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National Finds Right Direction on Education

National Finds Right Direction on Education

Education Forum policy advisor Norman LaRocque today congratulated the National Party for recognising many of the core issues that face New Zealand families when they send their children to school.

He was responding to the release of National's substantial discussion document, 'Schools of Excellence', which attempts to address the problems of literacy and numeracy, teacher training, underachievement and lack of parental choice.

"The theme of this document - parental choice - must be the touchstone of any real change to schooling. 'Schools of Excellence' provides a far more forward-looking approach to education than the piecemeal moves introduced by National governments in the 1990s. It is refreshing to see one of New Zealand's major two political parties actually acknowledging the core problems in our education system.

"National is to be congratulated for considering a policy direction that would inject a level of freedom and opportunity back into schooling. This is much more important than debating total educational spending, which is not low by international standards.

"As the document notes, funding to schools should be based primarily on enrolments and not on whether the school is government owned, church owned, community owned or privately owned.

"Our education system needs serious attention if we are to expand the life chances of children and achieve greater economic success. True education reform lies in finding the right balance of spending, regulation, choice and competition. National appears to be on the right track.

"It is to be hoped that this discussion document will be followed through with concrete policy," Mr LaRocque said.

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