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What Kiwi parents want in education

22 May 2006 -For immediate release

New report paints a clear picture of what Kiwi parents want in education

A new report released today paints a clear picture of what Kiwi parents want to see in education and suggests some positive ways forward. The report, Summary and policy recommendations, is the final in the award winning Parent Factor series based on research by Colmar Brunton into parental attitudes on schooling. It summarises the key research findings, international case studies and policy recommendations featured in the four previously released reports.

"The report paints a clear picture: the current education system is out of step with what New Zealand parents want. A majority of Kiwi parents want schools to have more freedom; think teachers should be treated like professionals; would like more information about schools; and above all, would like to select the school their child goes to," says Maxim Institute Policy Manager, Nicki Taylor.

"No-one cares more about a child's education than their parents. For too long, education policy has been driven by politicians, unions and academics, while the wishes of parents remain on the sidelines. It is time to bring parents' views to the forefront of the education debate," Nicki Taylor says.

"Local and international research shows that policies which better reflect the wishes of parents, such as open access to schools or rewarding excellence in teaching, can, and do, improve schooling and pupil achievement," says Taylor.

Maxim Institute's overall policy recommendations are:

* that schools and principals be trusted with the freedom to innovate and respond to the needs of families in their local community; and
* that parents be empowered to make important decisions about their child's education, including which school they attend, regardless of their income.

"Maxim Institute is committed to promoting policies which will help raise the standard of education in New Zealand. We are confident that the Parent Factor series provides a vital contribution to the debate on education policy in New Zealand and call on politicians from all parties to listen to what parents are saying," says Nicki Taylor.

All five reports in The Parent Factor series are available upon request or can be downloaded from Maxim Institute's website at: www.maxim.org.nz/parentfactor.

1. Freedom for schools 2. Valuing teachers 3. Information for parents 4. Access to education 5. Summary and policy recommendations


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