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My Personal Interest

My Personal Interest

Tuesday 13 Nov 2001 Donna Awatere Huata Press Releases -- Education

ACT Education Spokesman MP Donna Awatere Huata today denounced Trevor Mallard's response to the ground-breaking `Let's All Read' Select Committee Inquiry.

"Mr Mallard accuses me of having a `personal interest' in this matter. You bet I do. The politician in me is furious that Mr Mallard has rejected the Select Committee report. But as a mother of seven children - two of whom have had trouble learning to read - I am absolutely distraught. If Mr Mallard can't handle my personal involvement, then he should listen to some of the other upset parents out there.

"This Select Committee got unanimous support from five different political parties for fifty-one excellent recommendations. Mr Mallard is choosing to do sweet nothing.

"Mr Mallard says, `we're doing it all already'. If that was the case, the Select Committee would have wasted seventeen months listening to 360 submissions. And the Labour and Alliance MPs would never have supported our recommendations

"Mr Mallard points to `Literacy Leadership'. This has nothing to do with the teaching of reading. It is all about management, and has nothing to do with the pedagogy of reading. Out of two entire manuals, `Literacy Leadership' only has two pages on phonics.

"Mr Mallard alleges the Select Committee didn't make any recommendations regarding phonics. I point him to recommendations 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 13, 14, and 19 through 30. Did he even bother reading the report?

"Mr Mallard claims schools already use phonics and whole language. How does he explain the fact that no new phonics material has been developed in five years? Staff in the Ministry who train literacy resource teachers have all left. The contract has been handed over to a teachers' training college - one of the very colleges the Select Committee was unimpressed with.

"Mr Mallard says he will take some time to "consider" ten recommendations. Give me a break! He has had three months to "consider" the report. Does he think the problem is going away?

"Every recommendation on Maori literacy are being ignored. Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta and I formed the sub-committee on that subject. I call on Ms Mahuta, and all of her colleagues in the Maori Caucus to attempt to justify Mr Mallard's negligent behaviour. "I said this morning Mr Mallard is the worst Minister of Education since Merv Wellington. I stand by that comment," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

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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