After months of disputes, Education Minister Anne Tolley has struck a deal with primary school unions that will see them work together on its controversial national standards policy.
Under the agreement, the Government has confirmed it will make it as difficult as possible for the media to produce league tables that rank schools.
Mrs Tolley told The Dominion Post the deal was a “a momentous occasion”.
She said she told the groups she was prepared to work with them to stop the use of league tables. “We want to make it as difficult for you [media] as possible. It will be too hard and too much work and not worth it in the end. There are a few ideas we will discuss as to how we can do that.”
A fascinating solution, given that there doesn’t seem to be any conceivable way of making national standards information available to parents that won’t allow it to be published by the media.
There’s an old joke about a group of people being washed ashore on a desert island with their only source of food being a supply of canned goods that they cannot open. One member of the group is an economist and he steps forward and announces that he has a solution to their problem: ‘First, we assume a can opener . . .’
So I wonder if Tolley et al have assumed a can opener and made this deal without figuring out what their solution to the original problem is going to be.
All I can really imagine is some sort of online database with which parents have authenticated access to their child’s school’s rankings. Of course it wouldn’t be hard for education reporters to phone their friends and find out who has kids at what school, obtain that school’s results and thus compile a league table but maybe that’s Tolley’s idea of ‘too much work’. I can’t wait to see what they’ve come up with.