Labour would axe school leaver exemptions

Labour’s Education Amendment Bill, introduced on Tuesday, would stop all school leaver exemptions for teens under the age of 16. This is completely ridiculous.

If a teenager is not interested in school, by the time they are 15, there is no point in keeping them there. They are perfectly capable of working – in fact, having people still in school at the age of 15 is only a recent phenomenon, throughout most of history and in most poor countries they would already be working at that age. If you force a teenager who is not interested in school to stay there, they will just get into trouble, disrupt everyone else’s learning, and not learn anything themself. They may play truant, and fill in their boring days with vandalism and petty crime, which could for some become the start of a long criminal career.

“The problem has been that teenagers leave school at 15 and become unemployed and end up on the street or go into a low-skilled job and remain there for life,” he said.

In saying this Mr Carter shows terrible disrespect for ordinary people in “low-skilled” jobs. Mr Carter relies on these people performing “low-skilled” jobs each day. Someone has to do this work. Who does Mr Carter want to shift the items he relies on in warehouses, transport his goods in trucks, sell him food at the supermarket, fill his car with fuel, milk cows – all those jobs that you can go straight into after leaving school at 15? Does he expect people to gain higher qualifications then go and do these jobs while trying to pay off a student loan? Or does he expect every NZ student to get a high paid “knowledge economy” job and us bring in lots of foreign immigrants to do the real work?

It is far better for a teenager to be in a job that they enjoy, and earning money, than to be stuck in a boring classroom. In the final two years of school, you don’t really learn anything of much use in general life. What you learn is primarily aimed at preparing you for university or polytech. If you are going to leave school and go straight into work, you may as well leave as early as possible and not waste time on the last year or two of school.

In proposing this, Labour seem to be a bunch of academics that are completely out of touch with the real world.

Hat Tip: Homepaddock

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5 Responses to “Labour would axe school leaver exemptions”

  1. #13baby Says:

    in fact, having people still in school at the age of 15 is only a recent phenomenon, throughout most of history and in most poor countries they would already be working at that age.

    So you’re saying that we should emulate the policies of Kenya and Bolivia in this respect?

    And while you’re at it – do you think anybody really enjoys a job like pumping gas? Maybe it’s necessary, but the idea of some troubled 15 year old getting personal fulfilment out of chasing up people trying to do drive-offs boggles the imagination. Call me elitist if you want.

  2. kiwipolemicist Says:

    #13baby: With respect, asking if Samuel is proposing that NZ emulate Kenya & Bolivia is an unwarranted extrapolation of what Samuel is saying. In other words, nothing in his post provides a logical basis for your statement/question.

    Yes there are people who enjoy pumping petrol. If you see someone at a petrol station who bitterly hates their job, they will probably bitterly hate any job:
    http://kiwipolemicist.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/gratitude-is-a-rarity/
    I have a job that most people would consider menial and I have learnt to find “personal fulfillment” in that, although I do not normally use that terminology because the pursuit of personal fulfillment is a modern form of hedonism, and the people who find personal fulfillment in something soon find that the emotion goes and they’re off looking for their nebulous goal again. I would say that I have learnt to find contentment in my job, even though it is far from being my first choice of employment.
    ************
    Samuel said: In proposing this, Labour seem to be a bunch of academics that are completely out of touch with the real world.

    I couldn’t agree more. Labour aren’t friends of the working class; Helen is the Minister of Arts, Culture & Heritage, so she is of the arty-farty set. Many of the Labour MPs have a background in academia.

    There was a time when someone who wasn’t a rocket scientist but who was good with their hands could get a trade apprenticeship, and this on-the-job training was ideal for those sort of people. This system worked fine for thousands of years, but now apprentices have to go to a polytech and do some book learning. This just makes getting a skill more difficult for people, and it makes it more
    likely for people to stay in the “low-skilled” jobs that Carter is so condescending about. Most politicians have the mindset that that the world will be a better place if people just get more education: what a load of cobblers.

    Minimum wage laws also make it more difficult for unskilled people to get jobs, but that topic is too large to cover here.

    Keeping unwilling kids at school is like having a rogue cow in a herd: it just upsets the rest of the herd and makes life more difficult for the farmer.

    Having a minimum school leaving age is a nanny-state law: it should be the decision of parents as to when their children leave school.

  3. Mr Dennis Says:

    Thanks kiwipolemicist.

    #13baby: No, we certainly don’t want policies like Kenya. But were I a 15 year old who hated school, I would much prefer to be pumping gas and earning money than stuck in a classroom.

    Some people enjoy pumping gas. Some people enjoy shifting boxes in warehouses. Some people enjoy milking cows. I enjoy chopping firewood for example, and doing pipework. All are jobs that may be scorned by the “elite” (who strangely enough seem to be in Labour) but have to be done. And there is no point staying an extra 2 years in school before doing them if you hate school – that is 2 years of saving towards a house down the drain. If you leave school at 15 and work hard you can have your own house by the age of 20 – and yes, I know two people who have done this very recently, if I thought about it I could probably come up with more.

  4. UK Voter Says:

    I agree completely, if everyone wanted to be the chairman of BP, we would be in a great deal of trouble. The other issue is that teenagers that do not want to go to school will simply play truant and if they haven’t got any money, they may well get involved with the wrong crowd. This government really need to understand that you can gain just as much or more, with a carrot rather than a stick.

  5. Labours crazy education policy « Samuel Dennis - Family Party candidate for Selwyn Says:

    […] Following on from their proposal to stop early school leaver exemptions, and Chris Carter’s insulting and derogatary comments about “low-skilled” workers, Labour is out with a new bit of nuttiness. After enforcing […]


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