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Time to start listening to Parents

Time to start listening to Parents

The Government would be well advised to take heed of the findings in the Maxim Institute's report "A Snapshot of what Parents think of Schooling in New Zealand" says Sue Thorne, CEO of the Early Childhood Council.

In the report, poorer parents in particular have strongly identified lack of choice as one of their major concerns about their children's education. Zoning restrictions deny the children from families who can not afford to move into areas with better schools, the opportunity to attend a good school.

"Parents can choose the early childhood service that their under 5 attends but when that same child goes to school, it seems the Government no longer trusts those same parents to make a good decision about their child's education," said Mrs Thorne.

Choices for school-age children are restricted by the amount of money parents can afford to spend on a house in a good school zone, or the amount of money they have available to invest in a good private education.

This Survey is a timely and comprehensive insight into what parents expect and what they experience in the school system. No surprises that parents have deep concern and suspicion about increasingly centralised and bureaucratic control of their schools. They clearly resent the loss of their choices and local decision making and control.

This Survey contains some important messages. And it gives more momentum to the ever growing and urgent call for educational reform in New Zealand. Every stakeholder in education should read and take notice of the report, especially education leaders, officials and politicians who are seeking to improve the system.

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