Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Right wing bile - disguised as journalism.
'It is beyond me', writes ex Act politician and self styled commentator Deborah Coddington in her article in the Sunday Times 3/1/10, 'how those...teachers..and their mulish principals can deliberately falsify test results just because they don't want national standards reflecting badly on their schools'. 'Denying children the chance to to read', she continues, 'is child molestation of the mind. The perpetrators should be incarcerated.'
She concludes, 'like the real pedophiles they see no harm in their behaviour. They are simply doing what they think is right- it is the authorities who are out of step and should change their policies.'
How do editors let such unsubstantiated drivel get through the editorial process?
If I remember correctly one principal was reported as unwisely saying that there might be a possibility of falsifying test results to look good. It was hardly the view of most principals but the truth is that overseas schools do attempt to make their results look good. Schools in the UK have been reported as placing an over emphasis on students who are almost up to standard while ignoring those who have little chance of passing. And in both the USA and the UK teachers , for their school's reputation spend endless hours teaching to the tests ignoring other important areas of learning.
Principals who point out problems with national testing are hardly being 'mulish'.
This desire to make school accountable is the result of a political ideology that wants schools to be able to present data to parents to help them make the best choice of school for their children. Nothing wrong with this desire but national standards are the wrong way and will instead limit educational opportunities for students as schools increasingly narrow their curriculum for their own survival. The standards will simply distort teaching.
And as for teachers, by refusing to ensure students learn to read, being seen as 'molesters' and 'pedophiles' is writing of the worst sort. Coddington is totally misinformed or is being deliberately economical with the truth.
If she were to visit any primary classroom she would see that schools currently spend almost all morning ( and often the afternoon) focusing on literacy and numeracy. That there is a reading problem can be sheeted home to the appalling home circumstances that far too many children have to live with. And, if we want to share the blame, the growing number of these 'underclass' children ( making up the so called 'achievement tail') are the result of privatisation policies of previous politicians of Coddington's persuasion
Coddington amazingly calls those who imposed these failed polices 'authorities'.
That our current 'authority', the Minister of Education, totally ignores the considered view of her teachers and their principals ( 'they will do as they are told!') is sad enough but that she happily demeans the views of those who are highly regarded as assessment authorities is truly sad.
So teachers, according to Coddington, will have to bow down unquestionably to the latest 'authority' and do as they are told; politician always know best; yeah right!
Time will show that it is Coddington and her like who are be the 'asses'.
The real question is will teachers be brave enough to stand their ground against such journalistic nonsense?
Courage will be required - true learning requires risk taking to break out of faulty political thinking.