Adult Community Education

Labour have announced:

A Labour Government will ensure all Kiwis can access Adult and Community Education courses by restoring National’s devastating funding cuts, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.

“Labour will provide funding of $13 million in the first two years and a further $9 million in the following years for this important area of education. We will also provide $1 million a year for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses.

“Labour will work with the Adult and Community Education (ACE) sector to ensure funding is targeted to the areas offering the most value.

“ACE gives Kiwis the chance to make their lives better; be it through literacy and numeracy classes to improve their employment chances, computer training for new career options or ESOL classes to ease their settlement into their new communities.

“A 2008 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that for every government dollar invested in this sector there was at least a $16 return.

A $16 return on investment. Truly? If so, this would be the bets investment known to mankind for any Government to make. But Eric Crampton looks at the so called study:

So folks taking adult ed courses are assumed to have a 50% reduction in their chances of committing a crime.

Yep, that’s the basis of Labour Party policy. Take an ACE course and your chance of committing a crime is halved. Almost magical.

PWC cites a 1999 working paper as evidence; a 2004 AER piece by the same author has the crime reduction associated with high school graduation as being less than half that figure (14-26%). This latter study uses a far more cautious identification strategy: changes in minimum age of dropping out of school as instrument for completion rates. And note that the numbers cited are for HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION, not for taking a night course in Indian cooking. 

So graduating high school reduces propensity to crime by 14% to 26%, but Labour is saying taking a cooking or pottery course will reduce crime by 50!!!

Never mind that crime, and especially violent crime, has fallen much faster since the ACE funding was slashed, then when it was bloated under Labour.

There are some very good ACE courses, such as English language courses and literacy and numeracy courses. They still get funded.

The courses that taxpayers used to subsidise include:

  • Floral arranging
  • Stained glass windows
  • Spanish
  • Pottery
  • Indian and Moroccan cooking
  • Cake decorating

This is the priority for Labour. Not paying the best teachers more. It’s subsidising pottery classes for wealthy people.

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