School Zoning

February 7th, 2006 at 7:19 pm by David Farrar

Every year the problems with zoning becomes more apparent. It is a system which traps people into often having to attend their local school against their wishes and refuses to let sucessful schools grow in size if an unsucessful school nearby has spare capacity.

The NZ Herald editorial on the problems at Auckland Grammar (where cunning Aucklanders buy or rent houses that they don’t even live in just so their kids can attend) is a good one.

And talking of education issues have a read about the brainwashing, sorry social justice training, that takes place in US teachers colleges.

As an example:

The University of Alabama College of Education is “committed to preparing individuals to promote social justice, to be change agents, and to recognize individual and institutionalized racism, sexism, homophobia, and classism.”

No tag for this post.

19 Responses to “School Zoning”

  1. Sinner () says:

    Quoting from the article:

    Poor neighbourhoods do not have inferior supermarkets or petrol stations

    This is demonstrable false. Poor neighbourhoods have poor supermarkets, petrol stations … and schools.

    And that is entirely the point: if poor people who live in poor neighourhoods should be able to a school directly, rather than have to pay to rent or buy a house in a rich neighbourhood.

    There is a clear majority (Nat, ACT, Maori, UFuture, and technically at least NZF) for comprehensive school reform in the current parliament. Unlike Brash, blowing his credibility on the economy — a Bill English should be able to bring down the current govt on just this issue.

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  2. Peter Metcalfe () says:

    Classism? They are against the study of the Classics?

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  3. Scott Higham () says:

    What was so wrong with the system before zoning was re-introduced?

    Ultimately parents should be able to decide where to send their kids to school, and schools should be able to decide how they enrol students.

    Where someone lives has nothing to do with it.

    After all, we don’t zone doctors. How are schools any different?


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  4. anonymouse () says:

    scott wrote:

    As I understand it, When PHOs are fully rolled out you will be financially incentivised to visit the PHO you are enrolled with, to visit any other will result in you losing any government subsidy and having to pay the full cost,

    Sounds like Doctor Zoning to me…

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  5. Michael () says:

    Mouse – The difference is that you can enrol in the PHO of your choice. For instance, a Lower Hutt resident doesn’t have to enrol in a Lower Hutt PHO. If it’s more convenient they can enrol in a Porirua PHO.

    But they can’t choose to send their child to a school they think the child will do better at. For instance, Wellington High School has a very good Arts, Drama and Music programme – the only one in the region. But unless you live in Wellington you have to go into a lottery to attend. Same with Porirua and Hutt Valley students wanting to send their children to a single sex school.

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  6. TomS () says:

    Every year the same brunch of shingers for the same set of “exclusive” schools try and demolish zoning, a system which works well for the other 99% of the population.

    Lets face it, the bitching about zoning isn’t about zoning at all. It s bitching by people who can’t get into Auckland Grammar, a school that could well do with having the wings of its private school pretentions clipped further.

    Its a complete nonsense to have a school with a roll already in excess of 2600 expanding further simply so a pile of wannabe toff’s can say their boy goes there, and its even a bigger amount of tosh to try and use that as a stalking horse to indulge in yet another Quixotic fight from the looney right over “freedom of choice.”

    People on the right woonder why the main topic of conversation around the place is why they are so stupid. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you exhibit “A” for the prosecution – the rights inane obsession with zoning around Auckland Grammar.

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  7. Cadmus () says:

    Sinner, your dreaming, did you get this rubbish off an ACT web site?

    People in NZ want to send their kid to an elite school, mainly I believe for social status for themselves and their child, so they and their off spring can mix with nice respectable white people.
    And an elite school looks good on a CV for those looking to enter the workforce.
    Look, to be honest at the end of the day who want the unwashed of South Auckland invading their space, way of life?

    In the US it is different they just come clean no B/S like here. I like it that way.
    I send my kid to……High School. I don’t want him/her mixing with Blacks, Hispanics, Whites, Asians. The school know it, the people know it. and they just get on with it.
    I believe the University of Alabama would be using the course for new teachers heading to fill the gaps in low decile schools. Elite schools. White & Black don’t bother with that B/S.

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  8. pedantic () says:

    Cadmus. It’s ‘you’re’ or ‘you are’, not your. All the drool on your keyboard getting in the way of your spelling (again)?
    I suggest you take a basic literacy course, I hear the Huata’s run a good one.

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  9. gd () says:

    Sigh!! Sinner The petrol stations supermarkets and McDonalds are just as good in the “poor” parts of NZ as they anywhere And this is rub.The reason we have bad schools is that the Socialists who control the Ministry of Education and the teachers union dont want to have good schools They see their role as protecting the Dismal Desmonds who inhabit the bad schools.None of them have ever bothered to try and find out why the good schools are good and then replicate this model elsewhere And pray tell Why should “poor” families not have the same opportunity as “rich” families.Both I and my children attended independent schools Know why Because the public schools didnt meet my parents or my standards.And as we live (at present) in a free country I still had the right to send my children were I liked and pay for the priviledge.Surprise Surprise both poor and rich parents want the best education for their children.The Socialists on the other hand just want to take the easiest path Like water down a hillside and in the process brain wash the kids to their dopey ideas.When we get rid of those neandertheals in the MOE and the Union then we will get the standards of education in the bad schools up to the same level as the good schools

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  10. zoner () says:

    A very over-simplified view of zoning there David. The (successful) school my kids go to is being forced to grow (build more classrooms on already sparse playgrounds) – but what is an alternative system? I certainly would not like it if I lived next door to a school but couldn’t send my kids there because they didn’t fit the ‘criteria’ that the board of directors decided upon. Zoning isn’t a perfect system, but show me some sensible alternatives.

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  11. rightkiwi () says:

    Tom S:

    You are absolutely right this is about a limited number of schools, but wrong when you say zoning
    “works well” for the other 99% of the population. Zoning is ONLY an issue for a limited number of schools on the Auckland isthmus and to a very, very small number of schools elsewhere. It therefore doesn’t “work well” in most schools – it is entirely irrelevant.

    What it does do is enrich a small number of already wealthy people around Remuera, Epsom, Howick (McLeans) and Takapuna. It has been estimated that the re-introduction of zoning by Labour increased the value of properties in these areas by at least $100,000 overnight. Nice for those property investors / developers who own a number of addresses in these areas. A great start by a left-wing government to immediately, upon taking office, make the richest New Zealanders richer still, but anyway …

    What zoning then does is ensure there is much less socio-economic and racial integration in the small number of affected schools, with only wealthy people able to attend them, who, of course, tend to be white or Asian. Another unintended consequence of a so-called left-wing Government. That in turn, means there are fewer white and Asian kids from exclusive suburbs at other schools which arguably harms them.

    And then the system breeds dishonesty as we are seeing. One can criticise people for wanting their kids to go to these schools – call them tossers etc as you do – but the fact is that people will try to get their kids into these schools using dishonest means, and that, in itself, is not a good thing to be promoting.

    What is most extraordinary about all this is what problem zoning is meant to fix? We hear stories about kids not being able to get into the school they live right next to. But did that really ever happen at all? Even if it did happen, is the cure (zoning) more socially damaging than the problem (an unknown, but very, very, very, very small, number of kids unable to go to their nearest school)?

    It really is very hard to fathom what Labour Party principles zoning is meant to promote. It seems to me it does wonderful things for the rich and does harm to the poor.

    But there you go. Typical Labour.

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  12. Scott Higham () says:

    Zoning is really about appeasing teacher unions and other Labour Party sectional interests.

    It has nothing to do with education, students interests, or parents interests.

    Its exactly the same reason Labour brought back Health Boards – pure ideology, nothing @ all to do with health.


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  13. llew () says:

    “I hear the Huata’s run a good one.”

    Pedantic, that would be “the Huatas run a good one.”

    Apostrophes are not required in plural nouns.

    hee hee….

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  14. pedantic () says:


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  15. span(ner in the works) () says:

    Now surely you meant “Damn it” pedantic?

    Not having a good day are you? ;-)

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  16. pedantic () says:

    whatever Cadmus has got must be contagious. I’m Starting To get the Capital disease to.. and my spelling… I new This would Happen Brash/Hide must be near aaaaaargh!

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  17. span(ner in the works) () says:

    Pedantic: I recommend a course of the front cover of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (and, of course, the contents).

    If anyone is interested (and I’m sure you all are) I’ve got a post up about zoning here:

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  18. George E Burrell () says:

    Yes “right”kiwi, there WERE kids that could not attend convenient local schools during the period that zoning was abolished. That was when Christine Fletcher (a NATIONAL MP) agitated and the NATIONAL (yes NATIONAL) Government watered down the “parents will choose” strategy. Under the Labour Government, changes like the ballot system were introduced.

    During Lockwood Smith’s “open” period, I think that those living geographically close to popular schools stood a greater chance of attending there – hence I believe that property prices may not have fluctuated as much as was suggested here. Where is the proof?

    Believe me, schools without zones ARE competing for students because they are allowed to take enrolments from anyone to fill spare capacity. According to the Maxim Institute, the Business Round Table, ACT and some in the National Party – market competition should automatically convert “bad” schools into “good” schools! Perhaps unzoned schools are in reality viable schools that people don’t know much about?

    I have never seen an area so awash with myths and legends (that people actually believe) as school education. Unfortunately it is my children that must suffer as idealogues and the media from the right assault schools, teachers and teacher unions. They simply talk up the likes of Auckland Grammar and the hysteria to enrol there is enflamed.

    Subscribers to this discussion have rightfully pointed out RACISM and ELITISM as relevant factors behind parent choice. It is never far from the surface, is it.

    The myth is that with the right competitive forces, all schools could be like Auckland Grammar. It has even been suggested that current schools in some cases could be branches of Auckland Grammar.

    Another fantasy of “paradise of the right” would be the Auckland Grammar site covered with 20-storey classroom blocks (and adorned with advertisers’ hoardings) while other school campuses would be subdivided for office parks, apartments, restaurants, wine bars, cafes, etc.

    But to give these shallow thinkers what they really want, the only solution would be to raise all schools to Decile 10!!!! How is that going to be done?

    And speaking of Decile remember one thing folks. It is simply a funding formula for the school. And it is not the decile of the SCHOOL that is the predictor of achievement – it is the socio-economic status of the FAMILY that is the predictor!

    A close inspection of what Bill English and Don Brash have been saying tells me that all they were advocating was “slight” relaxation of zoning. The “Parents Will Choose” Billboard was really a hoax because in the end under National, capacity of schools would be rationed according to some criterion:

    * Compulsory Fees as high as you like?
    * Principal chooses students?
    * Substantial donation of parent to school?
    * Networking and who you know?
    * Entrance examination?

    Take your pick – but all selection methods would advantage the rich as before. That is why we have ballots!

    The current system may not be perfect, but please could advocates of alternatives consider the wider implications for NZ society.


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  19. Rich () says:

    Actually llew, shouldn’t it be “the Huata run a good one.” as Maori words don’t take a plural ‘s’.

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