19th May 2011
For Immediate Release
Sugar-coated education budget with a rotten core
The government has delivered a sugar-coated budget for education which has some a rotten core, according to the education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa.
After cutting more than $400 million out of early childhood in last year’s Budget the government has announced it is putting $550 million back in.
“That looks good on the surface,” says NZEI President Ian Leckie.
“But the facts are that the cuts which have impacted so badly on early childhood services and families remain in place and the new funding simply meets expected roll growth and demand in the early childhood sector.
“Early childhood services will still be significantly worse off than they were before the funding cuts took place and parents and families will continue to pay the price,” he says.
The government also continues to throw more money after bad with National Standards in primary schools. It has allocated millions of dollars to try and help embed the Standards and try and get more consistency in the way schools are implementing them.
Ian Leckie says “that simply acknowledges that National Standards policy is a shambles and teachers and schools are confused about how to use them. The tragedy is that children are currently being judged against these flawed Standards which are doing nothing to raise student achievement. Throwing more money after a policy which schools and parents have no confidence in makes absolutely no sense.”
Schools will be very disappointed with the 2.9% increase to their operational funding.
“That increase comes nowhere near the rate of inflation and will hardly scratch the surface for those schools battling increased running costs. It will also come as a blow to low paid school support staff who schools are forced to pay through their operations grants.
“School support staff and their hours of work often have to be sacrificed when schools have to make cuts to their spending,” says Mr Leckie.
“Schools and early childhood services wanted a budget which would deliver meaningful investment in education to support our great education system. Instead we’ve been given one which continues to undermine teaching and learning by stealth.”