Decile divide – has govt given up on free public education?
Decile divide – has the govt given up on free public education?
10 September, 2013
The most challenged students are ending up in the schools that can least afford to support them, says PPTA president Angela Roberts.
This is the legacy of the school decile funding system and an issue set to be addressed at PPTA’s annual conference next month.
Conference papers released today reveal that, between 2001 and 2011, decile 1 to 3 rolls declined by 12% while decile 8 to 10 rolls grew by 23%.
Decile funding measures the spread of the country’s poorest 20% across schools and was initially set up to provide targeted funding to the students that needed it the most, but it had now become a marketing tool, Roberts said.
“The gulf between have and have-not schools has grown so wide our members have prepared a paper calling for a review of the whole system,” she said.
Prepared by PPTA’s Waikato region A Hierarchy of Inequality – The Decile Divide follows up on last year’s A Level Playing Field? paper which highlighted the inadequacy of school funding and the clear inequality between schools’ ability to raise funds locally to top this up.
Roberts said the government had effectively given up on providing free education.
“Education is compulsory yet all schools need money from parents and it is really starting to hurt families,” she said.
While it was encouraging that education minister Hekia Parata was examining the system, the report back time of “a couple of months” barely gave time to tinker around the edges of the serious problems of need and polarisation.
“Any review needs to be realistic and based on the reality of inequality,” she said.
PPTA’s annual conference runs from October 1 to 3 and is an opportunity for members to debate, discuss and vote on papers that will shape PPTA policy. Decisions are made by secondary teachers for secondary teachers.
The conference will be held at the Brentwood Hotel in Kilbirnie, Wellington and media are more than welcome to attend. It will also be webstreamed live at www.ppta.org.nz
The full papers are now available at http://ppta.org.nz/index.php/events/annual-conference
PPTA 2013 Annual Conference Papers
Equipping schools to fight poverty – a community hub approach: This paper acknowledges the impact of poverty on learning and assesses the effectiveness of community hub schools as a response - properly equipping schools to do more in their local communities.
A hierarchy of inequality – the decile divide: Initiated by the Waikato region, this paper explores how a system set up to provide targeted funding for students facing barriers to learning has been co-opted for other purposes. It highlights how a level playing field could be created by redeveloping the funding model
Charter schools: This paper is the next step in the fight against the charter school experiment, proposing local campaigns not dissimilar to those deployed by PPTA to defeat bulk funding.
Teacher ownership or government takeover? This paper sets out the bottom lines teachers will expect from the minister of education’s proposal to reform the Teachers Council.
Student misbehaviour, of no meaningful consequence: This paper has been prepared by the Manawatu-Wanganui region and continues a dialogue about the management of student behaviour that had origins in PPTA annual conference papers in 2008 and 2010.
Professional learning and development (PLD): With the government spending $200 million a year on woefully inadequate teacher PLD which does not help lift student achievement, this paper explores the teachers’ and leaders’ responses to the way they system works and suggests ways to improve it.