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Greens Promise To Address Teaching Crisis

22 July 2002

Greens Promise To Address Teaching Crisis

The Greens today launched their education policy, promising 3000 new teachers over the next five years, maximum class sizes of 20 students and a review of the NCEA with a delay or stop of its implementation if necessary.

Last week the Greens mailed over 50,000 teachers with a leaflet setting out the party's goals and policy on education.

"A teaching crisis has developed under this Labour Government and the Greens want teachers, parents and students to know how we plan to fix it," said Green co-leader Rod Donald.

"While the Greens firmly want to see teachers paid more, based on their qualifications and responsibilities, there are a range of other structural problems such as large class sizes, unmanageable workloads and lack of pay parity that we are committed to addressing.

"We also want to establish the first Commission of Inquiry into the education system since Tomorrow's Schools to address the raft of problems and make the right changes," he said.

Green education spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said one of the Green Party's key concerns with the NCEA was the workload it was putting on teachers.

"We want to review the NCEA and we want to look in particular at the work pressures this is putting on teachers. If these workloads are proving unmanageable then we are prepared to delay the implementation of the NCEA until it is fixed," he said.

"We also want to improve working conditions for teachers and the quality of education for students by cutting class sizes down to 20 students per teacher."

Mr Ewen-Street and Mr Donald said the immediate Green goal was for teachers to be paid what they were worth and to have students back in classrooms.

"We don't think this is too much to ask. Our policy would deliver this and go a long way further towards ensuring a sustainable, resilient education system that will last a long way into the future."

Green Party Education Policy Bullet point summary for media

* Establish the first Commission of Inquiry into the education system since Tomorrow's Schools to address existing problems and inspire positive change.

* Provide 3,000 more teachers over the next five years.

* Limit maximum class sizes to 20 for Primary, Intermediate and Secondary schools.

* Review the NCEA together with teachers, and delay/stop its implementation if necessary.

* Increase operational funding so that schools will no longer be forced to require parents to pay subject fees or compulsory 'donations'.

* Work with teachers unions to make real changes to attract new and mature teachers back into the profession.

* Support pay parity for all teachers, based on qualifications and responsibilities.

* Retain and support local schools, and give every child the right to attend their local school.

* Incorporate environmental education into the core curriculum at all levels.

* Make sure schools receive grants for the number of special needs children they are teaching, and ensure children with special needs have access to special education classes and units, as is their legal right.

* Work towards teaching Maori language and culture in all schools.

* Train more Maori teachers and teachers of Te Reo Maori.

* Increase funding for community-based, not-for-profit early childhood centres such as kohanga reo and kindergartens.

* Increase the number of teen parent support programmes.

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