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Maxim Survey Means Parents Know Best

30 May 2005

Evidence again that education decisions should sit where they belong: with parents and teaching professionals

The Maxim survey, out this morning, is further evidence that parents and teaching professionals should be trusted to make decisions about education, says the Education Forum.

The survey shows that most parents think schools should be able to choose their exam system and that schools, not the government, should decide what children learn. It was released the same day as an NZ Herald poll showing that nearly half those surveyed thought education in schools had worsened in the past six years.

Education Forum policy advisor Norman LaRocque said a centralised, one-size-fits-all system could not possibly allow the widest range of education options for students - but school and parental decision-making could.

"Giving parents and head teachers the resources to organise their own schools was shown to have worked well through bulk-funding in the 1990s, and should be allowed again. Schools are already hampered by too much regulation that limits their ability to organise themselves in the most effective way to meet students' needs.

"Maxim's survey shows that a school is more than just its buildings; the learning and social environment is what matters, and principals should be trusted to work with parents, staff and children to build that environment."

The growth of Cambridge exams, increases in private school enrolments and parental moves to skirt zoning rules show the degree to which parents want choice and the lengths they will go to enjoy it, Mr LaRocque said.

ENDS

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