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Remember the facts, NZPF warns politicians

12 August 2005

Remember the facts, NZPF warns politicians

New Zealand Principal’s Federation president Pat Newman is warning politicians to watch their electioneering tactics, following some inflammatory comments made recently.

“Politicians are continuing to use education as a political football. We are now constantly hearing politicians on national television saying that their party, if elected, will ‘get the education sector working’ ” says Newman. “In doing so, they denigrate the hard work of over 2500 schools; their principals; 12,500 parents on Boards of Trustees; and about 100,000 teachers and staff. These people are already ensuring the education sector works well through their hard work and dedication, and they don’t need to be insulted come election time!”

Newman is angered that the education sector is perpetually portrayed as inept. “If politicians are going to use education as a publicity tool, then they should look at the facts:

- In 2000 New Zealand took part in an international study that assessed 15-year-old students from 32 countries in reading literacy, mathematical literacy and scientific literacy. In terms of its mean score, New Zealand is among the six best performing countries for each area. In fact, we have 19 percent of our students – almost one in five - in the highest proficiency level for reading literacy.

- The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) assesses Year 5 students from 25 countries. New Zealand was one of six countries that recorded a significant improvement in mean mathematics achievement for Year 5 students between TIMSS-94/95 and TIMSS-02/03. On average, they achieved significantly above the international mean in science across the 25 countries in TIMSS-02/03, and New Zealand was one of nine countries to report a significant increase in mean science achievement between TIMSS-94/95 and TIMSS-02/03.”

The NZPF is asking voters to look behind the vocal smokescreens, and closely examine the education policies of each party before casting their vote.

“You know your children, you know your school, you know your teachers. The education sector does need more money, but not money wasted on political fantasy with no shred of educational benefit!” says Newman. “Just because a politician states something loudly, does not mean it is correct!”

Newman says voters should carefully critique the messages being given out in election time.

“Those involved in the education sector are sick of being made into political footballs by politicians either too lazy to get the correct facts, or even worse, politicians who are careless with the truth in the race to win votes. We don’t need to radically restructure the education system, we just need to target the funding into the right areas to further improve what is already a very good model. Comments to the contrary are nothing but simple electioneering.”


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