Greater equity vital for improving children’s learning
Reversing the growing equity gap is vital if the government wants to improve student learning.
NZEI Te Riu Roa National President Judith Nowotarski says this is a view shared by many international education experts attending a major education conference in Wellington this week.
The Prime Minister is expected to focus on education in a speech tomorrow.
Mrs Nowotarski says international evidence is clear. Inequity equates to poorer outcomes for students while systems with high levels of equity have better student learning results.
“The government’s education, economic and social policies have resulted in greater inequity and this has done nothing to improve teaching and learning.”
She says there are a number of important policy changes the government could make if it is serious about improving opportunities and education for all children.
“We see the results of unfair policies and inequity every day in schools. For instance, school support staff are vital to the running of schools and education of students. Not only does poverty affect children’s learning directly, many support staff working in schools are not paid a living wage. In fact, many are paid little more than the minimum wage of $13.75 an hour.
“Cuts to professional development for teachers and early childhood teacher-student ratios, along with National Standards and poorly paid support staff have clearly done nothing to improve educational outcomes for students.
“It’s time to take a different path – one of fairness and equity for children and their families – to get a lasting improvement in children’s educational success.”