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Maharey tries to cover up failure in schools

Hon Bill English
National Party Education Spokesman

22 May 2006

Maharey tries to cover up failure in schools

The Education Minister is trying to hide failure in schools and prevent independent scrutiny of the problems leading to it, says National’s Education spokesman, Bill English.

He is commenting on reports that Mr Maharey has told the Education Review Office that its claim that one in five schoolchildren are failing is wrong, ahead of a parliamentary select committee inquiry into the claim.

Mr English says the Minister is effectively directing civil servants to change their opinions because as far as he is concerned, failure in our schools does not exist.

“It’s hard to understand why Mr Maharey goes to such great lengths to deny the existence of failure when the evidence is so compelling.

“For example, almost 30% of 15-year-olds failed basic NCEA literacy standards. The select committee wants to find out why this has happened and the inquiry should have the support of the Minister.

“Instead, he is trying to rewrite history by asking the ERO – his agency charged with rooting out failure in schools – to eat its words about the widely accepted 20% failure rate.

“This is a ham-fisted attempt to hide failure and influence the select committee inquiry.

“Now that the Minister has made it clear he won’t let officials admit that failure exists, the inquiry will need independent advisors to ensure the problem of failure gets the disinfectant of sunlight it so desperately needs,” says Mr English.

ENDS

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