Book Review ‘Own Your Future’ chapter four: Education

Points made about Education in the first chapter included:

  • If a student stays in school till year 12 the taxpayer has invested $180,000 in their individual education
  • 90,000 New Zealanders aged between 18-24 are not in employment, education or training
  • Functional illiteracy in manual work like forestry and manufacturing is a problem for employers as too many employees cannot read and understand safety notices and signs
  • 3/4 of our prison population are functionally illiterate
  • OECD’s PISA rankings for NZ school children dropped in English, Maths, and Science between 2009-2012

“On average our students compare well with the rest of the world, but the outcomes have got worse for kids from poorer backgrounds.”

” Suprisingly , outcomes have also dropped for kids from better off families.”

  • Every child is different: one size does not fit all
  • There are better and worse ways for each individual child to be educated
  • The key question of education policy is how that decision gets made and by whom.

‘”There are two major components to the decisions. The first is choices within the school…the [second] choice about which school you go to.”

  • The government is not client-focussed
  • The state cannot have any insight into how an individual child should be taught

” You don’t get to apply for passports in a way that suits your needs as an individual.”

  • It should be up to parents to make that decision for their children

” We don’t have a mechanism for creating more of the education people want, so we have to pay top dollar to be in zones for the desirable schools.”

Act’s solution:

  • Number one priority is more Partnership schools
  • Partnership schools can emerge faster, they can introduce new ideas and become much more dynamic

” Because they are different, they can cater to a wider range of students than ordinary schools…some kids will respond to the strict discipline of Vanguard. Some will improve their academic performance in a full Maori immersion setting.”

  • We can also close them down faster if they don’t work out.
  • We can weed out ideas that don’t work, quickly and promote those that do
  • It is almost impossible to do that with a failing state school due to all the bureaucratic red tape involved.
  • Governments don’t move fast
  • We need to free curriculum content from state control so that decisions can be made quickly to update a Partnership school’s syllabus in response to the world around them

” We are in the second year of a debate about whether or not the New Zealand Wars should be taught as a compulsory part of the national curriculum.”

  • We will not be a part of any government that is not supportive of the Partnership school model

” A stronger Act after this election will push any future government to ensure that Partnership schools expand faster than their opponents worst nightmare. State and Integrated schools that want the freedom and flexibility of being a Partnership school should be given the freedom to convert. Schools that repeatedly fail students and find themselves on a one-year report with ERO year after year should be up for tender by partnership school operators who can do better…”

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