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Nothing wrong with having standards but . . .

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National Standards are failing to make the difference that is needed, writes Lester Flockton.

The International Educational Achievement survey of 1970 placed New Zealand's 9-year-olds and 14-year-olds first in reading achievement in comparison with all other participating countries.

We held an enviable position globally. Literacy educators from all over the world were studying our methods and classroom environments, our literacy materials were being exported to other parts of the world, and our approaches to reading and writing instruction were being adopted in many countries.

These were approaches developed by committed teachers - not so-called experts chosen by a Ministry of Education.

Fast forward to New Zealand 1998. Neoliberal policies had settled in, and our national demographic was changing dramatically. The gap in children's home circumstances was widening at a pace, and our literacy profile, while still respectable, was declining.

A worrying percentage of our children were struggling with reading, writing and mathematics, and a high percentage of those children........

© Otago Daily Times