Please read this - in today's Sunday Herald (biggest Sunday newspaper in New Zealand). Then read the un-edited version below.
I am at pains to show the rest of New Zealand the major major gulf happening in education - my passion. Particularly Maori and Pasifika students who are being let down. (Maori though in rural areas are doing well - not so in urban areas.)
“Posh” school versus Decile One School Fundraising
In reply to your headline “Posh school’s auction offers the stuff of dreams”.
Welcome to the widening gap in New Zealand education. How lucky the students of Diocesan School are.
They obviously attend a school which is well resourced and every single child who requires extra help receives it. The school has all the staffing and educational resources they require. They can fundraise for “new acquisitions for their contemporary art collection.”
Picture a decile one school at the opposite side of Auckland.
Fundraising. Few companies will donate anything to the school to help with fundraising. This is because the school’s parents do not have the money spare to go and support these companies. They may not have a car nor the petrol required to leave their suburb even.
There is no PTA. School staff do it ALL. During the school day sometimes. They will set up the stalls and man them themselves with a few parent helpers they can muster up. 30 Staff work for about 8 hours and raise $6000 – the biggest fund raising event of the year. The school is thrilled at this sum.
Picture the continuous sausage sizzles, cake stalls and mufti days held throughout the year. This money goes towards helping every single child go on a school trip. It means that the families who do not have the $2 required for the school trip will give their children the opportunity to go. It means that the $8 excursion may drop to $4 and many more of the children might be able to stretch together this smaller sum to go on the school trip. These school trips are of huge importance – going to the zoo, Kelly tarltons, One Tree Hill can be the first time these students have ever been to these venues and they offer huge educational benefits. Even just showing the child another part of Auckland.
We’d like the extra money from fundraising to go towards dictionaries, games, books, computers instead of trying to raise funds for school trips. Raising funds for trips means that we never get any money for “extras” within the school.
Diocesan is fundraising for mentors, art work and art scholarships. Oh for our children to have exposure to any of these things which don’t even exist and never will.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to fund via fundraising a few extra part time teachers to help our children who are below National Standards; to help the dozens and dozens of ESOL children; to help the many transient children who come and go all year long who have major gaps in their education and can be years behind ; to help our dyslexic children who are told that they don’t need help – all over NZ special needs children are being let down by funding and being told they are too good to need help; to help fund teacher aids to work with the many 5 year olds who have vocabulary levels of 3-4 year olds.
We need to think of our children at the other end of the spectrum where they are not offered the same opportunities as the girls at Diocesan. Purely because of where the lower decile students live in Auckland, purely because of the lower family income levels, purely because businesses have no interest in helping lower decile schools as they will receive little benefit for doing so, purely because their parents are working 3 jobs to try and afford the basics, purely because they work in lower paying jobs and do not have the contacts where they can donate airfares, trips, coffee machines, holidays, internships.
All I’d like really is the chance to offer students the same opportunities that exist elsewhere – having the money in the school to support every single child who needs it, to provide the extra personal to support these children, to be able to make sure every child can attend a school trip without the endless fundraising, to have a PTA so staff can concentrate on educating.
Many many New Zealand schools are in the same boat – many students everywhere need more opportunities offered to them and it should not be potluck on where you go to school nor the financial help your family can or cannot provide for your child’s school. This article shows very very clearly why the decile system is still needed – all our children need the same opportunities afforded to them. Some receive it more than others. Schools need a lot more funding.