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Parents in the zone when it comes to school choice

Parents in the zone when it comes to school choice, study shows

A new study showing many New Zealand parents want school zoning removed to give more choice over their children’s schooling is in-line with increasing numbers of studies from around the world, says the Education Forum.

The Maxim Institute report – “A snapshot of what parents think of schooling in New Zealand” – released yesterday, found that one of the greatest concerns amongst the parents surveyed was the imposition of school zones and the negative effects these can have.

Education Forum policy advisor Norman LaRocque said the report was a solid piece of analysis and its qualitative evidence was a good contribution to the case for abolishing zoning and introducing school choice.

“Why should some parents have their right to choice of school denied – especially when we know school quality varies and, in some cases, quite considerably?” he said.

“Since the reintroduction of geographical-based zoning we have seen the return of ‘selection of mortgage’ where children from low-income families are excluded from attending some schools simply because they cannot afford to live near them.

“If zoning was abolished, low-income families would be the biggest beneficiaries and would be able to move their children to schools that suited them.

“But what is really needed – even more than no-zoning – is a neutral funding system where the cash follows the child, truly allowing parents to enrol their children at the school of their choice,” Mr LaRocque said.

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