JP writes another letter to Anne Tolley. Excerpts:
- Your policy states that one in five students leave school without any qualifications. Could you direct me to statistics that show me a breakdown of this group? Do they all come from all parts of New Zealand and all schools; do they come from a wide range of socio-economic groups; are any ethnicities over represented? Is it generally true that schools with poor academic results tend to be in certain areas and in many schools the statistic of one in five is not true?
- If national standards are supposed to help parents to compare their child’s achievement with a national average why is there no consistent test across schools, and why are these results not moderated? It seems that a lot of parents misunderstand this point and believe that their children’s results are being pegged against a national average.
- Your policy states that your party has spent $36 million to fund new intervention programmes to help students who are failing. If 20% of the students are failing this seems a very small amount of money. What is this intervention programme called, and how does it work? I couldn’t find anything about it, and I am interested to hear about it.
- Your policy also states that your party has put $60 million towards stopping bullying, and promoting good behaviour. What has this programme been called, and how has it encouraged good behaviour?
- What will a Student Achievement Function Practioner actually do? Helping schools support struggling students is fantastic. Will they work one to one with teachers on targeted students? This would be great. How do you envision this working? We already have RTLBs in the school system. Will you be rebranding them, or creating something new? If you are creating something new could you explain how it will be different from the old system?
- I realise I am raising a lot of questions so I will focus on only one sentence I am unclear on at the bottom of page six: “We’ll also shift the resourcing model so that it incentivises performance.” Could you explain this for me in plain English?
I think teachers are baffled by National’s education policy because they assume it’s about the education system, and they don’t understand what problems National are trying to solve, or what the outcomes are supposed to be. Once you understand that it’s about market research and electoral strategy – that National’s focus groups tell them many swing voters are parents who feel anxious about their children’s education, and that their policies are designed to play upon those fears by creating the illusion of a crisis that National will solve – they make perfect sense.