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Maxim Institute - real issues - No. 86

Maxim Institute

real issues.

this week: No. Eighty-Six 23 OCTOBER 2003

Real Issues looks at some facts

Due to a staff event, we take a different approach with Real Issues this week. The following trends and statistics in family and education are a motivation for Maxim to search for a better way.

Family

* New Zealand has the developed world's highest rate of births outside of marriage (44%), and the third highest teenage birth rate (after the USA and UK).

* 27% of New Zealand children grow up in fatherless homes.

* Since 1970 the rate of marriage has decreased 66%, while the divorce rate has tripled.

* Our birth rate is 1.9 births per women; this is lower than needed to replace our current population without migration.

* New Zealand is spending at least $5.7 billion a year as a direct consequence of family breakdown - that's 5.5 percent of our Gross National Product (or $3,000 for every taxpayer).

* 110,000 people receive the Domestic Purposes Benefit which also supports 190,000 children.

* In 1970 there were 28 full-time workers for every person on a full-time benefit (excluding superannuation). Today only four workers support each beneficiary.

* Australian government research has found that for every dollar spent on a child brought up in a two-parent family, the government spends $10 on a child brought up in a single-parent family.

* The largest government department is the Ministry of Social Development, which oversees a budget of $13 billion for welfare.

Education

* Since 1960 central government spending per head of population (in today's dollar terms) has increased 660 percent on education.

* 20% of school leavers in 2002 did not have any formal qualifications.

* The 2001 International Progress in Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) reveals serious weaknesses in literacy levels and ranked New Zealand children 13th in overall reading comprehension.

* New Zealand's PIRLS performance placed it near the bottom of the ladder among English-speaking countries. This trend represents a decline from its performance in similar studies carried out in earlier years (1970 and 1991).

* A UNICEF league table of educational disadvantage shows that New Zealand has one of the poorest rankings for 'bottom end inequality' - a measure of the extent of the difference in achievement between children at the bottom and at the middle of each country's achievement range. Only Belgium scored lower.

* 19% of New Zealand 15 year-olds (11,000 of 59,000) are performing well according to a fixed international benchmark for reading literacy.

* Only 51 percent of New Zealand Year 9 (Form 3) pupils have mathematics teachers who have studied that subject as a component of their degree.

* Of the 1999 teaching graduates, 34 percent had left the profession within two years.

* In 2002, there were 395 'stand-downs' (suspensions) as a result of assaults on staff. This is up from 344 in 2001 and 361 in 2000.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK - William Hazlitt (1778-1830)

The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves. (Political Essays, 1819)

To subscribe send a blank email to: realissues@maxim.org.nz

Real Issues is a weekly email newsletter from the Maxim Institute. The focus is current New Zealand events with an attempt to provide insight into critical issues beyond what is usually presented in the media. This service is provided free of charge, although a donation to Maxim is appreciated. Items may be used for other purposes, such as teaching, research or civic action. If items are published elsewhere, Maxim should be acknowledged.

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Maxim Institute 49 Capehorn Road, Hillsborough, Auckland. Ph (09) 627 3261 50 Acacia Avenue, Riccarton, Christchurch. Ph. (03) 343 1570

Email: maxim@maxim.org.nz Web: http://www.maxim.org.nz


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