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Increasing State Control Over Education

Increasing State Control Over Education

Most New Zealand parents are not free to choose the type of education they want for their children, says Maxim Institute education analyst Paul Henderson.

“The state makes the vast majority of educational decisions for parents,” says Mr Henderson who is speaking at the Maxim Institute Forum tomorrow. . Rather than primarily considering parents wishes, it has its own focus.”

AddressingMr Henderson will be addressing the Maxim Institute Forum on 22 March on the topic of: ‘Parental responsibility for education in New Zealand – why bother?’ he says that rather than primarily considering parents wishes, education has its own focus.

“A survey of how much control the state has over education and consequently our children’s lives is alarming says Paul Henderson.

“Parents will be concerned to learn that ‘loco parentis’ – the school’sschools requirement to provide the same degree of care as a reasonably careful and prudent parent – is an outdated concept according to the Ministry of Education.”

In other words, the legal requirement for students to attend school overrides the relationship of parents with schools. Guidelines published by the Ministry on Education Outside the Classroom states:

To say that schools act in place of parents is a useful metaphor for how schools should act. But it is wrong to say that schools derive their power from parents.

“This makes it clear the state does not believe it is acting on behalf of parents,” he said.

Mr Henderson saidsays compulsory education is controlled by an enormous amount of legislation. “Recent amendments such as the reinstatement of school zones have removed the options from parents. Capping integrated school rolls is another statute that has limited parental options.”

The Ministry of Education is a ‘big mother’ controlling the education of 733,924 students in 2,610 New Zealand schools.

With around 3,000 administrative employees it exerts its control through: Policy; culture (Culture – by appointments); curriculum; finance (; Curriculum; Finance – operations grants, salaries and school property); Education Review Office (– reinforced through policy); teacher; Teacher training and qualificationsQualifications. “Compulsory education is almost completely dominated by the state. Education has become a cultural and social juggernaut driven by government policy with a focus on equalisation.”

“While parents want the best schooling possible for their children, the current monolith severely restricts choice and parental direction,” says Mr Henderson.

Paul Henderson is speaking at the Maxim Forum on 22 March, at 10.45am;
, venue is the Waipuna Conference Centre.

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