As a provocative, insightful investigation into the state of our education system, tonight's TV3 documentary "World Class? Inside NZ Education - a Special Report" was outstanding.
Our education administration is broken. It has been broken by a generation of meddling Ministers scoring political points by telling parents that their children's failures are the fault of teachers, and Treasury officials wet behind the ears experimenting with their own theoretical far right agenda.
Happily our schools are still pretty good. But they are not as good as in the days when we trusted teachers to do a good job. And they deliver despite, not because of the administrators and politicians.
Every Kiwi senior student, parent and grandparent should watch this programme. There was insight after insight that had me cheering even though I watched it alone in an Auckland hotel room.
Three take outs that especially resonated:
- Our system is geared towards producing compliant thinkers rather than creative ones. (How bad is that in the digital era?)
- Treasury keeps telling governments that big schools are more effective, but the reverse is what the research shows. (Of course. For small kids especially the security, pastoral care and collegiality of a smaller school create the environment to learn far better than being among a huge community of teachers and students who are strangers. Common sense 101)
- The good things that are happening in New Zealand schools are happening in spite of the way we administer public education, not because of it.
Do me a favour and watch this documentary. It needs to become a political issue. Control of schools should be handed back to the skilled and committed professionals who mostly populate the sector, not to amateur politicians seeking to impose theoretical political agendas or denigrate competent and hard working professionals for the sake of a cheap sound bite.