4 August 2011
For Immediate Release
Poverty plan would help improve educational achievement
The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa welcomes the Green Party’s plan to bring 100,000 children out of poverty in the next three years as poverty has a major impact on children’s learning.
One in five New Zealand children live in poverty and the links between poverty and educational underachievement are well known.
NZEI says one proven way of reducing social inequity and improving educational outcomes for disadvantaged children is quality early childhood education.
NZEI President Ian Leckie says what is needed is a specific focus on quality public services for young children to address the issues associated with poverty and learning, early on.
“That means investment in high-quality publicly-funded universally-available early childhood education, particularly in disadvantaged areas, staffed by fully-qualified early childhood teachers who can deliver the early childhood curriculum,” he says.
Children who live in poverty also need extra support to succeed and schools and centres need extra resources so they can give every child the opportunity to learn.
“We don’t want children missing out on opportunities through no fault of their own. The millions of dollars going into National Standards would be better spent on providing more resources and meeting the basic needs of children. That is what will make a meaningful contribution to lifting student achievement.
NZEI says it is refreshing to see a political party stepping up and putting the issue of child poverty firmly on the agenda. It also believes a co-ordinated and audited cross-party/cross-agency approach should be developed that targets child poverty and audits the impact of government policy on children.