March 14, 2021
Streaming harms Maori education
Primary teachers’ union NZEI Te Riu Roa is calling for an end to streaming, which it says sets back Māori and Pasifika children.
The union’s Matua Takawaenga, Laures Park, says streaming is not just a problem in secondary schools but exists through the school's system in terms such as ability grouping – which are really arbitrary decisions made by teachers.
She says it may seem convenient for teachers but it has a devastating effect on Māori who either find themselves isolated in high stream classes with no other Māori peers, or concentrated in lower stream classes with a lower standard of teaching.
Recent research by Ngāi Tahu on what happens when secondary school mathematics classes were destreamed shows the damage it does.
"They thought it would be a slow changed between Māori and Pacific Island students but actually the changes has been so quick. They hadn't realised so many Māori and Pacific Island students wanted to take calculus but couldn't because as they say to their parents, 'we're in the cabbage maths class so we can't take calculus,'" Ms Park says.
Laures Park says the Education Ministry hides behind the supposed right of schools to set their own policies, but now the results are clear it has a duty to act.
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