Hekia Parata - led by ideology determined to take us down the wrong path.
In a recent OECD survey New Zealand students were still at the top echelons in reading, science and maths. In the latest survey New Zealand students were ranked fourth out of 34 OECD countries in literacy, fourth in scientific literacy and seventh in mathematical literacy. As in all past OECD surveys New Zealand students achieve near the top surpassed only by countries with ethnically homogeneous populations such as Finland and Korea. ' So why', writes Warwick Elley an emeritus professor of education, ‘isn’t this front page news?’ He continues, ‘we should be congratulating our rank and file teachers for drawing the best out of our students..’
And where exactly are these 25% of failing children? One clue is provided by Warwick Elley who reports that mainstream Pakeha students had a higher mean score than any other country. The impression is they exist in every school but in truth they are concentrated in low defile schools. It seems we have more high achievers than other countries, but still too many at the lower end of the scale. Elley writes that underachieving students ‘can be identified by gender, by decile level, and by ethnic group’ and he continues ‘compulsory assessment and league tables do not change them.’ ‘The problem’, he says, ‘is not so much in schools, but in social problems as poverty and dysfunctional families.’
Do we have a world class or failing education system?