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Tweaks to the decile funding model not the solution

(25 September 2019): Abolishing New Zealand’s decile-based school funding system may get rid of the decile stigma of some schools. However, it does nothing to address the underlying issues, says a new research note by think tank The New Zealand Initiative.

Authored by the Initiative’s chief economist Dr Eric Crampton, Seeing the problem, but missing the point explains that more work should be done to analyse the performance of New Zealand’s schools.

Said Dr Crampton: “The government is right to wish to erase the stigma attached to lower decile schools. While lower decile schools fare worse in league tables of NCEA performance, those performance differences are largely due to factors outside of the school’s control.”

The Initiative proposes to make greater use of data on the family background of students to assess schools’ performance. This would not only help end decile stigma, but it would also help teachers, leaders and school boards to govern and improve their schools.

Said Dr Crampton: “There is an immense opportunity in using New Zealand’s excellent data infrastructure to improve excellence and equity in our education system. Minor tweaks to the decile funding model do little to further that worthy goal.”

You can find a copy of our research note, Seeing the problem, but missing the point: decile dilemmas, attached here

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