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Child poverty findings, educational achievement linked

9 December 2013
Immediate Release

Damning child poverty findings and educational achievement inextricably linked

The government needs to stop ignoring child poverty if it wants to improve educational achievement.

A new report on child poverty shows that one in four children live in poverty and one in six live without basic necessities such as decent food and bedding

NZEI Te Riu Roa National President Judith Nowotarski says poverty is the main reason that we have one of the highest levels of educational inequity in the OECD.

“The government needs to stop ignoring this problem. It is a major blight on our education, health and justice systems. It means that many New Zealand children will never have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

“We know that poverty and educational underachievement are strongly linked. So why is the government willing to spend many millions of dollars and force teachers to waste many hours in trying to measure student achievement yet it refuses to measure child poverty?”

“We commend the Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills for initiating this research.”

“Teachers and school support staff say dealing with the effects of poverty in the classroom is heart breaking.

“We constantly hear about hungry, cold and sick children. And these are children with parents who care but simply can’t earn enough money to provide the basic essentials despite, in some cases, working very long hours.”

“That’s why the introduction of a living wage is an important step towards reducing educational inequity and improving outcomes for children. When two out of five impoverished children have working parents, this tells us that we need to urgently address our low wage economy.”

ENDS

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