Friday, July 3, 2009

Banning School League tables

The NSW Liberals have decided to ban the publishing of school league table. The Shadow minister gives his reasons here:

What the Bill stopped was ranking of schools from best to worst. A ranking system that is simplistic and wrong because it does not take into account the challenges that individual schools face. Issues like isolation for schools in western NSW, the level of wealth of families, or the fact that kids come from a non English speaking background all effect school performance in tests.

This ranking might make great media headlines but they can also do significant harm to the schools affected. Some of the toughest schools in NSW have the best Principals and the best teachers with the hardest working kids working from a low base. They do not deserve public humiliation by being the subject of simplistic league tables...

What rubbish. The government is not obliged to use league tables they can use and publish a weighted system if they like. The issue here is one of freedom of speech, something I though Liberals believed in. Here is what Brendan Nelson had to say:

Dr Nelson, who pioneered the release of school information as federal education minister between 2001 and 2006, was "flabbergasted" by the Coalition's support for the amendment.

"I'm not an advocate of government-constructed league tables, but if somebody wants to construct a league table on the basis of publicly available information, they should be able to do so," he told The Australian.

"The last time I looked this was a free society."

I thought so too.

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