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Mallard Sanctions Further Child Cruelty

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Libertarianz Party

Mallard Sanctions Further Child Cruelty

Falling literacy standards in New Zealand schools, long recognised by concerned parents, business leaders and tertiary institutions, have been dealt another blow by Minister of Education Trevor Mallard's blanket dismissal of a report advocating the use of phonics in reading development - so says newly appointed Libertarianz spokesman for the deregulation of education, Ross Elliot.

"Mr Mallard's opinion seems to be that the phonic method of reading instruction belongs to the past, and his ministry seems to believe that New Zealand still leads the world in literacy teaching and that we are doing better all the time," says Elliot. "Their beliefs are as false as the current whole language method of 'teaching' is ineffective, and is downright cruel to the majority of New Zealand children and their parents."

No less than Sir Angus Tait - one of the wise old men of New Zealand business - has publicly criticised the appalling level of basic literacy in tertiary graduates applying for jobs with his companies. Even the University of Canterbury Council has urged remedial action. Elliot points out that concerned parents have known for many years that something is not right in our schools and we are now seeing the results as functionally illiterate adults are leaving secondary and tertiary institutions in increasing numbers.

He says the reason for this disaster is very simple: "A whole generation has been taught using the irrational word-picture or whole-language method, which has stunted and retarded the natural curiosity and sense of discovery children have for the reading process - stunted by a system that deprives them of the most basic reading tools, and of the confidence to decipher the written word. Only by reinstating the phonics method where children are taught the symbols and sounds that make up individual words will high standards be restored to our classrooms," he says, "and confidence and dignity returned to our children."

Unfortunately, a huge industry has grown up around this 'problem,' making such a restoration unlikely without the complete removal of the state from education. "From special needs and remedial teachers (who ironically rely on phonics to correct most reading problems) - to the publishers of pathetically ineffective and insulting reading primers - to the troglodytes in the teacher's union and at the Ministry of Education who are too afraid and ashamed (or should be) to deal with the problem - there is enormous nest-feathering and complacency to be overcome."

Elliot's solution is clear. He says that if parents were able to choose how and where their children are educated then no school would dare continue the present regime for fear of bankruptcy. "Deregulate the education market and give parents their tax dollars back and this nonsense would all be over," he says. "It's only the use of the big government gun and the state monopoly it sustains that allows the purveyors of an irrational methodology to get away with this crime. Reading is a simple process that when learned using phonics opens a new world to eager young minds. Great educators like Maria Montessori knew this, and it's about time that we did too."

It's enough to make you vote Libertarianz!

ENDS

For further information please contact: Ross Elliot LIBERTARIANZ SPOKESMAN FOR THE DEREGULATION OF EDUCATION Phone Libertarianz Media Coordinator (09) 631 0034, e-mail: organon@ihug.co.nz

www.libertarianz.org.nz www.libz.org

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