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ACT & Biz Round Table Use Poor To Benefit The Rich

ACT and the Business Roundtable Use the Poor to Advance the Agenda of the Rich

ACT and the Business Roundtable’s Education Forum are using the plight of the poor to advance the agenda of the wealthy in their support for more government funding for private schools.

More money for private schools – many of which are exceedingly wealthy compared to public schools – means less money for public schools despite the weasel arithmetic of the private schools lobbyists.

ACT and the Business Roundtable claim there is an artificial divide between private and public schools and all should be funded the same. It this divide is artificial then private schools could eliminate it tomorrow by opening their doors to all students on the same basis as any other school and by dropping their fees.

When ACT advocates that private schools adopt these policies we will be the first to promote government funding for these schools.

More funding to private schools will not give more choice to parents as ACT claims because when the government increased subsidies to private schools throughout the 1990’s there was no reduction in private school fees for parents.

It is richly ironic that ACT claims to champion opportunities for low income families to access better education. It is the very policies advocated by ACT and the Business Roundtable which have led to the growth of a huge underclass of low income families. More than one third of our children now live in poverty as a direct result.

Neither do private schools offer better educational opportunities to anyone – the reverse is in fact true. Most private schools carefully select the students they want – high academic aptitude and sporting prowess – and then bask in the warm glow of the success of these students as though their schools were somehow responsible. Stunted social development and a lack of empathy for others is a common feature many private school students.

The only comparative study in educational achievement we are aware for New Zealand students was a longitudinal study conducted by Canterbury University staff which showed that students from co-educational public schools outperformed all other groups in academic achievement at University.

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