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National's policy can help reverse bad trends

National's policy can help reverse bad trends

"National's education discussion document, Schools of Excellence, is an encouraging response to deal with addressing failure and to improve the quality of New Zealand education system," says Maxim Institute Director, Bruce Logan.

"The move to reverse the increasing centralisation of education control is essential. Decision making and power in education should rightfully be returned to those who are best placed to make education decisions - parents and schools," says Mr Logan.

Abolition of zoning, providing greater parental choice and funding based on enrolments, are welcome and a necessary steps in the discussion document to achieve positive change for education.

Mr Logan says the proposed re-introduction of national testing is a positive move.

"New Zealand is reliant on international benchmarking for any comparison or measure of pupils' achievements in literacy, mathematics and science. Sadly our children are performing on average modestly and in some areas very poorly."

It is also pleasing that National has not shied away from the issue of teacher quality. A culture of excellence must be instilled throughout the sector to make and teaching made an attractive career option.

Maxim Institute applauds National's intention to enhance the status of the teaching profession by rewarding good quality teachers and performance.

Mr Logan says not tolerating poorly performing schools is an issue that is likely to be a point of contention. "In the interest of our children and Civil Society, government cannot shrink away from chronic failure and National should be commended for raising the issue."

The underlying philosophical influences in the curriculum are also a major area that must be addressed to provide objective and sound content freeing it from relativism and political correctness.

Mr Logan says there is a strong case to support the thrust of National's discussion document.

"It should be supported because the school sector isn't achieving high levels of excellence and the current state monopoly on education violates a basic human right-the freedom for parents to choose the type of education they believe best suits their child." (United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, Article 26:3)

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