Maui Street: Kelvin Davis on improving education

Maui Street: Kelvin Davis on improving education: When the government says that national standards, charter schools, league tables, performance pay, quality vs quantity of teachers will all …

Davis provides a brief opinion as to how league tables, performance pay for teachers, charter schools and the like have some benefit to some students but there is no evidence that those who the policies are meant to assist (i.e. the least advantaged students) will benefit from such policies. It would be good to see Davis provide an actual argument next time rather than a simple commentary. My views are simple, the least advantaged students will always be adversely affected by policies that are narrowly focused toward economic outcomes without consideration of social outcomes.

In fact I read an article yesterday from The Listener (June 23) where John Key justifies the mass migration of New Zealanders to Australia – his argument was that its quite rational for low skilled workers to leave NZ for better pay in Australia. Sure John Key, it is rational for the worker, but it is not rational for a government to endorse a system where citizens have to rely on the economy of another country in order to improve their chances in life. Key then proceeds to argue that the problem is that you can lose some people that you want to keep! So clearly Key has no concern about the numbers leaving for Australia it is dependent on whether or not they have the skills that Key sees as valuable.  So what do we have? We have a government that perpetuates inequality and that is committed to a “skills based cleansing” regime.

Returning to the education issue – if National’s education policies only benefit some students (let me make it clear the benefit is not to our least advantaged students), then under a National led government they are submitting those students to a skills based cleansing regime.  It’s no wonder, that National won’t support an increase in the minimum wage – that would incentivise our unskilled and low skilled workers to stay in NZ.

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