Comments made by the Minister of Education on Q and A today show she is in denial about the real impacts of poverty on children's learning, said the Green Party today.
“Any review of the decile system must focus on creating equity - not measuring achievement of children and then blaming schools under pressure,” said Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.
"The Minister is reviewing the decile system and quoting a low statistic on poverty impacts from the OECD, which is only about income not the overall indicators of deprivation. She ignores the research that shows income, housing security, books in homes and more are critical if children are to have a fair shot at education.
“It’s obvious from the Select Committee Inquiry into school support for children with dyslexia, dyspraxia and autism initiated by the Green Party, that inequality is a huge issue. Parents are paying for assessments teacher aides and extra help. Children from low income families are missing out because the system is based on who can afford to pay, not the real need.
“In terms of early childhood education, the Minister’s 98 per cent participation target and claims parents have a choice are meaningless given the quality issues that have emerged through the Education Review Office (ERO) report.
“Working parents and beneficiaries must use the childcare available to them despite the Government’s undermining of the 100 per cent qualified staff goals. A largely privatised and underfunded early childhood sector is failing our youngest children with ratios of 1 to 5 children per staff members in far too many centres,” Ms Delahunty said.