Keith Ballard is Emeritus Professor at the University of Otago. This paper was a Keynote address presented to the Te Kötahitanga Voices Conference 2008, University of Waikato, 26-27 November, 2008. In it, Professor Ballard develops theories of institutional racism and connects the practice of education with wider policy trends in New Zealand society. In particular, he develops a sharp critical analysis through the free-market policies that were instigated in New Zealand in the 1980s and shows how they have led to a wide disparity of wealth in the economy, increasingly widespread poverty and increasing gaps in educational achievement that impacts disproportionately on Maori and Pacifica children. He shows how the production and imposition of whiteness in the classroom forms part of the context for student failure.
He turns his critical gaze upon the conservative critique of the Te Kotahitanga programme, showing how it is driven and guided by conservative ideology rather than sound empirical analysis.
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