 March at 12.30pm to give John Key and his Government a very clear message that the standrds should be trialled. This event is the last bus stop of the NZEI National Standards School Bus Tour wwhich has been travelling around New Zealand since 2 February.

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