4 Sep 2008

No proof school reform lifted achievement - PPTA

9:05 pm on 4 September 2008

The secondary teachers union says there is no proof the 1989 school reforms have lifted student achievement.

Teachers will be asked this month to vote on a recommendation for an independent review of the reforms known as "Tomorrow's Schools".

A paper prepared for the PPTA's annual conference says it is astonishing that no measurable achievement in student performance can be attributed to the reforms.

It says the former Prime Minister David Lange's promise that the reforms would lead to improved learning opportunities has not been borne out.

It argues results only began to get better when the NCEA was introduced in 2002.

The paper also takes issue with the cornerstone of the reforms that once freed from bureaucratic contraints, schools would be able to serve better the interests of their communities.

It asserts that rather than encourage individualtiy, the reforms have produced a rigid consumer-driven conservatism.

The School Trustees Association says there is no appetite to change the current system and sees no good reason for a review.

Association general manger Ray Newport says since the Education Standards Act of 2002 boards have become responsible for student achievement.

He says the biggest factor in student achievement is the quality of teaching.

The reform process called "Tomorrow's Schools" introduced major reform in 1989 into the administration of state schools in New Zealand.

Part of this reform was to introduce boards of trustees which were to be the governance body for each school.

Previously, primary schools had to report to Education Boards while secondary schools had Boards of Governors.