13 October 2006
Large scale tax cuts would hurt public education
Large-scale tax cuts will lead to static or declining investment in public education at a time when it really needs to increase, PPTA president Debbie Te Whaiti said today.
She was commenting on the government’s record $11.5 billion surplus and signals that the surplus may be ploughed into tax cuts.
Mrs Te Whaiti said the OECD Education at a Glance (E@AG ) report showed that countries that invest in education and skills development benefit both economically and socially, while the Secondary Futures Students First report released today also portrayed an education ideal that would take a lot more investment to become a reality.
“New Zealand spends much less per student* on education than many other OECD countries, including our major trading partners like Australia and the United States.
“Our education spending may have increased, but those increases are like one step forward and two steps backwards and constantly eroded by rising school costs.
“Schools are being forced to rely more and more contestable government funding, and on local (private) funding sources such as international students, charitable trusts and school fundraising events, all of which are subject to the vagaries of the market.”
Mrs Te Whaiti said schools were crying out for more funding for programmes or for more teaching staff to deal with difficult student behaviour, burgeoning administration around NCEA and the costs of ICT.
“The clear message to the government is that if it really wants to meet the ideals of personalised learning and of face-to-face teaching complemented by e-learning in an environment in which social and health services are closely aligned with schools, then it needs to invest in public education.”
*NZ spent only $5963 per student on education in 2004, compared to the OECD average of $6827, $7500 in Australia and Finland and $10,000 in Norway.