NSW Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt put out a very long press release
yesterday (sadly, not yet online) outlining an alphabet of measures
designed to improve literacy standards and help the education system
“meet expectations.”

“Plain-English Student Report Cards” will be introduced into all
schools, trumpets Tebbutt. “These new report cards will allow parents
to clearly see their child’s overall achievement graded from A for
outstanding through to E for limited…”

As Tebbutt seems to think A is for outstanding and E is for limited, perhaps someone needs to buy her a new copy of this. Improvements in literacy standards may well need to start with the Department of Education and Training – from the top down.

She also seems to think the introduction of 24 “foundation statements”
will help simplify things for teachers: “A simplified curriculum based
on 24 Foundation Statements will be introduced into all NSW primary
schools. Foundation Statements are short, clear descriptions of the
knowledge and skills that each student should develop at each stage of
primary school.”

Although it might be expecting a bit much of the Education Minister to
boil the essence of things down to ten principles – God did it, but
after all he is God – or even eight, as Buddha managed. Even alcoholics
only have to follow 12 steps – why should the poor old teachers be
forced to grapple with 24?

Peter Fray

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