The education police are on their way to a school near you

Image credit: Newsroom

A big change in school governance is due next month, despite the majority of our schools serving students well.

The reason changes are needed is because multiculturalism is not working in education. It has failed us.

We need to stop bragging about how well multiculturalism works. It doesn’t and now Maori and Pacifika children won’t get the help they need because this government pulled the pin on the Charter school model which was making a measurable difference to marginalised children.

The Tomorrow?s Schools Independent Taskforce review released in December took eight months to complete and was followed by public and education sector submissions.

Following a task force recommendation, all schools are expected to have a large part of the responsibilities of their boards of trustees stripped from them next month and handed over to professional educators.

On the basis that almost a third of schools are failing their students, the task force recommended that all schools – even those achieving well above national average results – be policed by a new layer of educational boffins. Quote.

The task force recommended establishing 125 education hubs ? as crown entities – throughout the country, which would be responsible for many of the current governance responsibilities of boards of trustees. The heads of the hubs would be appointed by the minister.

end quote.

Moveover parents; the state knows better than you how your local school should be run to best meet the needs of your kids.

It doesn?t make sense and it is a risky ploy to make substantial changes to schools which are already performing well simply to accommodate failing schools. Quote.

New Zealand students do well in some outcome measures and many ? about 70 percent ? of students do well at school.

However, there is a large gap between those at the top and those at the bottom.?

Newsroom end quote.

Closing that gap would be achieved by pulling down the schools with better outcomes but clearly that is not desirable. Why meddle with a model that is working well? Instead, why not address the resistance in the sectors that are failing? The task force identified who they are. Quote.

Taskforce chair Bali Haque said the current system did not work for M?ori, Pasifika, new migrants or those with additional learning needs.

end quote.

This is the real truth about how multiculturalism has failed us in education.

For an excellent analysis of how far off the mark the task force recommendations are, read Alwyn Poole’s article. Quote.

The cumulative effect of 13 years New Zealand education results in comparative UE pass rates of 67% for Asians, European 44%, Pasifika 22% and M?ori 19%. This is a national disgrace and we have given up on believing it can be different. It is also a problem that Haque?s report will do nothing to change (although more ?equity? may be achieved by slowing down the thriving schools).? End of quote.


The taskforce aims to close the gap between the top and bottom performing schools. It would certainly achieve this by dropping the performance of the higher achieving schools. But where’s the fairness in this? We should instead simply focus on improving the results from struggling schools.

But we know this government won’t. Their goal is to remove power from the community and give it to more government ‘boffins’. Poole points out that we are already awash with educationalists and asks if anyone ever bothers to evaluate their effectiveness. Quote.

The Ministry of Education has 3,000 staff already. What on earth do they do? How much does that cost? When were all schools asked for an evaluation of their performance? How much of what they do has any kind of impact on the day to day success ? or otherwise ? of our children?? End of quote.

The board of trustees is the interface between the school and the community. Curtailing its powers and putting in an extra layer of educationalists is crazy when we know that most schools are doing a great job. Trustees are elected on merit but boffins are appointed. Quote

The taskforce also recommends doing away with NZQA and the Education Review Office (ERO) and instead creating an Education Evaluation office (EEO) to act as an oversight body and report directly to the Government.? End of quote.

30% of schools fail to meet NZQA pass rates, so let?s just do away with NZQA. Isn?t this called lowering the bar to avoid failure?

ERO puts pressure on schools to meet standards. Some don?t meet standards, so let?s just do away with the standards. Isn?t this just lowering the bar to avoid failure?

Who will monitor the performance of the new education police? If it is the EEO, are they in a position to provide independent monitoring? Or will education simply be self monitoring with no external independent evaluation?

Will the result of government machinations be schools unaccountable to their communities; with more kids marginalised and the removal of standards, thereby acerbating the existing 30% failure rate?

Will students become even less prepared for the work force or tertiary education because schools have had the freedom and flair that encourages success taken away from them?