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Labour Fails Far North Maori Students

Labour Fails Far North Maori Students

ACT New Zealand Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington today slammed the Labour Government for failing to reduce the number of suspensions and stand-downs for Maori children in Northland.

"The numbers of Maori children being suspended or stood-down have skyrocketed. Maori made up 73 percent of suspensions and 70 percent of stand-downs in Northland schools last year," Miss Coddington said.

"Further, Northland Maori suspension rates rose from 226 cases in 2002 to 254 last year - that's an increase of 13 percent.

"Education Minister Trevor Mallard should be ashamed of these figures. It is an indictment on his stewardship of the education portfolio.

"Despite Labour's `closing the gaps' nonsense, many schools still lack the resources, expertise and motivation to cope with at-risk Maori youth.

"ACT believes choice in education would provide an excellent solution. In overseas countries, school choice - such as Charter Schools - allows professionals to 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," Miss Coddington said.

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