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Kids more likely to be in poverty than any other group in NZ – Tick For Kids

tick for kids very large logo w quote

More than 30 organisations supporting the Tick for Kids campaign leading up to the General Election on 20 September are disappointed to see the latest Household Incomes Report and Economic Survey showing there are still far too many children living in poverty, leading to many going without the basic good and services they need.  Children carry a disproportionate burden of poverty in New Zealand, with 22 percent of those aged 0-17 years in poverty because policies do not maintain adequate income levels for young families and housing costs lead to high outgoings.

Director of Mana Ririki, and Tick for Kids spokesperson, Anton Blank said, “The report confirms the difference that can be made to New Zealanders’ standard of living when the right policies are in place.  Older people are a powerful lobby group – consequently the political parties have responded with policies that provide a guaranteed minimum level of income that keeps up with inflation and wage growth.  Just 7 percent of those over 65 years live in poverty.

“The report released today is a reminder of what happens when voters and political parties ignore children.  It shows a widening gap in the incomes of those on benefits and those on wages, particularly for sole parent families.  It also shows that half of families living in rental accommodation and receiving the Accommodation Supplement are paying more than 50 percent of their incomes on housing costs.

“Successive governments have neglected children and voters have allowed them to do so.  As a result, children are those most likely to live in poverty – with all of the negative health and education impacts that result from it.  The reports shows that:

  • half of poor children are Maori/Pacific (34% of all children are Maori/Pacific).
  • half of poor children are from sole parent families and half from two parent (24% of all children are from sole parent families).
  • half of poor children are from households where the highest educational qualification for parent(s) is school or less (31% of all children are in these families).

“Anyone concerned to ensure that New Zealand is a secure, productive and creative nation needs to call on political parties to prioritise children.  It is time to build the political consensus that ensures children have a standard of living that supports their development and meets our nation’s legal obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Mr Blank.

Pasifika languages in education

pasifikaThe Green Party have called for bilingual learning for Pasifika ECE and primary school children.  As a foreign-born teacher, I would love to have some quality learning in Pacific languages and in Te Reo.  The two courses I tried (in my own time) were woeful and I got no professional development in the schools I worked in.  Surely, it’s logical to support teachers to support students by giving *us* the education *we* need as well.  It will benefit us all.

The Green Party says:

If we are serious about making school more effective for Pasifika kids, then it is logical to consider bi lingual Pasifika education in New Zealand schools.

Researchers have proven that the first years of schooling are much more successful when kids are taught in their mother tongue. Add to that the fact that many Pasifika languages are in danger of dying, parents want more childhood centres and schools to offer their kids bilingual education, and it looks like a fairly compelling case for bilingual Pasifika education options.

Well, I would have thought so. But the National Government sees otherwise.
The Education and Science Select Committee Inquiry into Pacific languages in ECE heard from many experts who called for a special recognition of Pasifika languages in schools and ECE but without undermining the primacy of Te Reo Maori the first national language of this country.

Several languages, including are Cook Islands Maori, Tokelau and Niue are now seriously at risk. These are languages spoken in the Realm Islands, places that are constitutionally part of New Zealand and whose people are citizens of this country. Their languages are thus our languages. Other islands such as Samoa and Tonga also have a strong history in relation to New Zealand and a right to have their language education needs considered.

In rejecting these recommendations, the National MPs on the select committee failed to recognise that we are a Pacific island in the great ocean Te Moana nui a Kiwa.

It’s not good enough to put the onus completely on Pacific communities themselves to save their own languages as the Education Minster has done. A state investment is needed as well.

The Green Party is 100 percent in favour of prioritising Te Reo Maori, but we also need to embrace multilingualism as an educational benefit.. There needs to be a National Languages Policy to support the benefits of language learning before year 7 in Primary school.

It’s a shame we have to fight the Government on this when we should be united in supporting heritage languages and in celebrating our Pacific identity. The rest of the world is multilingual and proud of it while we can barely embrace Te Reo.

One academic told me that we turn the children who start school bilingual into monolingual people by the time they leave. What a waste.

 What do you think?  Good idea?

Charter School front-runners named

questionThe four proposals being considered as NZ’s first charter schools, to open in 2014, are:

  • A military prep school for 16 and 17-year-olds called Advance Training Centres Ltd
  • C-Me Mentoring Foundation Trust
  • Rise Up Trust
  • Villa Education Trust (applied to open 3 schools)

A few facts and figures on who showed initial interest in opening a charter school:

  • 15 Maori and Pasifika organisations (just over half the list)
  • 7 Christian organisations
  • 5 private schools
  • 2 state schools

Who applied to open a charter school?

  • Seven groups that showed initial interest went on to apply to set up charter schools.
  • Three were rejected
  • Destiny Church was one of those rejected.  The others are not known at this stage (31/7/13)

For more news as it breaks, click to follow the site (top right).

~ Dianne

 

Source

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10906187

Cross Party Resistance to Charter Schools

“Is this change good for education?”  

That’s the question Chris Hipkins tells us to ask ourselves of the proposed charter schools.  And after trawling through mountains of evidence over the past year, I have to say the answer is no.

Like Chris, I believe we should be focused on making sure every student in New Zealand can achieve their potential, in all schools.  We should be raising the bar, focusing on those not achieving their potential, and supporting all of our schools to innovate within and share good practice so that the whole system s brought up and improved further.

Charter schools are not the answer.  They are not about education.  They are not about improving our system.  They do not aim to make things better for all students – not even for all  Maori or Pasifika students.  They are not about collaboration and the sharing of best practice.

They are about privatising schools, pure and simple.

Chris points out that all evidence is clear that teacher quality is a huge factor in the success of a student, and yet this Bill lowers the bar rather than raising it.  Last year the government were saying all teachers needed a Masters Degree – now, apparently, a teacher can be anyone, with no training whatsoever.  Why the change?  It’s simple – the government will say anything to attack teachers, but suddenly change tack when it comes to “private, profit-making institutions”.

Chris’s speech in full is here and raises many issues with charter schools that people (including many teachers)  may not be aware of.  It’s really worth watching.

Catherine Delahunty put it bluntly but correctly, yesterday, when she said “this Bill is ridiculous and it is also quite sick”, going on to point out that it allows for children to be used in an experiment that evidence shows to work very poorly for minority groups.

Catherine pointed out the obvious that when parents in poor families are working very long hours to bring in a pitiful wage, there isn’t a whole lot of time left to help with a child’s education.  Little time to give a hand with homework.  Not much spare to buy computers so kids can work at home.  Nothing left for school donations.

Poverty is a key factor in poor education achievement, as recognised by the OECD, and yet nothing has been done to address that important issue.  While families are facing inequality on the level New Zealand sees, there will always be inequality in education, too.

Why does government not tackle poverty? … Maybe because it doesn’t make businesses any money?

What this Bill is really about is privatisation for the benefit of businesses and corporates, some of whom are not even Maori, Pasifika or Kiwi.  If it were about helping all kids succeed, then ALL schools would be given the same freedoms.

Metiria Turei challenged National and ACT politicians to send their children to a charter school.

They probably would, to be honest.  Not yet, but in the long run.  Because once the pretence of charters being for the poor kids, the brown kids, the lower achieving kids,  is over, the truth is we will see charters appearing for wealthy kids, essentially providing publicly-funded private schools with no accountability.

Be very clear: This is not about the ‘long tail of underachievement’- it is a sneaky and underhand way of bringing in private schools that public money pays for, and in the end those schools will be for wealthy kids.

Tracey Martin gave an outstanding speech, too, outlining why this Bill makes a mockery of the submissions process and democracy  Many on the panel choose to ignore expert and popular opinion, instead listening with deaf ears and closed minds, following an ideology that they were predetermined to accept no matter what.

This is New Zealand under this government – they forge ahead in favour of only themselves and businesses.

Tracey pointed out that Maoridom is not in favour of charter schools.  Submissions from Maori were overwhelmingly against.

She pleads and I plead with Maori and Pasifika people to contact their MPs and tell them how you feel.

Even if you do want charters, make sure you tell them what boundaries you expect, what support, what oversight.

If you do not want them, speak up now, because time is running out, and the Maori Party is about to sell you down the river.

Sue Moroney hit the nail on the head when she said “Our kids are being used as guinea pigs,” saying that it wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t already know from the evidence that charter schools do not work.  She asked why the select committee ignored the concerns of Nga Tahu, who do not want charter schools.  She asked why the children of Christchurch are being used in this experiment when they are already in the middle of upheaval and stress.

Why indeed.

Nanaia Mahuta acknowledged the thousands of parents, teachers and others who took the time to make submissions to the select committee.

With over 2000 submissions, just over 70 were for charters, about 30 had no opinion, and the rest were against.  Just read that again:  The Rest Were Against.  And those against came from all quarters, from professors and parents, from teachers and students, and from iwi.

Hone Harawira, Leader of MANA, said charters “represent a direct attack on kura kaupapa Māori, and on public education generally,” pointing out that  “successive governments have starved kura kaupapa of funding from the get-go, [yet] they remain one of the most successful educational initiatives for Maori by Māori, in the last 100 years.”   Like many observers, he is aghast at the Maori Party for supporting charter school proposals, saying “The Maori Party should be ashamed for turning their backs on everything that kura kaupapa Maori stands for.”  Source.

So let me close by asking you this.

Who does support charter schools?  And why?

Ask yourself that, and really think about it.  Not on political party lines, but as a Kiwi.

Ask yourself what the motivation for charter schools really is.

Ask “Is this change good for education?”  

~Dianne Khan

ACT, Maori, Pasifika, and Charter Schools

ACT business and charter schools

Dear Dr Sharples, please help us raise the game for ALL kids

Dear Dr  Sharples,

Increasing achievement for Maori and Pasifika students is of great importance.  The issue is at the forefront of many educators’ and parents’ minds, thanks to the charter schools debate, and for that and that alone I am grateful charters were set before us as an option.
But they are not the answer.  Charters have been shown even in the best of countries, such as Sweden, to increase inequality.  It is telling that even normally right-leaning bodies such as the Maxim Institute and SNS have spoken out against charters being the answer.  SNS are a business think tank and said charters “had increased segregation and may not have improved educational standards at all” in Sweden.  In England it is even worse, and worse still in the USA.

It is far more important that we as a country look to improving schools for all children and that we focus very purposefully on Maori and Pasifika.  ALL schools need to be giving students the best they can.  An unproven experiment is not the answer.
Please say no to charter schools and instead join the fight to raise the whole game for everyone.
With respect,
Dianne Khan
_____________________________________________________________________________
pita.sharples@parliament.govt.nz
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