Education Secretary Lesley Longstone is right to call a spade a spade on our educational performance, ACT Leader John Banks said today.
“While our overall performance outcomes are high, there remains plenty of room to improve when it comes to raising achievement outcomes for Maori and Pasifika students,” Mr Banks said.
“The Teachers’ Unions have made much of the fact that the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) placed New Zealand fourth in the world for 15 year old reading.
“However, Statistics New Zealand dissected those results and found that if New Zealand Asian, European, Maori, and Pasifika students were counted separately, European students would be first in the OECD (ahead of Finland), Asian students 4th, Maori 28th, and Pacific 35th.
“These results show we have a world class education system for some, but not yet for all. And as the Education Secretary said, it’s not the students who are failing, it is the education system which is failing to meet these students’ needs.
“The Ministry of Education’s 2012 Annual Report outlined the facts and challenges the education sector faces today. Without taking a realistic view of achievement levels in New Zealand, we cannot hope to improve.
"It is sad but not unexpected that the Teachers’ Union representatives have responded to this issue with denial,” Mr Banks said.