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Jacinda’s Speech in Full – more help for education

Prime Minister’s speech to 2018 Labour Party Conference

Kia ora koutou katoa,

Kia orana,

Malo e lelei,

Ni sa bula vinaka,

Fakalofa lahiatu,

Malo Ni

Namaste,

Ni Hao.

And thank you for the warmth of that greeting.

I’m really pleased to be here in Dunedin.

For all of the creativity, history, and beauty that this city holds, you still had me at ‘cheese roll.’

I’m also pleased to be here because this is my first leader’s speech at a Labour Party conference.

That means my first order of business is a very simple one – to say thanks.

When I took over the leadership from Andrew at the beginning of August last year, the election was seven weeks away.

I said we’d run the campaign of our lives. And we did.

To all those who worked the phones, pounded the pavements, stuffed the letterboxes, erected the hoardings, or did countless other tasks – thank you from the bottom of my heart.

There are a few people I also need to pay special tribute to.

To our president, Nigel. To everyone in our party organisation from branch level to the New Zealand Council.

To my deputy Kelvin, and my parliamentary colleagues. My warm thanks for the support you give me, and for expanding. We welcomed 17 new MPs to our caucus after last year’s election.

And that Class of ’17 included ten women – a fitting tribute to mark Suffrage 125, and let’s be honest, just a bloody good addition to our team.

There are also a few people outside of the Labour movement I want to acknowledge. The Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and his New Zealand First team for their commitment to the success of the Coalition Government.

The Greens and in particular their Co-Leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson for their goodwill and co-operation in this most MMP of governments.

It’s not easy to describe the journey since the Labour caucus handed me the profound responsibility of leading our party.

A number of words come to mind.

Frenetic.
Fascinating.
Fulfilling.

Which you could call a polite set of F words.

None of that probably seems surprising.

You’d probably expect that in this job I get to meet amazing people every day. And I do.

That I get thrown a diverse set of challenges and exciting opportunities. And I do.

And that there are some days that are tougher than others. And there are.

But I will be honest, there are some things that have surprised me about this job, and I want to reflect on one of them.

Letters.

It’s fair to say I get a few. In fact every MP probably does.

I still remember, as a brand new member of parliament, being given the opportunity to feature alongside a National Party MP in a weekly breakfast TV slot known as ‘The Young Guns’.

One day I received an email from a member of the public politely advising me that she thought my hair clashed with the National MP, and perhaps I should consider dying it.

I replied that perhaps she could make the same suggestion to the other MP. After all, his hair was shorter.

But whether they’re positive, negative or indifferent – it’s not the letters themselves that have been surprising, it’s the profound impact they have had on me.

I should have known that was possible. I remember some years ago watching old footage from when David Frost carried out an interview with the late great Prime Minister Norman Kirk in 1973.

He asked him a broad open-ended question – what was his most memorable incident since taking office?

He could have talked about absolutely anything. Instead, he said this, in that quietly spoken way that he often adopted.

“I would think the thousands of letters that came in December after we’d made a nominal payment to social security beneficiaries and not the fact that we’d given an extra week’s pay, but in those letters, and there were thousands of them, came through the fact that there were a whole section of our community who were missing out on ordinary everyday things.

One women wrote in and said “I had my first pair of shoes in seven years” she had trouble with her feet and had to have them specially made and “oh what a comfort to have new shoes” and you know, you don’t think in 1972 or 73 of people not having access to basic things like that but literally, there are thousands.”

A Prime Minister who was gifted a question on national television, had an opportunity to speak on anything, and he talked about a woman who wrote him a simple letter about buying an extra pair of shoes.

There are many things that have changed since Kirk’s time, but the power of this simple form of communicating with the people we are here to serve has not.

They tell me when we are on the right track or the wrong track.

They tell me when we have made a difference, or when we need to make a difference.

They tell me what children think, what adults think, and sprinkled in-between, what my mother thinks.

But there is a particular group you won’t be surprised that I keep coming back to.

Kids.

They write to me in their hundreds.

About just about everything, like this letter from a young child with some interesting economic philosophy.

“I think we should make everything free because then there would be no such thing as poor people.”

And a seven year old who clearly thinks my powers have no limits and wrote.

“Dear Jacinda, can you change the boring grey toasters into bright colours please. Perhaps you could pass a law?”

The lovely kids of Rolleston Primary in Canterbury sent me a letter with their wish list of ideas to make New Zealand a better place. It reads:

“Stop the pollution.
Make our rivers clean for swimming.
Don’t close any more schools because it makes children sad.
Stop cyber bullying.
Peace.
No nuclear bombs.
Help the homeless.
Look after the animals.
Help beached whales.
Help the sick, the poor and the old.”

I can assure you Rolleston Primary, it is on our list too!

But if you ask me the same question that was asked of Kirk all those years ago – what has been the most memorable letter since I have become Prime Minister, it’s not quite toasters.

It’s the families’ package. It has been my greatest source of pride, and I hope is yours too.

Under this package some 384,000 low and middle income families will receive on average $75 a week extra once it’s fully rolled out.

In addition, we are helping one million people heat their homes in the coldest months of the year with the Winter Energy Payment.

And we are supporting young families with the $60 a week Best Start payment for their first child, and extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks.

I know what a difference this more than $5 billion package is making, because people have told me.

Just a few weeks ago a mother of three wrote to me and said:

“Dear Jacinda. I have been meaning to email you for a while now.…I have a son, step daughter and step son…times are just so tough.

Money doesn’t go very far at all so I had started working as a cleaner part time….Anyway, I just wanted to say that the extra money in family tax credits that we receive because of your government has meant I can work one less cleaning job, creating less stress, less tiredness and a bit more of the mother I want to be.

Thank you from the bottom of me and my family’s hearts.”

And another wrote this in a letter:

“With the extra money I am able to buy my kids some more school socks with no holes in them, I am able to buy warm sheets and blankets so they are warmer at night.”

But whether it’s shoes in the 1970s, or sheets and socks now – it’s the fact people are going without these things that stands out to me the most.

These letters may have been written to convey thanks or acknowledgment, but I just see further work that needs to be done.
Kids should be warm at night.

A mum shouldn’t have to work multiple jobs to get by.

There are still huge systemic problems that we all know we need to address. And that’s why I want to pay particular tribute to our Finance Minister, Grant Robertson.

Grant knows and understands those challenges, and has made it a priority to transition New Zealand to a sustainable and inclusive economy, where everyone benefits from prosperity.

He is completely focused on well-being, and I know our well-being budget next year will demonstrate that.

But alongside this transformation, sits one of the issues that we campaigned so hard on, and that remains one of our most pressing issues.

Because if we want to increase the incomes of families we need to reduce their biggest cost – housing.

Housing will be one of the things that our success or otherwise, will be measured against. And I welcome that challenge.

Already there are over 1200 more public housing tenancies than a year ago.

In our last budget we funded 6400 more public homes and housing New Zealand are investing $4 billion to not only build this new stock, but to renovate existing state houses so they are warm and dry.

And then there is KiwiBuild.

Last Saturday I stood alongside Phil Twyford as we welcomed 18 families to their new neighbourhood in McLennan, Papakura. They were the first families to buy a KiwiBuild home.

It was a huge day. I was standing near the front of one of the families’ new homes when I overheard Phil Twyford say to one of the people gathered at the street party “this is one of the most important days of my political life”.

And I can see why.

KiwiBuild will give thousands of young families who have been locked out of home ownership a chance to buy their own affordable home, not through a subsidy, but through the government using our scale and buying power to do what the market hasn’t.

It’s an example of the government seeing a problem, and fixing it. And that’s exactly what Michael Joseph Savage did.

I like the way he summed up his housing agenda though. As new state house tenants were moving into their new homes, Savage once told a gathered crowd that:

“We are trying to cater for everyone…we do not claim perfection, but we do claim a considerable advance on what has been done in the past.”

But housing is not the sum of our ambition. We are after all the Labour Party, we will always have a focus on the value and dignity of decent work with decent wages.

That’s why we have increased the minimum wage, extended the living wage to core public sector workers, and improved our pay equity laws.

But it’s also why we are so focused on skills and training, especially for the next generation.

I’m really proud for instance of our Mana in Mahi, or Strength in Work, programme. It will help some 4000 young people to gain apprenticeships.

I know it will make a difference, because people in the industry have told me that. Here’s just one letter I received after we introduced this programme:

“Mana in Mahi trade training initiative is the most intelligent skills training proposal witnessed thus far. 

The proposal of businesses topping up wages to the minimum wage is a step in the right direction. Implemented across the whole work spectrum should be the next move. It will promote business expansion and God forbid it may even claw back some ownership of our economy.”

And that of course is not the only tool we’re using to drive job opportunities.

We will continue to work with our regions on regional development strategies, and supporting them through the Provincial Growth Fund.

And we will continue to reach out to communities, including Māoridom, to find solutions to economic and social challenges through partnership.

We have set up the Māori-Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti portfolio to oversee the Government’s work with Māori in the post-settlement era – our recent partnership on housing in Porirua with Ngati Toa shows just what is possible.

But so have the existing partnerships with Maori around governance and the environment.

I’ve talked a lot about the environment in the past year.

Our changing climate.

Our dirty rivers.

The pollution of our precious coastal and marine areas by plastics.

And yes, I do think plastics warrants its own special mention. And why? Because the kids told me so. And they didn’t tell me just once. They wrote and told me hundreds of times.

Like the student in the Waikato who wrote me a letter to say:

“Dear Prime Minister, I’m only 10 years old and I am trying to convince you to ban plastic bags. They are killing our wildlife, they swallow the plastic and it gets stuck in their bodies and they can’t breathe. It is our responsibility to stop this.”

I agree. And so with the help of Green Party Minister Eugiene Sage, we have.

The past year has also seen David Parker pursue a comprehensive plan to restore our rivers to becoming swimmable again, James Shaw’s progress on our climate change goals, and with the ambition of New Zealand First in the mix, our plan to plant one billion trees is well under way – for those who don’t follow the tree counter as religiously as I do, we are up to 60.6 million.

As you have probably picked up by now, if you pick a subject, I will have received a letter on it.

It is fair to say some subjects generate more mail than others, and as much as Grant will be disappointed to hear this, the Budget Responsibility Rules haven’t been the subject line of too many messages.

And yet we all know that some of our critics gloomily forewarned that Labour in government wouldn’t be able to balance the books.

But Grant – a proud Dunedin boy – has proved the naysayers wrong.

He has kept a firm grip on the country’s finances and he is focused on running surpluses which is a vital part of our plan.

A surplus is a safety net.

Nobody knows what’s around the corner. The surplus is insurance against those risks.

Right now the volatile international situation means having that cushion is more important than ever.

But we are also balancing that financial security with the pressing social needs that the Government promised to deliver on. That is what we were elected to do.

We can’t do everything at once, just like it doesn’t make sense to spend every cent you earn.

But we are investing carefully in the areas that need it most. Things like health, housing, education.

In the seven or so years since the Canterbury earthquakes, there has been insufficient investment across these important areas.

Over the next four years we’re turning this around, and significantly. In fact we’re investing $24 billion more than the last government in those priority areas, because that’s what we need to start rebuilding New Zealand’s infrastructure, and improving the wellbeing of our people.

We’re also prioritising managing the debt that arose from the GFC and Canterbury earthquakes, because we always need to be prepared for the challenges of the future.

And there are challenges.

We may have a lot to be proud of – long list of things we have managed to do these last 12 months – but we have many things we are yet to do too.

But we will miss the urgency if we just characterise that list as statistics or numbers.

If I say for instance that there is a lot to do in education, that there has been significant under investment over the last nine years, that we came into office facing the reality that not even population growth had been factored into future spending by the last government – all of that may be true – but it doesn’t factor in the human face.

I want to share with you an example of what does, with a letter written to me by the aunty of a boy with special needs.

“We as a whānau have tried with dead ends where ever we turn so I then turn to you Prime Minister and plead for your help, he is missing out on so much and it just isn’t fair. Please help us find a solution for this young boy who deserves the best chance living with autism.”

There’s a lot in that letter that stood out to me – including the words “the best chance.”

You may have heard me talk about my goal to make New Zealand the best country in the world to be a child.

We simply will not achieve that unless we ensure that every single child, no matter where they live, no matter their background or ethnicity, their ability or disability, has the best education possible.

We’ve already begun the enormous job of rebuilding our public education system.

In the last budget we provided funding for 1500 more teachers.

We provided the first per-pupil funding increase to ECE in ten years.

We have begun plugging a massive hole – running to hundreds of millions of dollars – in New Zealand’s schools rebuild budget.

We got rid of National Standards to free teachers up from the red tape and hours of compliance so they could focus on teaching.

And we provided the biggest increase in learning support in over a decade.

This funded around 1000 extra places for students with complex needs so they could get specialist support such as speech therapy.

Teacher-aide funding received an extra $59.3 million.

About 2,900 deaf and hard-of-hearing students and approximately 1,500 low-vision students got more help, and around 1,900 more children with high needs in early childhood education will now receive support each year.

Yet there’s more to do.

There are still children who need extra support to learn.

Maybe it is help to hear, or concentrate, or to be calm.

If a child needs support and is not getting it, that’s not fair, and I’m not prepared to tolerate it.

So today I want to say to parents, to kids, to teachers, to aunties, to anyone who has asked for more support for those with additional needs – we’ve heard you.

Today, I am announcing that we’ll be employing a new workforce of approximately 600 Learning Support Coordinators to work alongside teachers across the entire country.

Their job will be to make sure that children with extra needs are identified. They’ll work alongside classroom teachers to ensure kids with high and complex physical needs get the support they deserve.

This will be a game changer for those children.

It will be a game changer for teachers, who’ve been crying out for these roles, so they’re freed up to do what they do best – teach.

And it’s a game changer for those children who don’t need additional learning support, who’ll get more quality learning time with their teachers.

These coordinators – similar to what we now call SENCOs – are part of a new way of doing things and have been developed by my New Zealand First colleague and Associate Minister of Education, Tracey Martin, through the draft Disability and Learning Support Action Plan.

But teachers have been urging governments for some time for this kind of role to be dedicated and fully funded. And for good reason.

At the moment schools ask their existing teaching staff to do the work of Special Education Coordinators. But teachers tell us this is a drain on their time and takes them away from their classroom teaching.

That’s why these coordinators will not only do that job for them, they will also support teachers, with professional advice and guidance about how to teach children with additional needs.

But more than that – these new roles will give parents a single point of contact with someone who understands the needs of their child, and will advocate for them as they move through their time in the school.

This is a big change.

It will mean investing $217 million over four years – and these 600 fully funded Learning Support Coordinators are just the start.

Taken as a whole, this investment alongside what we have already done, means that in just 12 months in office, we’ve committed nearly half a billion dollars to special education and ensuring every child has access to the best education possible.

Thank you Tracey for your work in this area. And thank you to Chris Hipkins for your leadership in education too.

I’ve shared with you today what people say when they get in touch with me.

In finishing I will tell you what I would say if I was writing a letter to New Zealand.

I’d start by saying thank you.

Thank you for supporting us.

For giving us this incredible privilege of being in government.

For allowing us to create a fairer, kinder New Zealand.

And I would finish with a big giant PS,

Let’s keep doing this.

 

NZ Political Parties’ Education Policies 2017

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s election year, and that means it’s time to look at the various political parties’ education policies.

So, because we are helpful souls here at SOSNZ, here’s a handy alphabetical list of NZ political parties with links to their education policies online (or, where no education policy is yet published, a link to their general policy page):

ACT Party Education Policy

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party Education Policy – none on party web page. Other policies are here.

Conservative Party Education Policy – none on party web page. Other policies here.

Green Party Education Policy

Internet Party Education Policy

Labour Party Education Policy

Mana Party Education Policy

Maori Party Education Policy – not on party web page. Other policies are here.

National Party Education Policy

New Zealand First Education Policy

The Opportunities Party (TOP) Education Policy

United Future Education Policy – none on party web page. Other policies are here.

vote for education

 

 

The Political Parties’ Education Policies – in their own words

Make a cuppa, grab a couple of bikkies, and take the time to watch this video before you choose where to put your vote on September 20th.

“The Wellington region of the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association / Te Wehengarua (PPTA) invited the main political parties’ education spokespeople to deliver their views to a live audience.

Here is the video clip of the well attended event.”

 

 

Education matters.

.

Source: http://www.ppta.org.nz/issues/election2014/3099-education-debate-wellington-12aug2014

Teachers line up for last chance at democracy, says Hipkins

Teachers Council logo smallPlans by National to scrap the democratically-elected Teachers Council have prompted 37 nominations for just four places, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“This is the last chance teachers have to elect their own council before the Government replaces it with the newly formed Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (EDUCANZ).

“Education Minister Hekia Parata has cited low voter turnout as a justification for doing away with elections altogether. That’s clearly caught people’s attention and the high interest in this year’s council election shows just how much teachers value their voice.

“For a professional body to be effective it must have the confidence and support of those that it seeks to govern. EDUCANZ won’t have that support because teachers feel so disempowered as a result of its creation.

“Submissions to the select committee considering this change overwhelmingly opposed the removal of democracy from the teaching profession. In fact, the Government’s wider education reforms were completely opposed by 91 per cent, or 855 of 937 submitters.

“Labour believes teachers should have their own voice.

“A Labour Government will guarantee their right to elect their own representatives to their professional body,” Chris Hipkins says.

___________________

For more information:

https://saveourschoolsnz.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/nz-teachers-council-sector-elections-the-candidates/

 

Survey Of Political Parties On Child Well-Being Issues

Bryan Bruce - Inside child povertyby Bryan Bruce, Knowledge is Power

Last week I surveyed all the political parties on where they stood on 10 issues  directly or indirectly  related to child well-being in New Zealand.

They were asked which of them they would or would not support  in principle  should it come to a vote in the upcoming parliament.

Bill English on behalf of National refused to take part in the survey saying the questions were ‘hypothethical”.

National are also now the only party not to commit to cross-party talks after the election to see if some long term solutions to issues surrounding child poverty can be found.

Some parties chose to give ‘No Answer’ to some of the questions because their party had not yet formed a view. National’s refusal to respond has also been listed as ‘No Answer’ …..

1. Warrant of fitness to be compulsory for all rental properties within three years.

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party

Labour

Mana

NZ First

Maori Party United Future

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

Conservative Party

NO ANSWER

National

2. Progressively extend the paid parental leave period to 12 months within the next six years.

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party

Labour

Mana

NZ First

United Future

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Conservative Party

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

Maori Party

3. Free healthy lunches to be made available to all school children within the next 6 years. The scheme to be introduced first to decile 1, 2 and 3 schools and then rolled out progressively up to decile 10 schools.

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party

Mana

NZ First

Maori Party

United Future

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

Labour

ACT

Conservative Party

NO ANSWER

National

4. Free 24 hour medical care be made available to all children and young people up to, and including, the age of 18 within the next three years.

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party

Maori Party

Mana

NZ First

United Future

Alliance

Conservative Party

Democrats for Social Credit

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

NO ANSWER

National

Labour

5. One health nurse for every 300 school children and a free doctor visit to schools once a week

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party Mana

Maori Party United Future

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

NO ANSWER

Conservative Party

Labour

National

NZ First

6. Create low interest initiatives to allow families to build or buy affordable healthy housing.

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party

Labour

Mana

NZ First

Maori Party United Future

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Conservative Party

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

NO ANSWER

National

7. The introduction of a “living wage” rather than a “minimum” wage?

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party Labour

Mana

Maori Party

Alliance

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

Conservative Party

Democrats For Social Credit

United Future

NO ANSWER

NZ First

National

8. Remove GST from food.

WOULD SUPPORT

Mana

Maori Party

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Conservative Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

Green Party

Labour

United Future

NO ANSWER

Internet Party

NZ First

National

9. Repurchase the electricity system to be run as a public utility and not for profit?

WOULD SUPPORT

Mana

NZ First

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

Green Party

Labour

Maori Party

United Future

NO ANSWER

Conservative Party

Internet Party

National

 

10. Does your Party undertake to take part in cross party talks after the election to reach long term solutions to child poverty related issues?

YES

Green Party

Labour

Mana

NZ First

Maori Party United Future

ACT

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Conservative Party

Internet Party

NO ANSWER

National

 

Source: Knowledge is Power

See also: www.facebook.com/InsideChildPoverty

Labour’s education policies will raise quality teaching and learning – NZEI

nzei logoThe Labour Party’s plans to screen prospective student teachers will help ensure quality teaching and learning for children.

NZEI National President Judith Nowotarski says this will go a long way to ensuring that teaching remains highly professional and that the best and brightest enter the profession.

“In recent years there has been virtually no oversight of teacher training and this has led to too many courses, too many students and not enough emphasis on quality.”

“There needs to be a very high standard of entry into such an important profession.  Our children deserve only the best.”

Ms Nowotarski says Labour’s policy is a welcome shift from the current government’s policy of “dumbing down” the teaching profession by allowing unqualified and unregistered people into charter schools and early childhood education.

“It is ironic that the government constantly talks of improving teaching quality while at the same time allowing untrained and unregistered people to act as teachers in charter schools and early childhood education centres.”

Quality of education in early childhood would also get a big boost under Labour.

“We welcome Labour’s plans to require early childhood education centres to employ at least 80 percent qualified staff at early childhood centres.

“Once again, this is a big point of difference between the current government’s quantity over quality approach to early childhood education.

“Labour’s policies, including smaller class sizes, will go a long way towards improving education for New Zealand children, especially those who are vulnerable and struggling.”

NZ Political Parties’ Education Policies – a guide

vote buttonAs it’s election year, you will want to know the education policies of the people clamouring for your vote.  The rhetoric and mainstream media reporting doesn’t always give a clear picture.  Mind you, policies sometimes don’t either… but it’s still a good idea to read, think and discuss them.

After reading, I’d love to hear what your thoughts are.  Is there anything more you would like to ask?  Anything you want to challenge? Anything you’re pleased to see, or think is missing?  Also, feel free to add your comments or links to additional party policies at the bottom.

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies below may be out of date.

 

ACT logoACT

While education for many children is among the best in the world, we have a well-known “long-tail” of underachievers, who become the next generation of under skilled, unemployed, disengaged citizens.  After 70 years of state controlled and mandated education, we have a situation where around 20% of our children left school last year unable to read or write sufficiently to fill out a job application.

ACT believes that if we continue to do what we’ve always done, we will continue to get the same results that we’ve always had.  The education system must do better for these New Zealanders.  What we have done for too long is run education as a centrally planned, Wellington-dictated bureaucracy that gives little autonomy to schools and little choice to parents.
Meanwhile, education policy in Australia, Sweden, parts of Canada and the United States, and Great Britain is showing the benefits of making education more market-like and entrepreneurial.  Such policies lead to a wider range of education opportunities being available.   ACT supports decentralisation in education, giving more autonomy to principals and teachers and more choice to students and parents.
In the last parliamentary term, with ACT’s pressure and support, the government:
 Introduced Aspire Scholarships, allowing disadvantaged children to access any school of their choice, public or private;
 Undertake a review of education in New Zealand, leading to the ACT Party’s minority report Free to Learn, a comprehensive roadmap for reforming education towards a more market-like and entrepreneurial service;
 Increase the subsidy for private schools, to reduce the extent to which those who send their children pay twice (once in taxes and once in school fees);
 Value the special education sector more, with a special education review resulting in new directions described in the report Success for All: Every school, every child.
ACT will keep working for a more vibrant and dynamic education system.  A Party Vote for ACT is a vote to:
 Continue awarding Aspire scholarships to underprivileged children;
 Increase the autonomy that local principals and staff have in running their school.  Boards and principals should be able, for example, to set teacher remuneration at their discretion like any other employer, rather than having a rigid, seniority based pay scale;
 Further increase the subsidy for independent schools so that parents who choose independent schools for their children do not lose so much of their child’s share of education funding;
 Encourage choice in assessment systems, whether they be NCEA, Cambridge International Examination, International Baccalaureate, or other qualifications.

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies here may be out of date.

 

Green party logoGreen Party 

Key Principles

  • A free education system that fosters participation, sustainability, equality and peace.
  • High quality teaching, learning environments, and curriculum that fosters peace in our communities.

Specific Policy Points

  • Ensure state schools are fully funded such that high quality education is not dependant upon fees, private donations, fundraising, nor private investment.
  • Increase the Operations Grant to reflect the real cost to schools of educating children.
  • Change the staffing formula to enable incremental reductions in class sizes, and improved teacher-child ratios in early childhood services.
  • Centrally fund all teacher and key support staff salaries.
  • Review the governance structure in Tomorrow’s Schools and trial alternative models of school governance.
  • Support pay parity for early childhood, primary and secondary educators.
  • Support the continued improvement of the NCEA, and work with teachers to review the three levels of NCEA assessment.
  • Retain and support local and rural schools.
  • Better and safer transport services to rural schools.
  • Set standards and guidelines for healthy food provided in schools.
  • Incorporate ecological sustainability into the core curriculum at all levels.
  • More funding for Maori language, immersion and bilingual programmes.
  • Work towards te reo and tikanga Maori being available to all learners.
  • Ensure that Correspondence School has the capacity to deliver quality education to its diverse students.
  • Use an independent authority for appeals in the case of enrolment, stand-downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions.
  • Allocate Special Education Grant based on numbers of enrolled children with special needs, and increase ORS funding.
  • Resource schools and Group Special Education to fulfill government obligations to children with special education needs.
  • Ensure schools have adequate provision to meet the needs of their ESOL students.
  • Establish support for networks of ‘not for profit’ early childhood services, including playcentre, kohanga reo, Pacific Island language nests.

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies here may be out of date.

 

Labour party logoLabour

Labour on dyslexia and learning difference

The Labour Party stands for an inclusive education system in which every New Zealander is given the opportunity to achieve to their full potential. We recognise that everyone is different, we all learn at different rates, and we all have different strengths and abilities.

Every school a great school
Every New Zealand child has the right to attend their local school and to have any individual learning needs they may have catered for at that school. Labour wants to ensure that every school is a great school, and every teacher a great teacher. We will invest heavily in teacher professional development, including programmes that equip teachers to cater to the diverse range of learning needs our students have.

Equal opportunity for all
Labour is increasingly concerned about the growing inequality within our education system. No one should have their options limited because of the part of society they are born into. Labour is committed to addressing the issue of child poverty.

Equal access to support 
We have been vocal in raising concerns about unequal access to Special Assessment Conditions for NCEA candidates and have made clear out commitment to ensuring that every student gets the support they need, regardless of what school they attend. No student should be denied access to SAC because their parents are unable to pay for the specialist assessments required to apply for it.

A change to special education funding
Labour is concerned that the current funding system for special education relies too heavily on individual learners meeting the criteria imposed by the system, rather than the system catering for the individual needs of each learner. We want to turn that around so that every student with an identified learning need gets the support necessary for them to achieve to their full potential.

Chris Hipkins
Education spokesperson
March 2014

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies here may be out of date.

 

National party logoNational

National’s unrelenting focus is on raising achievement for all our students.  Most of our kids are successfully getting the qualifications they need from school and going on to enjoy the opportunities a great education provides.  But our plan is about getting all of our kids achieving education success and raising achievement for five out of five.

We believe high-quality education is vitally important. It provides the opportunity for any child from any background to get ahead and make the most of their life. Research and experience show that providing an intensive package of support for students with complex needs in their local schools results in better outcomes for students.

National’s aim is to achieve a fully inclusive education system with confident schools, confident parents, and confident children.  We want to see all schools demonstrating inclusive practice.

The wraparound service approach supports the findings in the Special Education Review 2010, the Government’s key themes for special education, and the Ministry’s commitment to achieving inclusive practices through improved systems and support as outlined in the Positive Behaviour for Learning action plan.  This plan focuses on supporting parents and providing teachers in all schools with the skills and knowledge to deal with behavioural issues.

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies here may be out of date.

 

NZ first logoNZ First

UPDATED – Latest policy as at 5/9/14 is HERE: http://nzfirst.org.nz/sites/nzfirst/files/manifesto_2014_final_version_3.pdf

New Zealand First is very aware of the current lack of support for students with the educational challenges faced by those with Dyslexia.  And while there have been some steps towards providing support for these students at NCEA level.   It is our view that not only should these supports in the later educational years be strengthened but that these solutions must be delivered down into the earlier education years.

New Zealand First is a strong advocate for “front ending the spend”.  And I am currently working on a policy presentation around enhancing the collection of School Entry Assessment data so that children with educational needs can be identified earlier and provided with these supports, along the lines of the Finnish education system, earlier rather than later when damage to self-esteem has already taken place.

It is our view that it is inappropriate for any students family to have to privately fund an educational psychologists report in order for their child to access academic support for dyslexia.  At a recent financial review of NZQA I raised the topic of digital independence from human reader/writers for our NCEA students.  For example, a screen reader is an essential piece of software for a blind or visually impaired person which could be also be of use to those with dyslexia. Simply put, a screen reader transmits whatever text is displayed on the computer screen into a form that a visually impaired user can process (usually tactile, auditory or a combination of both).  It does not take a large stretch of the imagination to see that this technology could be used to “read” for those with dyslexia.  And the fact that there are several screen reader programmes that are free to the user and we see that cost now no longer becomes a factor.  What about the challenge of writing for our dyslexic students – well voice recognition has been around for a very long time now and with many schools moving to a “bring your own device environment”  a headset microphone and cool earphones should not even raise an eyebrow in a modern learning environment.

It is our view that National Standards has not identified anything new for these or other New Zealand students.  New Zealand Teachers were already aware of those children who were having difficulty due to a variety of reasons.  New Zealand First would have preferred to spend the close to $38 million budgeted to date for National Standards on the actual identification of children with challenges and providing the appropriate resources to support them participate to their best ability inside our schools.   While current and recent governments have finally acknowledged that Dyslexia exists they have taken no concrete steps to assist these students as early as possible through the appropriate resourcing of schools to support these students with identification testing (as you are aware dyslexia has an enormous range and require very individual assessment) and digital resources so that the student, at the earliest possible time in their development, can learn alongside their peers with pride, can meet success inside an educational environment that supports their specific challenge while celebrating the alternative and creative perspective these same students bring to the classroom environment.

Should New Zealand First have influence after the 2014 election this is an area we would seek to invest in. (end)

So there you go – the main parties’ policies and statements on education.  What are your thoughts after reading them?  Anything more you would like to ask?  Anything you want to challenge? Any other policies or information to add? Comment below.

If it inspires to you to ask more, or to share your thoughts, you can use these links to reach your local MP and the main NZ newspapers:

Click here for a list of  New Zealand MPs’ email addresses

Click here for email addresses of NZ Newspapers

And last but not least … do remember to VOTE.

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies here may be out of date.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sources and further reading:

Party policy information and links

Labour Party – Education

Responses to Hekia’s implication that teachers want performance pay

no no noYesterday on Q+A, Hekia Parata deftly implied that the teacher unions and, by implication, the teachers, are totally on board with performance pay. Not just on board, but helping sort out how it will go ahead.

Some of us suspected this was smoke and mirrors, the ole Hekia misdirection that we are so familiar with. So I did what any sensible person should.  I asked the unions themselves.  And the opposition parties, too.  I asked them, “Are you in favour of performance pay for teachers?”

Here are the responses I have had so far, and the tell quite a different story to Hekia’s:

PPTA referred  a member to this document and also Tweeted me via PPTAWeb to say:

PPTA do not support performance pay. 

NZEI have not sent an official response, but individual reps responded to say:

NZEI does not support competition between schools or teachers. PUM’s are being held in the next couple of weeks. Expect a statement AFTER members have BEEN consulted. 

Metiria Turei of the Green Party messaged me to state:

We are opposed to performance pay. All teachers should be priority rewarded for their skills and experience.

Chris Hipkins (Labour) Tweeted me to confirm:

 Labour does not support basing teacher pay on student achievement. It’s no measure of ‘performance’

Chris Hipkins replied in more detail to my query on Facebook:

Labour is opposed to paying teachers based on student achievement, which is no true measure of ‘performance’. I object to the whole term ‘performance pay’ because it inevitably leads to pointless arguments about how to tell a good teacher from a poor one, when really we should be focused on how we support all teachers to be great teachers (quality professional development, great initial teacher training, better appraisal systems etc).

No word yet from NZPF. I will update you as soon as I hear from them.

Meanwhile, make sure your union rep, your MP, your principal, and your local newspaper all know that teachers do not want performance pay because it adversely affects their performance and will therefore be TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE STUDENTS.

~ Dianne

No

More privatisation of public education.

Education about people, not profits

The National government’s agenda to corporatize and privatise the education system is becoming clearer by the day, Labour says.

“Not content with introducing privately run charter schools, the Government is now considering using Public Private Partnerships for all of the school rebuilding work required in Christchurch,” Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins said.

“Clearly there is no limit to the National Party’s profit-making ambitions when it comes to education. They’re even willing to use the Canterbury earthquakes as an excuse to corporatize and privatise schooling.

dollars“PPPs will take the power away from local communities and hand it straight to private and corporate interests. They will see money that should be going into education instead being paid out in shareholder dividends.

“Decisions around school rebuilds should be based on what’s best for education, not what’s going to maximise profits for the private sector,” Chris Hipkins said.

Labour’s Associate Education spokesperson Megan Woods is concerned that local schools in Christchurch are being shut out of critical decisions being made around the rebuild.

“Hekia Parata made it very clear in Parliament today that the local Christchurch community will have no right of veto over the use of PPPs for school rebuilds.

“It’s yet another example of people in Christchurch having central government decisions imposed on them without ever having the chance to have a meaningful say.

“Our local communities in Christchurch could end up with new buildings they have little or no control over the use of. That is not right,” Megan Woods said.

Another Parata communication triumph – by Chris Hipkins

Within the next two weeks Hekia Parata will be charged with announcing the fate of several dozen Canterbury schools.

Consultation on merger and closure proposals ended just before Christmas and Parata  supposedly spent her extended summer break reading them.

While all of those schools wait on tender hooks to hear their fate, Parata decided today to announce the government’s plans to open six brand new schools in Christchurch.

Talk about a slap in the face to all of the schools still waiting to hear what the future holds for them.

Nobody doubts that significant change is required.  The population has moved around in Christchurch, and as a result some schools have shrunk to the point where they are no longer viable while others are bursting at the seams.

But there is a way to do this.

It starts with respect for the school communities affected.  Shepherding all the principals and BOTs into a hall and giving them colour-coded name badges to indicate whether they were closing, merging, or remaining wasn’t a great start.

Announcing the opening of new schools before telling the existing schools of their fate rubs further salt into the wounds.

Hekia Parata has a difficult job to do, but she seems determined to make it even harder for herself.  Her handling of the Christchurch schooling situation has demonstrated arrogance and a total lack of respect.

The people of Christchurch deserve better.

Source

More Novopay debacles likely as Govt slashes frontline (Labour Press Release)

ImageCutting frontline public services in order to force Kiwis to interact with the Government online will lead to more Novopay like debacles, warns Labour’s State Services spokesperson Chris Hipkins.

“National promised New Zealanders better frontline public services. Now there’s talk they’re going to ‘switch off’ frontline services to achieve their arbitrary target of having 70 per cent of common transactions completed online. That makes a mockery of their promise.

“This is yet another demonstration that National’s pledge to move resources from the ‘back office’ to the ‘frontline’ was hollow spin.

“For a lot of people, online options are fast and convenient, and when they’re available, they will use them. But that’s not the case for everyone. Some of those most in need of help, including the elderly, don’t have ready access to online services.

 “If the Government’s online options are good, people will choose them voluntarily without being forced into it by a wholesale slashing of alternative options.

“We also need to be mindful of the risks involved in online services. When things go wrong, people still need to be able to talk to a real person. Yet the Government’s help desk hotlines already have appalling track records.

“Let’s not forget the debacle at Housing New Zealand when they tried to make everyone go online or ring a call centre. Or the on-going shambles caused by the new online pay system for teachers called Novopay.

“National’s rhetoric speaks of better public services. The reality of their actions is wholesale cost-cutting regardless of the impact it has on everyday New Zealanders,” Chris Hipkins says.

16 January 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT – Chris Hipkins

ENDS

David Shearer’s Labour Party Conference Speech – The Education Bits

David Shearer, Labour Leader

What is Labour promising to do for education if elected in 2014…

The approach to education will change.

I started my working life as a teacher. So I have an appreciation of the valuable job teachers do.

And I know a gimmick when I see one.

Bigger classes, unqualified teachers, charter schools and performance pay will achieve nothing.

The intelligent approach, the one I will follow is the one that asks:  what will it take to make this education system the best in the world?

Our teachers are demoralised. Yet we all know they are critical to equipping our kids for the modern world.

We know too that shutting schools in Christchurch destroys communities and causes heartache for already distressed families.

I went to a public meeting there after receiving a moving letter from Christchurch mum Sonya Boyd.  She’s devastated that her local school will close and is worried about the impact on her son Ben, his friends and in fact the whole community.

At that meeting a parent told me: Hekia Parata is doing what 10,000 earthquakes couldn’t do – destroying our school.

I say to the people of Christchurch: we are committed to helping you rebuild your city from the grassroots up – not the Beehive down.

You want, more than anything, to get your lives back, and on your own terms.

It’s time you had a government that stood alongside you.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Closing Statement

“We won’t be taking office to tinker, we’ll be taking office to remake New Zealand.

So I am asking you.

To rise up.

To take a message of hope to New Zealanders.

To fight for our future.

To say loud and clear that there is a better way. There is a Labour way.

We can do it, standing strong together.

We can make the change.

And we’ll do that in 2014.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For the whole speech, click here.

Labour Party Press Release on Charter Schools in Christchurch

Don’t make Christchurch kids charter school guinea pigs

Wednesday, 10 October 2012, 12:11 pm
Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party

10 October 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Don’t make Christchurch kids charter school guinea pigs

Parents and students in Christchurch have every right to be worried about the Government using the education recovery process to experiment with privitised education and charter schools on them, Labour’s Associate Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

This morning the Christchurch Press revealed that one of Hekia Parata’s relatives is moving ahead with plans to open a new ‘special character’ school offering Maori immersion education. At the same time, seven out of the ten existing state schools offering Maori immersion education are earmarked for closure or merger.

“People I speak to in Christchurch are rightly worried that the Government seems to be ‘clearing the decks’ for charter schools.

“Hekia Parata’s potential conflict of interest extends well beyond approving or declining her relative’s charter school application. So many of the other decisions she is making will have a direct impact on the number of kids it might be able to enrol.

 “Recovery from the earthquakes must not be used as an excuse to privatise Christchurch education. Charter schools are untested, won’t have to employ a full complement of qualified teachers, and won’t have to teach the same curriculum as public schools.

“Charter schools are an ideological experiment. The students of Christchurch have been through enough in the last two years. They don’t deserve to be made guinea pigs as well,” Chris Hipkins said.

ends

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1210/S00177/dont-make-christchurch-kids-charter-school-guinea-pigs.htm

Govt allies must force National to reverse class increases

Govt allies must force National to reverse class increases

Friday, 1 June 2012, 9:19 am
Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party

01 June 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Govt allies must force National to reverse class size increases

Labour Leader David Shearer is calling on the Government’s allies to use their combined political muscle to force National to ditch its plan to increase class sizes.

“Parents, children and teachers are overwhelmingly opposed to National’s plan to increase class sizes. They know it will damage their children’s learning and limit their opportunities.

“United Future and the Māori Party have the opportunity to show that they’re prepared to stand alongside Kiwis on this issue. They must use their power to force National to drop the plan completely – not just to tinker with it.

“It is also concerning that National seems to have breached its no surprises agreement by failing to properly brief its support partners on the full impact of the policy changes. They are right to be angry about this.

“This issue is so serious for our future that John Key must find the time to deal with it, despite the fact he is overseas celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. We urge him to act.

“Education is a priority for Labour. We will reverse National’s short-sighted plan to increase class sizes when we’re elected. But we urge other political parties who are in a position of power now to fight for our children and their right to a quality education,” said David Shearer.
ends

© Scoop Media

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1206/S00004/charter-schools-may-face-same-restrictions-as-state-schools.htm

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