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Let Parents Choose

Let Parents Choose

Thursday 9 Oct 2003 Deborah Coddington Press Releases -- Education

ACT New Zealand Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington was today pleased to launch `Let Parents Choose', the culmination of the research she undertook earlier this year as a Qantas Press Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge.

"Although not required to produce a book from my findings, I was encouraged by what I saw in the Netherlands, Sweden and even some aspects of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's reforms, that I wanted to get the message to parents - especially those from low-income families - that they can have more choice," Miss Coddington said.

"My book explores the arguments for and against giving parents' the freedom to choose their child's schooling. I believe that most parents know better than politicians and bureaucrats when it comes to their children's education

"The governments of Sweden and the Netherlands - hardly bastions of right-wing thinking -believe this too. That is why those countries have the highest literacy and numeracy standards in the world. There, parents have the right to withdraw their children from ghetto schools. They don't have to pay twice and fork out private school fees, or move into a school's home zone, to seek a high-quality education for their children.

"New Zealand used to be a world leader in education. Despite government spending on education doubling in the past 30 years, our standards have slipped dramatically. Our top students continue to do well, but too many children leave school unequipped for work or further study.

"This is unacceptable. I want all children to do well; I want no child left behind. But this won't happen until parents have the freedom to choose in their children's education. This book will re-ignite the school choice debate in New Zealand - it's a debate I'm looking forward to," Miss Coddington said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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