The educational world is in turmoil. On a scale relative to the crisis hanging over Europe teaching resources are reeling from the number of initiatives that loom on the horizon. The reaction by teachers to options to convert to academy or free school status are mixed. Generally the conversion results from the need to resurrect a failing school, occasionally to gain freedom from the local educational authourities. But the sword of Damocles hovers over the whole system in the form of school league tables.
Scorned by many as presenting a false impression the league tables largely ignore local social conditions that can have a significant impact on a schools ability to match top flight schools. Mergers may seem a logical answer although this could be seen as neat solution to the main line system that has failed. Overall the Department of Education ebbs and flows with the tide and has tried financial rewards to teachers whose students excel, and the theoretical removal of teachers who students who do not, although this has yet to be instigated in any positive manner. We do not have the perfect solution despite the issue being evident for a generation. Hardly anything to crow about. Which why it is odd that we in the UK have predominately copied policies adopted by the USA that largely has not worked in the U.S. And why, understandably, the teachers union in New Zealand are reluctant to adopt similar educational policies that according to Post-Primary Teacher’s Association president Robin Duff “Is just recycling policy from the past that has failed.”
“It’s just back to the old ideology of taking something that has failed in almost every country it’s been implemented or attempted to be implemented and bringing it here,” he said.
The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI), that represents primary school teachers, agrees; “Rolling out failing, outdated policy which won’t resonate with anyone who works in education”.
“Performance based systems don’t work anywhere else in the world, is fraught with problems and does nothing to enhance a quality education system,” NZEI says.
Perhaps we need closely to listen to these views they may well be the voice in the song that saw that the Kings new suit of clothes doesn’t actually exist.