The Education Tsunami for our Decile 1 – 3 Students (AKA Maori and Pasifika young people)

A guest post by :

Take it as read; Maori and Pasifika young people have a lower IQ than Asian or European children.
Take it as read; children growing up in homes in lower socio-economic areas of NZ have a lower IQ than decile 3 – 10 students.
I would not reach that conclusion if the Labour/Green/NZ first government, the teacher unions, and educators generally were out on the street marching for improved – as opposed to fattened wallets for underperforming employees. Do the Greens even have a current spokesperson for Education? We are currently accepting the status quo as the natural lie (pun intended) of the land.
I have just gone through the NZQA Annual release of the “NCEA, University Entrance and NZ Scholarship Data and Statistics”. A lovely red covered book with the gloss of my tiny Renault.
The denoted conclusions.
–          Girls are way brighter than boys (my wife has known and exploited that for the last 31 years).
–          Asians are way brighter that other ethnicities.
–          Europeans are way brighter than Maori and Pasifika – and those two ethnicities chop and change from year to year.
I, of course – along with brain & developmental science – believe none of the above statements to be true. That is the case even after being a teacher since 1991 and observing these stats every year. However, it becomes very hard to argue that NZ society, the Ministry of Education and successive Ministers of Education don’t believe that this is the norm. I consider it appropriate to add that they could not care less about this in comparison to the priority of being re-elected.
Hekia Parata was a disaster as Minister of Education. She oversaw a national standards regime that never quite got that progressions are at least as important as final outcomes each year (despite me offering her a perfect model). She placed all eggs in the 85% getting NCEA Level 2 – through whatever means – when it changes nothing and gives no one a ticket to tertiary education. Schools manipulated the data and met her requirements but nothing really improved. Chris Hipkins has come in with no ideas at all. He commissioned a NCEA review that produced an interim report that seemed broad based and positive – and then a final report that could have been written by a team from AGS, CBHS, St Cuthbert’s College and Kings High School of Dunedin. Without a replacement strategy Hipkins ditched National Standards. He then hammered a few families by throwing out the Aspire Scholarships programme, and appeared to kill off significant innovation by transitioning all Partnership Schools into the State System. The latter is not a bad thing if he and the Prime Minister keep their promise to develop the Designated Character Model. It has not happened so far.
The results? Terrifying! Page 13 of the NZQA report looks like a hydroslide as the NCEA Level 1 results plunge by 1% for Asian students, 3% for European. Nearly 5% for Maori and over 4% for Pasifika. In one year! I would hate to think what our next PISA results might show.
In terms of decile: If you grow up in decile 1 – 3 homes (like I did) only 27.6% of Year 13 enrolled students (not to count those who had already checked out of the system) got University Entrance. If you were a decile 4- 7 school nearly 48% qualified for the wonderful free fees Year 1 tertiary education. Approximately 65% of those in the higher deciles got that free ride.
One of the huge issues is that at NCEA Level 3 Maori and Pasifika are not that far behind. What becomes very clear when you dig a little bit is that it is obvious, to meet the external goals, that schools are channeling brown and poor kids into courses that are not accredited for UE. You could not set up such long-term disenfranchisement and social inequity even if you had an evil master plan devised by Blackadder himself.
The NCEA review will make this divide massively worse. The draft Haque report was such a waffle piece that two of the “researchers” could not stand ion a stage together and present a consistent and coherent argument. The recent collective contract agreements have locked and loaded the myth that all qualified teachers are of the same quality and Principals should be given no trust and opportunity to bring about genuine change through incentivising teaching in Decile 1- 3 schools.
There is currently no party or politician in NZ who has the insight or energy to change the system for the children who need it. The families themselves must rise-up and ask for the very best for their children.

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