“Labour’s announcement that it is going to reduce class sizes ignores the fact that so many kids are truant they can’t get that many kids in the classroom anyway,” says ACT’s Education spokesperson Chris Baillie.

“Labour has announced a drop in the teacher/student ratio from 1/29 to 1/28 in primary and intermediate schools. That’s a 3.4 per cent decrease in students.

“Truancy rates have already taken care of it though. In term 3 2022 primary schools had an unjustified absence rate of 5.1 per cent, and intermediate schools had an unjustified absence rate of 5.6 per cent.

“The Government needs to worry about getting kids in the classroom before it can lower class sizes. ACT has released extensive policy that would address the truancy crisis.

“It’s not surprising kids aren’t turning up when the Education Ministry is churning out nonsense like the new plan for teaching maths, that “uses maths to develop critical awareness about wider social, environmental, political, ideological, and economic issues.” Maths is about teaching kids to add and subtract, not “addressing issues of power and social justice.”

“A good education is the most important thing kids need if they’re to grow up to have a fulfilling life and be contributing members of society. Almost every aspect of someone's adult life will be defined by the education they receive as a child. For better social outcomes, kids need to be in the classroom and learning the basics.

“Smaller class sizes are great, but at a time when 100,000 students aren’t showing up to school regularly and the Ministry is trying to force left wing nonsense into the curriculum, today’s announcement just isn’t the real change New Zealand’s education sector needs.

“We need real change and real solutions for our education system, so we can have better outcomes for New Zealand children.”

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