Thursday, November 10, 2011

Choices: Education

Labour released their education policy today. The headline grabber is their promise of $75 million over four years to put laptops in the hands of poor kids - a solid, sensible idea, and one which can be funded from National's subsidies to rich private schools. But the core of the policy is in fact the early childhood sector. Here labour are promising to restore ECE funding and qualifications targets, and expand 20 hours free for the most vulnerable children. Its a good idea, it invests in our future, and the payoffs are likely to be significantly higher than the costs.

Compare this with National's policy [PDF]. Its not about education at all, but really about providing a justification for their privatisation programme, with a promise to spend a billion dollars from asset sales on school maintenance (something that normally gets paid for out of taxes, but which is apparently now a luxury under National). Beyond that there's... nothing. Oh, there's a vague promise to "get better value for money from school buildings", but that's a finance policy, not an education one. There's nothing in there about education at all.

I think that's a pretty clear choice: you can have a government which thinks about education, or one which just thinks about it as a cost and a justification for other stuff they want to do anyway. I know which I prefer.