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‘Steps to Success’ empowers whānau to deal with bias

Hon Dr Pita Sharples

Minister of Maori Affairs

9 May 2014 Press Release

‘Steps to Success’ empowers whānau to deal with bias

Recent research showing a bias against Māori students by maths teachers affirmed the need for Government initiatives, such as Steps to Success, to improve Māori achievement, Māori Affairs Minister Hon Dr Pita Sharples said today.

“The research conducted by Hana Turner titled Teacher Expectations, Ethnicity and the Achievement Gap, summarised the attitude of a small group of teachers, but these attitudes are very concerning.” Dr Sharples said.

The survey showed many teachers blamed the student’s family attitude to education, but Dr Sharples said that was unfair.

“I don’t meet people who don’t care about their kids’ education. I meet tons of people who just don’t understand how the system works and don’t realise how much of a difference their involvement can make to their kids’ success.”

“The stark reality is that many parents want to help but because of a negative or unfamiliar experience they have had in their own schooling they really don’t know how to approach the school or to offer help to their children.”

“Supporting whanau to overcome this by empowering them with the right tools, along with ensuring that programmes are in place to support competency amongst the education workforce, and enhance Māori student success can help to address this issue, and make a real difference for Māori learners, and in turn to Maori student success.”

The Steps to Success Programme developed by Te Puni Kōkiri and launched earlier this year is aimed at arming Māori whānau with more tools to navigate the education system. It complements Ministry of Education work with schools to also improve Māori achievement.

The interactive resources include a ‘Get the Cred’ board game, a wallet-sized reference card for parents on questions to ask their child’s school, and a fridge magnet for rangatahi to track their achievement of NCEA credits.

“These are new resources but already we are getting informal feedback that they are encouraging conversation between rangatahi and whānau about NCEA requirements, and between whānau and schools about how their rangatahi are progressing.”

“It’s not the whole answer, but it is part of it – we must work together to ensure our kids are succeeding in school,” Dr Sharples said.

ENDS

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