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.