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New Zealand's Education System Needs A New Deal

Tuesday 14 October, 2003

New Zealand's Education System Needs A New Deal

Organisations that want the education system to be overhauled are working together more publicly, in a sign of things to come, Education Forum policy advisor Norman LaRocque said today.

Tonight politicians from National , New Zealand First, ACT New Zealand and United Future will co-host the parliamentary launch of the Education Forum's vision piece for schooling, A New Deal: making education work for all New Zealanders .

"We welcome the involvement of Hon Nick Smith, Hon Brian Donnelly, Deborah Coddington and Bernie Ogilvy.

"This doesn't mean that their parties share the exact same vision for education. What it means is that these politicians believe that education is more important than party politics, and are willing to come to the table and discuss their ideas for change.

"The launch of A New Deal provides a clear and comprehensive framework for real change. The Education Forum's proposals include:

* Giving parents greater freedom to determine what school will best suit their children and, more importantly, backing up that choice with state funding;
* Trusting teachers and principals to determine the best way of organising themselves to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population in New Zealand;
* Building a culture of professionalism in the teaching sector;
* Providing parents, teachers, principals and the government with the information required to determine how well the education system is serving New Zealand children; and
* Ensuring that students, parents and teachers have access to world class curricula and qualifications.

The timing of this launch shows, in another way, how groups wanting change are working with each other. The past few weeks have seen the release of Schools of Excellence , the National Party's discussion document on schooling, the school funding paper from the Independent Schools of New Zealand, Deborah Coddington 's book Let Parents Choose and Paul Henderson's book Vying for Our Children . The time is now right for the chorus to sing even louder.

"It is our unity, and the strength of our ideas, that will turn A New Deal into reality," Mr LaRocque said.


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