Call for ERO boss to resign and a call to arms

Saturday Dominion story on the call to Stoop to resign


I talked to that wonderful group of principals last week – the South island intermediate and middle school principals – and detailed why Stoop had failed in his official and moral duty and should resign.

He knew that the use in the national standards’ legislation of the averaged figures from the 2007 review report for all curriculum areas (57%) rather than the use of the literacy and numeracy figures (around 90%) was a lie. It was a lie because he knew that the intention was to mislead.

If the numeracy and literacy figures had been associated with the bill it would not have been written let alone passed.

The review office motto is: Ko te Tamaiti te Putake o te Kaupapa: The child is the Heart of the Matter.

I could weep at the hypocrisy. I am enraged. They are taking us for fools who will take any rubbish they throw at us.

You will notice that neither Tolley nor Stoop address the question.

If you read the two latest postings you will find more detail on this matter and the disgraceful 2009 report. Ivan Snook and John O’Neill have done some outstanding analysis on our behalf. And a further straight-out lie has been unearthed.

Notice how it is reported that the 2007 report used an external reference panel, apparently not the 2009 one.

And what does Stoop do again, he waffles on about 40% of schools not doing this or that, but this is not referring to literacy and numeracy. Would someone please inform him the issue at hand is literacy and numeracy. Perhaps he is not complicit in lying, just incompetent.

Dear readers: We have them on this one. I will be doing my best with further publicity; I am calling on you for your support. Write a letter to the Dominion ( HYPERLINK “”  or Editor, PO Box 1297, Wellington) or if the article appears in sister publications, write to them. 

Challenge Tolley and Stoop in public with what they have done. We want to hear nothing further from them until they explain the lie that is at the heart of the national standards legislation and our professional lives.

Enough is enough


Call for ERO boss to resign

By Tom Hunt (Dominion)

National standards legislation was based on “distortion akin to a lie”, according to a former senior schools inspector.

Kelvin Smythe, a former teacher, principal, university lecturer and inspector, is calling for the Education Review Office boss to quit.

He made the call for Graham Stoop’s resignation at a principals’ conference this week, and announced he was seeking legal advice on taking a judicial review of the legislation that ushered in national standards.

Education Minister Anne Tolley said: “This nonsense is not worthy of comment.”

ERO was a “well-respected independent government agency”. It was disappointing that those who did not agree with the standards continued to “attack anybody and anything they don’t agree with”.

Mr Smythe said a 2007 ERO report found about 90 per cent of primary schools could demonstrate pupils’ achievement and progress in English and mathematics.

The same report showed schools’ abilities to demonstrate pupils’ achievement and progress in all curriculum areas, including social studies, arts and physical education, was satisfactory in only 57 per cent of cases.

But when the Government publicised national standards, which focus on literacy and numeracy, it quoted the 57 per cent figure, seriously overstating the need for better literacy and numeracy reporting, he said.

“My strong contention is that, if the figures for literacy and numeracy had been in the bill, it would not have appeared, let alone passed,” he said.

“This massive discrepancy, akin to a lie, was continually repeated by the minister then, in a legislative disgrace, ended up in the legislation as the justification for national standards.”

He accused ERO of creating a similar 2009 report for Mrs Tolley “as a source of propaganda” to justify the standards implementation.

However, ERO said its 2007 report used an external reference panel of assessment experts, including university academics.

It found that, although schools were collecting assessment information, in 40 per cent of schools teachers were investing time and energy in assessment activities that did not result in useful information about pupils’ achievement and progress.

Dr Stoop said using assessment to improve teaching and learning programmes was essential to good teaching practice. Half were not reporting achievement information effectively to parents and school communities.

Quality Public Education Coalition vice-president John O’Neill, a Massey University education professor, called for an independent review of ERO. “I have concerns about the basis on which factual claims are being made.”

The 2009 report would have failed peer-reviewed research tests, and was largely taken from classroom observation, he said. “They are taking subjective opinions and turning them into objective facts.”

Massey emeritus education professor Ivan Snook said the 2009 ERO report was not genuine research “with a hypothesis and robust methodology for testing”.

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