First, a quote from earlier in the week: “Education in the government's factory schools is pumping out an ever-increasing number of functionally illiterate and unemployable youths - good for nothing beyond stuffing a ballot box." - Peter Osborne
And a cartoon (from The Free Radical):
And now, some good news. The Government appears to have accepted the bad news that "the literacy level of about 800,000 workers is such that they might struggle to transfer printed information to an order form - a deficiency cited as a factor stifling the country's economic growth" -- and, not incidentally, blighting the lives and futures of at least 800,00 New Zealanders. Story here. Puff piece here.
The bad news is, first, that according to Pete Hodgson, it is businesses who will be expected to teach their own workers reading, writing and maths "under a complex new plan to raise the skills of the workforce."
Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O'Reilly - who, with Government and New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, is part of the new Skill New Zealand Forum developing the plan - [said he] didn't want a "bureaucratic nightmare" for business [but] "We've got a problem in terms of functional illiteracy and innumeracy in our workplaces. We are poor by world standards," said Mr O'Reilly.
At least it means the schools responsible for this disaster won't be getting their hands back on the evidence of their resounding failure. But the further bad news however, completely un-addressed by this "complex new plan," is that the factory schools that churned out this horde of functional illiterates continue to sail on regardless. One in five of the New Zealanders who attended those schools for ten years or more failed to attain the most basic of life skills, yet nothing about that revelation will cause any sort of re-examination by those responsible.
That is outrageous. It would happen in no other line of endeavour except one monopolised by the state.
Those who continue to insist that the state simply must take charge of primary and secondary education might pause to consider what this figure shows about the efficacy and content of what those factory schools have been and are continuing to delivering -- in recent years it's been mostly bullshit, mush and toxic swill. If you thought they were primarily teaching literacy and numeracy, you were obviously very much mistaken -- it's mostly about the seven-lesson inculcation of servitude.
If you ever thought that appalling figures such as these would get the planners behind the factory schools asking themselves serious questions about their plans and their success rate (or lack thereof), then you've been hoodwinked. And if you ever wondered whether a private organisation with failure of this magnitude would be able to get away with it, then I have a bridge I can sell you.
The tragedy of wholesale illiteracy and innumeracy must be laid firmly at the door of the mandarins responsible for the method of teaching and the content of what is taught at the state's indoctrination centres. It is not enough to pick up the lives of those blighted by those mandarins years later. It is essential that those responsible are urgently removed from the responsibility of filling up further young minds, and be placed where they are never in such a position again.
As every year a new horde of young New Zealanders surges forth into the world, one in five of whom after ten years of factory schooling are unable to function in the modern world, the situation becomes ever more urgent. Don't just wring your hands in impotent despair at the tragedy. Don't just bewail the youngsters' sorry futures. Don't just join me in hammering the factory schools. Join me in going in there and taking them all back.