Education bill puts politics ahead of children

9 May 2017

Concerns of educators have been ignored, as the government pushes through education legislation that appears to be based on political objectives and cost saving, rather than what is best for children.

The Education (update) Amendment Bill will be read in Parliament for a final time this week and contains numerous changes to our education system.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said that while the public focus had been on cohort entry for four-year-olds, the legislation contained other changes, such as online schools, that would have a far more serious impact on children.

“There is a great risk that children who are considered ‘too hard’ for schools to manage are going to be herded into online schools, where they will be at even greater risk of isolation and failure. Why do politicians think that a model that has demonstrably failed overseas will somehow work here?”

“We need to be doing our best for every child, not looking for ways for the government to save money or for corporates to profit from our children,” said Ms Stuart.

"Our current heartland tour has also found that parents are extremely worried that online schools will be used to justify the closure of small rural schools.

“This legislation has nothing to do with what is best for children. The input of educators, parents and children was completely ignored in the race for political expediency,” she said.

The bill has many different aspects and NZEI's submission included the following:

  • NZEI does not support the introduction of cohort entry, as there is no evidence this would improve the school transition experience for children.
  • NZEI opposes the introduction of Communities of online Learning, as evidence suggests online schooling does not serve students well 
  • NZEI believes the focus on formalising Community of Learning (CoL) administrative structures is premature and we are concerned about how difficult it is for a school to leave a CoL, considering membership is voluntary.
  • Giving politicians’ National Education and Learning Priorities (NELPs) precedence over the current curricula is unacceptable and unwise.

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