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Mallard's Decision Will Affect Generations

Mallard's Decision Will Affect Generations

Friday 9 Nov 2001 Donna Awatere Huata Press Releases -- Education

Education Minister Trevor Mallard has a huge opportunity next week to improve literacy for generations of New Zealand children, ACT Education Spokesman MP Donna Awatere Huata said today.

"Next week, Mr Mallard will announce his response to the ground-breaking Select Committee Inquiry into Reading," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

"Mr Mallard has a rare opportunity to make a real difference and leave his mark. We cannot afford to get this wrong. Mr Mallard must implement every recommendation of the Inquiry."

Mrs Awatere Huata said she was optimistic after Mr Mallard this morning described as "exciting" a report that makes the exact same recommendations as the Select Committee Inquiry.

"I welcome Mr Mallard's discovery that low expectations for poor kids create poor results. We will know next week if he is sincere about getting rid of bigotry and institutional racism.

"Things are a mess. Seventy per cent of Maori and seventy-five per cent of Pacific Island adults cannot read above minimum levels. Poorer children account for an inordinate number of suspensions and are grossly over-represented in School Certificate failure rates. More than 10,000 students dropped out with no qualifications last year - a higher number than ever before.

"New Zealand's parents don't care how Mr Mallard packages his decision, or what political spin he puts on it. What we want is for him to support the unanimously supported, cross-party findings. We want him to affirm that the damaging whole language-phonics wars are over. We want him to implement innovative new standards for graduating teachers that will ensure new educators have a range of skills that will allow them to teach reading across the entire pre-tertiary sector. We want kids to come first.

"Mr Mallard has a rare opportunity. He has the ability to stamp out the bigotry of low expectations that is widespread through the education service, and implement revolutionary changes that will last for generations. I hope he has the courage to do so," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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