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Education Bill a dog’s breakfast of bad ideas

16 October 2012

Education Bill a dog’s breakfast of bad ideas

The Government is sneaking in some frightening changes that put into legislation the worst aspects of Nationals education agenda, the Green Party said today.

“The most concerning change is the ‘national student number’, which is a veiled device to force families who receive a benefit to send their young children into early childhood education (ECE),” said Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

“The forcing of only a select group of young children into ECE will happen regardless of the family’s circumstances, the best interests of the child, or whether there are even any places available in ECE centres.

“This dog’s breakfast of a Bill brings in changes to our education system that have failed in other countries.

“Charter schools are introduced and the Bill gives enormous powers to ‘sponsors’ who may have no educational background but will set the rules and staff pay rates,” said Ms Delahunty.

The Bill makes a number of concerning changes to New Zealand’s education system, including:

• The introduction of charter schools for the first time in New Zealand with huge powers given to the ‘sponsors’ of these schools including the setting of teacher pay rates,
• No requirements for registered teachers at charter schools,
• Protection for these ‘sponsors’ from public accountability as they will not be included in the Official Information Act or audited by the Ombudsman,
• A model of contracts that will allow for the closing of charter schools without considering the destabilising impact that would have on children,
• Students being required to attend school at the hours set by the ‘sponsor’ which could include any day of the week,
• Rules for public school mergers with only token consultation allowed for,
• A requirement that school boards ensure every student attains the highest standard of educational achievement – which is code for making them meet National Standards or face closure,
• Additional powers around surrendering and retention of student’s property including electronic devices and the information on them,
• Third parties will be allowed to use Crown land to build ECE centres, presumably for profit.

“The Government needs to get real that these changes are just cutting away at our education system, not building it up,” said Ms Delahunty.

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