NUT London Pensions strike. Wilshaw joins Gove with his numeracy problems. Downhills Primary and Montgomery Primary academy struggles.
NUT London strike
According to general secretary Christine Blower on pensions:
“The NUT believes it is essential that the teaching profession stands united on this issue."
And with that in mind, presumably the NUT will be calling for all teachers to be out? Course not! NUT, along with UCU, is calling out only their London members on March 28th. UNITED OR WHAT?
The government must be quaking their boots, when only a small section, of a few unions, in one part of the country, go out, for one day. Apparently there's rumbles of rolling regional strikes. Basically minimising disruption, venting teacher frustration, and sharing it round the country in chunks pallatable to those who hold the purse-strings. Regional strikes over a national issue, brains of fucking Britain!
The NUT voted for discontinuous strike action on June 30th last year, that vote still stands. But instead of following up on that mandate to have more strikes, the union bosses, wanting full control over the struggle, sent out a rubbish little survey to check if people still wanted to strike. Now, given we're still going to get shafted on our pensions, and nothings changing by the looks of it, that vote should stand. Most people when given a survey on something they've already voted on won't respond - 'Oh I already voted for strike action'. So presumably the survey turnout was lower than the strike ballot.
November 30th, with almost 30 unions out on the same day, was the singlest biggest day of industrial action in 70-odd years. But the unions know only too well, that any more like that, more frequent, rolling, might actually stand a chance of changing things and building up working class confidence. So we see them performing their traditional role, carving up workers, even within the same union, to do more tokenistic, contained, 'responsible' strikes.
Wilshaw and Gove move to 'bottom set' in maths.
Head of Ofsted, the schools inspectorate, Michael Wilshaw, or to give him his proper title, Michael Wilshaw, has failed his latest maths test. On Newsnight. This follows hot on the heels of Michael Gove failing THE SAME TEST last month in front of the Commons Education Select Committee.
Which test was this? The test of how to measure central tendency. Everyone remembers their 'mean, median, and mode' right? Apparently these two brainiacs don't. They plowed through all the other questions with reasonable ease, but when it came to the question on averages they got stuck. Neither of them thought the question would come up so they didn't put it on the cheat notes up their sleeve doh!
Wilshaw's poor numeracy skills were evident in his Newsnight appearance during the week, when he complained that not enough pupils hit the average in English SATs at the end of primary school. Let's digest that. He thinks too many kids are below average.
Now, all measures of central tendency have their flaws, and depending on what you what to understand, or more strategically, what you want to convey, you can pick and choose which on you use. And 'average' or mean often tells us roughly where the middling or typical figures of a group are. It works pretty well for 'normal' ranges of figures. It's easily skewed by anomalies and outliers or alternatively rendered almost useless by populations that lack homogeneity (ie they're pretty samey, not much variation).
The school population is large, so outliers shouldn't skew it much, and it's got a large range of acheivement so plenty of variation. So average should say something. Wilshaw's problem is he condemns the kids who are 'below average', not realising, that BY DEFINITION some of that group will be 'below average'. It's a structural inevitability of using an average.
If those kids magically overnight became 'smarter' and did the test again, then the average would just shift up, you still have kids 'below average'. Accoridng to his office it was a 'slip of the tongue'. On Newsnight? By the schools chief inspector? FAIL.
So he joined Secretary of State, Pob lookalike, Michael Gove in failing this basic numeracy. At a Commons Select Committee meeting, Gove was responding to some 'downwiththekids' Twitter questions:
Chair: if "good" requires pupil performance to exceed the national average, and if all schools must be good, how is this mathematically possible?
Michael Gove: By getting better all the time.
Chair: So it is possible, is it?
Michael Gove: It is possible to get better all the time.
Chair: Were you better at literacy than numeracy, Secretary of State?
Michael Gove: I cannot remember.
Again, if everyone gets 'better', the average shifts up, so inevitably some will still be 'below average' by their measures. Secretary of State for Education, who, as I speak, is forcing communities against their wills to accept privatisation of education based on a bunch of not only ideologically contemptible motives, but daft flawed measures, fails at basic numeracy. FAIL
Here's my shit-sandwich feedback, two positives and a negative, for both of them:
"What went well - 1) don't worry lads, your matey mates will all just chuckle and think this is funny cos ultimately it's just poor kids this all affects. 2) You weren't in the same room as me
Even better if - you got a basic fucking grasp of measures of central tendancy
I think you should join the maths intervention group on a Thursday after school,
Downhills and Montgomery Primary
Downhills Primary in Tottenham have now had their board of governors removed and a new academy-friendly board appointed. So much for 'parent voice'.
AET, an academies chain are the new sponsors of Montgomery Primary in Sparkbrook, Birmingham. This after local community opposition and two strikes by NUT and NASUWT over the planned academy change.