St Kentigern’s poaching of players from lower-decile schools illuminates an issue facing our whole education system.
Why is it that the only way kids from poor, generally Polynesian backgrounds can get an ‘‘elite’’ private education is by being blessed with superhuman athletic ability?
Why is it also that by remaining in their present schools they are both less likely to succeed in their chosen sport and also significantly less likely to excel academically?
It is because we have a fundamentally unequal and racially fragmented education system. If we look at our elite private schools, they are predominantly, if not exclusively, wealthy whites and/or occasionally Asian, with the odd token Ariki Ma¯ ori.
Contrast that with many state schools, particularly in lower deciles, and many will have scarcely a European face, with Polynesians predominating where white flight has taken place.
Compounding this is the fact that our taxes prop up these very wealthy private schools, giving them the additional funds to not only waste on vainglorious projects like poaching rugby players, but also to cherry-pick teachers from the state sector.
Surely the way to address this racist system is to stop funding it. By completely removing state funding from private schools, these bastions of educational exclusivity, we would also free up millions of dollars to properly remunerate our state-school teachers.
If private schools wish to continue to fund elite rugby teams and/or cherry-pick teachers from the state sector – they should be free to do so by charging parents who choose to do so – but our taxes should not continue funding this educational apartheid.
Kit Carter, Hamilton