Tolley threatens to sack school boards

The national standards row has heated up even further with Education Minister Anne Tolley saying she will fire primary school boards which allow teachers to boycott national standards.

The standards regime has come under fire from teachers, parents and academics, concerned at the speed of its implementation and the effects it would have on children who were falling behind.

Mrs Tolley last week ruled out any trial -- sought by education academics and others -- or further delay and said boards which allowed teachers not to implement the standards would be breaking the law.

Schools are to start using the system from February

Unions have signalled boycotts and industrial action over the standards and sought principals' support. They have asked principals to lobby boards to support teachers.

Mrs Tolley told The New Zealand Herald today that in "extreme" cases of a boycott she would dissolve the board involved and install a commissioner to run the school.

"If despite having that pointed out to them, they absolutely refused, I do have the power to dissolve the board and put in a commissioner," she said.

"In the end, I would have to do that. I don't think it would come to that, but if it went to the nth degree I would do it. You just cannot have schools disobeying the law."

Labour Party education spokesman Trevor Mallard said a trial would provide information about whether the scheme was a good way to go or not.

"I'm surprised she's putting herself into that corner. She does have a choice."

NZ Educational Institute president Frances Nelson was disappointed at Mrs Tolley's position.

"The way she is approaching it is like she's got herself into a corner and can't find a way out without losing face."

The School Trustees Association Lorraine Kerr told the Principals' Federation and the NZEI they were being "irresponsible and unprofessional" in telling principals to lobby their boards.

A meeting of 80 Northland principals last week unanimously agreed not to implement the standards until their effect was better known.

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3 Comments & Questions

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School Boards provide a whole layer of virtually cost-free school governance . The Government needs them more than they need the Government. Therefore, since we are in an era of user pays, let the Minister find (and fund) 80 competent commissioners to run the schools.

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Do us all a favour and sack yourself clearly are so out of your depth, you'll get an "E"....but it won't be for excellent, so much as excrement....something you're spewing almost daily as you thrash about and take National down.....down....down.
"Go. You are the weakest link."

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Anne, National was elected with the mandate to do it. Parents voted with their feet. The teacher unions are scared that the this policy will bring into sharp focus those schools and teachers where success is a dirty word and dumbing down to the lowest common denominator is the norm.

Government servants (and that';s what teachers are) have a duty to implement the policies of the duly elected Government. If they can't stomach that then their only honourable option is to resign.

But I forgot. The teacher unions are the Labour Party is disguise.

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