Strengthen public education, don’t undermine it

The Government’s new Education bill appears to continue its moves to privatise New Zealand’s public education system, the Green Party says.

The Government today released the Education Legislation Bill, which makes several changes including creating new types of charter schools and paving the way for principals to take over the management of other schools in what appears to be a new franchise-type arrangement.

“Schools are not businesses, they are part of their community. New Zealanders don’t want their schools run like McDonald’s franchises, they want good quality public education,” Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said.

“While the Green Party caucus hasn’t yet met to consider the Bill, from the outset it looks like the latest instalment from a Government hell bent on privatising New Zealand’s public education system.

“Having a principal manage multiple schools ignores the vital hands on role that principals play in the daily life of schools and local communities.”

The Bill also proposes extending the conditions for Early Childhood Education providers so that primary aged children are included in afterschool home based care.

Suggestions around growing the home based early childhood sector are also concerning given the Ministry of Education has expressed reservations about the quality of care for children in these services.

“Extending the opportunities for business without conducting a review of quality in early childhood care is irresponsible,” Ms Delahunty said.

“This Government hasn’t given us any reason to trust them on education. They tried to bring in larger classer sizes, have run down school buildings, underfunded the public education system, brought in charter schools, and have the worst relationship with teacher unions of any Government yet.

“Changes to the Education Act should be about strengthening public education, not undermining it,” Ms Delahunty said.


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