Tuesday, September 6, 2011

National plans...

As I missed this parliamentary debate today I've lifted this direct from the blog No Right Turn:

National is going to cut 20 hours free ECE  

In Question Time today, Labour's Sue Moroney asked Minister of Education Anne Tolley a simple question: would she commit to keeping the existing subsidies for 20 hours free ECE in place if the government was re-elected? Tolley's answer?
It is good to hear the Opposition talking about this Government being re-elected. What I can say is that this Government will be retaining 20 hours’ early childhood education and fee controls.
[Snip point of order for evasion]
 The answer to the question is that we will be retaining the 20 hours’ early childhood education and fee controls.
[Snip more points of order for evasion]
I attempted to answer the question by saying this Government, should it be re-elected, intends to maintain 20 hours’ early childhood service, which is a subsidy programme, and the fee controls. They are the two essential parts of 20 hours: universal provision of early childhood services for 20 hours for every 3 and 4-year-old, with fee controls—
It is not free. It never has been free, which is why we renamed it. It was never free—
There is something happening towards the end of November, which is called an election, and if the Opposition wants to know what the Government’s policy is, it will have to wait until it is announced.
Given the ample, repeated opportunities to clearly say "yes", I think we can only interpret this repeated evasion as a "no". National is planning to cut ECE subsidy levels, raising the cost to parents and reducing access. If you are a parent of young children, or are planning to be one, or know some and want their kids to have a good education, then you may want to vote accordingly"

Indeed, use that vote wisely!

With the results of the ECE task force now out it was inevitable that the funding scheme would be undermined as the Government attempts to stretch the current funding to include 2-year-olds as well as targeting 'groups' (ie Māori and Pasifika).

Bullshit really. It's worth reading the report to scare yourself over how neoliberalism has a death-grip on education...

Can't say i didn't warn you!



Anonymous said...

You are getting far too excited. Essentially the minister said she is going to retain the status quo. If you take her response to be "evasion" then by your own reasoning, 20 hours free has ALREADY been abolished.

The minister in deciding to retain the existing funding but decide not to call it "free", elected not to copy the farce of the compulsory education sector where primary and secondary are supposed to offer a "free" education, but ask for lots of money in "donations". Is there something wrong with that?

ako said...


On the surface - yes. But I think there's more going on here than her replies elude to.

Firstly, by removing the 'free' component to the subsidy they removed the fee caps - your twenty hours attenance is subsidised, but not fully covered any more. Centres can set what ever fees above this.

While the funding level remains the same (+ 2.4% for inflation) the demagraphic it covers is scheduled to expand considerably.

Academics like Anne Smith are voicing concerns that this will threaten the principal of universal access to ECE as the middle-class parents of 3-4 year-olds will have to pay more as the level of 20hr funding drops - this is the stated intention of the ECE Tasskforce who have proposed a new funding system that targets individuals on their perceived need.

So the 20hr funding scheme hasn't been 'abolished' yes the 'status quo' remains - it just no longer funds the majority of children as it used to.

So I would argue that while her replies are technically correct - they are bullshit knowing that the ECE Taskforce recommendations are waiting in the wings for the coming election.