“Calls from the Ministry of Education to make NZQA tests easier and to let kids use spellcheck shows how far education standards have fallen under Labour,” says ACT’s Education spokesperson Chris Baillie.

“Instead of requiring higher standards, Education Minister Jan Tinetti seemed to suggest to RNZ this morning that getting rid of tests altogether might be the answer, saying: “Is testing the best way to find out what our young people know? I would actually argue that not for every young person that is the case… I know that that is not the best way to find out what our young people know.”

“She also said that it should be up to students to decide whether they use spellcheck or not.

“NZQA deserves credit for telling the Ministry their request is absurd and the issue does not lie with the difficulty of the tests. It’s concerning that the Minister doesn’t seem to share the same ambition for Kiwi kids.

“If kids are going to succeed in life, the message shouldn’t be that if you fail the goalposts will be moved closer, it should be that if you work hard eventually you will be able to meet and exceed the existing goalposts.

“The disconnect between bureaucrats at the Ministry and frontline education is growing larger. ACT would reduce the number of back office bureaucrats back to 2017 levels, freeing up $240 million a year that can go towards frontline education instead.

“High educational achievement has always been a priority for the ACT Party. That’s why we introduced Charter Schools, focussed on lifting the educational achievement of our most vulnerable kids.

“Labour appears to be more worried about perception than the outcomes for kids, even though education is what will set them up for a lifetime of achievement, better health outcomes and higher incomes.

“It’s time to put children back at the centre of education."

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Chris Baillie