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National Takes First Step on Education

Friday 28 Jun 2002

ACT Education Spokesman MP Donna Awatere Huata today said the National Party education policies are a firm step in the right direction.

"It's a relief to see one of the two old parties talking some sense on education. National is starting to put the education mistakes of past days behind it. National has clearly come on board with the child-centred approach of ACT. While this is an excellent start, they need to go further and embrace the right of every child for a decent start in life.

"ACT has already launched our Early Childhood Education Policy. We will formally launch our other education policies in the next two weeks. ACT believes National has taken a good first step, but is too timid to achieve real change for our kids:

· ACT is committed to increasing support for the early education sector, which National and Labour have ignored. We believe that children should reach primary school ready to learn.

· ACT will completely eliminate unfair zoning restrictions, rather than simply tinkering with them.

· Under a policy of child-centred funding, ACT will fund schools more equitably, regardless of their status.

· ACT believes NCEA is failing and needs to be eliminated, not just delayed for the bureaucrats to wreak more mischief.

· ACT believes in a far more thorough system of external testing than National has proposed. We want to ensure children have a thorough grounding in vital, basic skills.

· ACT has policies to address the strong concerns from parents and educators with the school curriculum. National and Labour propose no changes.

· ACT has a strategy for boosting literacy - another area where both old parties are indistinguishable. They speak of aims and targets without outlining the action that's required.

· ACT has specific proposals to address the needs of suspended children, which ensure other children are not held back. This important issue affects almost every child, yet we've heard nothing from National or Labour.

"ACT remains the political party with fresh ideas on education. While I am encouraged by National's policy announcements, I believe they need to go much further. I look forward to introducing ACT's fresh ideas and clear policies to eradicate mediocrity from our schools," Mrs Awatere Huata said.


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