ALP Reintroduce Early Years Reading Program To Improve NAPLAN Literacy Scores

Janine Rees http://www.sparkt @sparktEd

Annastacia Palaszczuk has just announced that the ALP will reintroduce a children’s reading program in a bid to improve NAPLAN literacy scores. The program using family members and volunteers to read with children was scrapped six years ago under the LNP. What they have failed to acknowledge is that most schools already have a program of adult volunteers reading with young students. The LNP might’ve scrapped funding to save money but schools still continue to do what they know works best, with or without funding.

Up skilling and recruiting more volunteers to work with students at a cost of 1.5 million dollars is surely money well spent and reading together with children is very important but don’t attach this program to NAPLAN; the very tool that has murdered the joy of reading over the past decade. Ms Palaszczuk said, “success (of the program) will be measured by NAPLAN results.”

We teachers are endlessly frustrated by this pork barrelling. It’s even more frustrating when the ruling party is all over the shop. On the one hand we have Education ministers agreeing that NAPLAN is damaging children and teachers’ mental health and then we have the Premier continuing to tie the standardised test to necessary programs like reading programs. NAPLAN measuring the success of a reading program is akin to having an MRI and 4 months later returning the results to the GP to try to pinpoint or validate which of a myriad of treatments were beneficial.

In February we were bolstered by the news that QLD Minister for Education, Grace Grace, had begun a nationwide push to review NAPLAN, as she was under pressure from the QLD Teachers’ Union to ban NAPLAN testing online. SA Minister for Education, Susan Close, said: “The whole focus among teachers, among parents, and among students has created an environment of high stress and concern around the test itself.”

NSW Minister for Education Rob Stokes said he was concerned that businesses were also profiting from excessive focus on the tests, “The stakes have become higher … we’ve now got commercial interests publishing guides about how to pass NAPLAN.”

ABCs Natasha Robinson wrote that…

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham indicated he was not open to any significant change to the national tests.

“NAPLAN is being constantly reviewed and refined and there’s already been a number of studies and reports on NAPLAN as well as two parliamentary committee inquiries,” Senator Birmingham said in a statement.

“It’s up to people calling for a review to make their case to the Education Council but what parents tell me is they want to see more information on student and school performance, not less.”

Simon Birmingham you are misinformed. We know that teachers overwhelmingly want to see NAPLAN scrapped. I am positive that the majority of parents agree with teachers. We know that many high profile, independent, education experts like Pasi Sahlberg and Peter Hutton agree that NAPLAN is detrimental to student learning.

As a community we need to remind ourselves that politicians represent the people. They work for us, they are employed by us, they are appointed by us. So parents and teachers we need to do what Simon Birmingham has asked and make our case to the Education Council, let the Education Council know what we need as a collective voice.

Please sign and share the petition. Teachers have every right to voice their opinions. Do not be intimidated into silence. We need to work together to improve, and yes, save lives. Stress kills, it’s that serious. NAPLAN sits at the crux of everything that is currently wrong with our education system. Let’s move into a future focused space. To do that we need to stop doing what we know is wrong.

The next Education Council meeting is in September, that is too late. I will be forwarding the Scrap NAPLAN 2018 petition to the Education Council this Monday 30th April. We do not want to see another child harmed or another minute wasted on NAPLAN. We want May 2018 to be NAPLAN free! Please add your voice. I will add all comments below to the email to the Education Council, as suggested by Simon Birmingham. If you’d like to personally email the Education Council the address is

Malcolm Turnbull please do what is right, be like NZ’s Jacinda Ardern and scrap NAPLAN for our future’s sake!

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