Posted by: Observer on 09, Jul, 2010
Associate education minister and trainee space cadet, Hon Heather Roy, has stumbled on the shambles that passes for an education policy in England and is advocating it here. Now anyone who has had the sad experience of teaching in a state school in England knows that it is not a system to emulate. Basically, the English system runs for the benefit of the elite private schools Eton and Harrow etc (though they call them public) and state schools are treated as either whipping boys or political footballs or both.
Rather than address the grave inequalities that plague and undermine the system, the Labour government aggressively pursued a policy of privatisation. Demonstrating a level of ignorance that is truly breathtaking, they concluded that the problem wasn’t the consolidation of large numbers of economically and socially disadvantaged kids in underfunded state schools while the middle class creamed it in their tax-payer subsidised private schools – no, the problem was that the state ran these schools and some competition from the private sector would make everything hunky dory.
That meant New Labour was effectively occupying the Tory’s home on the political spectrum so the Tories have shifted further into the realm of rabid, right-wing righteousness and have invited anyone who wants to, to bid to set up a school for purposes of profit at the taxpayers’ expense. At the same time it has slashed Labour’s plan to invest millions in upgrading England’s third world, school property portfolio.
This is not an education policy – it’s a get-rich-quick scheme funded by the taxpayer. There is nothing in it that could lead anyone to believe that the outcome will be improvements in achievement. The only certainty is that taxpayers will be royally screwed (yet again).
Perhaps that’s why Roy is advocating it for New Zealand. She sees opportunities for ACT supporters to get in on the ground floor of this investment (rip-off.) It can’t be, as she suggests, because she cares about parent empowerment. If she did she would know that there is already provision in the Education Act here for 21 parents to set up a school (s.156) and that the provision has been in the Act for over 20 years. Of course, that provision doesn’t allow the greedy and unscrupulous to use the compulsory education provisions for purposes of profiteering from children’s rights to education.