16 May 2012
Cream for private schools – skim milk for public schools
The government decision to increase class sizes for students in Years 2 to 10 is a mean-spirited slap in the face for
The $43 million to be saved from public schools each year by increasing class sizes is almost exactly equivalent to the
extra money the government has given to private schools since 2009 which enables them to keep their low student/teacher
Since he came to office Prime Minister John Key has almost doubled state subsidies to private schools to maintain their
small class sizes for the children of National Party members but is now stripping money from public schools and forcing
class sizes to increase for everyone else’s children.
Alongside increasing class sizes the government drive for so-called “performance pay” for teachers is also a serious
attack on public education. Private schools themselves do NOT operate performance pay systems for teachers. In most
cases our elite private schools simply add a percentage to the state pay scales for their teachers.
The government should be celebrating the huge success of our public education system which is a world beater in
international comparisons of student success. We have plenty of work to do improving educational achievement for the
children from low-income communities and this should be the government focus. It isn’t. Undermining public education
appears to be the goal here as it has been for successive National Party led governments.