What’s really motivating opposition to National Standards?

What’s really motivating opposition to National Standards?

Credo Quia Absurdum Est has the answer in an email from a teacher:

“…we teachers have been told the entire campaign by the principals and the NZEI would be dropped in a second if the Government agreed to take school assessment data and make it top secret – i.e. not public, not even if someone made an Official Information Act request. . .

That’s nothing to do with education it’s all to do with a fear that the public will be able to compare schools.

Other quotes in that post show opposition is also motivated by politics. That’s confirmed by this post:

The Dominion came up with the strange response of children needing to come before philosophy – pathetic. Philosophy is a search for the truth: how can a rejection of the truth be good for children.

Never mind that needed a question mark, now I know why my life is so wrong.  I’ve been putting my children ahead of philosophy.  Bugger.

In a related post CQAE asks How far is too far?

 Kiwiblog also comments on Principal Compares Minister to Hitler too and has another post on the politics of those who oppose the standards .

Whaleoil has several posts on the politics of the opposition too including:

Tweetchers tweeting about National Standards.

 More Labour meddling in education.

Politically neutral protest.

and Auckland Primary  Principal’s Association hijacked by Wellington school.

The standards are simply a tool to show how well children are learning.

No-one’s claiming they’re a perfect tool but they are necessary. One in five young people leave school with inadequate literacy and numeracy skills and the first step to changing that is early identification of the ones who are struggling.

Rather than fighting the tool the teachers should put their energy into ensuring the pupils who need help get it because that is what really matters.

19 Responses to What’s really motivating opposition to National Standards?

  1. dave says:

    The standards are not tools to show how well children are learning. That’s incorrect. The current assessment tools do that. The standards are benchmarks – and about teacher judgements based on these assessment tools.

    Education stops at the National Curriculum. The politics start after that: assessment of the curriculum assessment tools to measure student performance against standards.

  2. pdm says:

    The Government must hold it’s nerve on this.

  3. robertguyton says:

    Nonsense post Ele. You’ve dragged in just about every
    feeble line of attack you could find on other blogs to try to discredit the teachers and it shows your lack of understanding of the issues.
    You say,
    “No-one’s claiming they’re a perfect tool but they are necessary.”
    If fact the particular ‘brand’of national standards that Tolley and Key are demanding be adopted is a very, very poor product and teachers are right to challenge its ill-conceived implementation.

  4. JC says:

    I just wish the teachers and Govt would be honest about the 20% who are failing in our school systems; that is, Maori, the disruptive, disadvantaged, handicapped and disabled.

    The teachers aren’t good at teaching them and don’t have any great interest in trying.. as the ERO reports show.

    If we could get this out in the open we could have a go at deciding how best to deal with the issues.


  5. robertguyton says:

    They know as you must surely know, that teachers have been implementing assessment programmes for ever under both National and Labour governments, without this sort of opposition. The reason they are doing it now is because this particular proposal is poor and the necessary interactions between Government and educationalists has been rubbish. Key and Tolley have clung to an out dated authoritarian approach in a field that is way beyond that. The fault lies with Key, Tolley and National.

  6. robertguyton says:

    0pdm’s comment ‘The Government must hold its nerve on this’ typifies the Right Wing approach and beggars belief.

  7. Lindsay says:

    Agree with JC.

    We were entirely happy with what our school was already doing with PAT and STAR tests. The focus should be on failure, not fixing non-existent problems.

  8. […] Tip: Homepaddock No TweetBacks yet. (Be the first to Tweet this post) Tags: national […]

  9. slightlyrighty says:


    Yes, teachers have been implementing assessment standards, but that is not the issue. National Standards are being implemented at the behest of National because parents have been telling them that the current reporting of students progress to these parents is ineffective in determining where our kids are in relation to a norm or standard.

    National Standards provide a uniform benchmark. All teachers have to do is report where the kids are in relation to a benchmark, so that children who are behind, or ahead, can be identified, and that the parents are more involved in the education of their children.

    How can that be a bad thing?

  10. robertguyton says:

    “because parents have been telling them that the current reporting of students progress to these parents is ineffective in determining where our kids are in relation to a norm or standard.”
    Nonsense slightlyrightly.
    National are making changes to the education system for ideological reasons and masking those with claims of a mandate.
    Even if what you say was true, National has chosen a very poor example from the range of national standards programmes available to them, one that has performed poorly elsewhere and one that they refused to trial before forcing it in our unique schools.
    Do you discount the expertise of the teachers and other educationalists altogether?
    How foolish!
    The teachers should ‘do as they are told’?
    How short-sighted!

  11. robertguyton says:

    How can that be a bad thing?

    Have you not listened to any of the protestations of from the education professionals?
    They’ve described the ways that it can ‘be a bad thing’ in detail and at length.

  12. homepaddock says:

    Getting nasty, Robert? What do you call the concerted rudeness to the Minister when she spoke at the conference and calling her Hitler?

  13. robertguyton says:

    Gosh! A Minister in the Government, called names!
    We must stamp out this sort of insurrection!!!

  14. gravedodger says:

    The guts of this contretemp is that teachers will be exposed to having their core ability exposed to scrutiny and teachers like the clergy and others who just love telling the world how great they are without any measurable scrutiny as to the reality, are making a very strong attempt to resist this move to accountability.
    Teachers just love to obfuscate the progress children in their sphere of influence are actually making in measurable real terms that can be understood, and use decile ratings, social influences and anything else that comes to mind to avoid any measurement of their ability.
    Any suggestion that this opposition to national standards is not political is the equivelent of the flat earthers who refused to accept that the globe could be the shape of the planet, we now almost all accept as a fact.
    Why don’t the teachers accept that a widely accepted 20 percent of students leaving high-school with inadequate skills in literacy and numeracy while lauding what wonderful performers they are is beyond belief. Something needs to change and the Labour supporters among the teachers should accept that governance and management are separate parts of their world and the current government wants to find answers to the 20% who are “FAILING”.
    Politics is for the campaign trail, parliament and the debating scene not the classroom and the teachers indulging in this futile, inane and increasingly strident opposition have no concern for the children currently involved and that is a tragedy, and the teachers involved still number less than the failed children in percentage terms, ironical aint it.

  15. robertguyton says:

    GD – nonsense 🙂

  16. scrubone says:

    Interesting that teachers have been assessing students for so long – so for one the complaint that students will be “labeled” is clearly nonsense by their own admission.

  17. robertguyton says:

    scrubone – there’s a very great difference between labling a new entrant to a school as one who is ‘below the standard’ and the other forms of assessment that describe where students are in relation to their own entrance level, rate of progress, attitude to learning and so on.
    In any case, the teachers are not opposed to ‘national standards’ being implemented, just these particular ones and more specifically, the manner in which they are being implemented. Tolley has well and truly stuffed this up. Teachers were clear in their concerns that these National (Party) standards needed testing and were sub-optimal, based on what educationalists had advised and what they themselves knew of experiences overseas.

  18. […] the record, Guyton’s claim comes from this blog via The Standard: The Auckland office was supposed to swing into action with […]

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