Saturday, January 07, 2012

Principals on hungry children

For some time it has seemed to me that the general public has stopped buying into the idea that poor, hungry children simply need more money given to them by the government. The parties promoting this during the election did not find favour. OK, it could be argued that the Green vote increased but I don't think it was due to their policy to increase benefits. I recently talked to the previous local Green candidate - the one I campaigned alongside in 2005 and 2008 - and even she felt it was a weak policy. Coincidently she was a teacher.

The Taranaki Daily News has spoken to a few principals at low decile schools and heard the following:

Waitara Central principal Sharren Read says mismanagement of income and unaffordable debt mean basic needs like housing suffer. 

Devon Intermediate principal Fiona Parkinson says her students come from all walks of life and there are families attending the school bordering on poverty.
"It comes back to the Government and their priorities for spending. The issue is a societal one – not just a school one – and it needs to be addressed at a high level. It's to do with the support given to families and isn't just a case of throwing money at them," she says.
Good. Some sense at least.

1 comment:

pdm said...

I might be stretching the thrust of this post but thought you would be interested in the following.

Over the back fence of the houses across the street from us is one of the most sought after primary schools in Hastings. I don't know what decile it is but expect it would be 7-10 (is that the right way?). As an example of its desirability our tenant was reluctant to move out last year until she could find a houseto rent that would enable her to keep her child at the school. We had to wait an extra couple of weeks to move back in to accommodate her.
One of the mothers in our street is on the Board of Trustees of the school and her husband was telling me at a street party just before Christmas that until about mid year they had never had a child come to school hungry.

One day in June or July a child came to school saying he had not had breakfast and apparently the directive is that the shool had to feed this child. Guess what - by the end of the year the school was providing breakfast for 24 or 25 kids on any given day.

This tells me that poverty is not the problem. It is the availability of food at the school which allows parents to direct funds away from feeding their kids although laziness may also play a part.