Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Proposed Education Bill could be disastrous for disadvantage

Proposed Education Bill could be disastrous for disadvantaged children

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) says that if passed, the Education (Social Investment Funding and Abolition of Decile System) Amendment Bill could put schools serving income poor and materially deprived communities at risk of losing funding they desperately need, and their students at increased risk of bias and stigma.

Erica Stanford, the National MP championing the member’s Bill which was drawn from the ballot this week, said that "by scrapping the decile system, we will remove a blunt instrument and replace it with a fairer school funding system that better reflects the needs of children and young people."

Education researcher and former MP Dr Liz Gordon stated in her blog on Friday that the proposed changes would replace a simple system with a "complex one fraught with issues of privacy", and would be very unlikely to reduce stigmatisation of schools, as proclaimed by Stanford.

Deciles take into consideration the neighbourhood demographics and socio-economic characteristics, but they are, "not a reflection of school quality," says Gordon.

Parents will continue to rely on ERO reports to determine the ‘quality’ of a school; there is a risk that without the contextual information that deciles provide, schools may fail to achieve roll numbers they need to thrive.

Professor John O’Neill, CPAG education spokesperson, says that the Bill is less about achieving equitable educational outcomes for all, and more about replacing equity funding for the many with risk funding for the few.

"The fact is that the indicators of family and community disadvantage used in the decile system are closely correlated with poor educational outcomes," says Professor O’Neill.

"The Bill’s sponsor appears to be confusing the social stigma and bias that have become attached to low decile schools over the last twenty years, with the significant additional funding needed to help these schools address the multiple educational challenges they face."

Targeted at-risk funding (TARF), that aligns with the principles of the former Government’s Social Investment strategy provides an amount of funding for children based on their meeting a specific set of life experience-related criteria. This defines them as being potentially vulnerable or ‘at risk’ of poor outcomes. More targeted funding would be allocated when a child meets multiple risk factors. Income poverty and material hardship are strong predictors of poor outcomes for children, but poverty and material hardship are not included in the ‘social investment’ risk factors. Many of the children who meet the life experience criteria may not actually have poor educational outcomes.

"The Bill is based on a fundamentally flawed view of what disadvantaged children need to succeed in education," says Professor O’Neill. "The previous government wanted to fund all children at exactly the same base rate unless they had special educational needs or their families were at risk. This approach ignores the reality that children cannot leave their everyday household and community life experiences outside the classroom door."

Dr Gordon says social investment is "about individual funding, and in particular providing a voucher that expresses the dollar value of each person according to their educational needs." The expectation that money would follow a child through their education, would create substantial extra administration when an ‘at-risk’ child moved schools, and may delay funding when it is needed.

There is a huge risk of exposing children to judgement and stigma despite any attempts to make the profiles of the children private, as the schools will likely know which children are more at risk.

CPAG is concerned that without substantial additional guaranteed funding that recognises the ongoing challenges of teaching and learning in communities where many or all children are from low-income, high-hardship households, schools could stand to lose most of the equity funding allocated under the current decile rating system.

"The only way this proposal could possibly work would be to set the base funding rate for all children at such a high level that any additional funding is then simply icing on the cake," says Professor O’Neill.

"At present, given the disgraceful numbers of children living in poverty and hardship, many low decile schools must feel like they are getting crumbs, not cake."

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Spying On Politicians, Activists, Iwi, Quake Victims: "Failings Across Public Service"

A State Services Commission investigation into the use of external security consultants by government agencies has uncovered failings across the public service, including breaches of the code of conduct...

However, the inquiry found no evidence of widespread inappropriate surveillance by external security consultants on behalf of government agencies. More>>


Children's Commissioner: Child Poverty Law "Historic Cause For Celebration"

...It represents a cross-party commitment to a fundamental shift of policy for our most disadvantaged children and should help undo 30 years of damage to children from our most vulnerable families. More>>


Dope News: Binding Cannabis Referendum To Be Held At 2020 Election

The referendum on cannabis for personal use is part of Labour's confidence and supply agreement with the Greens. It could be one of potentially three referenda - decisions have yet to be made about euthanasia and changes to electoral laws. More>>


Vic: Victoria University Name Change Rejected

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has declined Victoria University of Wellington Council’s application for a legal name change. More>>


PM's Post-Cab 17/12/18: Chief Justice, M Bovis

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's final post-cabinet press conference of the year focussed on announcing the appointment of Helen Winkelmann as the next Chief Justice, and an update on effort to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis from New Zealand. More>>


Law Commission Issues Paper: Use Of DNA In Criminal Investigations

In the 22 years since the Act came into force, it has become clear that the modern-day fingerprint analogy is increasingly inapt... Theoretically, whole genome sequencing could ultimately become the standard method of analysing a DNA sample. Such a development will give a new perspective on the concept of genetic surveillance in the criminal context. More>>

State Highways: $1.4 Billion For Road Safety Improvements

The Safe Network Programme will make 870 kilometres of high volume, high-risk State Highways safer by 2021 with improvements like median and side barriers, rumble strips, and shoulder widening. More>>


Dealing Crackdown, Addiction Support: Government Action On Synthetics

The NZ Drug Foundation has welcomed the Government’s response to synthetic drug deaths. The response strikes a balance between giving law enforcement the tools they need to target criminal networks and changing drug law to make it easier for people to access help when they need it. More>>





InfoPages News Channels