Alternative facts harming kids' education

8 March 2017

Teachers from primary and secondary schools are calling out the Education Minister for massively overstating school funding increases and playing politics with children's education.

In a series of media interviews, Education Minister Hekia Parata has made astonishing claims about school funding increasing by 35 percent under National. These claims are not correct.

"The Minister's 'alternative facts' give the false impression schools are awash with cash, and they obscure the under-funding of New Zealand children's education," said NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter.

Government budgets show spending on schooling has barely increased in real terms under National.  Real per pupil spending on schooling increased by just 2.3 percent from 2009 to the end of 2015, or less than 4 percent in total.

These figures have been verified by economic analysts Infometrics.

"Kids rely on the Government to provide what schools need to give them a world class education. By pretending schools have had huge funding increases, when they haven't, the Government is denying children the resources they need to learn," Mr Goulter said.

Auckland secondary teacher and PPTA vice president Melanie Webber said the Minister's "cavalier approach to the facts" risked jeopardising the current education funding review which relied on quality data.

"The truth is, funding hasn't kept up with the expectations of schools. Schools are struggling to recruit and keep specialist teachers to offer the modern curriculum that students expect," Ms Webber said.

NZEI President and May Road School Principal Lynda Stuart added: "I've got children in my school who are desperately in need of full time one-on-one teacher aide support to learn, but I can't afford to give it to them.

"These children need more resources from the Government, not ghost money," Mrs Stuart said.


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