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ACT Education Policies A Return To Victorian Era

ACT Policies a Return to Victorian Era Education Vouchers - Welfare for the Wealthy: Says John Minto, QPEC national spokesperson.

ACT education policies represent a return to the Victorian era in education - a return to the world of Charles Dickins and Oliver Twist.

Instead of high quality education for everyone ACT's policies would construct a two tier education system where opportunity would depend on charity, patronage and ability to pay rather than on citizenship.

The voucher system proposed by ACT amounts to welfare for the wealthy. Such a system would see further huge increases in funding for private schools. This is on top of the eye-popping increases these schools have received from the government over recent years.

Between 1994 and 1999 these increases have amounted to a staggering 220% (sic). Kings College now enjoys an income per student of more than $11,000 while the government provides about half this amount for a student attending a state secondary school.

In fact most private schools already enjoy incomes per student of more than double that available to state schools.

Despite the extra government funding not a single private school that we are aware of has reduced its fees. Instead they have used this state money to extend their "exclusiveness".

To suggest that somehow these schools will open their doors to the children of South Auckland is a sick joke.

With the value of any voucher less than half the cost of attending most private schools the poor would be kept at bay. At the same time private schools would offer scholarships to a tiny number of very bright students from poor communities.

This is the charity model in education. Every student deserves as of right the same high quality education no matter the circumstances of their birth.

The only private schooling students from poorer communities could afford would be the "garage schools" that are appearing under voucher systems overseas.

Vouchers would represent a race to the bottom in quality for many New Zealand children.

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