Community of Learning: Devoid of Individuality
Over the last few nights, I have worked away going through all 61 of the accepted and approved Achievement Challenges that active CoL’s have put out.
I spent time going through each one and noting down the key aspects of each. This included noting if they were based around National Standards, NCEA, Curriculum subject, and any other factors, such as Ethnicity or Gender focus, or a mixture of everything.
These Communities of Learning are all unique. They all represent different parts of the country, and the schools in them reflect the communities and whanau who they serve. They are made up of a myriad of individuals who teach and lead within them and who work tirelessly at solving a range of different achievement challenges daily.
Yet, out of the 180 CoL’s, only 61 have been accepted so far. Many, many of them have had to be returned with a “FAIL” on the grade paper, and asked to resubmit. Countless have been adjusted and modified to include certain aspects that the Ministry and the Government want to see in them. The following infographic shows this beyond doubt, that there is a definite agenda behind what the Ministry will accept as appropriate achievement challenges. Very few of them take into account any kind of individual or creative focus in which a Community of Learning might wish to operate and instead, pushes and prods until that CoL fits into the pre-determined box, ready to be shipped off.
In the initial stages, schools were gun ho, with vast varieties of creative innovations for what these challenges could be and what would lead to set one community aside from another. Many delved into what was important to them and their community when deciding on their achievement challenges.
In a quiet hush of excitement and trepardation rolled into one as the response envelope was opened. A quick skim to see if the achievement challenges had been accepted.
No. Instead what many CoLs got was a rejection letter of their achievement challenges, with some suggestions and examples of what might be a better challenge.
The result of this is quite evident where two years of returned achievement challenges until the CoLs came up with one that would fit into the box that the Ministry aresqueezing is all into.
Of the 61 CoL’s that have currently (March 2017) had their achievement challenges accepted, I worked out the following stats:
83% have something about Maths.
88% have something about Writing. Of those, 60% are about National Standards.
70% of CoLs want improvement at Achieving Level 2 NCEA.
36% are focussed on Maori achievement in some way, and 29% on boys achievement.
10% focus on additional learning needs.
Next to none have anything holistic, such as Hauora (wellbeing) or creativity, mindfulness or community focuses, or other curriculum areas such as Science or the Arts.
Make what you will of that.