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Nats Education Policy, a Right Yawner

13 April 2005

Nats Education Policy, a Right Yawner

“The National Party’s newly released education policy is to be commended for its move toward greater educational freedom but it still remains hugely restrictive,” says Peter Osborne, Libertarianz Spokesman to Deregulate Education in response to Don Brash’s announcement.

“It looks like a breath of fresh air, and that's partly because in contrast to the stale fug of present polices it is. In reality though, it remains uninspiring and, frankly, a right yawner.”

Osborne notes that for example the NCEA will remain compulsory - no surprise as this was introduced by the previous National Government. "'Reform' is all that is promised for this failed system. To remove it would be an admission of policy failure," says Osborne, "so for political expedience schools and pupils will be forced to comply. Observers might observe from NCEA's retention in National's policy that Bill English's present criticisms of the NCEA are intended only for headlines, not in order to get rid of a failed system. So much for Bill English."

Dr Brash talks of other initiatives such as cutting back on the assessment burden, introduction of literacy and numeracy standards and providing a reading and maths voucher system.

“These are all attractive-sounding phrases," sys Osborne, "but at the end of the day the tax victim will still be forced to pay for it whether they use it or not, and pupils will still be forced to adhere to it, regardless of their parents opinion. Where at least is a proposal to stop double-taxation for parents sending children to private schools? Where the promise to end centralised curriculum control for private schools at least, so parents can finally have some real choice?”

There is one thing Osborne is enthusiastic about, but he thinks it could go further: “I am extremely pleased with Dr Brash's commitment to slash bureaucracy. I suggest however that he cut the number down to zero. This would provide instant benefits for the second-hand jackboot market. It would also be a step towards wresting centralised curriculum control away from the dedicated socialists and post-modernists in the Ministry."

Mr Osborne concludes, “While Dr Brash’s education model is a vast improvement on Mallards monumental cock-up, it does not go far enough. Politicians do not know better than parents nor teachers about educational choice. It is the government’s monopoly of the education sector that completely shuts out any alternatives and denies parents their right to decide. Only a free and unregulated market will provide real and diverse options.

Libertarianz will separate the state from education and will cease the tax burden thereof. Schools will then have the freedom to branch into any area of education that they have a passion for. Parents will be in a much more powerful position financially, to purchase the educational model they consider to be of value.”


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