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No excuses left: Hekia Parata must face elephant in the room

No excuses left - Hekia Parata must face the elephant in the room
Ministry of Education and media analysis of national standards data so far suggests the main messages are about gender (boys underperforming wrt girls) and ethnicity (Maori and Pacific students underperforming wrt others)
However these analyses ignore the elephant in the room.
The inconvenient truth for Education Minister Hekia Parata is that the strongest indicator of student achievement is the socio-economic background of their families.
The government now has no excuses for ignoring child poverty and allowing income inequality to increase.  
Ms Parata has repeatedly said the government’s priority is to address what she calls the “long tail of underachievement” in our schools and lift the achievement of Maori and Pacifika children.
This “long tail of underachievement” is “the long tail of poverty” and addressing this would be most beneficial to Maori and Pacifika children who are disproportionately represented in low-income communities.
This will mean big changes for a government whose economic and social policies have been going in the opposite direction. Increases in GST and reducing income tax for the wealthy have grown the gap between rich and poor so that we now have one in four New Zealand children living below the poverty line.
There are no excuses left – it’s time for action. It’s called putting your money where your mouth is.


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