Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Free" should mean free

The Education Act is pretty clear: every New Zealand child has a right to a free education through state schools. So why then does the government only fund 75% of those schools running costs?

"Free" should mean free. Not "75% free", not "mostly free, with the rest made up from pokie money", not "free, apart from a 'voluntary' donation", but free. By underfunding our schools, the government is welching on a core commitment. And its effectively breaking the law, by forcing the schools it should be paying for to charge fees.

Both major political parties have collaborated in this deception. Both are guilty. But it has to stop. Otherwise we are going to see our free state education system - one of the best in the world - gradually transformed into a fee-charging private one by simple underfunding. Just like our universities.