Bill makes for a stronger public education system

The passage of the Education Amendment Bill this afternoon draws a line under some of the most divisive policies of the previous Government and puts the emphasis back on quality education, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said.

“The Bill scraps National’s ideologically driven National Standards and charter schools. The agenda of deregulation and privatisation, coupled with an obsession with measurement and compliance was undermining our education system and leading to worse outcomes for young New Zealanders.

“Our Government is focused on rebuilding a high quality public education system for all students. We’re focused on improving education through policies based on robust research and evidence, not bumper sticker slogans and blind ideology.

“Teachers and principals fought against National Standards because they failed to measure progress across the curriculum and increased teacher workload. During the time National Standards were in place, the performance of New Zealand students in the areas of reading, writing and maths actually went backwards in international studies.

“Charter schools were a deregulated, privatised form of schooling that we simply don’t need in New Zealand. They didn’t have to employ qualified and registered teachers, didn’t have to teach to the New Zealand Curriculum and could operate as profit-making businesses. That’s why the Bill ends the charter school model and supports the transition of the existing schools into the state system.

“The Bill restores guaranteed staff and student representation on the governing councils of our tertiary institutions, something the previous National Government stripped away in yet another one of their attacks on democratic participation.

“The Bill also adds further protections to the fees-free tertiary education policy by introducing an offence for those who make a false representation about their eligibility for this policy, and changes the timeframe for school boards to develop their strategic plans to three years from four.

“This Bill implements policy commitments Labour, New Zealand First, and the Green Party all campaigned on during the election campaign. We’re working together as a strong and cohesive team to put the emphasis back on a quality public education system that provides all New Zealanders with the lifelong learning opportunities they deserve,” Chris Hipkins said.

Notes to editor –