READER REPORT:

Our education system ain't broke, yet

BRIGID MCCAFFERY
Last updated 12:00 18/03/2014

School our politicians on education

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Why is education an important issue for you this election and what would you like to see from our political parties? 

I believe the education policies of this government will greatly harm New Zealand's previously excellent education system.

Many of the National government's changes have been based on policies previously adopted by countries with worse educational outcomes than New Zealand's.

Even countries/city states like Singapore and Shanghai, which teach particular forms of learning very well, are deeply concerned by the lack of creativity in their school students.

Why take a good quality public education system that was not broken (but could certainly have been improved) and completely stuff it up?

It appears to be an ideological undermining of our public education system with the purpose of privatising education, rather than any real desire to improve outcomes for the so-called "tail" of underachievers.

Policies have been implemented without consulting those who actually know something about education - our teachers, principals, educational organisations and academics.

Dissenting voices have been dismissed as self-interested and against accountability.

Changes have been brought in, or mooted, that mirror educational changes in other countries with worse education systems than New Zealand.

It makes no sense to copy these countries, unless the reason for the changes is about money and not really about education.

Moving towards privatising our public education system will save the government a great deal of money.

In the meantime, teachers and schools seem to get blamed for students' achievement while the fact that 78 per cent of educational outcome variability is due to socio-economic differences and inequality, rather than differences in the quality of the teaching, is ignored.

If the government is serious about raising achievement for all we should be looking to introduce ideas from countries like Finland where teaching is a well-educated, respected profession, and all public schools are regarded as good quality schools.

And most importantly, we must work towards making New Zealand a more equitable society.


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