School decile system for the chop as Parata’s reign winds up

EDITORIAL

Replacing the heavily criticised decile system which governs funding for schools would be a dramatic end to the reign of Hekia Parata as Minister of Education but it is important that the government gets it right.

Parata has said she wants to replace the decile system before she steps down on May 1 and replace it with a predictive modelling index.

The decile system ranks schools and provides funding based on the socio-economic conditions within which they are located. It has long been heavily criticised by educationalists largely on the basis that this one-size-fits-all approach does not work.

It has also produced some unintended negative effects for schools with a low decile rating, sometimes unfairly implying that the quality of the teaching in those schools is inadequate. It has even spread out to have an effect on real estate figures — estate agents say people are reluctant to move to schools with a low rating.

The decile system would be replaced with a predictive risk modelling system that would attempt to individually target at-risk students with criteria such as exposure to abuse.

The government trialled this system in the last budget by allocating $43.2 million over four years to those schools with under-achieving students.

The proposed system change has drawn some interesting comments on social media. Some people say the decile system is flawed and must go but others believe the proposed system is not much different and it would be better to keep the decile system but increase funding. Others think we should stop catering to the bottom students and concentrate on improving academic standards overall. The decile system was seen as a form of social welfare.

In any case it has been confirmed that any changes to the funding system will not be in place until 2020.

A decision to make the change would still be a grand finale to the meteoric career of Hekia Parata who has been a Cabinet minister for more than half the six years she has been in Parliament.

Replacing the heavily criticised decile system which governs funding for schools would be a dramatic end to the reign of Hekia Parata as Minister of Education but it is important that the government gets it right.

Parata has said she wants to replace the decile system before she steps down on May 1 and replace it with a predictive modelling index.

The decile system ranks schools and provides funding based on the socio-economic conditions within which they are located. It has long been heavily criticised by educationalists largely on the basis that this one-size-fits-all approach does not work.

It has also produced some unintended negative effects for schools with a low decile rating, sometimes unfairly implying that the quality of the teaching in those schools is inadequate. It has even spread out to have an effect on real estate figures — estate agents say people are reluctant to move to schools with a low rating.

The decile system would be replaced with a predictive risk modelling system that would attempt to individually target at-risk students with criteria such as exposure to abuse.

The government trialled this system in the last budget by allocating $43.2 million over four years to those schools with under-achieving students.

The proposed system change has drawn some interesting comments on social media. Some people say the decile system is flawed and must go but others believe the proposed system is not much different and it would be better to keep the decile system but increase funding. Others think we should stop catering to the bottom students and concentrate on improving academic standards overall. The decile system was seen as a form of social welfare.

In any case it has been confirmed that any changes to the funding system will not be in place until 2020.

A decision to make the change would still be a grand finale to the meteoric career of Hekia Parata who has been a Cabinet minister for more than half the six years she has been in Parliament.

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winston moreton - 2 years ago
Hekia has already made her farewell speech but for pension purposes she got in the nine years. I think she was a Minister for six of those including the Tolaga Bay announcement on the turn-around on class sizes, the computer payroll mess she inherited, the Act of God earthquake school closures in Redcliffs and the kohanga reo scandal and late realisation that decile ranking has a counter-productive branding effect. Given those hiccups and the fact that four-term governments are rare, it is sensible to be stepping down and look for some quality family time.

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