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Minister disingenuous about National Standards funding


Minister disingenuous about National Standards support funding

Minister of Education, Hekia Parata, is being economical with the truth regarding the support now being given to support priority students and schools, says QPEC National Chairperson, Bill Courtney.

“The National Party propaganda material, sent to every household in February 2010, clearly stated that $36 million in additional funding was to be targeted at struggling students, and this was a key plank of the controversial policy’s introduction”.

This amount had been set aside as early as the 2009 Budget.

Anne Tolley told parliament, in response to a question from National MP Allan Peachey, that “The $36 million will go towards new intervention programmes currently being developed for students who need extra support in reading, writing and maths.” (Questions for Oral Answer no. 8, 16 September 2010).

But when the big day finally arrived, John Key and Hekia Parata announced on 26 August this year that only $27 million was to be invested in initiatives aimed at priority children.

Furthermore, many of the programmes to be funded included initiatives in place for many years, such as the $8 million earmarked for Ka Hikitia, the Māori Education Strategy first launched in 2008, and the Pasifika Education Plan.

It is clear that the students in most need of support are being short changed by a government hell bent on ideology rather than pursuing what we know works.

The funding commitment of $19 million to develop only 5 charter schools educating a total of less than 800 students is an insult to the students, parents and teachers of the schools who most need our support.

But the last straw was the announcement that a second round of charter schools is to take place before the “pilot” has even begun, let alone been evaluated.

QPEC reiterates its stance that National Standards is conceptually flawed, badly designed and poorly implemented. The data gathered from this system is neither valid nor reliable as an indicator of student achievement or school quality.

The negative impacts of National Standards are beginning to outweigh the positives and the students most deserving of our support are being sold out.

ENDS

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