Friday 9 December 2016

The falling standards make a case for Sturgeon`s educational reform plan

Or so she says.

"Opposition politicians said Scotland was going `backwards` in reading, science and maths under the SNP [but] the first minister ... defended the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) as `the right way forward` for Scottish schools in the face of criticism..."

"Scotland was within the average banding for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD], but was placed lower in all three subject areas than in any previous Pisa survey."

"Asked who she would seek to blame for the results, Ms Sturgeon said she herself took responsibility..."

"Ruth Davidson said the SNP had been in government for 10 years and had not managed to sort out education, and added that her party could potentially withdraw their support for the current curriculum system."

"She said: `The single biggest education reform under this SNP government has been Curriculum for Excellence, and nobody here can simply brush aside the fact that since it has come in, standards have fallen`."

So how can Sturgeon confidently assert that Curriculum for Excellence is right for Scotland?

As deputy first minister John Swinney said earlier in the week: "The OECD indicated to us that Curriculum for Excellence was a bold and strong reform. It was right for Scotland. But they also identified a range of interventions that we had to make to strengthen Scottish education and when the government had the first insight that educational performance was falling in 2015 we took action to take forward the necessary measures to address those issues."

There is no thought that scrapping Curriculum for Excellence might be one of those necessary measures. It is illuminating to consider the role of the OECD in the present state of affairs.
"As an organisation of economic development, OECD is naturally biased in favour of the economic role of public [state] schools. But preparing young men and women for gainful employment is not the only, and not even the main goal of public education, which has to prepare students for participation in democratic self-government, moral action and a life of personal development, growth and wellbeing..."
"To carry out Pisa and a host of follow-up services, OECD has embraced "public-private partnerships" and entered into alliances with multi-national for-profit companies, which stand to gain financially from any deficitsreal or perceivedunearthed by Pisa. Some of these companies provide educational services to American schools and school districts on a massive, for-profit basis, while also pursuing plans to develop for-profit elementary education in Africa, where OECD is now planning to introduce the Pisa programme..."
"As Pisa has led many governments into an international competition for higher test scores, OECD has assumed the power to shape education policy around the world, with no debate about the necessity or limitations of OECD's goals. We are deeply concerned that measuring a great diversity of educational traditions and cultures using a single, narrow, biased yardstick could, in the end, do irreparable harm to our schools and our students."
 The Scottish government is working hand in glove with global organisations to transform Scotland`s education system with more `transformational change` on the way. The role of the OECD is similar to the likes of Barnardo`s in its support of the named person scheme. It gives a veneer of legitimacy to what would otherwise be an unpopular policy.

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