I have written previously about the significant disparity in New Zealand between the achievement of Māori and Pasifika students, who roughly fall 10 to 20 percentage points behind other ethnic groups within the New Zealand education system in reading, writing and mathematics. Despite much effort in recent years, these young people remain seriously disadvantaged in terms of how the school system is preparing them for future success and wellbeing.
Clearly, the education system is currently not working for students who are Māori and/or from low income communities.
The following data gives us an insight into how well the education system works (or doesn’t work) for Maori and for students from low income communities using NCEA level 2 and school retention at age 17 as indicators.
So, what these data tell us is that young people from low income, Maori or Pasifika families are:
less likely to stay at school
less likely to leave with qualifications
more likely to be doing vocational programmes
more likely to have very low levels of achievement in science
There has been little change in the achievement gap between Maori and Pasifika students and students from the rest of the population over the last 30 years despite some overall lift in achievement. For some of our communities this may mean at least two generations of poor education provision. We also know that Māori whānau are less likely to participate in governance.
Under current settings these communities cannot rely on the institutions to meet their educational aspirations. When we look at data like this it's hard not to see where Taika Waititi is coming from when he says New Zealand is "racist as".