Last Tuesday I was part of a panel on the future of schooling policy (i.e. education policy that affects schools and schooling experiences of young people) at the University of Western Australia’s Public Policy Institute. The video is embedded above.
Some points I make (when I start speaking at around 23.30):
- Those who work in schools should be part of education and policy conversations.
- Education is full of polarising discourses. For instance, the inspiring hero teacher vs. the teacher failing their students and schools blamed for a gamut of social problems. Knowledge vs. skills and capabilities. Increasing control vs. autonomy of schools and principals.
- Our educators are committed people doing outstanding work.
- School leaders are responsible for navigating the tensions between policy expectations and accountability measures, and meeting the very human needs of their communities.
- NAPLAN is one data point but this data is not necessarily valid for school comparison.
- Measuring school and school leader success via standardised testing makes them high stakes and encourages gaming the system rather than the education of students and the support of staff.
- Wellbeing and workload of those working in our schools, including teachers and leaders, is of concern.
During the question time, I comment that:
- An overemphasis on testing comparison and metrics of measurement can oversimplify education.
- Teacher quality is an important in-school factor that influences student learning, but there are other more influential factors such as socio-economic status, parents’ education and early reading.
- Digital nativity does not equate to digital literacy. Considering technology in schools should be based on first considering purpose, tools fit for purpose, equity of access and teaching students to be savvy, responsible users.
- The proliferation of information and resources on the internet, adaptive learning technologies, and does not do away with the need for teachers.