Schools streaming students by ability is racist, researchers say. Still streaming continues. This is despite evidence suggesting that mixed ability classes are more successful.
The Ministry of Education and the government are backing the think tank Tokona Te Raki – Māori Futures Collective to try to stop the ability grouping for a long period of time.
Seeking more equity, the Christchurch organization on Monday launched a new action plan to remove streaming from schools in Aotearoa by 2030.
The group’s report, called Kokirihia, has the endorsement of the Matauranga Iwi Leaders Group. The Ministry of Education endorsed the release.
Researchers and authors of the report, Elera Tarena and Hana Oregan (pictured), say the practice needs to be abolished to make schools fairer for all students.
Tokona te Raki executive director Tarena says streaming has had a significant place in the history of education, but now is the time to reassess it.
“The roots of streaming are deeply embedded in our history and education system,” he says.
“It’s a fact that’s so ingrained in our history that we’re beyond the level of actually questioning it and considering it normal.”
New Zealand has one of the highest proficiency grouping rates in the developed world. It comes second in that equation – pipped to the post by Ireland.
The Ministry of Education discourages streaming. Regardless of this, the decision as to whether or not to use the Ability Grouping System for students is left up to individual boards of education.
Eliminating streaming is part of an effort to find new ways to make education more inclusive, Tarena said.
“You can’t stop streaming and teach the same way,” he explains.
Hana O’Regan, CEO of CORE Education, isn’t a fan of streaming either.
She argues that the practice creates racial inequality among Maori and Pacific students.
“It’s going to take a toll on many Maori and Pacifica, but what we do know is that it’s a changeable behavior. The great thing is that we know the solution.” That’s it.
“There are many brave teachers who have transitioned from streaming, but most use mixed-competence teaching,” she says.
“What we know from the evidence is that when these competencies are mixed, everyone benefits, but Māori and Pacifica students in particular have very high achievement rates.”
O’Regan said there is evidence to show that all students are benefiting from the end of streaming.
It is important not to be “afraid” to change the education system.
“Given the young and rapidly growing Maori and Pacifica populations, they will represent a much larger share of the population and labor force in the future. We cannot afford to continue the practice.
“Frankly, I mean it’s a racist practice.”
https://cathnews.co.nz/2023/03/23/racist-streaming-schools-2030-research-education/ Evidence That Student Streaming Is Racist