Editorial misses the alternate costs

The Dom Post editorial:

 If saving Wanganui Collegiate is a priority for the cash-strapped Government, the education system must be in very fine health indeed.

At a time when schools across the country have to ask parents to help fund vital learning tools, National has found more than $3 million a year to prop up an institution that is not needed.

Falling rolls meant Wanganui Collegiate was expected to close at the end of last year, but it was thrown a lifeline when the Government agreed to let it integrate into the state system. …

Why would they do that you may wonder?

There is no denying the college has done a superb job in educating its pupils, with a 96 per cent pass rate for NCEA level 2 in 2011.

That’s one reason.

What Ms Parata failed to mention was that the school’s integration flew in the face of sound advice from the Education Ministry and Treasury.

That advice pointed out that there were already more than 1400 unfilled places in secondary schools across the Whanganui-Rangitikei region, a figure that was expected to rise by 50 each year for the next decade.

Many who attend Collegiate are not even from the region.

Meanwhile, the more than $3m the Government will pay to keep it open is money that cannot go towards improving literacy and numeracy for the thousands of pupils who lack the basic skills needed for a good education.

It is also funding that could have gone towards the Government’s aim for 85 per cent of 18-year-olds to have NCEA level 2 or its equivalent by 2017.

This editorial gets a fail in basic literacy and numeracy.

If Wanganui Collegiate closes, then their pupils will all enrol in other schools, which will also cost the taxpayer $3 million. Trying to say that you would save this money if the school closed is absolutely misleading.

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