INDEPENDENT NEWS

Lack Of Choice Sends Education Backwards

Published: Mon 11 Dec 2000 09:09 AM
Auckland Grammar headmaster John Morris is to be congratulated for speaking out about the negative changes to education over the last 12 months, particularly the lack of choice now available, ACT Tertiary Education Spokesman Stephen Franks said.
“The truth is that poor parents want the same opportunity to choose where their children go to school as wealthier parents - who can move to where public schools are good, or send their children to private schools.
“Trevor Mallard is in fact saying that poor people are too dumb to make choices - when in fact they have the same concerns as rich people. The poor make decisions all the time, but all of a sudden, Mr Mallard claims they don’t have enough sense to make decisions about the education of their children.
“Choice is the basis of flexibility, innovation and variety. Choice links users and providers directly with consequential incentives on schools. Parents can use exit as well as choice to encourage high performance. Schools are then held (as they should be) accountable to the people who use them, not controlled from above by politicians and bureaucrats.
“The New Zealand education system is now behind the rest of the developed world.
“Half of our children leave without even a base level of education. We have to stop failing our children.
“We give money to a bureaucracy that wastes it. We need to put the money where it belongs – with parents and teachers.
“We need to give teachers the opportunity to do the job we know they want to do – teachers like John Morris have their hands tied behind their back.
“Zoning is elitist - all children must have equal access to education. Less than 5% of New Zealanders now have school choice. ACT policies will give it to everyone. The present system allows bad schools to ruin children Under ACT policies everyone would be able to choose schools like Auckland Grammar if that’s what they want,” Mr Franks said.
ENDS

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