The Green Party have unveiled their education proposals, and they clearly aim to address head on the issues facing those students living in poverty.
Metiria Turei stressed that “10 per cent of New Zealand children were living in poverty, poorer kids had three times the rate of hospital admissions from preventable illnesses and were up to 50 per cent more likely to become a poor adult and perpetuate the poverty cycle” and that this needs to be addressed in order for children to have the best chance of success.
This view is upheld by the OECD, and the latest PISA study made clear that equality, health care and safety were the hugest factors in a child’s chance of future success. Having good quality teachers a big factor in the classroom, but is not the greatest factor overall.
John Key fudged that point in his speech last week. He acknowledged that quality teachers a big factor in the classroom (but without any stress on “in the classroom” so that it was read by many to mean that teachers have the biggest influence on success full stop), and he then went on to say that we don’t have increasing poverty and inequality in NZ, refusing to accept that there is any link between poverty and lower educational success.
This is rubbish, and he knows it. There is a mountain of research and analysis that shows the link very clearly. *
It’s good to know that the Greens acknowledge the link and intend to do something concrete to address it. This is the Greens’ plan, as reported at Stuff:
The Greens have unveiled a new policy which would see schools in lower income areas turned into hubs which would meet all the health, social and welfare needs of poor families.
Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei announced the policy in a speech to party faithful at Waitangi Park in Wellington this afternoon, saying inequality was increasing in New Zealand and the best way for people to escape the poverty trap was through education.
“Education remains the most effective route out of poverty. But school only works for children if they are in a position to be able to learn,” the party’s policy statement reads.
“Many kids come with a complicated mix of social, health and family issues, often related to low income, that need to be addressed before they can get the most out of school.” Read more here.
And this is the NZEI’s response to the proposals:
Green Party education proposals will make a big difference for children
NZEI Te Riu Roa says it welcomes the Green Party’s proposals to tackle the impact of growing inequality on children’s education.
National President, Judith Nowotarski says the proposal to develop health, welfare and support service hubs in lower decile schools goes right to the heart of tackling the biggest problem we face in our education system – poverty and inequity.
“International evidence clearly shows that poverty and inequality are by far the biggest obstacles that children face in education.
“This proposal directly targets these real issues and, if adopted, would make a big difference to the education outcome of thousands of children in this country.
“Policies such as this would ensure that many more children in this country get the opportunity for a good education – something that teachers and school support staff have been calling for, for a long time.”
However, Ms Nowotarski says inequality and poverty are now much more spread throughout the community so NZEI wants to see policies that target children from financially disadvantaged backgrounds at all schools – not just lower decile schools.
She says the education sector looks forward to working with the Greens in further design and implementation of the policy.