Toni Severin is the ACT Party candidate for Christchurch Central.
Check out her campaign blog here
Education is THE BIG ISSUE for Toni.
Here’s a speech she recently delivered at the Colledge of Education, University of Canterbury.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you all here today on behalf of the ACT party. Many of you here are students of the Christchurch Colledge of Education. You are here by virtue of the efforts of your parents or caregivers, and most of all by the virtue of your own hard work. You’ve had teachers and resources that worked for you.
The tragedy of it is that the same opportunities are not available to all students in New Zealand. Kiwi kids are being left behind because of where they live, or how much their parents earn. Despite the fact that public spending per school pupil has quadrupled in the last 50years, standards in literacy and numeracy are declining. According to an international literacy survey, 40 of New Zealanders aged 16 to 64 are functionally illiterate, lacking the reading, writing and math skills needed to cope with everyday life.
Parents from middle and high incomes can pay to move their children to schools which are performing well. Poor familys have little or no choice. My party, ACT, is the only party with a plan to do something about that directly.
No child should be left behind for those reasons, so we need to increase the role of parents and decrease the role of Wellington. Parents have the right to send their children to the school of their choice, after all it’s their money, their children and their future. ACT wants to see schools run themselves, driven by teachers who are paid what they’re worth just like everyone else. We want to see schools organised to please parents, not bureaucrats.
How can this be done?
We would give each of your students an education scholarship. The amount of each scholarship would be the same amount that the government currently spends on education per-pupil.
The scholarship would either come to parents as a tax cut, or be paid by the government to the school of their choice. Scholarships put choice where it belongs, with parents, and control over education services where they belong, with teaching professionals who are qualified to take responsibility for them.
Good teachers drive education. In New Zealand we are long overdue for an education system that reflects that.