The decision by some Southland primary principals to boycott the National Standards implementation workshops is a cop-out.

This decision is not about money.  It’s an ideological opposition based on flawed logic.  Those now opposed were the ones who, just a year ago, were key participants in the development of National Standards.  The NZEI and the principals are abrogating their responsibility to their teachers’ professional development and consequently to their students.

Professional development through this training is essential to ensuring principals, teachers and boards are well-equipped to work with the Standards.

The Government wants to make sure principals, teachers and trustees understand the Standards themselves; how they can support effective teaching across the curriculum; and the importance of reporting to parents.

At least 7000 teachers will be provided with in-depth training so they can use the Standards to set goals for student learning and improve their teaching practice.

A further 1200 teachers will be offered opportunities to study university papers in literacy or numeracy to improve their content knowledge and understanding of effective teaching.

Southland principals are going to get left behind.  All the parents I speak to tell me that they can’t wait to have a valid, fact-based assessment of their child’s progress, rather than some of the subjective material they receive from schools at present.  If Southland principals think boycotting the training sessions will somehow put their students in a better position, they are sorely mistaken.

Do they not want our children to get the best start possible?