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‘New Deal’ offers hope for education


Maxim Institute Media Release

15 October 2003


‘New Deal’ offers hope for education

The Education Forum's A New Deal is packed with the evidence and good sense needed to reform education in New Zealand, says Maxim Institute, senior education analyst, Paul Henderson.

“Transparency and freedom are at the paper's heart. It draws on research from overseas, illustrating successful alternative models for compulsory schooling. A New Deal rightly wants parents to be able to make real choices for their children.”

A New Deal calls for the abolition of school zoning ("the Berlin Wall of education") and recommends a funding mechanism which follows pupils no matter whether they attend public, private, not-for-profit, for-profit, community or church schools.

Paul Henderson says the call for more freedom for schools cannot be ignored. “It suggests that schools be funded in cash and left to determine how best to spend it. Teachers should have a more generous and flexible pay scheme, allowing good teachers to be rewarded.”

For transparency's sake, the Education Forum proposes a system of national testing be introduced in state primary schools, concentrating initially on literacy and numeracy. A New Deal also suggests schools make available to parents information such as: tests scores, qualifications available, student attendance rates, graduation rates, the mission and philosophy of the school, statistics on suspensions and qualifications of teachers. Such information would help parents decide where to send their children.

“A New Deal is important. It raises questions about the freedom of parents to choose an education suitable for their children and about the effectiveness of the current one-size-fits all schooling model.”

“The Education Forum is to be commended for advancing what New Zealand children deserve: an education system which is genuinely based on choice, opportunity and equity,” says Paul Henderson.

Ends.

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