Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Greens’ school choice support welcome, but it shouldn’t be political


“After voting to end the opportunities provided by Partnership Schools, the Greens’ financial support for a green private school is deeply hypocritical,” according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

“If the Greens have seen the light on educational choice, that should be welcomed, but it shouldn’t be a political issue.

“It isn’t acceptable to promote alternatives to the state education monopoly only when they’re promoting particular ideas.

“All parents and students deserve choice and empowerment.

“New Zealand experiences significant educational inequality. We have some of the highest-performing schools and students in the world, but we also have a long tail of underachievement in disadvantaged communities. A 2014 report by the Tertiary Education Commission found 40 percent of Year 12 students failed to meet international benchmarks for literacy and numeracy even though they had NCEA Level 2.

“This is the result of a one-size-fits-all state education monopoly run by the Ministry of Education and the teachers’ unions.

“ACT would put parents in control of the education budget and provide every child with a Student Education Account.

“A student will receive $250,000 of taxpayer-funded education over their life, but parents have little choice in how it’s spent. ACT will empower parents by placing this money in a Student Education Account. Parents will be able to use that funding at any registered educational institution that will accept their child’s enrolment, public or private.

“We’ll also increase choice in our education system by allowing any state school to apply to become a Partnership School. Government should fund a range of schools, letting parents and children choose what is right for them, not simply forcing them to go to their local state school. We should celebrate diversity, not a one-size-fits-all approach.

“Before Labour scrapped them, Partnership Schools made do with far less funding and served poorer, less-engaged students.

“School choice is far too important to be treated as just another political issue.”