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Trevor Mallard Gives Up On 10,262 Kids

ACT Education Spokesman Donna Awatere Huata said today she was sickened that Trevor Mallard has given up on more than 10,000 students.

"Since I asked Parliamentary Questions two months ago, figures have been available that show one in five kids are leaving school unqualified. Yet Education Minister Trevor Mallard has been unconcerned until it became front-page news this morning.

"Mr Mallard's spin - that falling unemployment is a 'key factor' in the number of students leaving school without qualifications - is blatantly untruthful. Kids are leaving school without qualifications because Mr Mallard's government is doing nothing to keep them there, or ensure that they learn as they progress through the system.

"Mr Mallard's soft bigotry of low expectations for Maori, Pacific Island and low-income kids is leaving far too many children behind. When mediocrity is the vision, it is usually achieved.

"I am revolted by his cynical approach that is resulting in thousands of kids leaving school unable to read the label on a can of baked beans.

"Getting a decent education is the only way for youth to get a head-start in life.

"There is a close nexus between educational disadvantage, social consequences and crime. The long-term financial cost of failing these children will be measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars they will cost the Crown in welfare benefits, income support and prison costs.

"How can a young person hope to get a driver's licence if he has a reading age of less than ten years? How can someone ignored by the education system be expected to conform to our judicial and social systems?

"Under zoning, these statistics will only get worse. Teenagers stuck in ghetto schools that perpetuate failure will continue to see their only option as dropping out altogether," Donna Awatere Huata said.


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