Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Voucher schmoucher

HERALD: Key plans tertiary vouchers for teen school-leavers

Says the blogger known as Write Ups:

Is John Key’s voucher plan for 16 & 17 year old school leavers nothing more than changing the nature of the handout slightly?

No matter how you try to spin it, a voucher for polytechnic training is still a handout.

What we really should be worrying about is how to wean people of the welfare cradle-to-grave expectations many New Zealanders have of the government.

Too true.  Weaning young NZers off their cradle-to-grave welfare expectations is far more important than the details of a new handout with the designed life-span of one election year.

Frankly, a partial redesign of the handout system is far less important than cracking the culture of entitlement which young NZers imbibe in Nanny's indoctrination centres, and which a new handout will do nothing to cure.

And don't forget that it's the existing tertiary education funding system, that's a voucher system in all but name (a system introduced by the previous National Government), that delivered such delights as Rongo Wetere's outstanding salary, and tales of  profligacy and nepotism, of first class air travel, million dollar contracts to family members, and  money wasted on failed IT projects

The idea of school vouchers is popular (not least with the purveyors of twilight golf and the owners of Wananga o Aoteaora). Vouchers do purchase wider choice, it’s true, but only at the expense of either bringing private schools even more under the Ministry’s boot (as a once relatively free early childhood sector now understands), or of throwing the taxpayer’s money away on bullshit.  Key's advisors think they can achieve the latter by insisting on the former, which does nothing to wean anyone off anything, and will deliver even Ministry goons even more power over educationalists and young NZers.

Fact is, as long as state and school remain unseparated and youngsters consider themselves entitled to your cash, we may continue getting the various dogs' breakfasts that we keep being served up and to have inflicted upon us the smart-arse youngsters who think people other than their parents owe them a living; as long as it's assumed young people are the responsibility of the state, they'll keep thinking the whole world owes them a living, and they'll keep stamping their feet until they do so.  And now!

Already, more young NZers have gone to more tertiary institutions than perhaps at any time in this country's short history, yet fewer and fewer of them are educated. This is not an accident. Like the Soviets producing tractors, there are lots of figures showing an awful lot of production, but none of the tractors work. Meanwhile the number of people who can actually think on their feet -- actually do things -- is surely be at an all-time low.

The most important lesson for a sixteen- to seventeen-year old is independence, not entitlement.  John Key's vouchers are not the lesson they need.


  1. True, but short of a Libertarian government such a system is not going to happen.

    While I agree in principal that the state should have no involvement in education whatsoever you know as well as I do that that is a very long way off, especially in the current political climate where anything remotely related to privatisation is likened to having an interest in Kiddy porn.

    So... with the Hobsons choice that is labours policies vs national's policies, this is a *step* in the right direction.

  2. Actually this raises an interesting question in my mind - how many Labour MPs and officials send their kids to PRIVATE schools? Anyone want to do some digging??

  3. Mikee

    If you huve chilren and you send them to the scools in NZ thun you can be guaranteed they'll turn out just as igorint and thuck as the rust of thu Kiwus (dirt stupid bastards, they be). Ruckon a provate system HAS to be better.



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