Imagine if, for several decades, your profession had delivered not success, but wholesale abject failure.
Imagine if, instead of the results you claimed to be striving for, your efforts were by contrast delivering the very opposite.
At what point, I wonder, would you question the methods of your profession – and perhaps even to wonder what your profession was truly trying to achieve.
I ask, because after decades of factory schooling, the very basic aim of that schooling – teaching students to read and write and count – is still failing. Or, in the words of that failing system: still not being achieved.
After decades of progressive teaching, tens-of-thousands of young adults are still pouring forth unable to function in the modern world: functionally illiterate, all but inumerate, yet holding little coloured pieces of paper saying they have “achieved.”
Universities* and employers taking in these failures have commented on this for years, yet nothing has changed.
Timber processing company Juken New Zealand's mill manager, Paul Jordan, told RNZ News the literacy and numeracy of many school leavers he had hired in recent years was not up to scratch, even though they had NCEA.
"We're talking about the ability to comprehend written instructions, keep themselves safe, follow simple recipes for manufacturing and measure sizes and volumes and maybe do a little bit of conversion on that," he said.
"[Those are] very fundamental literacy and numeracy skills that sometimes are completely absent…."
Mr Jordan said many of the school leavers with poor literacy and numeracy had met the minimum requirements [to pass NCEA] …
A new report makes clear that being able to read and write is no barrier to passing NCEA. Meaning employers like Juken are having to take on the job that our taxes were supposed to already have well paid for.
It is not for any lack of time in the classroom. Yet despite the government’s teachers having the time to indoctrinate children in subjects like social justice, climate change and the importance of recycling – and parents happily delivering their loved ones into their care every morning – they have neither time nor any proper programme to deliver decent reading, writing and arithmetic.
After decades of this failure, with generations of illiterates themselves now attempting to teach literacy to the young and no genuine contrition at all from any of those designing, delivering and administering the whole system, you really do have to wonder whether it is by design instead of accident; whether this is in fact the basic aim of government schooling at all?
* The irony, of course, being that it is the universities themselves wherein these failing teaching programmes have been developed
- “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."
Illiterates still sadly surging forth. Ambulances positioned firmly at cliff base. – NOT PC, 2008
- When literacy dives at home, as it has -- more feel-good crap and less real learning seems to be the motto of the state's factory schools both here and the US -- then it becomes easier to hire literate workers 'outsourced' from offshore.
Outsourcing the literate – NOT PC, 2005
- Illiterate graduates of the State's factory schools have been let down by a system that promotes the government's chosen values ahead of promoting real learning. We are all the losers.
Neither free nor education – NOT PC, 2005
- Things are bad all over. Literacy figures across the western world have been getting worse and worse for years … Can you imagine then, in a world of rampant and increasing illiteracy, a school which goes against fashion and where students are actually taught to read, and to write well?
Reading, writing and teaching that works – NOT PC, 2007
- It’s not just that teachers don’t want to be found out for their lacklustre teaching – although that’s the motivation for many of them – it’s that today’s fashionable educational theories mitigate against any objectivity at all, or even genuine education.
Standards? What standards? – NOT PC, 2009
- If there’s a silver bullet for improving the appalling literacy rates of the youngsters who leave NZ’s factory schools it’s not National Bloody Standards, it’s phonics. Phonics from an early age to teach youngsters properly what those marks on the page sound like, and at a later age to repair the damage of those teachers who told them the marks themselves didn’t matter – that it was okay just to guess.
There’s a frickin’ elephant in the schoolroom – NOT PC, 2009
- I posted this morning about the complete and calamitous systemic failure that happens when government departments go wrong. Here’s one of the biggest, confirmed by just-released Massey University research: the minimising and belittling of phonics in teaching reading (begun by “The Look-Guess Lady” Dame Marie Clay and spread though govt Teachers Colleges, and govt schools with govt-mandated curricula) which has been disastrous.
New report says bring back phonics to fix widespread illiteracy – NOT PC, 2013
[Cartoons by Nick Kim, from The Free Radical]