ERO – a biased political weapon for the government

Another month and another biased ERO report attacking schools, principals and teachers.

ERO claimed yesterday’s report was a “wake-up” call for teachers, principals and Boards of Trustees and highlighted what it said was schools’ “three most important shortcomings” – schools need to focus on the needs of individual students, provide a rich curriculum and use assessment results to plan their teaching.

This report is meaningless because it is so negative and biased. It lacks the balance and independence that is essential to its national evaluation function. In this report, ERO has simply trawled through four years of reports to pick out and highlight the most negative aspects of teaching and learning they could find and then launch a broadside against public schools.

New Zealand has an excellent public education system which overall stands close to the top of OECD rankings but listening to the ERO one would think our children attended banana republic schools.

The report is also completely useless as a practical guide for schools to improve teaching and learning. This is incompatible with ERO’s claim to want to ‘assess and assist schools’. So what is its purpose?

It seems clear the report is part of government plans to “soften up” parents to see public schools in a negative light and so support the government’s destructive drive for performance pay for teachers, national standards, league tables and charter schools.

By acting in this biased way, the ERO has become the mouthpiece for the government, picking on public education with such broad political attacks that make it impossible for schools to respond effectively.

Dealing with an ERO report like this is like trying to wrestle with a marshmallow.

We saw this in the 1990s when schools in low-income communities were ERO’s soft targets – now it’s the entire public education system.

If ERO continues to produce such biased reports lacking in objectivity then parents will rightly lose confidence in using their findings.

The ERO must become a genuine evaluation agency of the education system rather than the willing political weapon it has allowed itself to become.

John Minto
National Chairperson
QPEC
022 085 0161
09 846 3173

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