Friday, September 22, 2023

Kerre Woodham: What are the biggest issues we're facing?

I was really interested to hear the broad outline of ACT’s education policy goes a little further than National’s, but still with the aim of working towards a lift in New Zealand children's educational outcomes through rigour and testing.

It includes standards for early childhood education providers because educators are concerned at the number of children arriving at school completely unprepared for the classroom. The littlest one in our house is due to start school in the next couple of months, and when her mother had to fill out the before school checks, she was stunned at some of the questions that were covered off in the in the questionnaire. Is your child toilet trained at nearly five? Can they hold a pencil? Do they know how to hold a book?

Anecdotally, there are children turning up to school who don't have the language skills necessary to participate in class. Without language skills, they can't read, they can't articulate their needs. It is absolutely extraordinary the range of abilities new entrant teachers have to deal with.

And that's something that ACT says they want to address through the early childhood education providers. Of course, to benefit from the ECE, you'd have to send your child off to an early childhood education provider. And short of having people going around and lifting the children from the homes they're in and actually physically taking them there, there are going to be some who miss out.

Broadly, schools would be able to develop their own curriculum under ACT’s policy. It would just have to be approved by a central body and any curriculum would have to cover off the standards that would be tested at the end of the school year.

I like it. I need to read more of it. I've only read the news reports. I'd like to read the policies themselves. But then any party that says we have a problem with low achieving kids and who knows that education is vitally important in getting children out of poverty, that education will empower children by giving them more choices as adults, will absolutely get my vote.

For me, education and the economy are the two big issues. I was thundering away about this policy to anyone who would care to listen to. My poor friends, you know you'd think I'd have enough opportunity to air my views between 9am and midday, but no, they get it on my down-time. So I was banging on about education yet again and that really is something that I am utterly, utterly passionate about, it’s a way of it's a way of being able to level the playing field as much as you can. Education and the economy are the two big ones for me.

And I'd love to know what you're focused on. A million viewers tuned into the leaders debate on Tuesday night, not all at the same time. I think those figures also take into account on demand viewing. But for terrestrial television, that's not bad going. It means that people are interested, that they're engaged, that they're invested in the future of this country.

What do you consider are the most important issues that we're facing and that we have to deal with? There is so much that needs to be done by the next Government. Where would you list the priorities? Where, where would you start? What do you consider are the most important issues we're facing and who do you think is doing a better job of presenting the best management plan for getting us back to where we should be? What's the best way of getting our groove back?

Kerre McIvor, is a journalist, radio presenter, author and columnist. Currently hosts the Kerre Woodham mornings show on Newstalk ZB - where this article was sourced


Gaynor said...

Like you I am fairly fanatical about education.
I see it contributing to other areas like crime, welfare dependence. health and the economy.

Pre-schools definitely need attention.,but here as in primary and secondary sectors the damnable child centered ideology needs over throwing. If I had control I would have all particularly lower SES pre-school infants being taught phonemes and phonics knowledge, being able to count to 100, learn self control toilet trained, how to write and read their names and all the alphabet letters. Asian children are able to achieve this.

It would turn around our crime and welfare figures and build up the economy.

Anonymous said...

i think it is important to determine if the tax payers agree to funding early 'education' (i'm sure most - even childless couples - would begrudgingly agree) vs funding 'daycare' (i'm sure most would find it unfair - as it is the responsibility of parents).

based on this, if any entity expects any funding from govt by claiming to be ECE, we should agree that only the education component will be funded & it must be open to regular evaluation. perhaps freeing up daycare industry of irrelevant regulations would serve most working parents better. all you need is a safe house with no smokers, drunks, druggies, crims or pedos.