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Māori Party Congratulates Education CEO on Straight Talking

Te Ururoa Flavell
MP for Waiariki
Monday 29th October 2012

Māori Party Congratulates Education CEO on Straight Talking

Te Ururoa Flavell has come out in support of beleaguered Education Ministry boss, Lesley Longstone, for giving voice to the situation that Māori and Pasifika communities have known for many years to be true.

“What is wrong in wanting the best for all our children?” asks Flavell.

“All that Ms Longstone has said is that the system is still under-performing for Māori learners and Pasifika learners and learners from communities with significant social and economic challenges.”

“Proof of that fact is found in the data in the Annual Report. The percentages of Māori (57%) and Pasifika (65%) 18 year olds who have achieved NCEA Level two are way down on the total figures (74%).”

“Putting it another way, the proportion of young New Zealanders aged 15 -19 years and not in education, employment or training is much higher for Māori (14%) and Pasifika (11%) than the total population (8%).”

“There’s no other way of dressing this up. The system performs unequally for certain groups of New Zealanders – so in that respect we can not claim to be world-leaders.”

“I am reminded of the wisdom of Peter Fraser and Clarence Beeby back in 1939: The Government's objective, broadly expressed, is that all persons, whatever their ability, rich or poor, whether they live in town or country, have a right as citizens to a free education of the kind for which they are best fitted and to the fullest extent of their powers. So far is this from being a mere pious platitude that the full acceptance of the principle will involve the reorientation of the education system."

“It’s 73 years later and we are still some way from achieving that objective – but we must not give up hope that we can improve the system and make the changes we need. The first step towards making change is identifying the problem. That’s what is happening here – and we shouldn’t be afraid to face the fact of systemic failure.”

“Importantly, we know that there are solutions. My colleague, Dr Sharples, has been actively promoting Tataiako as one of these approaches.”

“Tataiako challenges educators and administrators alike to consider the value of genuine and constructive relationships between education centres and their communities. It recognises that whānau and iwi have aspirations for their young people which the educational system can help to meet, through a respectful teaching and learning culture.”

“Cultural competency is part of the answer, as is professional development, a more representative and culturally diverse workforce and a culturally inclusive curriculum.”

“There are plenty of ways to work together and lift achievement for all students. The challenge is to get on and make the difference – not to blame the messenger for a message none of us should be prepared to tolerate.”


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