ED's LetterSeptember 2017
I write these words tentatively, ignorant of the outcome of the upcoming election as we go to print. By the time you’re reading this, the 2017 General Election will be over – the votes counted, the composition of our government confirmed.
The trouble with elections is that they come around too fast. Three years passes in what feels like a blink of an eyelid.
A change of government can bring new ideas to the table, but it isn’t always in the best interests of the voting public to have policies thrown out before they’ve had sufficient time to take shape.
Take National Standards, for example. With the obvious exception of National, nearly every party was proposing to abolish them. It’s a similar story with charter schools. Communities of Learning are not looking particularly safe. Tertiary education funding would undergo massive transformation with a change of government.
Change can be a good thing, but we need a more pragmatic, civilised approach to it – one that doesn’t have the potential to see policies and systems thrown out every three years.
The idea of a cross-party, sector-wide education hui has been mooted for some time. This would help to inform a longer term strategy for education, to minimise upheaval every time there is a changing of the political guard. Labour, Greens and New Zealand First all support it. And just under 90 per cent of respondents in an educationcentral.co.nz poll voted in favour of an education hui.
Earlier this year, comedian Mike King likened the promises made by politicians in the build-up to the election to those made by parents who want compliance from their children. He says he doesn’t care which party gets in and it is more important that whoever is in power is prepared to take on board what the New Zealand public needs and wants.
Regardless of who is in power, we need a government that is really prepared to listen to the sector – teachers, students, parents – and put these interests above those of any political agenda or election cycle.
Jude Barback, Editor
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