NZPF playing with PaCT

I have good reason to believe that a powerful inner group of conservative males within the NZPF executive is playing with PaCT. The purpose of this posting is to try to elicit a clear statement from this inner group that their discussions on PaCT with Hekia Parata have been only to reiterate NZPF policy of being firmly opposed to national standards.

I know a lot more about what is going on than I want to reveal, but I can say Parata has made inroads into the executive. Initial moves to set the scene for a change of policy on national standards are evident. The group is mainly South Island male with one exception; the Auckland males being strung along a continuum from deeply entrenched to standing apart, but not necessarily, it seems, making a clear stand.

The argument being put forward by this group, would you believe? is that PaCT is necessary to sort out the standardised testing mess. The argument being that with PaCT now being mandatory, NZPF needs to support PaCT to have an input.

The NZPF then makes the astounding statement that PaCT (that is national standards) will remain irrespective of a change of government. This rubbish reveals that the NZPF is hell bent on pandering to Parata irrespective.

The argument concludes that a lot of boards won’t support opposition to a mandated directive. Of course, they won’t, not directly anyway, and neither should they be expected to. But opposition can take many forms. National standards, however, are immoral and unethical and should be challenged, no matter the situation, on a principled level in argument and debate. The inner group, however, is peculiarly unsuited to such a principled debate by attitude, disposition, and insight.

The NZPF argument above is the one to be spread amongst the membership. It will, of course, appeal to many principals – but if it won the day, would ultimately devastate public education and seriously divide NZPF.

The government is just wanting to get across the line at the next election, to be able to really give it to public schools, in its final term. We ain’t seen nothing yet.

Haven’t these naifs worked out that by the NZPF being in the government’s pocket (oh yes, they will deny it), gives the government a much freer hand to deal with intermediates and NZEI (which is doing much better of late).

This capitulation by the NZPF inner group occurs in a week when Martin Thrupp wrote this in his just released second part to the RAINS project:

–If the Progress and Consistency Tool to be made mandatory by the Government is mainly intended as a form of national moderation for OTJ-making, then it can be expected to be an expensive failure.’

And then there is the Treasury Report released in November, 2011 which makes it clear that PaCT is to be used for added-value performance pay and dismissal of teachers.

Under the heading ‘System lever changes could focus on workforce accountability and funding and governance’ is a blacked out section (obviously a reference to PaCT) which goes on to say that ‘The creation of value-added data remains a priority to support better accountability and increased funding flexibility in subsequent years.’

The report says that teachers in a school, and schools, by means of  PaCT should be paid on the value-added results.

PaCT, the report indicates will increasingly be used to control what happens in classrooms down to a daily basis.

This is the plan Parata is working to, this is our future if the government is returned. All this is tied in, of course, with changes to the Teachers Council and appraisal. Look to see the pathetic line the inner group will take in their policy towards the Teachers Council and appraisal.

If PaCT is implemented and becomes embedded, a horror future lies ahead.

I repeat what I said in the posting sent out earlier today:

This is an inept episode in our education history now coalescing into a scandal.

I want to put on record some ideas I will be coming back to in some postings to follow:

o   In the school setting, values, for instance, the golden rule, are not just for children

o   National standards are immoral and unethical – immoral because it is plain to anyone who wants to see that compulsory national standards and testing is bad for children; and unethical because if a principal wants to organise his school on the basis of testing, that is the principal’s right, but to participate in their development in the knowledge that national standards and testing will be compulsory for all schools is unethical

o    For many principals the courage and moral strength of other principals in opposing something immoral and unethical, is simply a market opportunity

o     To make more efficient something that is harmful is to make it more harmful. 

As far as the pages of networkonnet are concerned, the fight against national standards has been a relative success: first we made them standards, thus by definition unworkable (the only way to make national standards ‘work’ is by testing – admittedly, that is where PaCT is heading. And, brave principals in putting up a brave and courageous fight, established for us the cast iron promise from Labour and the Greens that national standards would go if they were elected. In that respect, we have to take our chances electorally. In advance, we have to be on guard, though, against education leaders putting forward naive and defeatist arguments. They do not have the right to make self-serving rationalisations for a more comfortable world within which to function. The third party in any education compromise, is the most important, children – we should proceed with transcendental caution in assuming the right to make any compromise at all on their behalf. In this respect, I issue a warning.

There is more to come.

Kia kaha e hoa, ahakoa te aha me wepua e koe


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