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Bill English National Education: Signing Off

01 December 2006

Bill English National Education: Signing Off

Someone new

Katherine Rich has my full support as the new Spokesperson on Education. Katherine is hard working, smart and approachable. She will do an excellent job, as she did in the welfare portfolio she held for some time. Katherine will be the Minister of Education after 2008. I intend to work closely with her to maintain National's focus on standards, choice, professionalism and parents

Signing Off

I have hugely enjoyed visiting schools, haggling over policy in staffrooms and talking up stories to education reporters. I've made some friends among the leadership of the PPTA, NZEI and ASTE and enjoyed personal contact with hundreds of outstanding education professionals across the country. I've had some satisfaction in influencing education policy from my seat in the grandstand.

But the greatest joy has been the young people of New Zealand. The sense of excitement, potential and puzzlement in a young life where each step is a new threshold is awesome. And I am compelled by the lives and stories of their children who miss out on the promise this nation has made them, a free education in the competence of good citizenship.

Education has been an education for me - constant assessment and feedback, integrated learning bringing together theory practise and politics.

One lesson

Great ideas are simple, and my great idea is simple. Education policy should be simple. A child's learning loop is short and most education interventions outside the classroom don't get inside the loop. Trusted institutions and trusted professionals deserve simple rules and clear accountability. Complex policies in education are usually driven by politics or delusion. And they usually don't work.

Bill English


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