Money ain’t everything, but it sure is something!

Kids from higher socio-economic backgrounds perform better in school, on average, than kids from poor families. They have, on average, better achievement results, higher participation in extracurricular activities, and higher qualifications. It’s hardly surprising. 

I have just read the recent New York Times feature “No rich child left behind” (you can Google it) and the bad news in the United States is that these differences have grown rather than shrunk. I am shocked that the same can be said for New Zealand.
 
Child poverty rates here hiked in the 1980s and 1990s. That’s 20-30 years ago and still we have 270,000 kids living in poverty. Whatever we’ve been doing, and I know we’ve been trying, it hasn’t cut it.
 
It seems that achievement gaps narrow during the school year, but they widen again over the summer holidays. So teachers are doing plenty right in the nine months they have but often the gap already exists when kids start school. Those better off begin better prepared and the advantage stays with them throughout their years at school.
 
It’s not clear what can be done about all this but the how and why needs to be considered by all of us. We have to stop blaming schools, poor teaching and the kids themselves. We need to start talking. Please New Zealand; don't let us continue down this path. 
 
Show your support. Register in the “Poverty Impacts on Learning” symposium, 24 May.
 
Click here for details.
 
Deidre Vercauteren
Programme Manager
Accent Learning