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Suspension Statistics Expose Zoning Poverty Trap

Children at poor schools accounted for 80 per cent of primary school suspensions last year, ACT Education Spokesman Donna Awatere Huata said today.

"Of 831 suspensions last year, almost seven hundred were from the poorest fifty per cent of schools - deciles one to five.

"The Minister of Education has given up on poor kids. Bright children from poor suburbs are forced by zoning to attend destitute schools where surviving is the most they can hope to achieve.

"At primary school level, suspensions used to be extremely rare. But now ghettos are being created - 'no-go' schools which perpetuate a cycle of failure. Poor kids aren't naughtier than rich kids. Yet eighty per cent of suspensions are happening in the poorest schools: these institutions are perpetuating a cycle of failure, and the bright kids can't get out. "Decile one schools have five times more teacher vacancies than decile ten schools. Although the teachers can escape, students are stuck in the poverty trap.

"The Government needs to stop pumping money into gestures such as planting organic flowers in urban schools - the domain of middle-class, white children - and get back to the basics," Donna Awatere Huata said.

ENDS

% Number
Decile 1 16.7 139
Decile 2 17.8 148
Decile 3 15.2 127
Decile 4 16.8 140
Decile 5 13.4 112
Decile 6 4.5 38
Decile 7 6.7 56
Decile 8 3.3 28
Decile 9 3.2 27
Decile 10 1.9 16

Figures from the Minister of Education in response to a Parliamentary Question by Donna Awatere Huata


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