It is right to have important conversations around inequities, but it is wrong to peddle crude, simplistic, stereotypes imported from America which are more divisive than constructive, National’s Education spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.
“Teachers are being shown videos that instruct them to list their ‘privileges’ and view their students in terms of racial groupings. The training modules we have seen state that ‘education is a form of symbolic violence’ and that the structure of school day doesn’t work for Pacific learners who ‘are not tuned into the different parts of the day’.
“The ‘white privilege theories’ being imposed upon teachers, at what I am sure is a considerable cost to the taxpayers, are woeful. For example, citing the ownership of a beach house and the ability to have a ‘Kiwi holiday’ as a matter of ‘white privilege’ rather than one of socio-economic factors.
“It is alarming to learn how much of teachers’ time and resources are being directed to so-called diversity programmes rather than on ensuring every Kiwi kid receives a good education.
“One of the very best things society can do to resolve inequities of any kind is to ensure that access to education is equal and that any child can gain the knowledge and skills to succeed.
“There are huge issues to be addressed in education currently, including falling maths and science grades and major truancy problems. The Government is allowing imported culture wars to distract us from the basic challenges that if resolved would improve things for all children.
“New Zealand’s teachers work incredibly hard and deserve to feel supported by the Government rather than put through multi-day workshops that require them to interrogate their race, sex, sexual orientation, and any other personal factors the Ministry of Education deems appropriate.
“The Government needs to get some perspective and focus on the issues that have the most consequences on children’s futures.
“They need to set clear priorities and be transparent about them with New Zealanders. They also owe taxpayers a summary of just how much these kinds of cultural engineering training schemes have cost the country.”