David Shearer’s education speech today was excellent in every way. Core Labour values, a sound understanding of the issues, significant concrete policy, and the promise of more to come.
This is the kind of speech that I as a Labour Party supporter want to hear more of. After watching National mess up education at every level, this is the kind of speech that I as a teacher needed to hear. Here it is in a nutshell:
Under Labour, the world’s best education will be available at your local school.
It’s a big goal, and it will take time to get there, but it is the right goal. Education isn’t the short term answer to anything – but it is the long term answer to everything. By every measure better educated countries are more successful countries. Hey Labour – we could do worse than to look to Finland for direction…
Shearer set out a big policy promise, targeting one of the huge disadvantages that kids from poor families have in education:
Labour will be more hands-on, partnering with communities and voluntary organizations to put free food in all decile 1 to 3 schools that want and need it.
Excellent. Given the massive link between poverty and educational achievement this one programme alone will do far more to improve outcomes than the Nats’ misguided and discredited “national standards”. Here’s a few more highlights from the speech, including a commitment to reading recovery in all schools:
National is systematically undermining the very values that make our education system great . They are peddling tired ideas that don’t work, copied from countries that rank far below us.
We won’t agree to National’s plan to set up Charter Schools – funded with taxpayer dollars – whether they’re run by Brian Tamaki the Maharishi yogi, or whoever.
Reading recovery has an 80% success rate. It’s the gold standard. Devised by Marie Clay it’s been exported all over the world. Yet it’s not universally available here. So the starting point should be to extend Reading Recovery to every school in the country. … We also need to devise a similar maths recovery intervention.
There are ways to lift our education system and I will make it happen. We start by valuing what we have. Listening to those who know. Education is an investment in our future. It is not a cost. And in the Labour Party we take that to heart.
A good day for Labour.