23 October 2009

Delahunty scared of education freedom

To say Catherine Delahunty has said something crazy is to state the bleedingly obvious.

So here we go again. On Frogblog she said:

"It wasn’t much fun waking up this morning to the news that the Ministry of Education will no longer be providing advice to primary schools on arts, science, technology, or physical education – nothing in fact, except the “three Rs”: reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. This latest assault on the public education system by the National Government is just plain stupid.

It also heralds the undoing of a robust curriculum. There is no educational justification for such a narrow focus, when all the evidence points to the importance of a holistic educational experience at primary school level"

Horror of horrors no more ADVICE to schools on certain subjects. What will they do? How will they cope? How can anyone teach anything without advice from the Ministry of Education?

What this means is that central government will no longer be directing how arts, science, technology and PE will be taught. It is a devolution of power to schools to make their OWN decisions. They wont get central government assistance on those subjects, they will need to figure it out for themselves or get together with other schools (or whoever they wish).

It is clear that the subjects will NOT stop being taught. Principals claim it might make those subjects a lower priority, which of course should be up to each school.

This move is a GOOD thing.

It is only a BAD thing if you believe education should be centrally dictated, that all schools should teach the same and use the same techniques. Schools MIGHT take it as a chance to be innovative, to think for themselves and deliver education in those subjects for what parents want.

Delahunty is spinning it as being the end of education in those subjects, which is nonsense.

In fact, the more central government abandons directing schools the better. Schools should be driven by parents, NOT bureaucrats, as to how and what they teach.

However, I can see why the Greens really are upset:

"Through this same cut, we have now lost all the Sustainability Advisors"

In other words, propagandists for the Green perspective on science, philosophy and history. No more taxpayer funded brainwashing of children to suit one certain agenda.

Another step forward would be for all schools to simply be funded on a per pupil basis and let the school innovate, decide what to teach and how, and then parents choose what school to send their children too. No centrally dictated curriculum (but schools could collaborate and share information and develop their own ones).

Now that really would frighten those who fear education being driven by what suppliers think consumers (parents) would like. Including, of course, the National Party.


Lucia Maria said...

Hi LibertyScott,

Just to add another perspective, there is something very odd going on with NZ education right now and it's not a good odd...

Have a read of the latest Investigate. There's an article in there on the most likely effect of the new values based curriculum that won't mandate what should be taught, but rather what values children will come out of school with. Add that to this that you've written about and you may get a difficult picture of what is going on.

I'm still thinking and gathering info myself, so I can't really argue any sort of point right now.

Anonymous said...

"Taxpayer funded brainwashing". Right wing nuttiness at its best.

StephenR said...

"What this means is that central government will no longer be directing how arts, science, technology and PE will be taught. "

The 'advice' sounded like it was justified on the basis that primary teachers are not polymaths, and therefore will sometimes need external advice on subjects like arts, science, technology and PE. On the other hand, i'm not sure how hard it could be, since we're talking the primary/intermediate level here.

Libertyscott said...

Lucia: Hmmm, interesting. I will read.

Anonymous: One man's brainwashing is another man's education of course.

StephenR: Yes that was what I was thinking. I suspect it is more to do with saving money than any belief in freer curricula.