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Suspension Figures Highlight Education Failure

Tragic Suspension Figures Highlight Education Failure

Appalling school suspension figures highlight gross failings in the education system, ACT Education spokesman Donna Awatere Huata said today.

"I am disgusted that the number of kids suspended or stood down has doubled since 1997," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

"Last year, 22,029 students were stood down or suspended from school. It is heartbreaking to discover that Maori kids accounted for 9067 of those stand-downs or suspensions. Quite simply, our education system fails Maori youth.

"The richest schools have the lowest number of stand-downs and suspensions. Kids who come from destitute families are not naughtier than the rich kids down the road. The anomaly in suspension results is the tragic result of a system that dumps the poor kids - especially Maori and Pacific Islanders - at the bottom of the heap. We make these kids feel worthless, then wonder why they get into trouble.

"When schools repeatedly stand-down the same child - as they did 2374 times last year, that kid is falling through the gaps and needs urgent help.

"Too many schools lack the resources, expertise and motivation to cope with at-risk youth.

"Charter Schools would provide an excellent solution. In overseas countries, Charter Schools cater for at-risk students with outstanding results.

"This would provide an ideal option for students who are falling through the gaps. The schools would offer greater choice for parents and a second chance for children at risk," Donna Awatere Huata said.

Ends

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