Thursday, February 11, 2016


Why does inequality matter? Just look at the consequences:

Children living in poverty in New Zealand are at least six times more likely to struggle with maths than students from wealthy backgrounds, a new report has found.

The ranking was one of the worst in the developed world, with only Ireland, Israel and Poland doing worse.

The report from the OECD, Low-Performing Students: Why they fall behind and how to help them succeed found students from the poorest 25 per cent of households in New Zealand were more than six times more likely to be low performers in maths compared with those in the top 25 per cent.

Our figure was five times that of Australia.

And what that bland statistic means is poorer life chances, kids hobbled from birth by the economic status of their parents. Which means worse jobs and higher costs later on. It is profoundly unfair, an affront to our values.

Our education system is supposed to correct for economic inequality somewhat, to give every kid a good start in life. That's clearly not working. And with National talking of "reforming" the decile funding system to take money from the poor and give it to rich schools that their rich mates send their kids to, its unlikely to get any better. The other alternative, of course, is that we tackle the root cause: poverty. But National is even less likely to do anything about that.