Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Truancy announcement is just vote buying

Look, I really want to believe that 82 new truancy officers are going to turn around our falling attendance rates at schools. 

But we live in the real world, so here are some real world facts:

We have 2500 schools and 815,000 students in this country.

That means each of those officers is going to have to cover 31 schools each. Each of those officers is responsible for 10,000 students each.

If the figures are to be believed and 54 percent were truant in term three last year, then each of those officers are supposed to chase up 5400 students regularly.

Obviously, there are already some existing truancy officers trying to do the job, but the trouble is; we don’t how many, because the Government doesn’t know how many. And it’s probably not a lot.

The reason that this is one of Chris Hipkins’ first announcements in the first month of his Prime Ministership is because he knows it’s a vote winner.

He knows we’re worried about our kids and he knows cracking down on truancy will be popular. 

But it’s only popular if it’s believable, if voters actually believe it’s going to make a difference. And on those numbers, it's hard to believe that this is possible.

It's also hard to believe that this is anything other than cynical vote winning tactic from this Government, because they’ve left it this late to deal with the truancy.

I was reading stories as long ago as 2020 with headlines like “The attendance freefall in New Zealand's schools”.

Chris Hipkins himself, as former Education Minister, would've seen the truancy numbers ticking up. And did nothing about it, until today.

Truancy is a massive issue in New Zealand. Our kids’ education should be top priority, not an easy headline bought with 82 truancy officers. 

So I'm sorry to say this feels like one straight out of the Jacinda playbook.

Good headline, scratch beneath the surface just one layer- disappointing.

Heather du Plessis-Allan is a journalist and commentator who hosts Newstalk ZB's Drive show.


Anonymous said...

On-the-hoof policy making .

Terry Morrissey said...

Watching Tinetti on the AM Show this morning was evidence enough that she is in over her head and was just spouting a whole lot of hyperbole.
I have no idea why these incompetents would wish to appear on TV and make complete fools of themselves other than its part of their narcissistic package.
If she is the best that the labour cult can find for Minister of education, our kids are in big trouble.
In fact, watching Parliament on Demand yesterday proved that the whole of the cult are singing from the same ideological song book. Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

The truancy is the least of the issues in schools. Parents aren’t sending their kids because they aren’t being taught much anyway and there are constant interruptions due to teacher absences, cultural events (always with an early end to the school day) union meetings, teacher only days and “health and safety” closures for reasons like “the drinking fountain isn’t working”. Even when they’re in class with their regular teacher the new curriculum is just malignant, fanatical political talking points about gender, race and climate change. At my kids’ school anyone who can afford it does there academic learning with private tutors outside school hours.

Kiwialan said...

Heather, our Country is staggering along under the " leadership " of failed union officials, inept social workers , woke academics and racist dole bludgers so people who expect efficient, logical governance are idiots; and there are plenty of them who voted this pathetic bunch in. If I still had school age children I would home school them , not waste their time being brainwashed with totally corrupted history, woke confused gender issues, irrelevant kapa haka crap and forced to learn a stone age language with no purpose whatsoever in the real big world. Kiwialan.

DeeM said...

Surely the key question for our new PM, and until just recently Minister of Education, is why he's only implementing this policy now, when this has been a major issue for the past 2 years.

If only we had a semi-functioning MSM perhaps some bright spark might consider this - Nope, all the lights are out AND nobody's home.

hughvane said...

What urgently needs addressing with this whole sorry saga of student absence from school is the inclusion of material - which I shall charitably describe as garbage - in the curriculum. And there is more to come!

Guess what its emphasis is. You are right, only I am constrained by the risk of HdP-A's column being abused.

Parents are looking askance at what their children are being force-fed at school - just check out your local schools' websites - and make the difficult decision to keep their cherubs home, if practicable.

So Ms, Mr, Mrs Truancy Officer, what are you going to do about that?

Sven said...

I think it was last year when Willy Jackson stated that on any given day, around 47% of maori pupils are not at school, the people who do the stats reckon it is more like 55%. 40% of school leavers can't read or write properly, or can't read or write at all government stats, lets say those numbers are 47%, UNESCO did a survey in 2020, 76% of New Zealanders meet the writing and reading standard, so that means 24 people out of 100 do not meet those standards or can't read or write, if that is so that means there are 1,200,000 New Zealanders who lack any real reading and writing skills, not a good look for our counties future, let me know if my figures are wrong.