Future of education in NZ for National freightrain
Whilst some schools are struggling to get students to learn a first language, we’ll be teaching them coding and a second language as well should National get through to it’s fourth consecutive term.
National Standards will be extended.
And low and behold, surprise, surprise, they will be pumping money into improving the teaching of maths to primary schools.
Seriously. When will they get the message?
The second part of the package was a $126 million investment to raise maths achievement for primary school students. English said National Standards showed New Zealand needed to lift its game in maths. “So we’ll provide our students and teachers with the tools they need to do that… We’ll help 1200 teachers a year complete extra university papers targeted at teaching maths to primary students… We’ll also provide intensive classroom support for students, where schools have identified the need to improve their maths.”
Obviously teachers are the reason students aren’t achieving in Mathematics. Rubbish teachers and ineffective teaching. Ignore the fact that there are other factors at play for many students, it MUST be the useless teachers we have that are failing our students.
So to fix this problem, we’ll send teachers back to university to learn how to teach Mathematics more effectively by ex-teachers-turn-lecturers who couldn’t hack it in the classroom 15 years ago with some kind of trendy fad way of teaching. Probably after school, in teacher’s own time.
Teachers work out of their skin. Anyone who has visited schools that are supposedly ‘struggling’ knows that there are other factors in any underachievement.
It’s made even more a joke when you begin to look at the reason behind such a policy. A simple search on our favourite search engine shows that Education Counts has the data for National Standards Results, 2016 (PDF). On the very first graph of this document we see that Reading sits at 77.8%, Maths at 75.4% and 71.2% for Writing. So why are we targeting Maths?
Quite simple actually.
Maths is the easiest to address. It has a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’. It’s measurable. It’s quantifiable. It’s the easiest to show progress. It’s assessments are stable and data rich. This is something that Reading and Writing don’t have, being largely subjective – especially Writing. The government want to ride on some success. By investing in Mathematics and measuring the future success of their education budget, they can prove that National Standards work, and legitimise all three subjects.
However, what teachers really want, and really need, are some resources, assessments, and some structure around how Writing is assessed and taught, and to see how this can impact on all other subjects (including Mathematics). Pumping more money into Mathematics is an easy out for the Government, whilst appearing that they are putting in resources and funding into education before an election, whilst in reality, they are plugging a hole that isn’t leaking (or not leaking as much).
Are any teacher’s actually excited about this? About having more money put into Mathematics, even after ALiM and other initiatives? About the prospect of having to go back to complete some additional university papers?