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Minister comments on report baseless, ignore issue

MEDIA RELEASE

22 February 2006

Minister’s comments on report baseless and ignore the issue

“Maxim Institute is disappointed that the Minister of Education has not engaged with the issues raised by its latest education report, Access to Education, and has instead resorted to baseless criticism of the research without backing up his claims—all to score political points against the opposition”, says Institute Policy Manager, Nicki Taylor.

Access to Education is the fourth report in The Parent Factor series based on research into parental attitudes on schooling conducted by independent market research company Colmar Brunton. The research was undertaken with adherence to sound survey methodology and the large sample size ensured that the margin of error was minimal.

In total, the response of parents to 14 different questions have been published in the series, covering issues of school operation, information on schools, teacher remuneration and access to schools. Together, these reports provide significant insight into parental attitudes on schooling in New Zealand. Maxim Institute’s goal in producing the reports was to find out what parents want to see in education and then consider possible policy options that could deliver the kind of system parents want.

Each report listed findings from the Colmar Brunton survey, gave an overview of the current situation and compared this with findings from a review of the international literature of the best available research into the impact of different education policies. The reports are intended to generate fresh discussion around education policy in light of what parents want and are written for a broad audience.

In response to specific comments on Access to Education recently made by the Minister of Education:

- The international case studies and research cited are some of the best available and are not limited to the United States but include such countries as Sweden, Australia and the United Kingdom.

- The New Zealand data is the most recent available given that the reforms that most closely reflected the wishes of parents expressed in the survey were implemented over a decade ago.

Maxim Institute strongly encourages the Minister to consider the central purpose of the reports—that parents wishes be given due attention—and re-consider his policy priorities in this light.

ENDS

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