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Parental Choice Finally Becoming Mainstream

Parental Choice Finally Becoming Mainstream

Wednesday 17 March 2004

Deborah Coddington

After eight long years as Kiwi parents' only champion, in the battle
for the right to choose their children's schools, ACT is pleased to
see that its education policies are finally becoming mainstream, ACT
New Zealand Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"I was delighted to read in last week's Herald that both National's
Bill English, and the Greens' Rod Donald, support ACT's education
policies," Miss Coddington said.

"In March last year, I explained to Taranaki parents - fighting to
save their schools from closure - how ACT's policies would save their
school. I wrote to Education Minister Trevor Mallard on 10 March
2003, urging him to read the parents' proposal. So began my `Save
Our Schools' campaign.

"Today I received an invitation to attend a School Choice Conference
in London. Unfortunately I can't attend, but the heartening fact is
that in Britain, the Conservative Party has pledged to introduce
school `passports' nationwide.

"Further, The Liberal Democrats advocate `learning passports', and
the Blair-led Labour Government aims to `re-design schools around the
individual pupil'.

"These are refreshing words - especially after hearing the New
Zealand Qualifications Authority in Select Committee today talking gobblegook
about the NCEA, and ignoring the fact that parents won't receive clear results and comparisons.

"New Zealand must follow the rest of the world and allow education
funding to follow the child. It's well past time to let parents
choose," Miss Coddington said.


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