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National Party - Half Way House to Selling Schools

National Party - Half Way House to Selling our Schools

The proposals in the National Party Education Policy for the development of “Trust Schools” mirrors the development of the State Owned Enterprise model for public services developed in the 1980’s by the 4th Labour government.

This model was designed to prepare state assets for privatisation and this is behind the National Party policy proposals for our state schools.

Under the SOE model we saw state assets such as Telecom and New Zealand Rail sold outright. National’s education policy would put New Zealand just a step away from doing the same thing to our schools.

This is not a new idea. Selling state schools outright has been proposed by the likes of Ruth Richardson and some of the fringe elements of the Business Roundtable. The National Party is now joining suit.

This would be disastrous for education. In any and every marketplace the quality of the product depends on the ability to pay. Such a model has no place in education. Education is a right of citizenship and the same high quality must be available to all students irrespective of the wealth of the parents.

The most interesting aspect of the National Party’s education policy is the focus on the long tail of underachievement evident in New Zealand education. The Labour government has no effective policies to address this national scandal.

However the National Party solutions in no way match the problem. In fact they will exacerbate it. Bulk funding of schools will continue to stretch the differences between schools just as bulk funding of health services has increased the quality gap between those who can afford to pay for quality health care and those who can’t.

John Minto

National Chairperson

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