The Government’s plans to launch ‘National Standards Plus’ – an online tool to track progress in the standards – has been met with strong opposition from primary teachers’ union NZEI Te Riu Roa and the New Zealand Principals’ Federation.

Prime Minister Bill English announced  National Standards Plus this weekend at the National Party campaign’s launch.

“By moving the reporting online, the new system will help our hardworking teachers by streamlining their paperwork and allowing them to focus more of their time on teaching,” he said.

However, the NZEI says the new tool will cause teachers more work and kids more anxiety.

“Teachers need to know why the Government wants to expand National Standards when virtually all experts say they narrow children’s learning, cause them unnecessary stress and aren’t raising achievement,” NZEI immediate past president Louise Green said.

“We need to know what the decision to expand National Standards was based on. Recent evidence shows National Standards have failed to raise achievement, while causing additional stresses and anxiety among children.

“The tragedy of this announcement is that educators know what works for children, but the Government is refusing to do it. Children need more time with teachers, access to support for additional learning needs and to a rich modern curriculum that’s not limited by 20th century ideas about the ‘three Rs’.”

NZPF president Whetu Cormick agrees the Prime Minister’s announcement does not address the main priorities within education.

“National standards have made no significant change to the achievement levels of priority learners since their introduction and that’s why the Government introduced them. We have chronic teacher shortages and we are struggling to address the severe behaviour issues presented in our schools every day,” he said.
“We have the children of methamphetamine addicts, who have extreme behavioural challenges, we have young people from homes where poverty pervades every aspect of their lives and we have children with severe autism, mental health issues and other afflictions which require specialist support, which many schools cannot access,” he said.
“For the Prime Minister to suggest that more national standards, foreign languages in primary schools and specialist digital technology teachers are the most important priorities, shows a man completely out of touch with the realities facing schools today,” said Cormick.



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