Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Reading Recovery Needs Recovery

28 April 2005

Reading Recovery Needs Recovery

Comments on National's reading voucher policy revealed that opinion leaders in education aren't aware of the facts about reading recovery (RR).

RR does not pick up all 6 year olds who are finding it hard to read. Comprehensive testing of 6 year olds directly followed by remedial action is a figment of the imagination. One third of all schools do not offer reading recovery. Just under half of Decile 1-3 schools don't offer reading recovery. Higher decile schools are more likely to offer it.

Schools tell me they don't offer it because it doesn't work, or because they can't afford it, or because they don't have the teaching expertise or because classroom management is a higher priority. Whatever the reasons, good and bad, there is no safety net that ensures every 6 year old gets a chance to learn to read. Perpetual talk about the long tail of underachievement provides comfort to worried souls, but much more must be done to help schools with the 20% of 6 year olds who miss the safety net.

Nothing new is good

Wild generalisations delivered with emotional fervour are a time-honoured tradition in the politics of education. Let's knock one over now. Apparently reading vouchers have been tried all over the world and failed. This is simply not true.

Out of school tuition has been tried all over the world as it has for many years in New Zealand. People who can afford it get it. What hasn't been tried is the government providing funding to people who couldn't otherwise afford the extra help.



The voucher idea popped up last week in the British election campaign, from one of Blair's former chief advisers, and is gaining momentum on the back of a new study that finds phonic methods work well for some children.

Right next door in Australia, a reading voucher pilot is underway, details of which can be found here. The pilot allowed for 2000 students to take up the voucher, and 22,000 parents applied. The biggest issue with the voucher will be rationing access in the face of overwhelming parent demand.

Rationing will promote an open and healthy debate about what we can expect seven year olds to read, how to handle reading disabilities, and children with English as a second language.

Is the Competent Child Study competent?

In an earlier edition I promised to trawl through the Competent Child research to understand how it can lead to such definite and compelling conclusions other research has never reached.

Let's start with the sample. I am a layman trying to do a job a professional ought to do, but I have found some aspects of the study so odd that there must be explanations.

I like to start with the sample of about 500 children. It looks a bit shonky to me. About 268 of the 500 children were recruited from mainly middle-class Wellington preschools. So only half of the sample have been tracked with detailed information of their early childhood education.

The rest of the 500 were recruited at the age of 8 and their early childhood history was taken from their parents over the phone. 70% of the composite sample of 500 attended an early childhood service in addition to the one they were classified as attending. The sample looks too small and unrepresentative.

Here's another one that can't be as good as it looks. The study is quoted as the basis for the drive for more qualified teachers. While there may be good reasons for this policy, it's certainly not in the Competent Child study that I can find. In fact, here is a quote describing how they looked at staff qualifications. "We had to push our exploration of the effects of ECE training on ECS quality to the limits of our sample by focusing only on playcentres, which had sufficient cell sizes of different children to staff ratios"


What?? Can it be correct that the robust research behind the staff qualifications policy is based on a sample of play centres? Surely not! - explanations please. If the Minister of Education wants to drive a wedge through the heart of the early childhood sector with his policy of 20 hours free childcare in community owned centres, then he will need to show the discrimination is based on more than personal prejudice. The Competent Child study may not help him.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

SCOOP COVERAGE: CHRISTCHURCH MOSQUES TERROR ATTACK


Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Open White Nationalism

At one level, this has been the week that the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln – which once led a civil war that ended the slave economy of the South – has now defined itself openly as being the party of white nationalism.

By telling those four elected, American born and/or raised women of colour to “go home”, US President Donald Trump’s racist agenda has come out of the shadows. More>>

 

RNZ: Trades Hall Bombing Case Re-Opened, Evidence Released

The cold case has been reopened and the police have recently revealed more details about the bomb's components - including that it was wrapped in a 1977 edition of The Evening Post. More>>

Safety: Govt Targets Fewer Deaths On The Road

“Most roads deaths and serious injuries are preventable and too many New Zealanders have lost their lives or been seriously injured in crashes that could have been prevented by road safety upgrades,” said Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Rise Delay: Teachers Unions Plan Legal Action Against Novopay

Both of the teachers unions - NZEI and the PPTA - have confirmed they will be taking legal action against Novopay. More>>

ALSO:

Emission Statement: 'Consensus Reached' On Agriculture

Today the Government launched a consultation document, informed by the work of the Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC), on how to bring agriculture into the emissions trading scheme, a key part of the Government’s plan to tackle climate change and reduce New Zealand’s emissions. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On What’s Wrong With Wellington

For many Wellingtonians, it hasn’t been the normal hardships – the workings of central government and the lousy weather – that have recently pushed their tolerance into the red zone. It has been the inability of local government to maintain even the basics. More>>

ALSO:

$1m Compensation Paid: First Gun Ban Event In Christchurch

The Police Minister says the first ever firearms collection event in Christchurch over the weekend was a huge success. But Stuart Nash had concerns about whether the participation reflected the number of weapons in the region. More>>

ALSO:

The Kids: Youth Parliament 2019 Event Kicks Off

120 Youth MPs and 20 Youth Press Gallery members have gathered in Wellington to attend the two-day Youth Parliament event ... More>>

ALSO:

Friends Like These: Foreign Minister To Visit USA

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington D.C. today for talks with senior members of the US Administration, and to attend the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Aussie Banks’ Latest Fee Hike Excuse

When the Reserve Bank sought feedback on its plans to require the country’s major banks to raise their capital reserves then you might have expected the banks to whine and complain. And so they have. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels