Yesterday’s policies, yesterday’s schools
Never have so many of yesterday’s failed educational policies been crammed into a single document, PPTA president Debbie Te Whaiti said today.
She said National’s proposals for site contracts, zoning, bulk funding and vouchers, and more funding for integrated and private schools would only increase the divisions between the ‘have’ and the ‘have not’ schools and do little to improve student performance.
“These proposals are an attack on the integrity of the public education system.
“Dr Brash is proposing privatisation under the slogans of parental choice and excellence in education. What he really intends is that the few schools he terms ‘excellent’ will get all the resources and the others will be left to struggle.
“Dr Brash’s ideologically driven policies will only look after the interests of children in a few high decile schools.
“They will only encourage self-managing schools to become ‘selfish’ managing and shift the best teachers to already advantaged high decile schools and away from the lower decile schools that need them most.”
In advocating a return to bulk funding, Te Whaiti said Dr Brash had ignored the views of the vast majority of teachers and school boards who opposed it in the 1990s because they could see that it would ultimately cut education funding, and increase student fees.
“Everywhere bulk funding has been introduced, parents have paid the price of increased fees for the same quality of service.
“Parents should be worried. New Zealanders have had to buy back Air New Zealand and New Zealand Rail because of failed market policies. New Zealand parents don’t want to buy back their schools as well.”
Te Whaiti said schools were still picking up the pieces following the shameful neglect of education during the National governments of the 1990s, when salaries were downgraded, teacher numbers cut and schools were forced to compete for a diminishing number of resources.
“If it hadn’t been for the work of the PPTA and dedicated secondary teachers throughout the 1990s, state education would have fallen apart.”