Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


No Right Turn: Gearing Up For Privatisation

Gearing Up For Privatisation

So, National has a "new" education policy, and what is it? A return to the same tired old policies that were tried - and failed - in the 80's. Bulk funding, so the government can wipe its hands of the last shreds of its responsibility to ensure that everyone has equal access to a decent education (or at least equal access to teachers) - not to mention hide underfunding and dump blame on the local board; smashing the unions, so they can drive the cost (and quality) down; and of course abolishing zoning, so that children can be forced to travel miles for a basic education rather than go to their local school.

All this has been roundly criticised by parents, teachers, and principals - those with an actual stake in the education system. But what hasn't been criticised is the overwhelming thrust of the scheme - which is to funnel public money into private pockets so as to enrich National's mates in the business community - and the way educational outcomes have been sacrificed to this goal.

The headline of the policy is the introduction of national literacy and maths standards, coupled with testing for primary school children to ensure that those standards are met. Let's ignore the fact that we already have testing, and that there's no problem with identifying the children who are struggling, and move on to what National proposes be done with those who fail to make the grade.

Rather than funnelling them into the internationally acclaimed Reading Recovery programme (and resourcing it properly to cope with the increased load), National instead proposes giving them vouchers to purchase private tuition - in other words, taking money out of schools and giving it to an industry which has no standards, and which must pay not just for the cost of service delivery, but also a profit margin. The chief beneficiaries of this move will not be children, but the owners of Kip McGrath.

Then there's their promise to boost government funding to "independent" (meaning private) schools. Again, these are profit-making entities, and the primary beneficiary will be their owners. Also advantaged will be the children of the rich, who will effectively be getting a fat subsidy for abandoning the public education system.

But we should also ask where national is going with this policy - and the destination is obvious. The shift to running schools through a community trust effectively turns them into private entities; allowing them to cannibalise "underperforming" schools will mean that we will end up with a small number of competing educational corporations, probably regional monopolies.

If this sounds familiar, it's because it is what was done in the electricity sector - and the end result was the sale of much of the industry into private hands. In other words, National is gearing up for a full-scale privatisation of the public education system. Is that really what we want?


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news