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Tax-cuts or… Education

Written By: - Date published: 8:24 am, October 28th, 2016 - 6 comments
Categories: education - Tags:

The government is proud of their surplus, which at 0.7% of GDP isn’t quite as dramatic as the 9% of GDP deficit they had in 2011.  But as soon as we have a surplus, National starts salivating over tax cuts.  Continuing where I left off, here’s some other priorities.

Today – something vital to the future of our society, education.

Here you can start by signing the petition against the freezing of school operational grants, which is resulting in 1300 schools losing out.  This is of particular threat to small secondary schools.

You wouldn’t start by doing a John Key and mainly visiting high decile schools to assess the education system.

The government has started on a school building program after realising that their easy GDP growth through immigration is resulting in nowhere to put children.  But even with that in many parts of Auckland (certainly around where I live), schools are teaching in small music rooms, libraries or even (large) cupboards as they have nowhere else to put the children turning up at their gates.  We could in fact do with more schools, rather than having multi-storey primary schools of close to 1000 kids in places.  So more money needed there.

One could also look at investing in our teachers rather than deriding them, with a return of the professional education funding the government has removed.  Paying teachers well might solve our chronic science teacher shortage, and listening to high-standard teachers (instead of constantly testing students) might lead us to an education system closer to Finland’s.  We may also need to bring in an “Auckland-weighting” for teachers and other essential public servants to combat the house prices – it’s very hard to find teachers who can afford to live in many suburbs…

And we still really need to bring back Adult Education, a relatively small investment that PWC found had 21-fold return, but hastily shut down by this government when it came in.

Special schools for those with disabilities have also faced severe pressure as Parata tried to ‘mainstream’ as many as possible – without providing the support required.  This is probably somewhat tied to the idea of ‘kiwi suspensions’ for difficult pupils, as schools try not to have their other pupils disrupted, and don’t have the resources to cope with certain students.

Once again that $1.8 billion disappears pretty quickly, as it did with Housing, Health & Poverty.  But no doubt National will keep dangling those tax-cuts…

* Shortly after my last post on Child Poverty vs Tax-cuts CPAG put out a media release pointing out that $700 million of the $1.8 billion in tax cuts was as a result of changes to Working For Families putting more working families and their children into poverty.  It goes on to show how even cutting the bottom tax-rate will not give as much benefit as restoring the pre-2011 WFF benefit levels.

6 comments on “Tax-cuts or… Education ”

  1. repateet 1

    The easiest way to fix the problem of having to put more money into education is under way by the government – selling schooling off.

  2. saveNZ 2

    Obviously education should trump tax cuts!!

    As well as the freezing of school budgets which is actually a cut because the population has increased so much and tinkering with giving rich schools and ‘bribe’ charter schools’ money with zero accountability, another big problem that National has introduced is the National Standards.

    At a time when most countries racing ahead to remove punitive standards and encourage creativity for the new future of entrepreneurs, innovation and creative economy, NZ has gone backwards with a set of standards and assessments for children as young as 5 years old. There is absolutely no research than supports this, and plenty that say how dangerous that approach is and particularly damaging for boys that tend to develop slower and have more energy. This will lead to Bill English’s ‘pretty hopeless’ generation 2.0, as any signs of initiative are sucked out of the kids by a system that does not work.

    Let’s face it, should young children be labeled under National Standards? When children develop at different stages and come with different backgrounds from tiger Mums, to kids that are homeless, to kids who speak english as a second language to kids with dyslexia or medical issues.

    With the rise in technology is teaching kids to sit on the mat, a focus of ‘class control’ and ‘safety’ are leading to a rise in anxiety in children, who are taught not to experiment, be labeled as young as 5 which again is causing anxiety, and just learn how to pass simple tests to be rewarded, while those who get bored easily by this, are labeled trouble makers and failures?

    Many parents I talk say about all the problems their kids seem to have. Behaviour, learning, laziness and so forth – there seems to be a lot of blame on the kids themselves if they do not engage with the National standards, and the education system seems quick to label them if they do not achieve the standards that the government (with zero research and actually most research has showed this is harmfu)l has imposed?

    It is no surprise that a ‘time out’ room are now being used at schools. Teachers should be supported by the minister and many were forced into National Standards.

    National Standards should be abolished so that teachers can actually spend time teaching kids and being flexible with encouraging their ability to love learning, and not wasting education time filling in assessment forms for the ministry. The ministry is creating a crisis that did not exist before they changed to this flawed system. We need to move to a Finnish style education system.

    Try teaching 30 five year olds to read at the same time (when your ministry appointed focus is on safety and on reporting, not the actual outcome) and see how you get on. Then find out how many kids ‘develop’ behavioural problems through boredom and rote learning, where class control and reporting has become more important than educational outcomes which the teachers are powerless to change without a change of government.

  3. ropata 3

    Education is the most basic step to delivering a real Brighter Future for New Zealand. It’s an investment that always pays off long term.

    If the Gnats were honest, their billboard would have read:

    “A Profitable Quarter for the One Percent”

  4. Macro 4

    We could also save it – put it in the bank and use it to help pay for the $72 Billion cost which Key and his cronies are currently running up with their failure to do anything constructive in the way of reducing NZ’s GHG emissions.
    Then again – why would they bovver?….

  5. JNZ 5

    National’s voters often pay for private education, and so it’s not in their interest to put more money into public education when they can bribe their voters with tax cuts.

    The only way to stop this is for those of us whom National has shafted to get out and vote them out…not vote for them by staying at home.

  6. Incognito 6

    Be careful what you wish for; there will be more taxpayers’ money invested in Charter Schools.

    Good education is only for those who can afford it and these happen to be the people that make and have made the ‘right’ personal decisions, of course. You can see where this is going, can’t you?

    Quality training & education is a waste of time and money if you can ‘import’ labour cheaply. In fact, it’s a double-win for the Government because it keeps the wage inflation nice and low, the property prices nice and high, the GDP nicely growing at a steady pace. Don’t worry about the rising trade deficit.

    Tax cuts anybody?

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