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NZEI backs call for living wage for the sake of children’s e

30 August 2012
Immediate Release

NZEI backs call for living wage for the sake of children’s education

Poverty is having a huge impact on the education and aspirations of thousands of children in this country, says NZEI Te Riu Roa Past President Frances Nelson.

And she says it’s not just children of beneficiaries who are living in poverty. Many children of working parents are missing out because they simply don’t have enough income to support a family.

As the principal of a lower decile school in South Auckland, Frances Nelson says the effects of poverty are seen every day in the classroom.

“We see kids whose parents are struggling to make ends meet, to put food on the table and provide warm clothing and shoes for their children.

“Many of these kids living in poverty have parents working several jobs and yet they still struggle to provide the basic necessities for their children to have a fair chance at education.”

“Poverty is a significant factor in terms of educational underachievement and many of the children who make up the so-called “tail” in our schools are those who are from poor and struggling backgrounds.

“Not only is inequality growing but also the number of children living in poverty is rising.
Our poverty level is a national disgrace and will have a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of children in the long term.”

“If the Government is serious about raising student achievement it should be targeting resources at these children and working on policies outside of schools to ensure that people who are working have a decent living wage.”

NZEI backs the call of many other health and education organisations calling for better health care, housing and education funding for children in families with low incomes.”

Policies such as better access to affordable early childhood education, providing free healthy food to children at schools and the adoption of a decent living wage are also among measures the Government could adopt immediately.

“It is not fair that children of the poor are paying the biggest cost of the Government’s economic and social agenda.”


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