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Logic Absent From Mallard Initiatives

Logic Absent From Mallard Initiatives

Tuesday 14 Oct 2003 Deborah Coddington Press Releases -- Education

Education Minister Trevor Mallard's willingness to accept that something must be done about truancy may be commendable, but throwing money at this problem is no solution, ACT New Zealand Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"Labour's answer to everything is to throw money at a problem, cross its fingers and hope it all goes away - pouring $8.6 million into flawed initiatives to solve the truancy problem will not prove beneficial," Miss Coddington said.

"Mr Mallard is frantically closing and merging schools all over New Zealand, creating larger schools with bigger rolls. But overseas evidence shows that smaller schools have better outcomes - including higher grades, lower drop-out rates, and higher teacher satisfaction.

"British Prime Minister Tony Blair addressed truancy and expulsions at failing inner-city schools by introducing classroom mentors. These are non-teaching staff who sit in classes, watch out for the children, and allow teachers to get on with their true vocation - teaching.

"This will never happen while we have a centralised funding system for schools. Until schools and communities have the funding flexibility to address their own specific truancy needs, the numbers of truanting students will not diminish effectively.

"Only when we devolve funding - which follows the child, rather than the institution - and cut out the greedy bureaucrats, will wagging children and irresponsible parents be reconnected with education.

"While this neo-socialist Government is in power, more and more children will be left behind," 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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