The Federal Government must recognise the depth of concern by public school teachers over the dangers of skills testing results being used to create misleading "League Tables'', according to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on Education, says that while the Government has made clear it wants to distribute information on schools via the MySchool website, it cannot ignore the other ways such information can be misused.
"Teachers are people who care deeply about educating Australia's children and are the ones who will have to deal with the effects of misleading and damaging comparisons made by the development of league tables,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.
"The government says it doesn't want league tables, and assures us it understands the damage they can do to a school community, but isn't doing anything to prevent them being created.
"Access to more information about schools and their performance is a valuable tool for parents, but the Government can't simply dump the figures out there and expect everything to be fine.''
Senator Hanson-Young says that the Government should also acknowledge the legitimate concerns about the NAPLAN test itself.
"The test is so narrow in what it measures that it doesn't deliver a comprehensive overview of an individual student's performance or a school's performance,'' the Senator said.
"As it stands, there is no way that it can.''
The Greens support appropriate information about schools and student performance being provided to parents, teachers and departments to enable fully informed decision-making.
So far, however, there have been no satisfactory guarantees that the information will be presented in a way that does not have a damaging impact on schools, teachers and children. Senator Hanson-Young says that the Government's determination has to be tempered by the need to protect schools and children from "naming and shaming".
"All the research suggests the creation of simplistic league tables - no matter who is responsible - only results in students and schools being stigmatised,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.
"Clearly having more information about our schools is a good thing, but without the presence of real, effective guidelines, we cannot be certain that kids' rights are being protected, and that parents are getting accurate information.
"The Greens call on the Government to immediately implement protocols around the way in which performance data is presented, to ensure that we do not see the creation of simplistic league tables with unfair and misleading comparisons of schools.''