I heard a report today that more than 100 high-level ‘Educationalist’ have signed a ‘letter’ to try and change the mind of the Government to release ‘League Tables.’ I have not seen the content as yet but the move reminds me of an event many years ago when the Labour Government led by Bill Rowling was under fire. The ‘Citizens for Rowling’ campaign backfired baldy.
Many prominent people sign the ‘petition.’ I remember seeing the huge list in the herald at that time and wondered I thought that the Government couldn’t fail after that. I was so wrong. The Labour Party was thrown out of office in a landslide and we had to put up with the Muldoon Administration for many years.
I am not saying that this present campaign is the same and I strongly agree with the sentiment. League Tables are just another platform to grow the agenda of the ‘Right’ in NZ politics and in our educational institutions. That there is a great deal of research to show that it will not work in any way to improve the education our kids receive is just not getting through to Key and his associates.
It seems that they come up with idea after idea and continue to press their case despite the warnings from here and overseas. They don’t get it. Their ‘competitive model always hurts the lower decile schools and any flickers of improved achievement are more than wiped out by the losses that schools struggling to meet the needs of their students incur.
What is it with this Government? They are incapable of understanding the real issues in NZ education. They seem to be hell-bent on destroying the gains we have fought so hard for ever the years. They have turned their backs on the wonderful ideals of Peter Fraser way back in the 1940’s, where he stated that ‘every child should be able to achieve their full potential.’ How are the moves of this present government aiding that lofty ideal?
So maybe the thrust of the idea of the 100 ‘signees’ is laudable, but I hope that it does not become a target for a Government willing to use any tactic at its disposal to launch yet another attack on New Zealand’s top—class Education system. The least the 100 can do is raise the level of the debate about what is really happening in the area of educating our students in New Zealand. Many of us not so prominent educators would love to sign alongside our colleagues in the list.