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National ignores elephant in classroom with new plans

Media Release: 23 January 2014

Mana Movement Education Spokesperson John Minto

National ignores elephant in classroom with its plans for new school positions

National is ignoring the elephant in the classroom with its plan to introduce “executive principals”, “change principals”, “lead teachers” and “expert teachers” into New Zealand schools.

Prime Minister John Key says it’s about reinforcing the kiwi belief in “egalitarianism” but egalitarian New Zealand was buried in 1984 by Labour and National and low-income communities are bearing the brunt of the enormous social problems, included educational underachievement, which have followed.

The elephant in every  classroom is that student achievement overall is directly related to the income of the families whose children are in the classroom.

Inequality is widening in New Zealand and the achievement gap between students from high and low income families is likewise increasing as confirmed in the latest PISA (Programme in International Student Assessment) report.

The government is ignoring the elephant and instead implying that schools and teachers are the problem.

To improve egalitarianism and improve educational achievement the government should be looking at policies to reduce income inequality and the nasty social problems which go with it

For example reducing the tax burden on low-income families who pay 14% of their income on GST (the rich pay less than 5%), increasing the minimum wage and providing good jobs should be at the heart of government policy.

How could we better spend $350 in schools? The government’s additional $350 million would be much better spent reducing class sizes in schools in low-income communities. The government already provides massive funding subsidies to private schools to enable them to do this so why is this being withheld from state schools where the need is far greater?



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