Expecting standards from teachers is bullying?

The Ministry of Education has been accused of bullying for expecting schools to meet their legal requirements to adopt National Standards.

Now Invercargill MP Eric Roy has been accused of bullying for expecting teachers to meet a very reasonable standard of behaviour.

Fernworth School teacher Terry Guyton asked candidates what they would do to “repair the damage caused by national standards”.

Mr Guyton said the standards were forcing teachers to label five-year-olds as failures.

Mr Roy took exception to Mr Guyton’s comment.

“If you are a teacher telling five-year-olds they are a failure you should not be teaching,” he said. “You should not even be testing them.”

What’s wrong with that?

Any teacher who tells a five year old he/she is failing is failing him/herself. But that’s not how Labour sees it:

Labour candidate Lesley Soper took the platform after Mr Roy and promptly accused him of bullying.

“You have just seen an example of the bullying … the Ministry of Education has used on teachers in this country.”

When did expecting anyone to do what’s legally required become bullying?

There could be many reasons for a child not reaching a standard but you have to know where they are before you can work out why and then help them.

The standards aren’t about passing or failure, they’re a tool to identify progress, or lack of it, which then enables the school and family to help children – and it’s working.

Just yesterday a father gave a story which shows this. His son’s first report was all about what a lovely child he was. The second, after the introduction of National Standards showed he had a reading problem. The school and parents gave him extra help and the third report showed he had caught up.

That is exactly how the standards should work, and will if teachers put the children’s education ahead of their own politics.

UPDATE: Mr Guyton’s father has a different view.

10 Responses to Expecting standards from teachers is bullying?

  1. Neil says:

    One would expect a supportive Dad to endorse his little boy.
    Well done Robert for standing up for your ” popular” young teacher son. However it was as usual laced with political irony.
    When some teachers in Invercargill earlier in the year likened Mrs Tolley to a Nazi, isn’t that bullying and defamation of the worst degree.
    The Greens love dishing it out, but are not happy when called to account.
    I would take that very much with a grain of salt as Robert floods Homepaddock with ideological emails from the Green angle.
    There are aspects of National Standards I have my doubts about, being an ex-teacher, however that 20% that leave school technically illiterate and unable to solve simple numeracy skills are going to be a burden on themselves and society.
    95% of parents want the best for their kids. To be able to read and write is a privilege and a necessity in this society.
    Political meetings are a waste of time as the incumbent is always on the defensive.Opponents can say what they like. Mr Kennedy,Mr T.Guyton and Ms Soper on their own would get no news coverage. When they use the presence of a government member they were able to blow it up for their benefit.


  2. robertguyton says:

    Neil – ‘some teachers’ didn’t, one teacher did.
    Terry’s not little, he’s taller than me, and I’m tall. He’s, to boot, 27 years old.
    The Greens, whom you say ‘love dishing it out, but are not happy when called to account’ – are not players, especially, in this story. It’s educationalists who are calling Mr Roy and National out. It was meet the candidates event, where 4 parties were presenting their policies. I wonder what you mean too, by being ‘called to account’ – did that happen here? I missed that bit!
    ‘Floods’ Homepaddock! Clearly you don’t read Keeping Stock 🙂
    Mr T.Guyton is quite able to get news coverage, Neil, having featured in several ‘good news’ items in both of the main newspapers down here lately, around his work with environmental programmes in schools, where he excels at innovation.


  3. Lucia Maria says:

    National Standards, as they stand, should not be applied to five year olds. They are supposed be tested after one year of school, so that’s six years old at a minimum, however, for some weird reason the Standards are being used on children in the middle of the year, and therefore most of the children will be too young for the Standards they are being tested against.

    Personally, I think the National Standards at the younger ages are shocking, having read them myself. This whole thing is an experiment and teachers are right to oppose them.


  4. Neil says:

    Lucia Maria has concerns about these standards at a young age .That has always been the case with the Six Year Old net and the SAND test.The old Reading Recovery programme
    My comment about this is that the sooner we can identify students the sooner we can try and overcome that problem.
    Failure compounds itself, ending up with bitter cynical children becoming the problems of the future
    Robert- I think you will find lots of parents who applaud identifying children with learning difficulties. Real reports with real results.
    Many of the opoponents of National Standards come from the union NZEI group. Some of the Invercargill NZEI need to have their motives questioned. Like them likening Mrs Tolley to a certain gentleman from 1930-1940’s Germany.


  5. Lucia Maria says:


    Have you actually read the National Standards?


  6. robertguyton says:

    Those Invercargill hot-heads, eh Neil!
    Here’s one of them. Let me know what you think of his opinion.



  7. robertguyton says:

    What’s Cracker666’s relationship to Eric, do you know, Ele?


  8. homepaddock says:

    Gosh, Robert, did I forget to mention he works for him?


  9. robertguyton says:

    Doesn’t sound like you, Ele. I must have missed it.
    My bad.


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