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Parents need access to govt website on schools

MEDIA RELEASE
MAXIM INSTITUTE

14 February 2006

Parents need access to government website on schools

“In light of support for Avondale College’s new website to inform parents, it is time the Minister of Education opened up the existing SchoolSMART database to parents. The web-accessed database features much of the information parents want about schools, but this information is being kept from them for no good reason”, says Maxim Institute Policy Manager, Nicki Taylor.

Research conducted by Colmar Brunton into New Zealand parents’ views on schooling, found that in regard to information:

- 89 percent of parents would like more information on the quality of their children's teachers;

- 89 percent of parents would like to know what areas a school specialises in; and

- 79 percent of parents would like to know which schools in their area have the best and worst exam results.

“Parents are excluded from accessing important information about schools, despite much of it already being made available on SchoolSMART. There is no sound reason why this information is being held back from parents when school managers can access this information”, says Nicki Taylor.

“It appears the government is ideologically opposed to parents having full information about schools so that they can make better choices about their child’s schooling”, says Nicki Taylor.

"It is parents and not bureaucrats who are primarily responsible for the education of their children and parents need access to the best possible information about schools. It is time the Minister agreed to the simple and cost-effective action of making the information on SchoolSMART available and helpful to parents", says Nicki Taylor.

“If the government is going to spend tens of millions of dollars each year providing information to parents it should at least be providing more of what parents want”, says Nicki Taylor.

“If information about school operation was made more transparent, accountability between parents and schools could well improve”, says Nicki Taylor.

ENDS

The research findings above are profiled in The Parent Factor: Information for parents, released in September 2005. The report details findings from independent quantitative research conducted by Colmar Brunton for the Maxim Institute. 1001 parents from throughout New Zealand were involved in the research. The data was weighted to census targets for location and ethnicity. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

The Parent Factor: Information for parents can be downloaded from: www.maxim.org.nz/parentfactor.

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