School’s unfunded mandates

June 10th, 2008 at 6:27 am by David Farrar

A group of 15 school principals have written an open letter to the Minister of Education saying

“We do not concur with your statements that current funding is enough to provide a quality basic education.”

So what is the problem. Hasn’t funding increased? Well yes it has, but so has the paperwork:

In an open letter to Education Minister Chris Carter, the principals detailed Government innovations they claimed were not fully funded and had increased pressure on already-stretched finances.

The list of 21 included pandemic planning, maintaining electronic student management systems and running the healthy lifestyle programme Mission On.

“We respectfully suggest you provide for the current demands before introducing new and more underfunded priorities,” the principals wrote.

So what are they doing about it?

Northcote College principal Vickie Barrie said in a separate email: “ will not engage in the Government’s new Plus initiative until the minister has recognised the dire funding situation secondary find themselves in.”

Schools Plus is a major initiative that aims to keep New Zealanders in education or training until age 18.

It was outlined by Prime Minister Helen Clark in her opening address to Parliament this year, as part of a “quantum leap” in changing the aspirations for young people.

Wow, that is a slap down for sure.

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11 Responses to “School’s unfunded mandates”

  1. Bryan Spondre (556 comments) says:

    “We respectfully suggest you provide for the current demands before introducing new and more underfunded priorities,” the principals wrote. Another approach could simply be to cut ideologically driven activities out of schools and then they wouldn’t need to be funded. For example the environmental indoctrination class my 7 year old son attends every Tuesday at Ponsonby Primary.

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  2. wreck1080 (3,866 comments) says:

    “Mr Carter has repeatedly defended the level of funding to schools and has said that education spending overall has risen from $5.7 billion to $9.8 billion since 1999.”

    Now, inflation running at 3% per annum, todays funding should be 7.4b to maintain 1999’s standards.

    So current funding actually increased by 2.4b in real dollars. This is a huge amount of dosh yet schools are struggling to survive, possibly more so than in 1999.

    This suggests to me that 2.4 billion is the current annual cost for the increased bureacracy. This is very expensive paper work.

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  3. Grant Michael McKenna (1,158 comments) says:

    Obviously these are National sympathisers, out to stir up shit. Set the EFA on them!

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  4. Scott (1,765 comments) says:

    I couldn’t agree more with the Principals. More and more gets put on to schools. Speaking to friends and relatives who hold management positions in schools and hospitals, there seems to be major difficulties making ends meet. It seems clear that our schools and hospitals are not being funded properly. This while the government has been sitting on billions of dollars worth of surpluses!

    Can we please elect a government that funds health and education properly? That spends money at the coalface, so schools can maintain their buildings and attract well-qualified teachers and hospitals can pay their staff and look after their patients.

    Not spends millions of dollars on more bureaucrats in Wellington telling everyone what to do!

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  5. Colonel Masters (420 comments) says:

    Yes, but as all school teachers and principals are inherently left-leaning, I don’t imagine Carter is worried about upsetting them.

    This government could, oh I don’t know, plan to put a large motorway (with tunnel and venting stack) right beside a primary school and they would still vote Labour.

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  6. Twocan (25 comments) says:

    Bring on John Key and his pledged attack on the bureacracy throughout all government spending!!!

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  7. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    Jeez When the teachers turn on the Socialists you know the end is nigh.

    Im revising my prediction Late last yr is was Nats 50 Socialists 30 Now reckon Socialists will be where the Nats were in 02

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  8. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    Good on the principals!

    I’ve been chair of a local school Board of Trustees for 4 year now. In that time the Govt compliance requirements have increased out of all proportion to funding increases, and against a backdrop of already inadequate funding. What little extra has been provided by a grudging Govt is too little and too late.

    We now have to rely on parent donations to fund core activities and free parent help with grounds & maintenance activities, computer equipment, transport etc.

    I also agree with Brian Spondre – get the Govt out of dogy in-school social engineering activities and equip our schools to concentrate on academic activities that will give our kids the best chance at competing in a global resource market.

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  9. Right of way is Way of Right (1,129 comments) says:

    Well done the principals. Vickie Barrie, since taking over at Northcote, has done a fantastic job. I have met her on more than one occasion due to two of my children being students at her school, and she has impressed me with her energy and dedication.

    It is no surprise to me that she is involved in this, and to such a high profile. Keep shaking the tree.

    More Education, less indoctrination!

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  10. kevin_mcm (152 comments) says:

    seeking a quantum leap in education? Get rid of the Ministry and the ERO. Instead of the ERO, have a SMALL group of registered teachers that visit schools with one mandate – to identify how the school can achieve excellence. Schools can then save on the resources they currently commit to bureaucratic programmes and focus on education.

    It’s not enough for Key to say they will not increase bureaucracy – they must focus on rolling it back agrressively to get rid of the increase that always occurs. When tomorrow schools was first introduced, the MOE has staff of 800 – I wonder how many now?

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  11. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    Colonel Masters, you are right, most school teachers and principals are PART OF the Leftwing problem, rather than put apon BY it. But surely as things get more and more absurd, SOME of them will experience conversions a la George Orwell or Mikhail Gorbachev or David Horowitz or P J O’Rourke or numerous other one-time socialists……..

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