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Economically incompetent ACE cuts

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 pm, February 13th, 2010 - 35 comments
Categories: class war, education - Tags:

National love to tell us what we want to hear. Among their many pre-election policy lies they waxed lyrical about the value of education, before effectively cutting funding in the budget. On Adult and Community Education (ACE), Bill English was particularly supportive:

Community learning has a long and honourable history. I recall my mother going off to night time classes in furniture restoration, a quiet space in the busy life of a household of 12 children. In a painting class I visited a few years ago a man told me about how the tutor had changed his life by challenging him, teaching him and making him finish the picture. He described how he had become part of this small warm community. There are a thousand stories about how human needs are met by the collective and aspirational activity of learning.

As usual for a right wing government, they are pulling up the ladder behind them. Despite all the fine words, the funding for ACE courses has been slashed, and the cuts are now biting. As usual for a right wing government, it is the less well off who will be disproportionately disadvantaged:

Cuts end popular night classes

Adult education is getting the chop as schools axe night classes after Government Budget cuts. Almost half the schools offering adult education have pulled out and one estimate is that only 10 per cent of last year’s student numbers will be in the classroom this year.

Access to classes that remain could be determined by the size of students’ bank balances as fees soar. … PPTA president Kate Gainsford is warning that night schools could become the domain of the affluent because falling numbers mean fees are increasing. “We’re looking at the beginning of a pattern being revealed which is that schools servicing well-off areas only will be the ones who are offering [courses].”

The government is trying to justify this gutting of adult education as the removal of low value courses. Never mind the sheer hypocrisy of it (so glad your mother enjoyed her furniture restoration Bill), never mind the impoverished definition of “value”, the fact is that they just haven’t looked at the numbers. Check out the 2008 report from Price Waterhouse Coopers Economic Evaluation of Adult and Community Education Outcomes here:

Based on the available data, including the survey responses, the estimated economic impact of the ACE sector is between $4.8 and $6.3 billion annually. This equates to a return on investment of $54 – $72 for each dollar of funding. Each dollar of government funding generates a return of $16 – $22, but this is further leveraged through private contributions to the sector, including those voluntarily added such as unpaid volunteer labour. …

(More quoted here). The return on investment in ACE is staggering. It is the last thing that any economically competent government should be cutting. So that explains it I guess.

35 comments on “Economically incompetent ACE cuts ”

  1. SD 1

    It’s a tory whitewash!!!

  2. tc 2

    The thin end of the wedge with this lot……we’re all OK….screw you !

  3. RedLogix 3

    This equates to a return on investment of $54 $72 for each dollar of funding.…while giving big tax cuts to those on incomes over $80-100k, which has a return on ‘investment’ of about 30cents for every dollar spent.

    Efficiency my arse… naked greed more like it.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    A well educated populace is bad for dictatorships as the people end up seeing through the lies.

    • I suppose that’s why Labour and NZ First got voted out in 2008.

      • QoT 4.1.1

        … So the educated people voted for National, and National’s idea of entrenching their success is … to make the population less educated? Your world is an odd one, “teen”.

        • kiwiteen123 4.1.1.1

          No, well-educated people saw through the lies of Clark/Cullen/Peters and changed their vote.

          • QoT 4.1.1.1.1

            Yes, dear, I understood the attempted-snark point you were trying to make.

            Try to understand mine: And the people who these educated folks switched their votes to have decided the best way to keep in power is to make people stupider? Your logic is not like our Earth logic.

  5. gitmo 5

    I think these courses should be funded by the government …………. as soon as we stop borrowing 250 million a week.

    • RedLogix 5.1

      as soon as we stop borrowing 250 million a week. .. so why the obssesion with personal tax cuts then?

      The fact is that govt derives it’s income from three main sources:

      1. PAYE… about 45% of the total, stable and very predictable.

      2. GST… about 35% of the total and varies according to consumer spending, which is influenced somewhat by whether debt is being created or repaid.

      3. Company tax… the highly variable one because it directly linked to company profit, which varies enormously according to conditions.

      A quick look through the govt data for the year ending Nov 2009, shows that it is the Company Tax component that has fallen dramatically due to the recession.

      • Peter Bilson 5.1.1

        tax cuts are cost neutral dimwit

        • logie97 5.1.1.1

          Nice considered and erudite contribution Mr Bilson.

          I expect you are telling us that the likes of Douglas Myers will put the extra money into New Zealand Inc. Nah, don’t think so, they will continue to ship their readies offshore.

          Now if it was to remain sloshing around in the New Zealand economy, then borrowing might be reduced, and tax cuts might then be cost neutral.

        • Marty G 5.1.1.2

          All tax cuts, Peter? Kindly explain.

    • Akldnut 5.2

      gitmo – did you even read the post?
      This equates to a return on investment of $54 $72 for each dollar of funding.
      Each dollar of government funding generates a return of $16 $22

      Creates jobs, boosts the economy, upskills adults and best of all – makes people confident & positive.

      Definately economically incompetent!!!

      • gitmo 5.2.1

        Yes quite right let’s spend 5 million on ACE and it’ll return us between $250 – 360 million ………. but if it’s such good value why don’t those undertaking the course spend their own money for each hundy it’s going to return them between $5400-7200 … eh what ?

  6. tc 6

    Quite redLogix….. and the more foreign ownership the less of any corporate profit remain in NZ to be circulating in the economy the profit was generated in.

    You drop company tax and the more profit leaves NZ……basic really.

    What odds on akl int airport being approved for foreign sale by NACT now they’ve magically got a controlling stake via supercity amalgamation…..totally against Oz’s policy that stragegic infrastructure assets stay in local hands.

    NZ…100% there for the taking….national park anybody?

  7. mike 7

    Do know about you Rob but if was that keen on a class on Spanish cooking I feel I should stump up the cash myself…

    • felix 7.1

      I tend to agree. But who’s talking about Spanish cooking? Only you. Do you think the PWC (those notorious c*mmie lickspittles) report was about Spanish cooking classes? How could they possibly have reached those economic conclusions if it was?

      Are you even aware of the report? Did you even read the post? I doubt it.

      BTW this is a great resource for anyone interested in Indian cooking. My curry-fu has increased a million fold! All vege too.

    • Rex Widerstrom 7.2

      I used to teach marketing and PR skills to… gasp… fledgling small business owners at the Wellington WEA. Yes, the very core constituency National claims to represent. They presumably went off and put these new found skills into building their business and increasing their profits. Maybe they grew sufficiently to be able to offer work to other people.

      Yep, definitely useless bludgers who’ll go on to to contribute nothing to the economy.

      Ironically, it was through this work that another client noticed I was prepared to teach media skills and hired me to do so, because their performance was pretty dire. And that client was …even bigger gasp… the National Party Research Unit.

      It was, however, mildly amusing that they asked whether I’d charge the same fee as I did at the WEA (which I saw as basically pro bono work… IIRC I got about $60 a night).

    • prism 7.3

      If NZs had gone to night classes in spanish cooking we would have had better cuisine in the 1950s and 1960s. Restaurateurs, many who came to NZ from Europe as a result of the cataclysms of the Second World War, noted the awful hotel meals, and one commented that they seemed to be prepared from one recipe all over the country. One trick was to overcook a roast then make gravy from the bitter, near-carbon stuck to the bottom, with contributions no doubt from past roasts).
      Wanting to learn something beyond school, gain new skills etc. stops us from settling back into the tight little complacent tunnel-visioned society we had in the mid 1900s. Unfortunately those who have been successful following their channel of opportunity, underestimate how much their wealth is built out of others adopting new ideas.
      Many local councillors would like to shut down libraries, or bring more user pays in as they hardly read books at all, and only want to learn more of what made their personal wealth.

  8. Fisiani 8

    Dom Post today also states that Wellington High School alone is offering 900 ace courses this year.
    900 Yes 900 and most are only $10 extra cost.

  9. Most courses are useless and should not be paid for by the taxpayer. Others are good for the country and should be subsidized by us.

    • QoT 9.1

      And I’m sure you’ll be providing a clear, simple, unambiguous definition of each category … any time now?

      Because it’s not like Moroccan cooking could teach anyone literacy, numeracy, budgeting skills, nutrition? Especially people who don’t succeed in orthodox learning environments. Nah, it’s just an excuse to eat lots of couscous on the taxpayer’s dime.

      • kiwiteen123 9.1.1

        Maths.
        English.
        Computing.

        • QoT 9.1.1.1

          “People who don’t succeed in orthodox learning environments”. “People who don’t have time to attend daytime schooling”. “People who can’t commit to longterm learning”.

          But of course a “teen” has no idea about the realities of life post-high school, so I’ll let you off the basic-empathy hook for this one.

          • kiwiteen123 9.1.1.1.1

            Look, this is as left-wing I get.
            I’m in two minds.
            On part of me says: “go to university and get a job”
            The other half says “help people learn basic things in night-classes”
            Are you in favour of the Nats’ ace policy??

  10. Mac1 10

    Nah, Nats’ policy better described by the joker, or the knave.

  11. johnbt 11

    According to Maryann Street the cost of ACE courses cut by the government works out at $59 per punter. These include the macrame, the sword fighting, the silk dying. But my personal favourite is the old guy who could afford trips to Italy but wanted us poor buggers to pay for his Italian cooking lessons.

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