Monday, 22 April 2013

WAITATI SCHOOL

by Heidi Hayward, Principal

It is quite unbelievable to see the change in the educational environment in New Zealand In the space of a few short years. Data and achievement is driving learning conversations. Of course, we all want children to achieve but it would be madness to assume that all children would, could or should achieve at the same rate or at the same time as others their age. What we should really be concerned with is progress, and progress across a broad and diverse curriculum, not merely reading, writing and mathematics. Teaching is all about human interaction. We are not generating machines, each a carbon copy of the last.

New Zealand once had an enviable educational model. We were the toast of educational innovation and success throughout the world. People came from far and wide to study what we were doing. I don't understand why we would choose to copy the failed educational policies of the countries that once looked to us for inspiration.

I attended the education rally a few weeks ago because I believe that we're on the brink of losing our way altogether. I want to protect education for my children, for your children and grandchildren to ensure that New Zealand can continue to produce creative, confident, innovative and enthusiastic learners. 

I strongly recommend that you read the opinion piece written by Peter O'Connor, (google: Peter O'Connor: Public education is a treasure we must protect, for the full text).

He presents the case beautifully! A short excerpt is copied here:

'What has been lost sometimes in the battles over the past four years has been a clear articulation of what teachers are fighting for, rather than against. Teacher union groups have been dismissed as arguing for the status quo, of having a vested interested in a failing system. This is nonsense. They are fighting for a set of ideals about what the function of the state is in relation to education and what the purpose of education is.

'Those protesting this week believe that the state has a core responsibility for educating its citizens. That it shouldn't be sold off to private interests, or in the extraordinary instance of charter schools, simply given to them. State responsibility for education is understood in terms of a social contract that proposes a well-educated population as a public good. It proposes that all schools should be excellent schools of choice for families in local communities. Public education is about equity and social justice, not about business models.'

 

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