John-Paul – who is a secondary school teacher – is not impressed with National’s education policy:
- Teaching is a long hard road to success, and it is even more brutal and even more important at decile one schools. My experience of a decile ten school is that the students can almost teach themselves. Is it not then true that student teachers in higher decile schools will appear to have a better disposition to teach than those toughing it out in low decile schools? Where do you want good teachers to go? Into the low decile schools where the results are low, and they will be judged on league tables, and their position will worsen as white flight takes place over the next few years? I assume that you are also planning to let parents have “choice” about where they send their kids. Which means abandoning zoning, and abandoning certain schools whose funding is tied to their roll.
- Can I ask you this? What was broken about our education system? One of the best in the world for decade after decade with results we can be proud of in maths, and reading and writing? Our identified area of concern was our long tail. A characteristic that all multi-cultural societies face, and one that they are all battling with. Why have you created a policy that will disadvantage the schools where the long tail is over represented? I think that it is so parents who are educated and comparatively wealthy (compared to long-tail parents) can have a good reason to send their kids out of area.
- Finally, I would like you to show me another country similar to our own where this model has worked over a long period of time.
National and ACT supporters look at arguments like these and turn to public choice theory: ‘teachers are self-interested agents who oppose these reforms for selfish reasons of their own, and also they belong to unions!’ But you do have to consider the possibility that teachers all hate these policies and can make formidable critiques of them that National cannot intelligently respond to – just might be because these are really, really terrible policies.