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Come Clean With Plans For The ERO

Education Minister Nick Smith today called on Labour to stop fudging and come clean with their plans for the Education Review Office.

"Labour should stop fudging the question of whether they will abolish the independent Education Review Office and come clean with their plans. Parents need to know what the Labour Party plan to do to the education sector if they are given the chance. Labour are opposed to parents having access to information on both school and student performance."

In March, Labour Leader Helen Clark pledged to abolish the independent Education Review Office. In their School's Policy Statement, Labour said they would review the ERO and may draw it back into the Ministry of Education. Then on TVNZ's Decision '99 Education Special on Saturday night Labour's Education Spokesperson Trevor Mallard said he personally favoured abolishing the ERO.

"Labour's cop-out is to claim they want to review the role of the Education Review Office and investigate whether there would be gains by amalgamating ERO with the Ministry of Education. ERO have been reviewed three times since they were established by Labour in 1989. The most recent, the Austin Review in 1997 and 1998, fully supported the independence of the ERO. I suspect Labour's opposition to the ERO has more to do with keeping the teacher unions happy than from any concern for the standard of our children's education."

"National wants to help students and schools that are underachieving, not pretend they are doing fine. That is why we are committed to a strong, independent Education Review Office. We are open to ideas about how they can do their job better, and we want the Ministry of Education to be more pro-active in helping schools in difficulty. But, unlike our political opponents, we won't shoot the messenger."

"I challenge Labour to clearly state what their plans are for the ERO. Parents want answers, not questions and confusion caused by Labour's flip flop policy announcements."

ENDS

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