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What Now For Education?

The voting is over, the preliminary results are in, and New Zealand First are calling the shots.

Winston Peters’ coalition decision will decide who is in government, but he is such an enigma that it’s impossible to know what he will do. Will he go right with National, or will he go left with Labour and the Greens – we really don’t know.

However, for education, the two possible outcomes stand in stark contrast.

Scenario A: NZ First and National

NZ First and National have incredibly different visions for education:

  • NZ First want to restore the requirement for all ECE providers to ensure that the 100% registered teacher staffing ratio is achieved. National removed that provision.
  • NZ First want to replace National Standards at Years 1 to 8, with children’s progress and achievement being assessed against level bands within the New Zealand Curriculum. In contrast, National want to further embed National Standards via ‘National Standards Plus’.
  • NZ First want to repeal the amendments to the Education Act 1989 that allowed the creation of charter schools. National want to expand the charter school experiment.
  • NZ First want to work with the sector to provide for professional development and re-establish the curriculum and school support advisors that National got rid of.
  • NZ First want to ensure the education sector can elect its own representatives to sit on the Education Council. National took this right away from teachers.

NZ First and National are just not in agreement on the future of our education system, and with an NZ First/National government, it would be an uphill battle for NZ First to effect any changes to National’s plans.

Scenario B: NZ First, Labour and the Greens

In stark contrast, there is enormous agreement on what is needed in education between NZ First, Labour and the Greens:

  • All three parties want to restore 100% trained Early Childhood Education (ECE) teachers and promise to restore funding to support that.
  • All three parties want to get rid of National Standards.
  • All three parties want to increase funding and support for teachers’ professional development.
  • All three parties want to repeal charter school legislation.
  • All three parties want teachers to have the right to elect their own representatives to the Education Council.

All three also want an inclusive model that properly supports children with Special Educational Needs, and all three want adequate funding for support staff.

Clearly, NZ First, Labour and the Green Party are on the same page when it comes to education.

Use your teacher voice

If your vision for the NZ education system aligns with NZ First, Labour and the Green Party, you might want to ‘cast your vote’ one more time and email Winston Peters at winston.peters@parliament.govt.nz to ask him to put education at the forefront of his decision.  With Tracey Martin and Chris Hipkins together, education would be in safe hands.

~ Dianne Khan

 

 

National Standards – which Parties will keep them and which will ditch them?

It’s election time again, but before choosing which Party to vote for, make sure you know what their education policies are – and pay attention to what isn’t mentioned, too.

This time we are looking at National Standards.

New Zealand Political Parties’ Policies on National Standards

Labour

“Labour will abolish national standards to return the focus to a broad and varied curriculum with the key competencies at the heart. Labour will ensure that the education system embraces and fosters essential skills and competencies such as attitude, communication, commitment, teamwork, willingness to learn, motivation, self-management, resilience and problem-solving.”

“Labour will abolish national standards and work with experts and stakeholders to develop a new system that better acknowledges child progress and focuses on the key competencies”

“Labour will scrap the current approach of measuring the success of schools by the number of students achieving national standards or NCEA, and will work with teachers, principals, parents, tertiary institutions and the Education Review Office (ERO) to develop more effective ways of evaluating the performance of schools”

“Labour will re-direct resources spent forcing “National Standards” on schools into teacher professional development programmes that assist students who are struggling”

Source

Green

“The Green Party will: Oppose the system of National Standards that was introduced in 2010, and remove the requirement for schools to report against them”

“The Green Party will: Work with teacher organisations to develop an assessment model or models that allow tracking of student progress against national data; to be used to inform further teaching and learning in partnership with students and their
families.”

“The Green Party will: Oppose the publication of league tables which rank schools on academic achievement.”

Source

NZ First

“New Zealand First would abolish National Standards and re-establish professional learning and development support for the quality delivery of our New Zealand Curriculum with monitoring as to children’s progress based on curriculum levels.”

“New Zealand First believes that all students need to be literate and numerate but does not believe that the black and white National Standards imposed on our primary school children are fit for purpose. Our national curriculum documents, the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, have identified curriculum achievement levels that are progressive and overlapping – children are not expected to achieve at the same level at the same time.”

“New Zealand First will: Abolish National Standards in their current form and work with the sector to establish robust assessment measures for individual students and to identify nationwide goals for primary education.”

Source

MANA

Mana will: “Replace National Standards with processes that help parents assess their child’s progress”

Source

TOP

TOP will: “Reduce assessment, giving more time for teaching and learning.”

“TOP will delay National Standards until Year 6”

Source

National

“National is [also] ensuring a better education through: Providing parents with better information through National Standards so they know how well their child is doing at school.”

Source

ACT

The ACT Party’s education policy does not mention National Standards.

Source

The Maori Party

The Maori Party’s education policy does not mention National Standards.

Source

United Future

United Future has no education policy on its web page.

Source

Edits/Corrections/Amendments

If you spot any errors or missing information relating to this post, please comment below and I will edit as quickly as possible.

Thank you,

Dianne Khan – SOSNZ

NZ Political Parties’ Charter Schools Policies

 

New Zealand Charter (or Partnership) Schools are private businesses that are fully funded by your taxes. They are funded at a higher rate than comparable state schools.

Charter Schools can employ untrained staff to work in classrooms as teachers.

Charter Schools are free to pay staff, advisors, etc whatever they choose. Charter schools need not declare pay levels or any other aspect of what their funding is spent on.

It is not possible to get use the Official Information Act to access information from a Charter School, as they are private businesses.

Charter Schools need not have parent representation on the Board.

With that basic overview done, here are the charter school policies of the main New Zealand political parties.

Party Policy on Charter Schools

ACT

Despite charter schools being driven by ACT,  their education policy web page has no mention of charter (or partnership) schools at all.

National

Despite bringing in the legislation for charter schools, the National’s education policy web page has no mention of them at all.

Labour

“We believe in a quality, comprehensive, public education system, not the corporatised, privatised system that the current government is driving us towards. Taxpayer funding for education should be directed towards learning and teaching, not creating profit-making opportunities for private businesses.”

“Labour will protect and promote our quality public education system by: Repealing the legislation allowing for Charter Schools”  (Source)

Green

“The Green Party will: Oppose charter schools, repeal the enabling legislation around charter schools, and maintain the current flexibility to support/create some state schools designated special character.” (Source)

NZ First

“New Zealand First is strongly opposed to “charter” or “partnership” schools; public funding for these privately owned profit making opportunities would be ended by New Zealand First.”

“New Zealand First will: Repeal the 2013 amendments to the Education Act 1989 that allowed the creation of Charter Schools.” (Source)

MANA

Mana will: “Cancel public private partnership contracts for schools and abolish the charter schools policy” (Source)

TOP

“Question: You seem to be staunchly against specialist schools like charter schools and even private schools. Shouldn’t parents have the right to do best by their child, and be less concerned about the plight of other less fortunate children?

Answer: You’d have a point if there was any evidence that these specialist schools are producing better overall results for their students. There is no such evidence. There is however strong evidence that ghetto-ising the residual schools is doing real damage to the students there, entrenching disadvantage and raising the costs to society of the rising inequality that results. There is a case for specialist schools or at least classes for children with special needs, or for children of various ethnic communities. But the trend under Tomorrow’s Schools of “affluent flight” shows no benefit and plenty of costs.

As for charter schools, they could easily be accommodated within the state system – there is no need for them to sit outside.”  (Source)

 

The Maori Party

The Maori Party’s education policy does not mention charter schools. (Source)

United Future

No school-level education policy at all can be found on the web page of United Future (Source)

Edits/Corrections/Amendments

If you note any errors or missing information relating to this post, please comment below and I will edit as quickly as possible.

Thank you,

Dianne Khan – SOSNZ

________________________

Edited 10/9/2017 3.34 to update TOP’s policy and add link.

NZ First Introduces Bill to Protect the Title of “Teacher”

Tracey Martin NZ FirstTracey Martin MP, Spokesperson for Education – Press Release

New Zealand First wants to protect the title of “teacher” and we will introduce a member’s bill to do so this week.

“The National Government, with support of the ACT Party and Maori Party, continue to amend the Education Act to allow individuals without in depth teacher training to market themselves as ‘teachers’ to parents and students.

“This is an attack on the status of our teachers and is likely to lower the standard of teaching and learning in schools.

“Parents should be 100% confident that anyone using the title of teacher has successfully completed the appropriate qualifications to support their students learning.

“This government has allowed Charter Schools to put untrained and unqualified individuals into classrooms and call themselves teachers. The new Education Amendment Bill will allow well-meaning degree graduates to market themselves as teachers, without in class supervision, after only an eight week Christmas course.

“Under the New Zealand First bill all parents can be assured that if their child has a ‘teacher’ then they are being taught by an educational specialist. By providing this simple method of identification parents truly have choice when it comes to who is leading the learning in their child’s education,” says Mrs Martin.

~ ENDS

Blindly Defending Failed Charter Schools Experiment – NZ First Press Release

Tracey Martin NZ FirstNational’s charter schools are “crashing and burning” while the Education Minister Hekia Parata blindly defends this failed experiment in taxpayer funded privatisation of education, says New Zealand First.

“Northland school Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru was dysfunctional right from the start,” says Deputy Leader and Education Spokesperson Tracey Martin. “A governor has been brought in, the school has lost staff and the roll began falling from the minute it opened its doors seven months ago.

“This school was always going to be a challenge because it took on some of the most difficult students. But, with the Ministry of Education painting a picture of weak governance, staff resignations and poor planning, what chance do the students have to get a decent education?

“Most charter schools are failing to reach their required minimum roll and are receiving taxpayer top-ups. What’s more, the rolls at two schools are falling.

“Charter schools are proving costly to taxpayers. Their performance has to be questioned when the ministry refuses to release performance reports for them.

“How can the government go ahead with plans to approve the opening of even more charter schools next year, when just one school in Northland has cost $2.4 million so far.

“New Zealand First will end this ideological experiment that is charter schools and find more appropriate solutions for these children.”

Source: http://nzfirst.org.nz/news/blindly-defending-failed-charter-schools-experiment

 

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.

 

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Sources and further reading:

Party policy information and links

Labour Party – Education

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