There is no need to go over the arguments in any detail – if the process is wrong, then the decision is wrong – everything is wrong, even if the decision is right, which it isn’t.
The idea should first have gone to a working group in which the teacher organisations were represented as teacher organisations, then to the members, as a step in an overall process.
The policy came from a government which seeks standardisation as a means to control. It wants it to be easier to regulate children and schools, to compare teachers and children, and to extend bureaucratic control. Cohort entry helps that.
In the Stuff article referred to below the education demon of international research is introduced; it will be rubbish, undertaken by quantitatives who know everything about numbers and mighty little about children’s learning.
Where is the local research with researchers we know, so that we can know if we can trust the research?
The individual entry idea allows the school to welcome the child as an individual and bring out that individuality to the other children. There is little doubt that free entry, if done well, is superior, decidedly superior.
But you see, go to uniformity, go to the easy way, go to standardisation, go to organisational convenience – as against allowing teachers through teacher organisations, to do the individual entry, wonderfully.
The response by a good number of teachers to support convenience of entry is entirely understandable – they are hugely frazzled, bounded by, overwhelmed by, huge dumps of regulation and waste of time bureaucratic demands – they have had enough.
One final point in this further sad affair: did you read the headlining article by Caleb Harris on Stuff (04.19.2016), ‘Is this the end of Kiwi kids’ tradition of starting school on their fifth birthday?’ Yes – headlined on Stuff’s listing.
If you dig further you will find it was a promoted story, a paid story.
This is where we are: at the mercy of stories planted by the ministry of education, to reporters hired by the ministry. This is how education policy is developed today – this is an integral part of the process.
And then there is the writer Caleb Harris. You might ask are we really getting down to the level of the individual writer. Well, I believe in individual responsibility, in individuals examining their consciences. In Caleb Harris we have a microcosm of the ethical difficulties we face ourselves in education today.
He looks a terrific guy. Masters in Literacy Studies (frankly I prefer to take books one at a time a la Clive James – however he is well-read), but read this: Co-ordinating the Media, Violence and Peace project at human rights organisation Centre for Research and Popular education in Columbia. He is also experienced in various newspapers around the world. This is a New Zealand guy at his best – and look at him now.
Caleb – get out of there. Write your book.
And primary teachers get out of the bureaucratic bind of cohort entry.