School administrators are angry with Minister Dennis Wiersma of Primary and Secondary Education. Eric Rietkerk of CKC Drenthe: “The minister pursues policy based on emotions.”
In a voluminous letter from Monday, Minister Wiersma explains how he wants to reverse the stagnating and declining trends in student performance. This involves an investment of 15.5 million euros in extra inspection staff. There will also be more unannounced visits to schools.
That is not a solution, says Eric Rietkerk of education foundation CKC Drenthe. He is a member of the Association of Educational Directors (VvOB), but speaks in his own capacity. “The state of our education is a result of years of political policy. If you want to change that, add more content and give money structurally. We would rather have 140 extra teachers than 140 inspectors.”
On Wednesday, a debate took place in the House of Representatives on the budget of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
Board members association VvOB has therefore climbed into the pen. They believe that the minister has too little confidence in school boards. ‘The (full) confidence in administrators is mentioned several times, but the letter is also full of tightening controls.’
Rietkerk emphasizes that the well-being of the children is also paramount for him and other directors. “I also want the children at our 31 locations to have a good life. It seems that the minister forgets that. If you increase control, the quality really does not increase.”
Drivers also criticize something else. Anyone – regardless of background – can still become the director of an educational organization. In some schools, this led to poorer education. That is why, according to Wiersma’s policy, umbrella directors must meet certain requirements as quickly as possible. Before the summer there must be a concrete proposal about what the education director must be able to do for the position.
It is against the sore leg of current administrators, says Rietkerk. He is not opposed to such job requirements, but thinks the tone is wrong. “We have been talking to the ministry for two years about the requirements drivers should have. We asked for a money jar for arranging an accreditation system. We didn’t get that. Now all of a sudden there has to be a plan within six months.”
Rietkerk: “Wiersma thinks that drivers have long toes. But if the administrators have long toes, it is because of the ignorance of this minister.”