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NZ Needs a School Voucher System

2 comments | 12:00 pm | top |
...for the same reason that ACC should be sold to the private sector or shut down, and compulsory health-insurance through private firms be implemented.  Below is an excerpt from Dr. Muriel Newman's latest article for the New Zealand Centre for Political Research entitled, Time to Modernise Education...

"We believe that the growing role that government has played in financing and administering schooling has led not only to enormous waste of taxpayers’ money but also to a far poorer educational system than would have developed had voluntary cooperation continued to play a larger role." - Milton and Rose Friedman, “Free to Choose”.

It is 193 years since the first school opened its doors in New Zealand. On August 12th, 1816 Thomas Kendall established a missionary school for 33 pupils at Rangihoua in the northern Bay of Islands.[1] Seven years later in 1923 a second missionary school was opened near the Stone Store in Kerikeri, and this time adult students were permitted.

As New Zealand’s settler population increased, education flourished. Those early schools were private enterprises, run largely by the churches. It wasn’t until 1852, when the Constitution Act established the provinces that councils began to assume responsibility for education.[2] By 1867 schools were spread throughout the country, including secondary colleges in the major population centres. There were even plans for a University.

However, in 1877 the Education Act changed the face of schooling in New Zealand, with responsibility for education passing onto central government through the imposition of a national system of “free, compulsory, and secular” education. This move effectively socialised education in New Zealand, with the result that for the last 142 years, the government has effectively been responsible for the funding, regulation, and delivery of primary and secondary education services in this country. The problem is, however – as Milton and Rose Friedman pointed out in their opening quote - that whenever a monopoly provider is protected from competition, the incentives for improving services, increasing quality, lifting productivity, innovating, or minimising costs are either very weak or altogether absent.

Click here to continue reading this excellent article

An education-voucher system is the obvious step ahead if the Government hopes to combat New Zealand's bleak academic horizon. Rather than forcing parents to effectively pay twice for their child's education if they opt for a private-school, a school-voucher system would enable the parents to direct the child-specific government funding to the school of their choice, be it a state school or a private school. Confronted with a host of higher-performing private schools, it would quickly become evident that there was no longer any need for the State to run any primary/secondary educational institutions.

Dr. Muriel Newman was a founding member of the ACT Party, and served from 1996 - 2005 as a Member of Parliament. She now runs the New Zealand Centre for Political Research (NZCPR), a high-profile conservative think-tank which embraces economic liberalism.

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Blogger binSchmidt said...

Would be nice, but can they make it happen?
This is probably the one thing coming from the Act party I would actually approve of. Here's hoping!

11:43 pm, May 04, 2009 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

Would sure be good! It can work, but I doubt that the current Government will look upon the idea too favourably.

12:27 am, May 05, 2009 

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