Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Politics of Distraction - Appease the Parents

Making parents happy at a political level is not necessarily in the best interest of the children. The parents are not part of their children's schooling system on a daily basis, however, they have the power as voters over the schools. 

This choice can be seen at a national level with a change of government or at a local level with parents voting with their feet and changing between school's. Hattie states that data from the OECD shows the percentage of students attending a government- funded school are dropping around the world. 

This is due to a number of reasons, the brand strength of a private school, the perception of a higher quality of education, the children meeting the right people, higher student achievement, higher in-school teacher variability at public school's.

When Hattie looked at the data of student achievement between private and public school's, it often showed little difference in student achievement between these schools, especially when the prior incoming achievement data was taken into account. I wonder if we looked at the progress of the learners from when they entered a school to completion of learning at that school whether the private school's outperformed the public schools?

Implications for Governments, Schools, and Teachers
  • Governments need to stay strong against public opinion and get the messages across to parents and the community of what actually makes a difference to student achievement. These messages must be research and evidence-based and use examples of "Pockets of Promise" happening in schools already. With the media attitude towards education in New Zealand, this would be a difficult task.
  • Remove the Decile Rating system as this create bias against a school and community.
  • School's need to continually communicate with their wider community and de-silo the school's practice around teaching and learning, creating an expectation and ethos of 'visible teaching and learning' within the school community.
  • Promote a culture of teacher learning within the school to reduce some of the variability between teacher practice, develop collaborative teacher practices so teacher's can learn off each other, provide mentoring for teachers with recognized weaknesses in their practice.
  • Teacher's need to open their classes and share their practice with the wider community, making their teaching and learning visible to the public. This can be done through Class Sites and Blogs, Parental education of the new pedagogies and technologies for learning, greater public / private relationships with opportunities for the learners to work with individuals and businesses from within the community, teachers taking the time to watch weekend sport or activities of their learners and building connections and relationships with their parents and community.

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