Dec 12

NAPLAN and PISA: A leap year of hysteria!

Every year in Australia we have a week of hysteria when NAPLAN results are published. But every third year we get a second chance at hysteria and hyperbole with the publication of PISA.  

This second wave of hysteria allows the education “experts” to promote their personal model of how to fix all things broken in Australian schools. These statements of how to fix everything feel like they are on endless repeat over the past 20 years.   

It is important to question the system and student performance. But we need considered debate, defined solutions and a by-partisan 20 year funded agreement to systematic change. Not thought bubbles via the media, social networks and opinion pieces.  

To avoid another 20 years of repeated hysteria weeks, can we at least agree a few simple ground rules:

  1. Teachers at not the problem: They are the key to the solution. Let’s support the profession with training, development and systematically improving the professions standing so that in 20 years teachers are THE most respected professionals in Australian society. 
  2. No Education Minister is allowed to be quoted during hysteria week: Any successful politician will use the media’s thirst for blood to provide insight. These learned and intelligent people are then reduced to a 20 second sound bite on the nightly news that highlights the failing of the previous government, but omits their failings the time before that; like 20 years of bad results appeared in only the last election cycle.
  3. Teachers are not the problem: refer to bullet point 1
  4. Students are not the problem: I can’t listen to any more “millennials are ruining the world” stupidity. Young people are seeking support, pathways and a future-fit education system that supports them. Suggesting that students are at the centre of systematic issues because they use smart phones, social media and are lazy is just wrong!
  5. Teachers are not the problem: refer to bullet point 1

I don’t have the answer, but to find a few potential solutions I know we need: A 20 year by-partisan agreement to a funded program of change focussed on students, designed by teachers, supported by university academics, implemented locally by schools all without political interference. 

This post originaly appeared on my LinkedIn profile

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