Parliamentary Items of Note
- On Wednesday the Minister for Education, Chris Hipkins, announced an overhaul of the education system, commencing with a three-year work plan for change. One of the ten main components is a continuous focus on raising Māori learner achievements. The associated Cabinet paper indicates:
- “there has been significant growth in early learning participation, particularly for Māori, Pasifika and children from lower socio-economic communities. However, participation rates don’t automatically equate to regular attendance, progress or achievement, nor do they take into account the quality of learning opportunities available to children;
- In English medium schooling, Māori and Pasifika children have poorer educational outcomes than their peers. Research has confirmed that teacher unconscious bias and low expectations are significant issues in New Zealand for Māori and Pasifika children and young people, and that this has an ongoing negative impact.
- In Māori medium schooling, Māori children and young people are experiencing educational success as Māori. However this pathway requires strengthening to address significant teacher workforce limitations, retention and capacity issues.”
(We intend to provide a focused review of Māori education in the coming months, and will further draw upon this policy work for that.)
- Last week the Child Poverty Reduction Bill was read for a first time in Parliament, refer to the article above for details.
- This week the Families Commission Act Repeal Bill was read for a first time and referred onto the Social Services and Community Select Committee. This bill, if enacted, will disestablish the Commission (operating as Superu), with its functions mainly shifting to the Ministry of Social Development. Subscribers may recall that over the last few years this Commission has delved into whānau wellbeing research, and last year ultimately concluded its work with the enlightening (sic) statement that:
“supporting and strengthening whānau wellbeing requires a multifaceted approach that includes social and human resource potential factors, as well as economic factors.”
(We described this work as well-meaning but odd-ball stuff; hence we are not completely surprised to see the beginnings of the end for this agency, refer Pānui 12/2017 for the research details).