Reporting on ethnicity: new ministry requirements - the ministry must be a festering swamp
By Kelvin Smythe
Reporting on ethnicity: new ministry requirements – the ministry must be a festering swamp
I am sending out this little morsel just to bring it out in the open for discussion. The information was provided by a school.
Schools were recently sent the requirements for reporting national standards.
No allowance for privacy, it seems, in the 1 March School Charter update, but it was another issue the school wanted to highlight.
There is a clause that says:
Determining and reporting ethnicity
‘Ethnicity should be reported in the same way that it is in your school roll returns. This reporting uses prioritised ethnicity where learners who report themselves in one or more ethnicity are assigned to one ethnic group. This means that if a leaner identifies themselves as Mâori in any of the ethnic groups, then they are recorded as Mâori. If any of the ethnic groups the learner identifies with is Pasifika, and they haven’t also identified themselves as Mâori, then they are recorded as Pasifika. The prioritised ethnicity of each student is stored within your Student Management System.’
That is, whenever Maori is placed in a sequence, even if placed third, that categorisation overrides all others.
The school communicating with me said they had grave concerns about this, believing that parents have the right to determine how their child should be classified.
It said it had a number of families who have chosen to classify their children as NZ European or Pasifika first and Maori second, and two have placed Maori third. Under this requirement, the choice in all these cases, without consultation, or the right to challenge, has been taken from the families: the child is categorised as Maori.
Maori trumps Pasifika and, of course, NZ European, no matter what!
What a festering swamp, the ministry must be.
Adding these children to the ‘Maori’ roll, the school says, will skew our data, giving us a different overall picture of our Maori children’s achievement, as a number of those affected are in our middle to high-achieving group.
The school questions the policy effects of this.
The school’s view is that it would serve as a way of showing improvement in one category without their being any.
It is currently trying to get some response from the Ministry on the issue, but decided to give me a heads-up in the meantime.