Tomorrow’s Schools Taskforce provides “bold, brave blueprint For radical change”

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) says the release of the 31 recommendations from the Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce is a genuine and game changing blueprint to radically change New Zealand education.

Professor Peter O’Connor from the University of Auckland, and CPAG spokesperson for Education says the report is an acknowledgement that the current system has failed the poorest and the most vulnerable in New Zealand.

“The report systematically sets about dismantling the competitive model that established the way in which NZ schools have operated since  the 1980s,” says Professor O’Connor.

“The recommendations seriously address the growth in inequality since the 1980 reforms and the role that schools have played in reinforcing the growing gaps between rich and poor.”

If the recommendations are put into practice, the proposed dismantling of the competitive business model that has shackled the education system for too long should be welcomed by parents who can embrace a new system that, rather than focusing on choice of ‘the right school’ is built on the idea that every school should be an excellent school that all parents can trust sending their child to.

“The report, at its heart, sees a significant shift from a narrow focus on student academic achievement to a wider understanding that student well being and success should sit at the heart of what schools do,” says Professor O’Connor.

The authors of the report should be congratulated for embracing the chance for generational change.

CPAG says that it is time for cross party consensus on making the necessary changes to strengthen our national system of education and end the tinkering and ideological posturing that has bedeviled and stifled education for decades.

“If Government implements the recommendations made by the Taskforce, we will see an auspicious return to the idea that education is first and foremost a public good that all children have a right to get the very best from,” says Professor O’Connor.