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

Campbell on: the local body election result in Wellington

For obvious reasons, politics is more of a big deal in the capital city than anywhere else in the country. Even so, fewer than four in ten eligible voters bothered to vote in Saturday’s local body elections in Wellington (turnout 39.66%).

Even less was felt to be at stake this time around than in 2016, when 45% of the electorate voted Justin Lester into the mayoralty.

To put it mildly, the Lester-led Council failed to live up to expectations. Lester will be remembered mainly for the fact that somehow, he managed to lose this election. . More>>

 
 

Could Do Better: Post-Sroubek Review Of Deportation Info

Ms Tremain acknowledges that the review highlighted some aspects of the process that can be improved and makes five main recommendations to strengthen the existing processes for preparing files for decision-makers. Those recommendations are: More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A New Book On The Leaky Homes Scandal

We all know that journalism is short of cash and under pressure from the speed, brevity and clickbait pressures of the 24/7 news cycle… but hey, given the right subject and a sufficiently stubborn journalist, it can still surpass most of the works of the academic historians... More>>

Regulation: Review Finds NZTA Road Safety Failings

The independent review, carried out by consultant agency MartinJenkins, lists at least 10 reasons for the failures including the agency being focused on customer service at the expense of its policing functions. More>>

ALSO:

Rod Carr: Climate Change Commission Chair-Designate Announced

Climate Change Minister James Shaw has today announced the appointment of Dr Rod Carr as Chair-designate for the Climate Change Commission. More>>

ALSO:

Compliance Complaints: 'Putting Right' Holidays Act Underpayment In Health

The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA: Disasterous Police Pursuit, Excessive Use Of Dogs

At no stage did Police follow the correct procedure for the commencement of a pursuit... A Police dog handler used his dog to help with the arrest of two of the young people. One suffered injuries resulting in his hospitalisation, and the Authority found that the use of the dog was an excessive use of force. More>>

ALSO:

‘Hard Place To Be Happy’: Report On Youth Residential Care

Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft says the report, A Hard Place to be Happy, contains important challenges from children and young people, aged 9 to 17, about their experiences in care and protection residences. “I found this report extremely difficult to read, and I think most New Zealanders would too.” More>>

Africa And Middle East Refugees: 'Family Link' Restriction Removed

The founder of the Double the Quota campaign has applauded the coalition government for Friday’s announcement that a discriminatory policy would be removed. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels