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Leave No Child Behind

Leave No Child Behind

Just imagine Trevor Mallard's reaction if the country's worst 10 schools included eight private schools, ACT Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"Our statist Education Minister would order them to close immediately.

"Instead, Mr Mallard, and all those obsessed with trying to destroy competition in the education system, should remove their blinkers and try to understand why these schools - plus Auckland Grammar and Cambridge High - are turning out our top pupils.

"It's too easy to dismiss their success with lines like, `lucky children with rich parents'," Miss Coddington said. "Research in Britain and America shows that children achieve higher when their parents are involved and committed to their schooling - regardless of family income.

"In other words, poor parents are not bad parents and children from poor parents don't automatically become failures at school. The difference is not socio-economics, but commitment.

"Obviously, children who go to private schools have parents with high expectations who've been committed to their learning. So how do we get more parents involved? We must treat all parents the same as we treat rich parents - we give them choice.

"If we change the system so the funding follows the child no matter which school they attend, then parents feel more involved. In some American states where poor, mostly Afro-American parents were given vouchers, they said for the first time they felt `ownership' of their children's education. They felt they were `paying' for it, so made sure their children went to school, did their homework, and tried harder.

"I salute the principals, teachers and pupils of those top 10 schools. Now we need reforms to ensure that in future, there will be no child left behind," Miss Coddington said.

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