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Petty politics while preschoolers suffer

Mallard plays petty politics while preschoolers suffer

Wednesday 1 Dec 2004

Deborah Coddington - Press Releases - Education

Trevor Mallard needs to climb down from his high horse, from where he hurls personal insults, and reassure up to 30,000 Kiwi families that their early childhood centres won't be closed down next month, ACT Education spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"I asked Mr Mallard in Parliament today how he can boast he's improving standards in early childhood education when last week the tiny Kawhia preschool - which has received glowing ERO reports - had to go to the Hamilton High Court to stop the Education Ministry from closing it down.

"The Minister's pathetic answer was to call me `stupid' - the sort of intelligent response we've come to expect from this school yard bully," Miss Coddington said.

"It is his bullying that threatens 400 early childhood centres around New Zealand with closure. Mr Mallard's edict is that they must employ teachers with a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood).

"If, like Kawhia, they employ a teacher with a Bachelor of Education (Primary) - no matter how great that teacher is - they are breaking the law and can be closed.

"Justice Young threw Kawhia a lifeline. Trevor Mallard must now accept that his own Ministry - charged with enforcing the regulations - has not ensured an adequate supply of qualified staff in all regions.

"We have a ridiculous situation whereby up to 60 percent of new primary school graduates are unemployed and preschools are suffering a staffing crisis - short by around 2,500 staff," Miss Coddington said.

ENDS

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