The NSW Government’s surprise announcement of a review into the Board Of Educational Standards and Teaching (BOSTES) will “spread profound dismay amongst teachers, principals and parents”, warns the NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF).
NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, announced the review last Thursday, saying it would ensure the government continued to best serve the community of NSW into the future “by setting high and consistent education standards, building the best quality teaching and associated workforce and improving outcomes for all students”.
However, NSWTF vice president, Denis Fitzgerald, told The Educator that the review is an “ill-considered” move that has more to do with ideology than learning outcomes for students.
“There are two fundamental errors. The first is the inclination to dismiss a representative board of the education community that has built curriculum in NSW for 50 years,” he said.
“The second is that the curriculum threatens to be placed in the hands of politically appointed functionaries.”
He added that while the state’s education system was not yet politicised, the review threatened the “very open representation and high-standards” of the state’s curriculum.
If it’s not broken, don’t’ fix it.
Fitzgerald said the NSW education system as it currently operates not only had the “complete faith” of parents, teachers and principals but was “one of the strongest curriculum assessment and examination systems in the world”.
“To jeopardise that on a managerial whim that political appointees can do it better endangers the great heritage that exists in public education, and across all education systems in NSW,” he said.
“The other component in the review paper invites the reviewers to see whether or not Canberra can take over functions of curriculum and assessment in NSW,” he said.
“The idea that what is taught in NSW schools will be determined by distant bureaucrats does not bode well, and is not at all in the best interest of students.
“We’ve seen the disaster at the Federal level in which Tony Abbott launched politically charged reviews into education. NSW seems to be following this Federal model where if you appoint your mates, you get the outcomes you desire.”
A ‘very significant campaign’
Fitzgerald said the NSWTF would soon be mounting “a very significant campaign” in an attempt to stop the review.
“One of the great things about education in NSW was that every teacher could directly or indirectly contribute to syllabus and curriculum development,” he said.
“However, that will all be taken away under the politically appointed model, so we will be campaigning with our 65,000 teaching members, alerting them to the dangers inherent in this review.”
The NSW Government’s review panel is expected to deliver its final report to the state’s Education Minister by the end of June.