MoE funding discriminating against children educated at home.

This is how much we get as home educating families to financially support the education of our children[i]

First child:     $743 per year
Second child: $632 per year
Third Child:    $521 per year

A child attending school is allocated (on average, over the entire schooling period)[ii]

All Children: $5923.65 per year

Just to be clear:

Support for home educating family =           $743/year/child
Support for school =                                         $5923/year/child

Does that seem crazy to you? Let’s work through this because it seems crazy to me.

The school’s funding includes costs for property, operations and salaries.

Hmmmm, let me think. Which part of that do home educators not have to pay?

I have a property. All of my property is available to my children to use as an educational setting. It also needs maintenance. Like, the windows sometimes get broken, and we have to pay for them to get fixed.

We do stuff. It costs money. The paper, the scissors, the pens, the paint, the photocopying, the internet, the … do I need to go on? And, often, when we do stuff, we’re not entitled to the discounts that a school can get hold of because we’re just not a big enough group. So, attending a theatre show costs us the regular ticket price. A lot of the time. Not all the time. We also have a power bill, and heating expenses, and we use toilet paper when we go to the toilet. Did the MoE forget that we, too, need toilet paper?

You want to get me started on this?
<<This is me taking a big breath>>
Let’s see how much a school allocates to salaries per child.

Let’s assume there are 25 students in a class.
The per class allocation will be 25×5923 = $148075
The average salary for a junior teacher is $47,000.[iii]
The percentage of the $148075 that pays the $47000 salary works out to be around 30%. In other words, a third.

A third of the per child allocation, $5923, works out to be $1974.

So, if a family home educating their child were to receive the same amount of funding as a school does, they would be receiving a total of $1974 specifically for salary.

Who do you know who would give up their minimum wage job, let alone an averagely paid one, to wheedle the government out of an annual salary of $1974? No one. No one would do this for the money. There’s no chance now, when we get $700 per child. There’s no chance of this in my desired-future when we get $5923 per child.

You’d still have to be very committed to the ethos of home education.

I can almost hear you say “but you chose to home educate your children, so suck it up.”

Here’s the thing.
The government “supports” our decision to home educate. I went through the process of submitting an exemption application and the Ministry of Education approved it. That means we’re a-ok and have been deemed to be as good as and as regular as the school environment. So, why shouldn’t we have the financial support that school-going children have?

Because that would be discrimination, surely?

Let’s flip this on its head because a few of you are not yet convinced. Imagine this:

For some reason you and your family had to move to a country where there were typically no schools. Let’s call this place Paradise.

Let’s assume that the (home educated) children of Paradise are allocated $50/week for educational expenses. It buys paper and pens and lego and educational games. It means they can have a table and a chair that’s just right for their size. It means that sometimes they can go on a trip, maybe to the museum or the art gallery, and at winter solstice they can buy candles and make lanterns.

So, you and your up-until-now-schooled children move to Paradise, and you think, I still want my kids to go to school, so I’m going to send them to that one school three hours away. You’d ask for funding, right? Even though your choice is the non-mainstream one? And you’re doing something different? You still feel entitled to funding, right? Your children are no different to all the other children, and deserve just as much financial support from the government, right?

I think you’re going to say to the government, “Look, we want to send our children to this school. Because it’s our belief that schools are amazing. I see that children in Paradise get an allowance of $50 a week for their (home) education. We would like to have that same $50/week for our children going to school because we still have these costs: (list of costs inserted here)

And you’d feel like you were entitled to that, right?

And what if the government of Paradise came back and said, “Yes, I know about this concept of school. And I respect your choice to send your children there. But, I’m not going to forward the $50/child to you to support your decision. We are committed to home education not school-based education, so we are going to support you with $7/week. Your children should be able to go to school on $7/week.

And you say, “WTAF? How is that fair?”

And the government of Paradise says, “It’s your choice to send your children to school. If you don’t want the financial burden, then home educate your child and we’ll give the child the $50/week. It’s simple.”

And, for possibly the first time in your life you know what if feels like to be in a minority group. One that is tolerated rather than accepted.

Just one more thing before you go. I want to bring your attention back to this first piece of information I gave you:

First child:     $743 per year
Second child: $632 per year
Third Child:    $521 per year

Tell me, when the third child of a family attends a school, does the school’s funding get reduced? You know, because they already had the toilet for that family, so they don’t need funding for the toilet anymore? Does it?


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One thought on “MoE funding discriminating against children educated at home.

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  1. Interesting! Here in the US in my state (Virginia) we get $0. Yup, nothing. And we still pay property taxes (which fund our local schools.) Numbers like these make the choice to homeschool much more difficult.

    Thanks for sharing this – we’ve discussed moving to NZ if the company my husband works for opens an office there. It looks like a beautiful place to live!


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