|NEW ZEALAND'S EDUCATION
The greatest asset in New Zealand’s education system is teachers. Teacher salaries make up the bulk of education spend, and teachers are the most important factor for student achievement and development. Thus New Zealand must design policies that attract the best and brightest into the teaching profession, and design attractive career structures so that teachers can develop their full potential and so that the best teachers remain in the classroom. New Zealand’s education system is often heralded as world class and, indeed, our top students are doing extremely well in reading, mathematics, and science. Yet there is wide variation between the top and bottom students, and vMāori, Pasifika and lower SES students are overrepresented in the lower end of the achievement spectrum. Primary school students are way behind their international counterparts in the three core subjects, and there are particular concerns around poor performance in mathematics. Some researchers argue that low expectations of students are partly to blame for poor achievement.
Improving the performance of the schooling system has concerned governments and educationists around the world for the last 50 years. The plethora of educational reforms, each intended to be the ‘silver bullet’, have exhausted teachers and yielded very little progress.
No education system is better than its teachers yet these reforms have failed to respect teachers as trusted professionals and partners in reform.
For the rest of this report visit The New Zealand Initiative