I used to teach Spanish night classes, with the very necessary help of a Uruguayan friend.
We had fun, so did the pupils but even the best learned little more than the absolute basics.
The classes ended when funding was cut and I couldn’t argue against that.
There might have been some social benefit to the ACE – Adult and Continuing Education – classes, but using scarce taxpayers’ dollars for what was a luxury wasn’t sensible.
Labour railed against the cuts and is now promising to reinstate funding.
There is a case for public funding of numeracy and literacy classes and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages).
But reinstating funding for hobby classes is wasting money on luxury education – mostly for upper and middle income people – when it would be far better used for those requiring necessities.
The PWC study which Labour uses to justify this spending has been discredited.
And Matthew Beveridge spotted that Labour also scored another SMOG (Social Media Own Goal) with its announcement:
. . . Now you will notice that the graphic claims that they will increase funding to community education TO $13million. Now there are two issues with that claim. Firstly, the funding for ACE this year is already $71million. (ref page 173) . . .
So as you can see, non literacy and numeracy programs already get $22.89mil allocated for them in the coming financial year. So Labour’s graphic is claiming to increase ACE funding to a level that is around 45% lower than the current appropriation.
The bigger issue is that their graphic doesn’t agree with their policy documents. . .
So Labour are promising in their policy documents to restore the nominal value of funding, with no inflation adjustment. This is a HUGE difference from what their graphic says. Their graphic implies a total funding of $13million next year, but their policy documents indicate a funding of around $36million. That means the funding difference between “graphic policy” and actual policy is around $23million.
How did no one in the whole Labour leaders office pick up this issue? I am not sure what would be worse, over selling a policy, or underselling it. One makes you look like you lied, the other makes you look inept. Neither of which is going to help an opposition party win.
Once more, Labour shows it’s the one in need of education on how to develop policy and deliver its announcement without contradiction and confusion.