In 1999 during the euphoria following the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland the then Education Minister, now deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness banned the publication of school performance or league tables. The TES http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=348747 published an article calling for a similar action in Wales. Fast forward a decade.
Research published this week http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-11669714 on the effect of such an action in Wales, another UK devolved jurisdiction, showed the effects of simplistic ideological imposition versus application of sound scientific evidence.
McGuinness and his party were wrong in 1999 they remain in error and denial today. Children from disadvantaged areas throughout Northern Ireland have suffered enough at the hands of so-called “reformed” terrorists. To deprive them and their parents of information on the effectiveness of their teachers is despicable. McGuinness’ replacement in the Department of Education, Caitriona Ruane has adopted the same Marxist ideology of imposing equality of outcome in her failed attempt to end academic selection. She has also failed miserably to improve numeracy and literacy results for the disadvantaged while ignoring and delaying the publication of evidence that public opinion did not support her policy.
Ruane was a prominent member of the Bring Them Home campaign for the Colombia Three, which sought the safe return of three Irishmen later convicted in their absence in Colombia of training Marxist rebels.
Parents should insist that politicians re-introduce performance/league tables in Northern Ireland as a priority. The naming and shaming exercise has already been highlighted in this blog when the Los Angeles Times published information on teachers performance despite threats from the teaching unions and a threat of boycott.
Ruane might want to head up another crusade – The “Bring Them Back” campaign – for school performance tables. Don’t hold your breath.
In article in the Washington Examiner
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/teachers-union-threatens-massive-boycott-of-los-angeles-times-for-reporting-on-teacher-performance-100787679.html reports of a study by The Los Angeles Times on individual teacher performance and their pupils attainment has sparked controversy.
The study and Los Angeles Times analysis, using data largely ignored by LAUSD, looks at which educators help students learn, and which hold them back.
The relevance to Northern Ireland schools becomes clear when the outcomes are examined.
Most of our educationalists act as though one teacher is about as good as another. As a result, the most effective teachers often go unrecognized, the keys to their success rarely studied. Ineffective teachers often face no consequences and get no extra help.
Which teacher a child gets is usually an accident of fate, in which the progress of some students is hindered while others just steps away thrive.
Though the N.I. government spends billions of pounds every year on education, relatively little of the money has gone to figuring out which teachers are effective and why. The ETI have much to answer for.
Their reaction to this story and the study carried out by non teaching professionals will indicate who has priority and who is important in the N. Ireland education world. In Los Angeles the teachers have placed themselves at the front of the line. Are they likely to become the first casualties?