For New Zealanders to be losing our democracy may be due to sheer carelessness, ignorance, or even stupidity, not to put too fine a point on it. However, is allowing our children to be academically short-changed, intellectually deprived and psychologically damaged forgivable?
The dumbing down of our education system has long left young New Zealanders performing abysmally in international literacy and maths assessment – compared to our high placings before the rot set in from the Sixties. Victims of this dumbing down form a major part of our population, including our MPs. We can no longer call ourselves a well-educated country. Moreover, the psychological damage caused by inappropriate sex education programmes foisted upon children in schools, including killing by abortion as a method of birth control, and highlighting transgenderism as available to them, undoubtedly traumatises and destabilises so many of our children.
Factor in today’s deceiving and frightening them with politicised adult concerns intruding into the world of childhood – as with the Thunberg-type climate change hysteria embraced by all our political parties, aware of the opportunity it offers to increase government control and taxation in almost every area of our national life. Nor is it any coincidence that this environmental extremism, enthusiastically advanced by Green parties is basically Marxism in disguise. The dictatorial Left shares the same fascist tendencies and authoritarian regimentation of society as the ultra-right.
What of our children? Only now, after a quarter of a century of the ideologically captured Ministry of Education withholding teaching phonics to children learning to read, is it making a comeback. Although the ministry denied this, teachers who insisted on continuing to teach phonetic reading were threatened with being over-looked for promotion. The substitution of the infamous Look and Say – (Whole Language Reading) – resulted in thousands of young New Zealanders failing to learn to read and subsequently being enrolled in Reading Recovery programmes. Only the severe sliding from New Zealand’s former high performance in literacy achievement – now impossible to ignore – has forced the hand of our bureaucracy. The actual evidence, including complaints from parents and good teachers, failed to move it from insisting Whole Language Reading was superior.
This was adopted in all New Zealand schools in 1983 and its promoter, clinical psychologist Marie Clay, was subsequently appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to education. However, it was described in a New York Times article in 1994 as ‘an anti-intellectual scam’. Only after nearly 40 years, seemingly because of a report from the NSW Department of Education, does our ministry acknowledge that Reading Recovery was largely ineffective and should not be used for most children. Meanwhile, the damage caused emotionally and intellectually to so many children, even adults, has been incalculable.
Were our education apparatchiks not alert to what was happening? For example, California, adopting Whole Language teaching after its own ‘experts’ visited New Zealand, long abandoned this failed method, reverting to phonic teaching when California performed last of all the US states in children’s reading assessments. Our bureaucracy remained unfazed – today wrongly claiming phonic teaching was never discouraged. It was, and now trying to combine it with Look and Say methods is not best practice.
Given the long march through our institutions, particularly with its focus on capturing the minds of our young, we are past time to wake up to the fact that our ministry has for many years been captured by neo-Marxists, using Lenin’s useful fools as tools. Apparently only the fact that our 15-year-olds have hit new lows in the international PISA tests of reading, maths and science has forced a U-turn – although it has long been recognised that many of these subject teachers, even English teachers, are not competent enough to be teaching well.
What’s next? The ministry is planning a new, utterly inadequate history curriculum, heavily weighted with bias. It represents the power struggle now going on within this country as part-Maori extremists, long intent on reinventing themselves as ‘treaty partners’, are demanding more and more funding and agitating for political advantage, aided by compliant media.
With active support from the Green party, close to our left-wing Prime Minister, today’s far from largely genetically Maori spokespersons, many reverting to the primitivism of disfiguring facial tattoos, are inventively claiming the constantly warring and disparate tribal groups originally signing the Treaty of Waitangi, acknowledging the sovereignty of the Queen, legally became partners with the British Crown. Agitating for constitutional change, they are now demanding equal Maori sovereignty over the country, pushing to rename us ‘Aotearoa’ – although this has been rejected by over 80 per cent in a poll.
The story of our past history – including that of most part-Maori – inherited from our colonial ancestors has been largely withheld in our schools. Our gifts from the Greeks, the Romans, the Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Celts and all those races contributing to our national identity have been almost totally neglected – including the important moments in that march to democracy and freedom represented, for example, by the Magna Carta. Of my own four sons, two recollect they were taught no history in school. Fortunately they were omnivorous readers. One later opted for history at senior, 7th form level, together with English, subsequently winning a scholarship. Another, also choosing it as a late option only, recollects history and geography morphing into social studies. ‘So we got half-done versions of each. “Social change” was teamed with “Newspapers in Education” …. I didn’t know the differences between world wars one and two until 6th form.’
The new, proposed history syllabus? A semi-literate collection of mumbo-jumbo, described by a foremost political historian, Dr Michel Bassett, as ‘woefully ignorant of historical facts’. Its underlying intention is apparently to demonise the wicked colonists, white-washing facts – including those of the ever-warring, cannibalistic Maori tribes – ‘handing control of the country’s identity and intellectual life to the Maori Council…The government is intent on sanitising our history…and the rot lies at the heart of the Ministry of Education.’ We carry on as usual, then?
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