Education disconnect from Labour

Labour has announced a major new policy…one that of course requires millions in extra spending.

However there is a disconnect.

Labour and the teacher unions have told us constantly and repeatedly that New Zealand’s education system is the envy of the world.

And yet it now requires urgent focus on reading recovery programmes for pupils? Really? Our much vaunted education system that the whole world envies is having to focus on reading recovery….does that mean it isn’t all it is cracked up to be by the unions and Labour?

You can’t have to both ways Labour, either our system is the envy of the world and the government shouldn’t be tinkering with it, or we have fundamental flaws that require action.

Personally I agree that there are flaws and reading recovery is needed along with maths recovery…but Labour just disingenuous to always oppose everything else yet come up with a panacea when it suits them.




THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • fergus

    So labour are now making the arguement for national standards??? Afterall, if we need remeadial reading…there is, as you point out, a problem. But before we can fix the problem…we must first know what and how big the problem is….ie NATIONAL STANDARDS.

    • Yup, the argument for national standards is now over.

      • Teachersrock

        The argument was over a long time ago. National Standards are garbage and will do nothing to help kids. See, already seen for what they are, and being poorly implemented by good teachers to prevent harm.

        • fergus

          teachers are employees….if these “good” teachers fail to impliment what their employers (the VOTERS, via the govt.)tell them too they should be FIRED for abandonment of their employment contracts!!!

        • Dion

          So information causes “harm” how does it? That’s a new one on me.

          • Teachersrock

            Bad information does. And NS provides bad information.

        • rightoverlabour

          Are you a teacher? Hope not, as your ability to explain things is lacking. If we did not have year 10, 11 and 12 students with reading ages of 6 year olds, I would agree that National Standards are a waste of time. Your comment is, at best, bizarre.

          • Teachersrock

            Buying into the lies I see.

    • Teachersrock

      Think again.

  • thor42

    So-called “reading recovery” is a COMPLETE disaster.
    It is based on the FAILED methodology of “whole language”.

    Let me shout this from the rooftops –


    That program is a ***disaster***.

    This policy of Labour’s will make NO DIFFERENCE at all.

    Dame Marie Clay has an AWFUL lot to answer for, with her FOOLISH “whole
    language” nonsense. THAT is the methodology that “reading recovery” is based on.

    Here – let me ram the point home. I will quote to you from a Listener
    article called “Superphonics” (from the Listener of Mar4-10 2000). The
    article mentions Don Buck Primary school in West Auckland.

    Quote – “Whole language enthusiasts, such as Reading Recovery founder
    Dame Marie Clay, have taught a generation of teachers not to emphasise
    letter sounds or spelling patterns lest these interfere with story
    comprehension. Meaning is the thing, context the buzzword.The idea is
    that “literacy will develop naturally”…..”

    Now, back to Don Buck school and its change from “whole language” to phonics.

    Quote – “We introduced “Jolly Phonics” in 1996. By the end of that year,
    every child was reading. Same teachers, just a change of methodology.

    For a few hundred dollars, an off-the shelf-phonics kit had done what
    all the shared reading and tens of thousands of dollars of reading
    recovery tuition couldn’t. ”

    Need more proof? California got caught up in the “whole language”
    craze and saw their reading scores drop to the worst in the US. They
    have now abandoned “whole language” and gone back to phonics.

    And yet the ***FAILED*** methodology – “whole language” – is what
    Labour is pushing with “reading recovery”! DO NOT BE CONNED.

    PHONICS is the answer.

    Does anyone remember Doris Ferry? The legendary reading teacher from the Kapiti Coast?

    She was in HUGE demand from parents whose children had reading problems.

    What methodology did she use? Phonics.

  • thor42

    I think my original post may have been deleted, so I will make this very brief.
    Bringing in more “reading recovery” will not work.
    It is based on the failed methodology of “whole language”.
    THAT is what has caused the problem in the first place, and yet Labour is now proposing MORE of it? Yeah, right…..

    If Labour were proposing to bring in **phonics** to every school, then **that** would be worth supporting.
    More so-called “reading recovery” is not.

  • thor42

    ( I’ll try to make this my last post in the thread, WO. )
    This obituary for Graham Crawshaw, an outstanding figure in reading education here, gives a very good fisking of “reading recovery” and “whole language”. –
    Read the whole thing, but in particular the section “The Look-and-Guess Lady” (about Marie Clay). It is essential reading.

  • Grandstream

    Risky strategy for labour on this, NZ might wake up and realize that the biggest issue in our schools is in fact the teachers union and their stranglehold at the TCOL’s.

    • Teachersrock

      Not at all. Parents will see that Labour want to give schools the tools, as opposed to providing next to no funding to support children who need is as National currently does.

  • LesleyNZ

    Reading Recovery started in NZ well over 30 years ago and yet we still have children failing to read. Think about it – we have Reading Recovery at age 6! The kids start school at 5 and by age 6 they are – dare I say it – failing in reading. Unless they have a physical or mental impairment, no child should fail to learn to read if they are taught properly in their Junior School years. Children need structure in learning to read, not guess work. If the phonics system of reading is used children will learn to read.

    • Teachersrock

      Blame the Government for that. They say when it can start, they only allow 2 children a term, they only provide minimal funding.

      And anyone who things using a phonics only approach will get all kids to read, have zero understanding of how to teach kids to read.

      • LesleyNZ

        The child needs to learn phonics at the beginning – it gives them a foundation. I have a very good understanding of how to teach a child to read.

        • Teachersrock

          No, you don’t. Not all kids learn in the same way, some need whole word, some need phonics, most need a mix. To think that phonics is the only thing they need is plain foolishness and a clear indicator you do not have a good understanding.

          • LesleyNZ

            None of the kids I taught over the years ever failed to read.

          • Bafacu

            So you are the only one who “knows” all these wonderful things – how nice it must be to be so fixed in your entrenched position.

            I note that Sheep was interviewed on ZB this morning and when challenged why the “world renowned” NZ education system was failing those who could not read stated the “NZ has a world renowned reading recovery program”. Quite a change from the whole education being so great – and if the “reading recovery” is so great how come it fails so many going through it?

            I look forward to some specifics rather that the generalisations that you normally trot out

  • Bruce

    And anyone who things(sic phonics would have helped here, can you even read yourself!!!!!!!!!!)) using a phonics only approach will get all kids to read, have zero understanding of how to teach kids to read” Perhaps you would like to explain how people like my father and his cohorts were all able to read and write well despite leaving school at the age of 12in 1938. And what method did they use Phonics of course. And yet now despite advanced teacher training many people cannot read at age 17.