Early Childhood Teachers Issue “Please Explain” Over Drastic Budget Cuts
Early childhood teachers are demanding a “please explain” from the government as the reality and scale of yesterday’s Budget cuts sink in.
The government is slashing $400 million out of the early childhood budget over the next four years - $295 million of which will come directly from the budgets of early childhood centres and services. The money will be taken away from services which employ between 80-100% fully qualified and registered teachers.
The cuts will affect funding for 2000 services and affect 93,000 children. The union representing early childhood teachers NZEI Te Riu Roa says any incentive for early childhood services to strive for quality by employing qualified and registered staff has been removed.
“Early childhood education has taken one of the biggest hits in the Budget and the realisation of how drastic the cuts are and what they will mean is just starting to sink in,” says NZEI Vice President Judith Nowotarski.
“In the end families and children will be the losers – whether it be through lack of quality, increased fees or the burden of having to fundraise to make up for a budget shortfall”.
“We will be putting pressure on the government to sit down and explain to the sector and to parents why it is punishing those services which are trying to provide quality education,” says Mrs Nowotarski.
NZEI believes the attack on early childhood education also sends some very mixed messages. The government is introducing National Standards in schools saying it is concerned with raising student achievement. However the cuts to ECE go against clear evidence that children who receive quality ECE have improved outcomes at school.