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Monday, 13 Oct 2008
Vote '08 > Story

Nats outline truancy crackdown

$47m for literacy and numeracy 'crusade'
By TIM DONOGHUE - The Dominion Post | Monday, 13 October 2008
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DAVID WHITE/Sunday Star-Times

WHY WAG? National today unveiled its education policy, which includes a plan to get tougher on truants.

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National Party leader John Key has unveiled plans to crack down on school truancy by prosecuting the parents of errant pupils.

In a statement outlining National's education policy, Mr Key said the crackdown on truancy would also coincide with a call for every primary and intermediate school to report to parents in plain English about how their child was performing compared to national standards and other children their age.

"The party will also get tough on truancy by prosecuting parents of persistent truants. It will also give schools extra resources to crack down on truants and disruptive pupils," he said.

Mr Key yesterday spoke of a National "crusade on literacy and numeracy" and today fleshed out some of its details on the campaign trail in Gisborne where he visited local schools.

He said providing New Zealand children with decent literacy and numeracy skills was an important priority for him, made all the more urgent in uncertain economic times.

National would allocate $47 million of additional funding to schools per year to boost literacy and numeracy rates - including $18 million a year for targeted funding of pupils who were not meeting national standards.

The money would come from the $1.75 billion annual allowance allocated in the Government's May budget for new spending in each of the next three years.

"Continuing to allow our children to fail is not an option. National will provide schools with resources, arm parents with knowledge, direct agencies to focus on results and thus give our children the future they deserve," Mr Key said. 

National's previously announced education policies for the crux of the "crusade".

They include:

* setting national standards in literacy and numeracy which every every primary and intermediate school would have to be regularly assessed against;

* getting tough on truancy by prosecuting parents of persistent truants and giving schools extra enforcement resources;

* giving schools additional assistance for dealing with disruptive pupils;

* improving special education services by increasing funding for students with the highest special education needs, expanding special education schools, and encouraging satellite special education schools.

Mr Key said schools would have the option of using the new targeted funding as they saw fit.

That might include working with other schools to hire a specialist teacher, paying for remedial classes at a specialist provider, expanding their reading recovery programme, or providing training to teachers in regard to specific learning difficulties.

- with NZPA


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  1. http://www.stuff.co.nz/4724746a11.html

    Read this to hear how much you can trust labour after all!!

    Reply to this post

    #1 Posted by Hadley — 12:26 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  2. "prosecuting parents of persistent truants" ...whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?? That's ridiculous! I dare say that most parents aren't aware that their children are wagging. As for those who are, do you really think prosecution is the best option for resolving the situation? I'm sorry but that is flat out stupid.

    Reply to this post

    #2 Posted by Jack — 12:34 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  3. Typical National Party

    People suddenly realise that National's tax policy takes money from poor people and gives it to rich people. And that National will take people's savings off them in order to reduce the top tax rate. So as a distraction they launch an attack on a group in society unable to defend themselves - struggling school kids.

    Reply to this post

    #3 Posted by james — 12:35 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  4. "compared to national standards and other children their age."

    So National is going to bring in standardised testing...a policy that has failed overseas in a number of countries and does not benefit students or teachers in any way.

    Reply to this post

    #4 Posted by Bill — 12:36 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  5. prosecute the parents? WTF?

    these folks obviously have no clue about how truancy works in the real world.

    Reply to this post

    #5 Posted by damian stewart — 12:41 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  6. It's all well & good punishing the parents but what about giving them back some ability to properly discipline errant children for whom the naughty chair and time out are ineffectual?

    Reply to this post

    #6 Posted by Arhu — 12:58 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  7. well this is a retarded idea, yea if the parents r keeping them off school or knowingly helping them skip school by all means prosecute but its the kid that chooses to skip school so how is prosecuting the parent gonna help? most times the parent doesn't know there not at school. If your gonna prosecute someone it should be the kid they wont really care if their parents get charged but take money off them and they'll soon listen. Look at it this way speed tickets (I know they don't work anyways) but imagine if u get caught speeding and the car dealer u brought the car from had to pay, I could almost guarantee you would no longer slow down for speed cameras. This will solve no problems just create them for the unfortunate parents that have to pay for what someone else does.

    Reply to this post

    #7 Posted by scuba steve — 13:04 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  8. National Party leader John Key by planning to crack down on school truancy by prosecuting the parents of errant pupils is a very right move. Many parents are either ignorant or not sure of what their children are doing in their absence. I believe it is high time for all parents to take some responsiblility or risk being prosecuted.

    Reply to this post

    #8 Posted by AT — 13:08 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  9. It's all good and well to say it and put the funds to it. What about the truants who actually don't care what happens? How will National change the way they think? These problem children have had the train of thought, from a young age, that school isn't a priority anymore. They can get a job and just work rather than get a decent education for the mere fact "My old man dun it." These children need to have the drive to want to learn again. I'm not saying to give up on them by any means but there will be a minority of children who actually don't care.

    Schools have needed better funding for many, many years and hopefully (quite likely) the younger generation will break the cycle.

    Best of luck with that one, don't hold your hopes too high Key.

    Reply to this post

    #9 Posted by Hayley — 13:13 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  10. What a joke.

    National already plan to give back most of the money allocated to the public sector in the form of tax cuts, then decide they'll spend an additional $47 million to improve literacy and numeracy in schools.

    How is $47 million justified by punishing the parents of school students who at their own free will, choose to wag school? I can't see how keeping some kids in school is going to boost their literacy and numeracy levels, some of them will just not be cut out for the standards, which the quality of have yet to be established.

    This policy is all talk and I cannot see a National lead government fulfilling it.

    Reply to this post

    #10 Posted by Alex — 13:20 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  11. Jack,

    This was a policy introduced by Tony Blair in the UK, IIRC, and it was found to be very effective. Persistant truants quickly recognise that there is no consquence to THEM of their truancy, but when its their parents that are getting the brunt of it, they shape-up.

    http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/core.nsf/a/truancy

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2002/oct/09/schools.uk

    Reply to this post

    #11 Posted by Spam — 13:20 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  12. Brilliant! Make these useless parents responsible. No more blaming everyone else for your kids issues - Its your fault man up and deal with it.

    Reply to this post

    #12 Posted by Nicole — 13:23 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  13. Prosecute the parents!!! What?!?

    National Party needs to get out into the real world where the real people live to see how things really are!!!

    Reply to this post

    #13 Posted by Jade — 13:24 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  14. In response to #8

    So if you tell your kid not to wag, incessantly, and they still do, it's your fault? What are you meant to do? Install GPS trackers on your children? Beat your kid if they don't else you'll be stung in the pocket?

    That's 'EXACTLY' (sarc.) what we need right now. More fines, and this time the fines aren't going against the perpetrator.

    Typical National. Some good talk and name-bashing for months, then when they actually release their policy, its a self-delivered bullet to the foot.

    Keep it coming Gnats! Labour will be back in in no time!

    Reply to this post

    #14 Posted by Chris — 13:25 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  15. *People suddenly realise that National's tax policy takes money from poor people and gives it to rich people. And that National will take people's savings off them in order to reduce the top tax rate.*

    No, they are not. And its the "rich" people that pay the disproportionate share of the tax that contributes to welfare for families etc. And people can still choose to put their tax cuts into Kiwisaver if they want to. Bear in mind that under the original system, people on the average wage contributing at 4% would have more money for their retirement than they would for their working lives. Is that a good idea?

    *So as a distraction they launch an attack on a group in society unable to defend themselves - struggling school kids.*

    Maybe if those "struggling school kids" 'defended' themselves by actually bothering to turn up for school, they wouldn't need to be 'attacked'.

    Looks like a policy that is actually trying to improve schooling. Whether the execution is right or wrong is debatable, but it is actually a policy in line with trying to improve things and have ambition.

    Rather than complain with some sort of emotive line about "attacks on defenceless schoolchildren" what would you do better? Or is the system just peachy and perfect in the New Labour Utipia?

    Reply to this post

    #15 Posted by Spam — 13:27 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  16. National's true attitude to education is summed up by their semi-literate health billboards:

    "More Doctors, More nurses, less (sic) bureaucrats"

    Reply to this post

    #16 Posted by Richard G — 13:27 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  17. To those who have said something to the effect of 'many parents are unaware their kids are wagging school', isnt that a sign that the parents arent involved enough with the kids education??

    When I was at high school, mum would want to hear about each class afterschool everyday! Im not sure if it was to make sure I'd been to all my classes, but it was actually easier to go to the classes and report on what happened than it was to fabricate a lie (on the off chance I missed a class). Also the idea of prosecuting parents makes them have to take an active role in their kids education and ensure they are attending their classes.

    JK says it will only be for repeat offenders, so I imagine their will be letters sent home etc first and will probably only happen once you've wagged like 20 times.

    I think the emphasis on reading and writing at younger ages will make high school 'easier' for many kids too, which I think will help with the 'smart economy' ideal that Helen Clark mentioned the other day.

    I also think its a shame that our main political parties are somewhat forced to work against eachother rather than with eachother, to produce the best policies for all NZers.

    Reply to this post

    #17 Posted by Hadley — 13:30 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  18. Key must have been writing his truancy speech when Cullen was saving our bank accounts. What is it with National wanting to attack poor parents for political gain? This policy is nothing but Tory tripe.

    Reply to this post

    #18 Posted by Mr Been — 13:38 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  19. lol! my parents would have been locked away for life!

    Reply to this post

    #19 Posted by ex-truant — 13:41 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  20. The Nats are desperate to change the subject.

    They do not want "the economy" to be the prevaling election issue after all.

    At least it is a positive action in their interests - better than Bill English's dumb-faced peevishness.

    Reply to this post

    #20 Posted by Murray — 13:57 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  21. I think its a reasonable policy given that the school will be doing their utmost to communicate to the parents the level of truancy of their children. Obviously a parent can only do so much, but quite a number fail to do even close to 'so much'.

    As for post #4, My childs school presents us with a great little graphical printout that shows US where OUR child is in relation to his/her peers on both a national and own school level. This is fantastic, and one of the things we have gleaned from this is that one of our children needed extracurricular tuition, which she's getting. We were also able to see that our other child remains consistently above average.

    I see absolutely nothing wrong with this. In fact, I see only positives.

    Reply to this post

    #21 Posted by professor_dementor — 13:59 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  22. James, #13 - surely you are taking the piss?

    "People suddenly realise that National's tax policy takes money from poor people and gives it to rich people."

    How is taxing people less "taking from the poor and giving to the rich"?

    The reason people don't have well-paying jobs is more likely to do with study, hard work, and risk taking to move up the ladder.

    Reply to this post

    #22 Posted by seth — 14:02 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  23. I find it very hard to believe that National has any real intention of helping out school aged children with disabilities or socio-behavioral tendancies towards truancy. This policy announcement is blatantly deisgned to draw attention away from all the other ways in which National is planning to take money away from lower socio-economic groups, by appearing to 'help the disadvantaged kids stay in school'. How can we trust a party to deliver on promises to fix social issues, when they have no grasp of the causes, or a desire to fix these causes at a community/societal level.

    Reply to this post

    #23 Posted by student_still — 14:02 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  24. In response to #12

    What a joke. Not all parents are useless. I drop my daughter off at the bus every morning and pick her up from the bus every day. I ask how her day was and for all i know she tells me a pack of rubbish. I go to every parent teacher interview and see the teacher as often as i can. I only work school hours but i would have no idea if my daughter was waging school or not. All i know is i drop her off at the bus and pick her up from the bus. Make the kids responsible. As parents these days what are we allowed to do if our child does not go to school anyway.

    Reply to this post

    #24 Posted by mother of 2 — 14:20 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  25. Oh dear me!! Just the thing for an already over burdened legal system..

    Reply to this post

    #25 Posted by Jonathan — 14:21 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  26. I can see how the scenario works: Mum or dad drop the kid off at school. The kid then does a runner after the parental unit is out of sight. This happens regularly. So, as a solution, the government would treat the parents are criminals are prosecute them accordingly.

    That makes sense. Yeah, right.

    Reply to this post

    #26 Posted by Bemused — 14:29 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  27. In response to #22

    In answer to your question:

    Because under Labour people with an income of 20k will get an extra $500 per year in tax cuts and under National they will get zero.

    National have cancelled the tax cut at the bottom end of the income scale, which would have given everyone a tax cut, and replaced it with a tax cut at the top end.

    Only Labour offers a tax cut for everyone.

    Reply to this post

    #27 Posted by james — 14:36 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  28. I think it's a great idea. I worked at a primary school for over 10 years and it was a real eye opener. There were one or two kids at school who had serious attendance issues: mum and/or dad was either too tired/lazy/hungover/drunk/stoned to be bothered to get little Johnny to school. In fact, occasionally they needed little Johnny at home to do the chores and take care of the parents. We're talking 6 & 7 year olds here! That is disgraceful parenting and deserves punishment. Too late by the time they're at high school. We did have a "visitng teacher" who would intervene in the early days with some troubled families and he worked wonders. However, his job got cut - deemed unnecessary by the present government. I know he personally used to drive some kids to school in the mornings. He did a wonderful job.

    Reply to this post

    #28 Posted by barbie — 14:40 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  29. If the child in question is a teen they themselves should be prosecuted, time to get tough on brats not parents!!!

    Reply to this post

    #29 Posted by Mark — 15:00 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  30. In response to #2

    The parent of a persistant truant would have been informed by the school and would therefore be aware of their childs actions.

    You lot like Aunty Helen because you get to negate your personal responsibility, spout on about your rights, and blame some other person or situation for where your at.

    Reply to this post

    #30 Posted by Anna — 15:07 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  31. Of course the parents should be prosecuted, if they full well know their kids are wagging and do nothing to stop it the they deserve something to wake them up. The teachers can't be responsible for everything, especially if the kids don't even turn up to school.

    Reply to this post

    #31 Posted by Mark — 15:08 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  32. In response to #24

    Try listening to your daughter. You are abstaining from your responsibilty .... not my problem ... I drop her off and pick her up and in between is not my responsibilty!!! Geez.

    I agree with you to make the kids responsible, but why not the parents?

    That may just determine why kids do the truant thing.

    Reply to this post

    #32 Posted by Geoff — 15:29 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  33. This is completely backwards. Perhaps we could start addressing why it is these kids don't want to be at school? No, no, I'm sure prosecuting their parents will work fair better than actually looking at how we educate our children.

    The reason a lot of kids are failing in our education system is due to the relative poverty we have in this country that sets kids up for failure in the first place. What's Nationals response to this? I don't believe their welfare policy mentions raising the ridiculously low benefits people are expected to live on and Anne Tolley doesn't seem to see the link between children's educational outcomes and the socio-economic background they come from.

    Honestly these people take blind stupidity to a whole new level.

    Reply to this post

    #33 Posted by Morgan — 15:37 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  34. In response to #2

    I will second that comment Jack. How on Earth are you going to prosecute parents? You have to be kidding me....

    Reply to this post

    #34 Posted by Z — 16:15 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  35. Damian & Jack, One of the responsibilities you have as a parent is to ensure that your child gets an education that is going to benefit them and society.

    Unfortunately that is one of the realities of the real world to ensure a good standard of living. Not one that is dependant on wealfare handouts week in and week out.

    Reply to this post

    #35 Posted by James Knox — 16:24 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  36. HAHAHHAHHAHAH

    did National not try this few elections back

    as if it would work

    im afraid that IT IS THE SAME BORING OLD POLICIES that just have a new idiot rolling them out

    I dont trust john key and his co-horts

    I also dont trust rodney snide

    THESE 2 clowns are the ones behind winnie and gtheir sad attempt at getting rid of him

    if you vote national you re voting in repression

    Reply to this post

    #36 Posted by kris — 16:24 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  37. Silly comments. If you had real knowledge of the system (such as the RAISE scheme) you would know that there is at least a 5 step plan to deal with the truanting over the course of many months. Only when parents are found to have not assisted in their kids returning to school or even endorse their kids truanting (yes it happens quite often) then there will be a prosecution

    Reply to this post

    #37 Posted by karl — 16:27 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  38. The govt made it illegal for parents to discipline their kids. Now if the kids wag school, the govt wants to discipline the parents?, whaaaat!.

    Reply to this post

    #38 Posted by Dave Utiera — 17:09 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008

  39. Hazarding a guess the people who voted yes do not have children at all or if they do they are not problematic. Not all children are angelic and compliant.

    For those who voted to prosecute parents if you have not had children I hope when you do you have the biggest little problematic individuals that God can put breathe into so your vote really bites you in the bum.

    For those who have children that are not problematic I hope something happens in your lives so you can see just how hard, heartbreaking and demoralising it is to have your children that you love run off the rails!

    DO NOT GENERALISE AND PIGEON HOLE ALL PARENTS AS BAD AND IRRESPONSIBLE!

    Reply to this post

    #39 Posted by fiveofus — 17:17 PM | Monday , 13 October 2008



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