For immediate release September 23, 2003
From: NZEI Te Riu Roa
NATIONAL PARTY REHEATING FAILED EDUCATION POLICIES
"National's education paper is disappointing. The party is simply reheating its old policies and lifting ideas that have been tried overseas and failed," says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President Bruce Adin.
NZEI is the country's largest education union representing 42,000 members who work as early childhood teachers, primary teachers and principals, and support staff and special education workers in primary and secondary schools.
"The National party's policy of national testing for primary students is based on the system they have in England. It does not help English children to learn and it won't help our children if it is introduced here," says Bruce Adin.
"In England teaching has been reduced to preparing their students for national tests so that schools get good scores and a high position on the school league tables."
"This has placed the teachers and the students in an educational straight jacket that restricts the teachers' ability to teach and the children's ability to learn."
"As a result England has ended up with a very narrow curriculum, as the message has been, if its not tested don't teach it."
"National's heavy handed approach to truancy is also disappointing as it simply seeks to punish the parents rather than addressing the causes of truancy."
"Having schools involved in the prosecution of parents who's children are truant, and docking the benefits of the parents, will do nothing to solve the problem."
"In many cases primary schools are the last social agency in a neighbourhood that parents trust and the parents who have children who are likely to be truant are the ones who are the most difficult to reach at present.
"All that the National policy would do is drive a wedge between the school and the parents by being heavy handed. I doubt that it would make any difference to attendance levels and it does nothing to address the causes of truancy."
"I would have thought that the National Party after two election defeats would have had a good look at their policies and thought they needed to go in a new direction, because the community has given them a pretty clear message, but these education policies show they have failed to do that," says Bruce Adin