Monday, 7 October 2019

Tell Me, Whatever Happened to: The Tomorrow's Schools Independent Taskforce Report?

ACT Leader David Seymour is calling on the Government to tell everyone what on earth happened to its Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce Report.

“The taskforce released an interim report last December, last time the Beehive made any official comment on the matter. At the time the Education Minister said the Independent Taskforce’s report was ‘bold,’ and would prompt ‘deep’ discussion about ‘what our schooling system should look like for the next 30 years.’ He concluded ‘The Government will make decisions on implementing the review in mid-2019.’

“Since July, silence. The Taskforce’s website says it was scheduled to issue its final report on June 28 and that it did so in July. Three months on we are none the wiser.

“The Taskforce’s interim report proposed taking ‘all legal rights’ away from parent elected Boards of Trustees. Communities up and down New Zealand were understandably furious at the prospect that their school would be run by a new entity called a ‘Hub.’ What was proposed would be by far the biggest change to education policy since the 1989 Education Act introduced Tomorrow’s Schools.

"Public interest, especially amongst educators, was enormous. I hosted a meeting attended by over 400 people in Parnell, and principals up and down the country came out against the proposal.

“Since December 7th the four Education Ministers have issued over 90 press releases on restructuring the polytech sector, building new classrooms, funding Learning Support Coordinators, banning school donations, making schools teach New Zealand history, scrapping the decile system, and more. However, on the proposal to restructure the fundamentals of the state education system, not a peep.

“As schools enter the final term that can flash by in the run up to summer, schools deserve certainty about whether the Government is planning to restructure their governance. If they’ve spent millions of dollars on a taskforce that’s come to nothing, they should just say so.”