Now that the obvious is out of the way

From their first day in the classroom, children from poorer backgrounds are more likely to fall behind in reading, writing and maths.


I wish Stuff wouldn’t do this kind of thing.  I almost choked on my toast this morning trying to swallow and say “no sh%t Sherlock” at the same time.

The 69 decile 1 schools that returned data to Fairfax had a much higher proportion of pupils not meeting the standards compared with pupils from decile 10 schools. Just over half (52.3 per cent) of pupils at decile 1 schools did not make the writing standard. Of the 135 decile 10 schools that sent data, the proportion not making the writing standard was only 20.3 percent.

In reading, the gap between decile one and 10 pupils not making the standard was 30.9 percentage points. And in maths the gap was 31 percentage points, with nearly half (47.6 per cent) of kids at decile one schools not meeting the standard compared with 16.3 per cent at decile 10 schools.

As I read through the article someone said something about the elephant in the room being poverty and inequality.  I would add a, let’s say, hippo in the room called race.  So, there is now an elephant and a hippo in the room.

National standards have conclusively proven that the kids of almost everyone who votes National are doing fine to awesome in school.  What next?

John Key, and Hekia Parata.  What are you going to do with the data that you demanded that now demonstrates without a doubt that if you are brown and poor in this country (I generalise, but not much), your chances of not being ready for school are 30% lower than everyone else?

I would suggest you have made a rod for your own back, but I am more of an idealist than a cynic.  I don’t care who addresses this problem, but I believe it is the most important issue facing our society and I hope that you have a plan.

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I wrote a book:

4 thoughts on “Now that the obvious is out of the way”

  1. I’ve been going on all year (as i do) that labelling the problem ‘Maori achievement’ makes it our problem as teachers. If we label it a socio-economic/poverty issue it becomes everybody’s problem. I don’t mean in any way to take away from the fact that lots of those faces are brown. I imagine John will smugly put it back on the schools and tell us there is no poverty, Hekia will give us more to do and more kids to do it with.
    But then I’m more of a cynic than an idealist.

  2. I agree and disagree. I suppose we can call it “needs” based, and keep Don Brash happy, but it seems to me that there is a kind of media racism in reporting any kind of gain as “Iwi gets millions”, and any kind of deficit as “poor kiwi kids”. But I think you’re right – there’d be far more buy in to a “poor kiwi kids” story. So let’s do that. I’ll give up my hippo, if we tackle the elephant (hard to do).

  3. Excuse me if I now mangle your metaphor but I don’t want to get rid of the hippo (because it’s gigantic and obvious). It’s more about acknowledging that the problems are multi-faceted and not making everything the elephant keepers responsibility. It’s not just the teachers who are failing them and we can’t fix it on our own.
    I like your point about how the media frames it and you have changed the language I will use around the issue because it’s a good point.

    PS I never want to make Don Brash happy.

  4. I see. I accept your point too. Teachers + (heaps of other things) = possible change in a student’s life to overcome (u+V+x+y+z). That sounds right.

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