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Can culturally responsive policies improve Māori achievement?

Jacek Krzyzosiak and Georgina Stewart

This article analyses research literature and policy texts to investigate the extent to which culturally responsive education policies can improve Māori achievement in schools. It presents a snapshot of current levels of Māori inequity, which is followed by an account of the history of Māori education policy to illustrate the origins of the current situation. Contemporary policies for Māori education, based on cultural responsiveness, are analysed in terms of their potential to succeed in overcoming Māori inequity. While it is important for teachers and schools to engage in culturally responsive practice, blind faith in these policies as “the solution” to Māori underachievement is unrealistic, and has the potential to place unfair responsibility for raising Māori student achievement on schools and teachers, rather than on government or policy itself.

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