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Independence of ERO could be at risk

Nick Smith National Education Spokesperson

30 August 2000

ERO review an unnecessary rerun Independence of ERO could be at risk

The Government's latest review of the Education Review Office is a repeat of one done in 1997 and is merely a front for the Minister to pursue his own agenda of amalgamating the ERO and the Ministry of Education, National Education spokesperson Nick Smith said today.

"I can't see what this review is going to add to that done by Margaret Austin only three years ago," Nick Smith said.

"As the independent bearer of standards within the education sector the Education Review Office is not uniformly popular. Standards will be the loser if the independent ERO is abolished and swallowed up by the Ministry of Education, as is the clearly stated public preference of the Minister of Education Trevor Mallard.

"The risk of the ERO being swallowed up by the Ministry of Education is highlighted by the fiasco over Women's Refuge and the Children's Commissioner. This Government is setting a dangerous precedent in trying to silence the messenger. I urge parents to participate in the review and fight against the scrapping of the ERO.

"This is the 67th review the Government has undertaken since the election, taking the total number of reviews promised or ordered to well over 300. This is a complete waste of taxpayers' money. If all of these reviews go ahead it will cost the taxpayer an estimated $30 million.

"Mr Mallard should get on with raising standards and ensuring excellence in our education system, not putting the ERO on the chopping block because his teacher union friends don't like what it sometimes says," Dr Smith said.


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