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Mallard's Budget Offering: Quantity, Not Quality

Mallard's Budget Offering: Quantity, Not Quality

Labour has responded to the teaching crisis in a typical neo-socialist, pro-union manner, ACT Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"Trevor Mallard is simply throwing more taxpayers' money at a problem the Government created in the first place. He proudly announces `new' funding of $167 million over four years, which supposedly will allow for another 774 teachers. This is Trevor's cunning way of fixing the problem he created himself by signing an agreement with the secondary teachers' union last year, guaranteeing extra non-contact hours for teachers. Principals have been in a turmoil trying to plan the implementation of this directive from the State, so Trevor's thrown money at it.

"More outrageous is that the Minister is using much of this money to cap Maori language classes at 20 pupils. Why Maori, when the standard of English in New Zealand is reaching third-world status?

"The press release from the secondary teachers' union (PPTA), headlined: More staffing = less headaches is a classic. Anyone with a basic command of English should know the difference between `less' and `fewer'. After reading more of his media release, I nominate PPTA President Phil Smith for a prize for English as a second language:

"Ultimately, this results in less stressed teachers with more time to deliver higher quality teaching and learning to their students and there are strong indications that the guaranteed time during the school day for preparation and for administration and other non-teaching duties has encouraged secondary teachers who would otherwise have gone elsewhere to stay in our schools.

"Everyone makes mistakes, but as head of a so-called association of professional educators, Smith should know better. The union does its members a grave disservice.

"This is the sort of rubbish that families who can't afford private school fees are forced to endure. Trevor Mallard's not concerned about standards in English literacy. He'd rather throw money at PC Maori language projects.

"The best way to improve teachers' salaries and conditions, to raise the status of the profession, and to deliver high quality education to New Zealanders from all income brackets, is to follow the example of Denmark, Sweden and The Netherlands. We must make funding follow students regardless of which school they attend. We must improve choice for parents.

"We will see the literacy standards rise as the state's monopoly in education is reduced," Miss Coddington said.

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