OPINION: New Zealand has dropped from being first in the OECD for environmental performance to 15th and is still heading downwards.
Instead of addressing the problems, this National-led Government has decided to discontinue our State of the Environment Report. Obviously, the less people know about our environmental degradation, the better.
At least our education system is doing well. We have been ranked in the top five in the world for some time and we are the envy of many nations.
You can imagine the shock of the teaching profession when the head of our Ministry of Education, Lesley Longstone, announced in her report that our system is underperforming and cannot be regarded as world class.
Ms Longstone claims that because many of our disadvantaged children cannot achieve at the same levels as those who are not, it is the fault of the education system.
This view ignores the ministry's own national standards data which demonstrated, despite its flaws, that the socioeconomic status of a community (decile) has a larger bearing on achievement than the teaching within a school.
The fact that 25 per cent of our children are now experiencing relative poverty has a huge influence on educational achievement.
A child who comes to school having eaten breakfast and returns home to a warm and comfortable house has an obvious advantage over one who does not.
By ignoring child poverty and the real state of our environment, this Government is reneging on its promise of a brighter future and is providing one that is looking very bleak indeed.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Are you happy with the bus zones in Southland?Related story: Fears for school after bus route reversal