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.