Extract from an opinion piece by John Fletcher http://www.eduvac.co.nz/news/2015/10/21/schools-and-learning. This resonates with me.
“Which brings us back to the 20% of underachieving children in our schools, who were, five years or so ago now, the reason, according to John Key, for introducing the national standards policy. Our policy-makers apparently believed – and still believe – that this is a problem that schools can solve on their own. What a ludicrous idea – that the fifth or so of their waking lives that underachieving children spend in schools can somehow be made to compensate for the deficiencies that so many of them encounter in the other 80% of their lives! Honestly, the more I think about it the more incredulous I become.
But enough of that particular hobby-horse. The fact of the matter is that children from good, caring homes have a huge educational advantage over children from dysfunctional homes. Every teacher knows that – it’s as obvious as coming in out of the rain. As teachers also know, good caring homes are to be found at all socio-economic levels. Nevertheless, it’s unfortunate but true that the proportion of children from deprived homes is inevitably higher in those schools that serve the lower socio-economic areas of our towns and cities. So that if, through another misguided educational policy, funding is in some way made dependent on schools’ test results, you don’t have to be an Einstein to work out which schools will suffer.”