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Food for thought...or maybe not?

Today I was reading, Investing In Our Nation’s Kids it starts with how New Zealand is often referred to as 'Godzone’ or the 'land of plenty'.

And yet as many as 25 percent of New Zealand’s children – about 270,000 – currently live in poverty. That’s one in every four children.

It goes on to say for those children, going hungry and living in less than acceptable situations - directly effects their education. It effects whether or not they can afford school outings, affects their concentration at school, their self esteem and overall ability to learn and succeed. There is also clear research to show causal links between cognitive ability and nutrition.

Throughout 2013, several have campaigned across New Zealand to help reduce poverty with initiatives like the Food in schools programme and this year in the Northland, Julie Timmins (founder member and current associate of the Child Poverty Action Group) spoke to a group of e-leaders about the issues concerning child poverty in NZ.

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So, how does this issue effect us as educators?

We talk about needing to acknowledge the needs of ALL our learners, we talk about access issues in terms of devices for ALL students and we believe it’s important ALL our kids succeed and continue to focus on raising achievement for our priority learners. Does this mean closing the achievement gap? Or is there an expectation for schools to help address the economic gap too?

Entities like the Manaiakalani Education Trust are invested in empowering their whole community by, “realising the potential for greatly enhanced employment and life outcomes for these students.” Can technology-based initiatives like this one help to close the economic gap too?

There are some recommendations for schools in the report to the New Zealand Children's Commissioner Solutions to Child Poverty in New Zealand: Evidence for action. 

What are your thoughts? What is the role of education in terms of solutions to child poverty? Is this 'Bigger than Ben Hur' or is there something new we haven’t thought of yet?

Replies

  • meeka Inglis (View all users posts) 20 Nov 2013 8:44pm ()

    I heard about the Manaia Kalani Trust half way through this year it sounded very interesting.... I had just sourced 20 free computers for our school, ( I kept 12 in my classroom ) and had seen dramatic improvements in spelling and engagement.

    I was googling 'Will I Am' a few nights after hearing about the trust and read that he had donated $100 000 to the project. I spent the rest of the evening searching through the Manaia Kalani site. 

    the project amazes me, the parents have brought in and the students are showing such a wide range of skill development. The parents must be very proud of their kids and of themselves as parents.

    there seems to be an initiative to offer lease to buy computers to families in decile 1 schools. I work in a decile 3 school and our local High School is working towards BYOD for 2015. I would love to see students benefit from BYOD at our school too. 

    I have received a years leave without pay and would like to use this time to set up a trust in Motueka/Tasman that will lease to buy computers to our families so that they can afford to support their children's learning. I am about to start looking for funding for my time and have restarted to outline how the trust may work. It is very early days

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