Thursday, September 8, 2011
Public Not Fooled by Tolley's Spin
The Chair of Invercargill's Licensing Trust, Alan Dennis, wasn't fooled by the Education Minister's response to the open letter the other day. Alan has been instrumental in ensuring that the trust has shifted from a strong sports bias in their previous funding support to an increasing focus on education and he has a fair idea of what makes a difference for children. In a letter to the Southland Times he suggests it is the Standards themselves that are the political stunt, not the action from Invercargill principals.
Here is Alan's letter:
Standards kill education
It was with interest I read your headline "Education criticism political stunt". It is possibly the most accurate description of the Government's National Standards policy to date.
The relationship between the Ministry of Education and the education profession seems at an all-time low. The Minister, Anne Tolley, seems to be continually criticise the profession and would do well in my opinion to hear the educational voice and acknowledge the value of listening.
If ever there was evidence of a political stunt then this is it. Might is not always right.
I am unaware of any significant research that shows that National Standards will lift student achievement. There is, however, evidence that it could in fact have the opposite effect; we risk that future generations are "dumbed down" by this political policy that should have learners' needs paramount.
The professional educational voice continues to advocate for what they know, supported by sound research and evidence. If I was the Minister I would be concerned that I have not convinced many boards of trustees of the value of my policy.
The internationally acclaimed New Zealand curriculum is all but dead, killed by this policy as we return to the industrial reading, writing arithmetic approach.
The public should be concerned that New Zealand's leading educationalists have serious concerns regarding the cost and intentions of the National Standards policy.
Surely now is the time for informed discussion, reflection and debate.
Thank you for providing a headline that held the truth of the matter.