Usually during a New Zealand election one of the key talking points is education. Unfortunately, this year education has been an issue that has hardly been discussed. Covid-19, roading, and Trump seem to be more important.

Education should be a big part of a political party’s vision and its policies. According to the Ministry website education has been allocated $2billion over the next 5 years as well as around $1.5 billion on capital works over the next 10 years. Certainly some big investment.

This week I have spent time collating all the education policies from the 5 main political parties. See this image below or if this is a little hard to read CLICK HERE. It certainly makes for some interesting reading.

Here are my thoughts….
Greens – Do you even have an accountant? Tell us how much this is going to cost. Anyone can throw a wish into a ‘wishing well’. For a party with such radical educational goals some detail would be nice.
Labour – Same old, same old. As the Governing party do you have a plan or a vision for education in New Zealand? Get rid of National Standards and replace it with ?????? We don’t even have a full time Minister of Education under this party. Why cant I see some sort of vision in Labour’s policies! Are the top two issues with New Zealand’s education system the decile system and lunches?
NZ First – Finally got their policy up in October. All that time to come up with virtually nothing. Bland and generic.
National – There is more to education than buildings and infrastructure. Smaller class sizes?? Really that worked out well last time. paying Council fees is a nice little sweetener but seems a little short sighted.
Act – Show me the money! Finally, a policy with some detail. I can actually read ACT’s plan and they back it up with some numbers. It might be a ridiculous vision, but at least they have one and a plan. It would be fascinating to work in an environment like this. Then again it would be fascinating to work for Trump for a week.

Broadly speaking I find these policies rather average. Nothing is mentioned regarding technology or 21st century learning. As a teacher for close to 20 years I see little evidence of money actually being spent on issues that teacher’s face in the classroom.
How many of these current policies will actually improve students learning? Not many.
Furthermore, boasting about building new buildings or new schools isn’t really that forward thinking. That is your job – our population is increasing so we will need more schools.
I would like policies that look beyond that to focus on student learning a their education.

Here are some policies I would like to see.
– Focus on addressing literacy and numeracy deficits. Any student working two years below their chronological age in Reading, Writing, Maths will be given specialist teacher time. The programme would run like Reading Recovery.
– Focus on address learning and behavioural needs. Students with learning and behavioural needs can be professionally assessed at no cost to parents or schools. Referred by teachers.
– Student wellbeing. This will be a priority by providing a professional social worker AND counselors in every school in New Zealand with more than 120 students.
– Invest in technology. Government issued computer scheme set up to provide students with 21st educational tools. This would see computers issued to students at Years 4, 7 and 11.
– Teacher numeration. Teachers pay increases, along with every other government wage in NZ, is matched with politician’s wage increase.