Parents Must Be Allowed to Choose Qualifications

23 March 2007 15:50:00

“The news that several prominent schools are considering offering alternative international qualifications, in response to parental dissatisfaction with NCEA, was completely predictable” Libertarianz Education Spokesman Phil Howison said today. “Parents have good reasons to be concerned about NCEA – but the harsh response from the education bureaucracy suggests simple contempt for the rights of parents.”

Minister of Education Steve Maharey criticised one of the alternative qualifications, saying that “When it comes down to preparing a person for the real world of work and further study, I don’t think it does the same job as NCEA at all.” Phil Howison commented: “Maharey is entitled to his opinion, but it is not his place to force a particular qualification on parents and students against their will. This is an important decision – too important to be left to bureaucrats. After all, tertiary students can choose from a huge range of different qualifications – degrees, diplomas, various private courses, apprenticeships and so on. We don’t accept the forcing of particular qualifications on those students, so why high school students?”

John Morris, headmaster at Auckland Grammar, expressed some common concerns the NCEA in a recent letter to NZQA. Mr. Howison – who sat NCEA along with School Certificate and Bursary – agrees with Morris. “John Morris is absolutely correct that the lack of challenge in the NCEA causes a decline in motivation among top students. Schools all too often encourage the mere accumulation of credits, while discouraging students from taking harder courses to improve their pass rates. And while students can achieve with ‘Excellence’ or ‘Merit’, that has no impact on the number of credits, removing most of the incentive to improve.”

Dr. John Langley, of Auckland University and the NZQA, published an opinion piece in reply to John Morris. Phil Howison said that Langley showed a disturbing indifference towards the views of parents. “In his comment that empowering parents ‘…systematically undermined the status of teachers by giving parents and communities the expectation that… they know best about how their children should be taught. They don’t always,’ Langley provides a perfect example of bureaucratic arrogance. In contrast, the Libertarianz believe that parents have the right to make decisions for their own children. The state has no right to your children, and the education bureaucracy cannot be allowed to override the views of parents.”

Libertarianz education policy would return schools to parents and get rid of state ownership and zoning to allow free choice of schools. “The separation of school and state will result in freedom of choice, meaning that parents and students could take responsibility for education and choose the right kind of schooling to best serve their needs. A diverse private education market will be far more effective at serving parents than this one-size-fits-all state system”.

Take Back Your Child’s Education—Get the Government Out of Schools Now!

ENDS

For more information contact:

Phil Howison
Libertarianz Spokesman for the Deregulation of Education
Phone 027 437 0308
Email: [email protected]

Libertarianz: More
Freedom, Less Government