An Education Guest Post 30 Years in the Making

Last night I reflected that I began teaching thirty years ago. Leading into that I had an Economics degree and a teaching diploma. While teaching in the first few years I was desperate to understand the inequity in our system and the lack of political investment in genuine excellence for all. Equity with excellence is called mediocrity (a level above where we currently are).

Last week I read an article by very passionate journalist Ethan Te Ora on housing for Maori over the last thirty years.

These were some key comments:

“No Māori will own houses by 2061, unless the current trajectory reverses.”

“Migration to the cities, however, was effectively a transition from a subsistence lifestyle into low-wage work.”

“You still needed a decent income, to be able to service your mortgage.”

“Even when whānau did manage to buy a house in the city, the reliance on the Government for work was a ceiling of another kind. “They were at the bottom level in terms of income, meaning there was no intergenerational wealth developing,”

 “The other reasons were wide-spread institutional racism, and the inability to accumulate intergenerational wealth.”

“Māori have moved into the cities; they’re working predominantly for the public sector,” Rout says. “They’re in this really precarious position, where they are dependent on the state for their income and housing.”

“It was the year Māori home ownership rates started to drop, and they never rose again,” Rout says. “They just kept trending down.”

Where we are racist as a nation in education is not through a system that cannot bring young people up – but that we carry a set of expectations on a daily basis (from a range of sources) that young Maori and Pasifika, poor and neuro-diverse are less capable than the apparent favoured few. We expect noting but what Hipkins calls “appropriate pathways.”

I once got published in Stuff on housing. The key point being that we live in a market economy. To buy a large asset you have to save. To save you have to have the ability to earn more than you spend. To do that you have to have a skill set to offer to employers or you need to take risks as an entrepreneur.

Sir Peter Buck is one of my role models on I draw on frequently (there are many others alive today bucking trends).

I love this information: “This was a great tribute, because Peter was a well-educated man. In 1896, he went to Te Aute College, a place that forever helped his future. When Peter started at the boarding school, it was under the leadership of John Thornton, who taught the boys unforgettable lessons in life. “I remember that he once emphasised the fact that everyone, no matter how humble his walk in life, was necessary to the fullness of human society,” Peter wrote.

For any family to have intergeneration wealth change education is a major key. If you leave school and you have no, or very limited, qualifications you have nothing to offer to an employer (your earning mechanism). Without a ticketed trade, degree and/or profession, or ability and willingness to take ownership risks you are stuck on a minimum wage or welfare. Wealth growth is simply not on your horizon. It CANNOT happen.

I am not a person given to despair; however I have never seen our education system so disconnected, disregarded, segregated and neglected by a Minister and Ministry. Schools that were once pillars of their towns, cities and regions are in decline. The newest schools are statues of mediocrity. Is it any wonder that employers are desperate for immigrants to fill skill gaps because our schools are failing at a very deep level.

Our young people deserve better and with genuine leadership the best is yet to come. It is not just the government – even this week in the House – not a single question on education at any level. National and ACT are completely MIA in this area. They need as much pressure as Hipkins does. A government can only be held properly accountable by an active and informed opposition. Try and guess who the Greens spokesperson is?

When we have 10,500 of school age students not even enrolled. When our decile 1 – 3 children are fully attending at 41%, when we have a range of schools losing their 14 – 16 years olds at up to 30%, where some of our high-profile schools have less that 15% moving into degree study, when Maori and Pasifika achieve UE at 20% and Asian students at near 70% … where can “intergenerational wealth change” possibly come from?.

If a Labour reader ever drifts here … I will call anyone out from any government … but this has been, by far, the worst government (very must including our Ministry leadership) for children and education in our history.

I can back it up with a full-set of processed data on our high-schools. Email me on:

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