Labour’s school fees policy

July 3rd, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

’s plan to help struggling parents by tackling school donations is a political ploy but at least it recognises the nonsense that donations are voluntary, says the principal of a decile one school.

Under Labour’s plan announced yesterday, state and integrated schools that agreed not to seek voluntary donations from parents would receive additional funding of $100 a student a year. The plan has an estimated cost of $50 million a year.

Labour education spokesman Chris Hipkins said it was expected to end requests for voluntary donations to the parents of about 500,000 school-age children. Most lower decile schools were expected to take up the offer. The Government says Labour is underestimating the cost of the policy and schools will pocket the cash but extract the same amount of money by bolstering so-called “activity fees”.

It’s not a bad policy – provide an incentive to schools to not charge so called voluntary donations. There is a risk that some schools will game the system though, but if it ever got implemented it would be interesting to see how many schools took it up.

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72 Responses to “Labour’s school fees policy”

  1. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Another Labour bribe . . . and it won’t work.

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  2. Monty (964 comments) says:

    Two things
    1. Where is the labour education policy that will actually do something for educational outcomes of kids failing within the school system
    2. Why does Labour always revert back to money for the poor as their catch all solution. Another example of doing away with the concept of parental and self responsibility.

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  3. EAD (627 comments) says:

    Talk about tinkering around the edges and missing the elephant in the room. We’ve tried the “State knows best model” and it’s doesn’t work. Ever. But even when we have gone from being one of the best in the world, we are now down to 25th yet some people will stay say “we need more funding”, “pay teachers more”.

    Give us Vouchers please. For education, health etc. Provision to be by anyone suitable to provide it, and subject to strong competition.

    The state should not be running schools any more than they should be running supermarkets or indeed Air NZ, KiwiRail, KiwiBank, NZ Steel, Telecom and every other business they have screwed up over during the last 50 years.

    The results of State monopoly supply are all too evident in the massively expensive, yet desperately shoddy, health, education and road systems we currently “enjoy” at massive cost.

    If you want to understand the real school revolution we need (academic and structural), you could do worse than read this book:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-School-Revolution-Answer-Education/dp/1455577170

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  4. peterwn (3,166 comments) says:

    It is aimed at its own supporters, one would doubt that too many National supporters get their knickers in a twist over ‘school fees’. It only seems to be a noisy minority who complain about this and generally on philosophical grounds. Higher decile schools need the money to make up for grants they do not get because they supposedly do not need them – these are AFAIK nearly $1000 per child per year less for a decile 10 as compared with a decile one school.

    Schools will generally exempt genuinely poor families from paying such fees.

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  5. Anodos (110 comments) says:

    So Labour don’t like Charter Schools – which take their decile 3 state funding as a bulk – don’t charge fees, provide more for the children, have small classes……………… (oh – and are not union affiliated) and there solution is to give some schools $100 more per year per child. Chris Hipkins really nailed it here.

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  6. kaykaybee (135 comments) says:

    …and here’s silly old me thinking they were opposed to pork barrel electioneering. ;)

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  7. jp_1983 (189 comments) says:

    So banning parents from donating money…

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  8. itstricky (1,579 comments) says:

    The state should not be running schools any more than they should be running supermarkets or indeed Air NZ, KiwiRail, KiwiBank, NZ Steel, Telecom and every other business they have screwed up over during the last 50 years.

    Schools…companies… Two fundamentally different things. Since when did The Government start running supermarkets? Ah, I get it… You’re just parroting Whyte’s thoughtless analogy from the other day.

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  9. berend (1,634 comments) says:

    So these are government schools and the government can’t control them and ask them not to ask for more money?

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  10. Manolo (13,394 comments) says:

    A moron called Stephanie Rodgers writes these words at The sub-Standard (emphasis is mine):
    Education is a basic human right, and every child deserves to receive the same basic level of it. It is criminal that schools put this kind of pressure on kids and their families – and more criminal that some of them probably have to due to chronic underfunding.

    So imagine my righteous joy this morning to discover that the Labour Party agrees with me.

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  11. dime (9,470 comments) says:

    I think the $100 will be absolutely life changing. Why hasnt anyone thought of this before??

    Stand back and watch kids do better at school, their families will be flush with cash.

    Hopefully this extends to Herne Bay to help those battlers too.

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  12. itstricky (1,579 comments) says:

    So Labour don’t like Charter Schools – which take their decile 3 state funding as a bulk – don’t charge fees, provide more for the children, have small classes………………

    Which scale out to provide all those benefits to every child in the country, right? It’ll be a marvel to see how The Government will pull that one off.

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  13. jcuknz (704 comments) says:

    LOL KKB :)

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  14. burt (7,835 comments) says:

    Breaking news: All school fees to go up by $100 if Labour are elected.

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  15. Nigel Kearney (864 comments) says:

    There are many ways that schools extract money using peer pressure. For example, my daughter’s school sells overpriced sunhats with the school logo on them. Nobody wants their little kid to come home crying because they were sent to school with a perfectly good sunhat that is different from the one most of the other kids have.

    This will not stop that.

    Also, we already have a decile system to compensate for difference in school funding due to parental income. So this kind of policy should logically be accompanied by a flattening of the decile funding system.

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  16. EAD (627 comments) says:

    PS: the odds of my 9.09am suggestion occurring are long indeed. The problem with providing competition in education is that the important subjects like social studies, Maori & “citizenship” won’t be taught. Then, how on earth could the Labour & National parties turn out unthinking Socialists who know all about caring for the planet, cultural awareness, diversity and their “human rights” like free access to education, health, a house, food etc.

    The late, great George Carlin knew why education will always suck. Well worth watching the lot, but watch 1.18m – 4.11m if you are short of time:

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  17. Rightandleft (638 comments) says:

    People here shouldn’t reject this proposal just because it doesn’t fit their ultimate goal of privatised education. That’s like the NZEI rejecting IES, even though it’s a good proposal with real chances of success, just because it doesn’t fit their narrow focus on ousting National.

    My school has an awful time collecting donations these days, with about 20-25% of parents now paying them. The fact is that money doesn’t pay for nice to have extras, it is needed for delivering basic services which the Ops Grant is no longer sufficient to cover. And this in not a low-decile school, it’s a mid-decile one. We’d have to crush the numbers but I think we’d be fairly better off under Labour’s policy. Also this doesn’t stop parents from supporting the school. My school has a parent support group which does lots of fundraising that has nothing to do with the donation and they could continue that work under this policy.

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  18. Judith (7,664 comments) says:

    Schools will generally exempt genuinely poor families from paying such fees.

    That is correct in the area I live in, BUT, children from those families are not allowed to receive the school magazine or take part in the end of year school social or picnic. Only those children whose fees are paid in full, are allowed to attend.

    Last year, I helped my daughter and her friends run a cake stall and a raffle to pay the outstanding fees of several families, so the children were not ostracized by such an unfair system.

    When my children were young, school fees were truly optional. However, as most mothers didn’t work, the PTA held a large number of fund raising events that earned far more for the school than anything paid in fees.

    I agree with this policy. It reflects the changing environment and acknowledges disparity.

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  19. itstricky (1,579 comments) says:

    PS: the odds of my 9.09am suggestion occurring are long indeed. The problem with providing competition in education is that the important subjects like social studies, Maori & “citizenship” won’t be taught. Then, how on earth could the Labour & National parties turn out unthinking Socialists who know all about caring for the planet, cultural awareness, diversity and their “human rights” like free access to education, health, a house, food etc.

    Oh the shame of it all. Schools teach kids how to look after each other, learn worldly and wise things, understand the mechanics and syntax of other languages and, well, just generally how to be a good, rounded, understanding person. They should just be teaching them *how to make money*…I can’t bear the shame of it all….

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  20. itstricky (1,579 comments) says:

    That is correct in the area I live in, BUT, children from those families are not allowed to receive the school magazine or take part in the end of year school social or picnic. Only those children whose fees are paid in full, are allowed to attend.

    Never mind all that long hair bollocks, that’s a shitty school policy, right there.

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  21. Akld Commercial Lawyer (160 comments) says:

    Its is election season, but a little more critical analysis is required here.

    This is just election candyfloss. Quite rightly, lower decile schools fare much better in terms of taxpayer funding than those of us trying to juggle the demands imposed on the boards of schools in the decile 8-10 range. I don’t begrudge that funding differential for a second. When I listen to the principal of Pt England school (too low for decile 1 – so the Ministry had to create a new sub-category just for them) as I did recently at an Auckland University presentation talk about the challenges faced by his catchment of pupils and their families – I am convinced that the lower deciles are where the taxpayer’s dime can make the biggest difference.

    But there are handful of issues with this announcement. First, even a numerically challenged lawyer can see that the costing is silly. No board of trustees of a decile 8-10 school is going to give up donations in favour of a $100/pupil handout. Not only does it not make financial sense – but it also sends all the wrong messages to the catchment (parents and students). Next, there are those in the truly low deciles, like the Pt England example, who simply cannot attract big licks of $$ from parent donations. And they get taxpayer funding in others ways as it is – so $100/pupil is nice but largely irrelevant.

    Where the taxpayer will be on the hook is those in the middle who have boards who are not being honest with their parents about the costs of running the school or are too afraid to have the hard conversations. Strangely, when I talk to some of those board members, they report that those parents who appear to be most unwilling to pay donations now are also those who are the most vocal about wanting extra EOTC and sporting activities – but won’t pay for them either.

    Speaking personally, I went into my board role wondering how difficult some of those conversations are. Human nature being what it is – there are few intractable ones but the biggest (and best) surprise is that the pupils want the parents to pony up like everyone else. Mostly, they get it that if they aren’t pulling their weight, then all of their classmates are subsidising them and that’s not a cool place to be if you are a socially aware teen of the 2010s.

    So net-net, this so-called policy might appeal to the blinkered – but its shortcomings are going to be apparent to many in its direct target audience. And those who are not in that target audience – who are managing schools that depend (between donations and other fundraising activities) on funding outside the activity grant of, on average, 3-5 times what Labour are promising will see it for what it is.

    In many respects, September can’t come fast enough.

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  22. Rightandleft (638 comments) says:

    Wow EAD, even Act believes access to free education is a human right. Jamie Whyte called it “bad parent insurance” and it is part of their belief that we do need to offer everyone an equal opportunity to succeed in life.

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  23. BeaB (2,060 comments) says:

    Donations are less important in some schools than user pays – and with sports, field trips etc that can mount up.
    But imagine stopping parents from chipping in to help their kids’ school! And instead making all of us pay! Why on earth?
    I don’t mind contributing to my medical costs, St John, the fire service etc etc. Why should I mind donating to the school that is doing its best to educate my kids?
    I think this is an easy ‘principle’ for some people to stand on (and look like jerks in the eyes of the school and other parents) while cash-strapped parents do all they can to pay.
    I don’t know why Labour thinks the government should even get involved. Leave it to schools, their boards and the parents.
    And get your hand out of my pocket!!!!

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  24. flipper (3,583 comments) says:

    ACL….
    Thanks, a valuable analysis.
    F

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  25. beautox (430 comments) says:

    I saw Cunners talking about this on the news last night. He was in a school and there was this young boy looking over his shoulder, one of the schoolchildren I figured. Then I realized it was Hipkins…heaven help us if these children get power.

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  26. chris (567 comments) says:

    Nigel Kearney says:

    Also, we already have a decile system to compensate for difference in school funding due to parental income. So this kind of policy should logically be accompanied by a flattening of the decile funding system.

    Spot on. Of course they won’t get rid of the decile system and associated funding model, because it’s yet another way to shaft higher income earners. It will be mostly only the lower decile schools who will be able to get this election bribe because those in higher deciles already receive significantly less funding and are forced to ask for “donations”.

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  27. EAD (627 comments) says:

    R&L:

    Reflect on a big time arc of schooling, how long people were at school and how the schooling was organised. You will reflect that these days, young people spend a full quarter of their lives being “educated”. Are they any smarter than my parents generation? They may have a certificate from some outfit that “proves” they’re smart but if you are to be honest, the answer is no. The grammar and numerical skills of young people (I’m an old “Millennial” myself) I interview for roles is appalling and they display basically zero critical thinking skills.

    Why is that? It is because Schools train individuals to respond as a mass. Boys and girls are drilled in being obedient, bored, frightened, envious, emotionally needy, generally incomplete. A successful mass production economy requires such a clientele. A small business, small farm economy like that of our ancestors requires individual competence, thoughtfulness, compassion, and universal participation; our own requires a managed mass of leveled, spiritless, anxious, familyless, friendless, godless, and obedient people who believe the difference between Shortland Street and Outrageous Fortune is a subject worth arguing about.

    The truth is self-knowledge is the only basis of true knowledge.

    Read John Taylor Gatto if you really want to grasp what modern state education is about.

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  28. RRM (9,477 comments) says:

    National’s idea is more expensive, but will improve school’s performance

    This is just throwing away $50 million for nothing.

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  29. Brian Smaller (3,999 comments) says:

    The principal at a Wainuiomata school on the radio just said that they ask for $40 a year donation. They will be $60 per kid better off right off the bat. It is a non-targeted bribe and nothing more. Lower decile schools already get huge amounts of funding.

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  30. Liberty (236 comments) says:

    “It’s not a bad policy”
    Garbage it is an appalling policy.
    Cunliffe was ranting. Parents can’t afford $59 school fee
    What a load of crap. The State pays thousands in WFF
    Easily pays for some weekbix for breakfast , lunch and school fees
    If parents can’t organise there life so they can pay a couple of dollars on there kid.
    So the child can go of to school fed and pay the fees.
    Should they be breeding?

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  31. freemark (452 comments) says:

    How about encouraging parents to earn a bit more, or save a bit more, or not have kids they can’t afford. Next minute Labour will be offering (on behalf of the taxpayer) a few $100 for those that can’t afford their Union Fees…

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  32. ROJ (88 comments) says:

    EAD, aren’t you arguing that the old way of rote learning, and in the eyes of many, compulsory military service, leads to a society of incompetent drones?

    I do agree that we should encourage critical thinking, but of course we need a baseline to set that up against – otherwise there is no way forward

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  33. Rightandleft (638 comments) says:

    EAD,

    Actually I think schooling in NZ today is much more geared towards critical thinking skills than it was 10 or 20 years ago. I actually teach an option class called Critical Thinking, for Year 10s. There is now huge focus on individualised learning, scaffolding lessons for different types of learners and ability levels and teaching critical thinking. When I was in high school, and it wasn’t that long ago (early 2000s, yes I’m a millennial too) we were much more focused on the rote learning of ‘facts’ about a single viewpoint of history. Now there is much more focus on understanding different viewpoints and analysing them.

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  34. Harriet (4,528 comments) says:

    Rightandleft#

    “…..we were much more focused on the rote learning of ‘facts’ about a single viewpoint of history. Now there is much more focus on understanding different viewpoints and analysing them….”

    Given that Christianity was the one single major constant in the last 2000yrs of history – how much focus and analysing is done on that?

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  35. Harriet (4,528 comments) says:

    That was bloody well put EAD. :cool:

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  36. EAD (627 comments) says:

    R&L:

    I’d argue modern schooling is currently about what to think rather than how to think and prizes conformity over individualism. That is because the role of educating young people is now a monopoly function of the state. Self reflection (internalisation of thought) and individual discovery I find are disappearing fast. You speak from 1st hand knowledge so I will defer to you but they are my observations.

    If you do get the chance, read Gattos ” weapons of mass instruction”. American-centric, but it will change the way you think of education forever.

    Ps: thanks Harriet

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  37. OneTrack (2,619 comments) says:

    ” Why does Labour always revert back to money for the poor as their catch all solution.”

    Because they have nothing else.

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  38. alloytoo (434 comments) says:

    It’s a rubbish policy.

    Firstly why should I have to dip into my pocket to widen the funding gap between decile 1 schools and my son’s decile 10 school.

    Never mind that I still have to dip into my pocket to bridge the funding gap.

    It’s interesting though, the older kids in the primary school are already questioning a system that sees lower decile schools get iPads per students, while they have to share.

    Another labour lolly scramble with other people’s money.

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  39. burt (7,835 comments) says:

    It’s a brilliant policy, increase taxes to take $300 a year more off parents so that $200/student can be spent on marketing this policy and $100/student can be paid to the school. Parents will love it !

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  40. burt (7,835 comments) says:

    Oh, only schools with greater than 98% of teachers in the union will qualify ….

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  41. Colville (2,085 comments) says:

    The principal at a Wainuiomata school on the radio just said that they ask for $40 a year donation. They will be $60 per kid better off right off the bat. It is a non-targeted bribe and nothing more. Lower decile schools already get huge amounts of funding.

    So Mallard can get the other $60/child for bringing back the Moa! :-)

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  42. Other_Andy (2,313 comments) says:

    alloytoo says:

    “It’s interesting though, the older kids in the primary school are already questioning a system that sees lower decile schools get iPads per students, while they have to share.”

    The iPad fad is a different discussion altogether but if you look at the decile funding (excluding the extra funding on top of that for Maori students) you can see why they can splash out on toys like that and why your ‘voluntary’ donation is so high if your kids go to a higher decile school.

    Decile ratings account for about 13 per cent of all operational funding.
    The decile funding examples below are based on a secondary school with a roll of 1000.

    Decile 1: $979,884.69
    Decile 2: $699,354.69
    Decile 3: $435,034.69
    Decile 4: $266,984.69
    Decile 8: $107,354.69
    Decile 9: $85,324.69
    Decile 10: $52,734.69

    So almost a $1000 per student per year in a Decile 1 school as opposed to just over $50 per student a year in a Decile 1 school.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/9139325/Clumsy-decile-ratings-may-go

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  43. virtualmark (1,475 comments) says:

    My kids go to a Decile 10 school. We pay c$300 each year for each child as a “school donation”. The school needs to charge these school donations because, as a Decile 10 school, it doesn’t get the same level of funding as the lower decile schools. I’m okay with this situation.

    Rationally, my kids’ school isn’t going to drop the $300pa “donation” and take up Labour’s $100 per child offer. So I am still going to be stuck with paying the donation (which I’m okay with).

    But now Labour is saying I, as a rich prick, have to pay more taxes so Labour can hand out an extra $100 per child to the lower decile schools. So now I’d be paying for my own kids, and making up the slack for the drop kick parents. Many of who, I suspect, have no trouble finding $40 for booze and ciggies and pokies and Sky TV, but won’t prioritise finding $40 for their kids education.

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  44. chris (567 comments) says:

    virtualmark:

    So now I’d be paying for my own kids, and making up the slack

    You already are making up the slack by effectively subsidising the education system with donations when some others pay little or none at all, and by probably paying higher taxes. Not to mention all the additional fundraising you probably pay for at your school (entertainment books, sponsored spelling, quiz nights, over priced uniforms and the like). It would be even worse with this policy.

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  45. altiora (211 comments) says:

    I find it extraordinary that any parent could object to paying a donation. Surely your children’s education is one of the most important priorities? I fear there actually a considerable risk here for Labour that they will annoy the good parents who have always paid the donations, and see it as a tangible way they can assist schools. What I think would be a better policy is to allow parents greater direct involvement in how those donations are spent, rather than yet again trying to negate the financial consequences of parents’ voluntary choice to have children.

    I am supportive of ACT’s voucher scheme. National should say “ACT will campaign on this policy, and if it has support from the electorate in the form of increased ACT votes, and if we are in the position to form a government with ACT, we will proceed to implement that policy.” Seems to be a nice way of using ACT as the sounding board for quite radical policies without diluting National’s message and scaring the swing voter horses.

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  46. Other_Andy (2,313 comments) says:

    virtualmark says:

    “But now Labour is saying I, as a rich prick, have to pay more taxes so Labour can hand out an extra $100 per child to the lower decile schools. So now I’d be paying for my own kids, and making up the slack for the drop kick parents. Many of who, I suspect, have no trouble finding $40 for booze and ciggies and pokies and Sky TV, but won’t prioritise finding $40 for their kids education.”

    Yep, in short, that’s how ‘Labour’ works.
    You are a rich prick so you gotta pay!

    Three times over if necessary:
    1. Pay more tax.
    2. On top of that pay a higher rate of tax.
    3. And on top of that pay again for services paid for by your taxes and freely available to those who don’t pay taxes..

    But doesn’t that make you all warm and fuzzy?

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  47. virtualmark (1,475 comments) says:

    chris,

    Agreed. I knew the decile system tilted the funding towards lower decile schools. But I didn’t realise how aggressively that takes place until I saw Other_Andy’s post at 11:22 (which I only saw after I posted my own comment).

    When I see a Decile 1 secondary school gets an extra $920 pa of funding per pupil compared to a Decile 10 school I have two immediate questions:

    1. Why aren’t we seeing better results from Decile 1 schools? Since Labour & the teachers unions are convinced that more funding = better results.

    2. Or does this mean that other effects – such as parent’s example and attitudes – makes more of a difference to educational and life outcomes than the “education system” does?

    BTW, I think the answers are that it is parents’ attitudes and examples and standards that make the difference. The poverty of the poor is a poverty of attitude, commitment and discipline. Fix those and they will not be in poverty. But yeah, nah, that sounds hard … why don’t we just give them more money right???

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  48. burt (7,835 comments) says:

    I find it extraordinary that any parent could object to paying a donation. Surely your children’s education is one of the most important priorities?

    Absolutely, that’s why other people should be forced to pay for it – not worrying about it gives you time to contemplate how voting Labour makes it somebody else’s responsibility.

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  49. doggone7 (705 comments) says:

    free mark: ” How about encouraging parents to earn a bit more, or save a bit more, or not have kids they can’t afford.”

    Okay, I’ll accept those as priorities in New Zealand. How come those priorities exist in New Zealand after a stewardship of National governments of than 43 years of the past 65 years?

    (Given the disparaging comment about Labour in this context.)

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  50. altiora (211 comments) says:

    doggone7: while not excusing National’s lack of leadership in this area, the problem with welfare election bribes is that it is akin to giving opium to drug addicts: voters who receive these bribes start to believe they can’t live without it and woe betide any government who tries to remove or reduce those bribes.

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  51. Viking2 (11,146 comments) says:

    By next week this will be national Party policy albeit under another name and guise.
    Socialists never change their spots.

    Bill’s working on it as we write.

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  52. peterwn (3,166 comments) says:

    It is worth noting that this issue is decades old with the same gripes repeated year after year. More to the point is to express the policy this way – Labour will forbid schools from soliciting quasi-compulsory ‘donations’ from parents. This could also imply that a school cannot even organise an overseas trip since the pupils whose parents refuse to pay would be entitled to go anyway.

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  53. prosper (132 comments) says:

    Did it ever occur to schools to live with in their means instead of charging for donations and other activities.

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  54. chris (567 comments) says:

    @prosper The problem is that not all schools are funded to the same level. The higher the decile level, the less funding they get. So they are expected to do the same with less, or raise the shortfall with donations.

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  55. doggone7 (705 comments) says:

    prosper

    Get the financial statements of your local schools and find out if they’re “living within their means”.
    Get on your local boards of trustees and sort them out.
    The experience might let you see if it is occurring to them to live, or try to live, within their means.

    Do you have school age kids?

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  56. MH (631 comments) says:

    women run schools,I do wish people would stop talking about teachers when they really mean mistress educators. Many schools have no men teachers in them,doesn’t that ring a bell ? Shifting chairs on an iceberg heading for the tropics.

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  57. Akld Commercial Lawyer (160 comments) says:

    As a knock on point, the decile system tilts the axis in terms of activities grants. Many of the very low decile schools may be eligible for other forms of funding too.

    The answer to the performance issue is, in my observation, a very complicated one . To borrow just one example from the Pt England story (and without trying to turn this thread into a finger pointing exercise) many of the kids that rock up to start school will have heard as many millions of fewer words spoken during their first five years on the planet. That’s not just fewer words in English – that’s a statistic that indicates that there is simply less being said (at least to kids) in the household. So the school has a big mountain to climb.

    And maybe there are cases where the example being set by parents (and the community) has a bearing on the matrix of responses and attitudes that surround a school and impact everything from what gets done to who pays for it. But its not the complete picture – which is what makes some of the entrenched behaviours so frustrating. I have said before that I have developed a healthy respect for the PPTA in relation to their responses to some of the recent developments affecting secondary schools. But it can be a bit of the old story, if you get a few diehards in your school community – it can be very hard to bring about change.

    And again, the taxpayers $$ is being invested to try to make sure that the current generation of kids has a better range of opportunities. If that means we invest today to make sure that our kids’ tax dollars aren’t being spent to address the same problems in the same communities – then I think we will have to wear it.

    Wasting time on election slogans on the other hand – we should not. Again, I think the black mark here is on the MSM for not getting into the detail and making a balanced assessment of this latest bit of “policy”.

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  58. prosper (132 comments) says:

    I understand the situation however I also see expensive sophisticated I.T. systems going into schools that medium to large businesses cannot afford. I see teachers receiving extensive training courses so they can use the systems. I see phone systems being installed that are overkill. I see schools using head hunters to recruit teachers. I see stand alone buildings being put up for cultural purposes etc etc. Now if that’s what the parents want, fine charge a donation but none of the above are going to have a significant impact on the child’s education. A decade ok most schools didn’t have the above and I doubt that there education was worse.

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  59. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    I’m a parent and school “donations” piss me off. The system is broken.

    I understand legally the school can’t charge “fees”, so instead you get this bullshit “voluntary donation” and the school moans every other day about how not enough parents are paying the donation. At our decile 10 school about half the parents pay the donation which seems pretty bad to me.

    So if I was in charge I’d get rid of this nonsense “voluntary donation with guilt trip attached” and call it what it is, a “fee”. And since everyone has to pay the fee we can make it $75 instead of $150. And schools can spend their time teaching kids instead of this pathetic begging act that they have to subject themselves to.

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  60. greenjacket (418 comments) says:

    Labour has also announced that every voter in a Labour voting electorate will receive a free unicorn.

    What Labour is doing is not policy – it is bumper sticker slogans.

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  61. doggone7 (705 comments) says:

    prosper : “… I also see expensive sophisticated I.T. systems going into schools that medium to large businesses cannot afford. I see teachers receiving extensive training courses so they can use the systems. I see phone systems being installed that are overkill. I see schools using head hunters to recruit teachers. I see stand alone buildings being put up for cultural purposes etc etc. Now if that’s what the parents want…”

    Those are things parents demand. You live in Auckland and your neighbouring school has all those, you want them, you need them, you have to have them. The significance of their impact on the child’s education is secondary to being able to go to work convinced that your kids go to a ‘good’ school, an up-to-date school, a progressive school.

    Some research in the 1990s (NZ) suggests that parents see schools with high fees as “up-market”, desirable schools. Not to mention the idiot DJ who said parents should be happy to pay their kids school donations ( $1000 for each of his two). The classic “able to go to work” and tell us how classy he is, what a fancy school his kids go to. Nothing to do with the quality of the learning.

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  62. doggone7 (705 comments) says:

    greenjacket :

    We’re so peeved by bumper sticker slogans eh? #TeamKey, eh?

    National has also announced that every voter in every electorate will be able to read about the road improvement list and contemplate that if the fanciful notions and bs politics around it are accepted, unicorns are likely to be accepted as likely to be seen in paddocks around the country if John Key tells them so.

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  63. tspoon765 (14 comments) says:

    Labour – Caring for the kids, so you don’t have to.

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  64. jackinabox (625 comments) says:

    Excellent idea. My two boys, one a dux and the other the runner up dux were denied becoming prefects because I refused to pay “voluntary donations”.

    PS: I left school at 15 with no qualifications so shut your neck!

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  65. lifesgood (9 comments) says:

    This is a rubbish, election bribe policy. I worked in education for a long time and I know that a large number of low income earners simply don’t pay their donations but the people who do pay generally pay a great deal more than $100. I really can’t see how this will improve schools finances. The percentage paying, in most schools, is a lot higher than those who don’t so schools will lose out in the long run. Low decile schools already get substantially higher government funding than higher decile schools. Why should the taxpayer, YET AGAIN, fund other people to have children. Most of us have done the hard yards and paid our school donations over the years. It’s not equitable to be asked to fund families who haven’t had the nouse to forward plan. And as for Jackinabox…how selfish…expecting other people to fund all the little extras your sons benefited from which were paid for by other parents.

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  66. Liberty (236 comments) says:

    Jackinabox
    You deny your sons the honour of doing bloody well.
    For the sake of some petty school fees.

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  67. jackinabox (625 comments) says:

    Bullcrap Liberty and lifesgood, both my sons have their names on the college honour rolls. Not being made prefects (narks) did them no harm at all.

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  68. Anthony (768 comments) says:

    Labour’s policy is, of course, bulk funding on a small scale. Schools can pretty much do anything they like with donations and other money they get from fundraising, and this includes employing teachers on short term contracts for new entrant classes!

    Where are the teachers’ unions objecting to this new bulk funding initiative?

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  69. doggone7 (705 comments) says:

    Call in the SFO, the GCSB, the SIS and the RSA to investigate the spending of donations and fundraising on bulk funding teachers for new entrant classes!

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  70. lifesgood (9 comments) says:

    Jackinabox you are utterly selfish. Your sons have done well despite you, clearly not because of you.
    l just hope they also have a better attitude. You think having their name in lights is the most important thing, do you? Shakes head.

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  71. jackinabox (625 comments) says:

    Piss off lifesgood, my son’s did well at school because they inherited my outstandingly brainy jeans, me not paying “voluntary donations” denied them the chance of being prefects that’s all and I’ve always regarded prefects as being narks and I didn’t want my offspring being apprentice porky bastards. So it was win win all round!

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  72. lifesgood (9 comments) says:

    Oh dear. But that’s good you’ve shown yourself up in your comments for all to see.

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