Updated 31/10/2010. The link in this posting has gone. Removed by the MoE and put behind password access. Although it makes this post hard to understand because readers can't see the document I am talking about it does show some reflection going on in Wellington..I hope?
Up until now I have held onto my own values and beliefs about primary education and quietly watched while the debate over national standards unfolded (apart from this previous blog post)
I like plain language reporting to parents about where their children are at.
I like schools being accountable for progress of children.
I like constant improvement and always aiming for an aspirational goal.
I like teachers knowing where their children are and what they need to do next to move the children on.
So what problem would I have with National Standards?
But having just read this ...
...I am left stunned. Is this really what our teachers, our BOT, and I need to spend our time understanding and doing?
This is not the 'plain language' reporting heralded by the onset of National Standards. I am seriously thinking about offering cash prizes to parents who can understand the "plain language" of the above web page.
I am pondering - what is wrong with simply using tools like the Literacy Learning Progressions and the progress expectations from the National Numeracy Project to give plain language reports to parents about how their children are progressing?
Do we need this level of technocratic reporting to give a plain language report to parents and to set targets for raising achievement?
Or are we going back to standards? Standard 1, Standard 2, Standard 3 and Standard 4 - what classes used to be called in the bad old days when kids were held back until they reached the mark? Yes, that is how those old names for year groups came about. Do we really want to go back to that? Talk to the elderly ex-Waimairi pupil (who is now a published author) about how that system made him feel in the 1940s. I discussed this with recently. You can guess his answer to that question. It took him 1/2 his adult life to get over being held back in Standard 2.