neo education and crossed fingers

Labour Party, NZ banner
Labour Party, NZ banner

I was very pleased to see a summary of the NZ Labour Party’s Education policy this weekend. While I have been in education for about 20 years I have seen drastic and unsettling changes, and, more recently, more unsettling and drastic changes.

So it was good to see a policy that made sense to me.

Neo-liberalsim has affected our country for more than 20 years, initiated by a Labour Government in the late 1980s, but implemented and extended with unseemly passion by subsequent National (ie for NZ right-wing but for the world kind of central/middle) governments.

“The stated goal of neo-liberals has been to free New Zealanders from the dependence on state welfare. The old welfare policies,
allegedly, discouraged effort and self-reliance and, in the eyes of neo-liberals, can be held responsible for producing young illiterates, juvenile delinquents, alcoholics, substance abusers, school truants, “dysfunctional families” and drug addicts.” Abstract. Neo liberalism, welfare and education: The New Zealand experiment.NZ Association for Research in Education, AREA Conference Symposium: New Orleans, 2000

Recent horrors have been charter schools (completely munt state schools, convince us they don’t work and introduce privately sponsored charter schools) and the dreaded national standards, plus more money for teachers who have better ‘pass’ rates. That’ll work.

You can read the policy here: but I am pleased to see the party promises to:

    end charter schools
    hire more teachers
    reduce class sizes
    support professional development for teachers
    increase Reading Recovery programmes

This policy made me feel a lot better about the forthcoming elections, and gave me hope that the Green Party and Labour may find a way to work together because there are other issues too, like the state of our rivers due to intensive dairy farming (in spite of ex Federated farmers chair Con English claiming that their parlous state is due to the urban sewage systems. Yeah right).

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