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The call has to be to each of us

Sep. 17th, 2014 | 09:50 pm

The call has to be to each of us

I very recently had a sad snapshot view of what has happened to a country which once focused on putting families first.  Giving the lie to the usual ongoing political hype and untruthful claims of “a rock-star economy”, many families today can't even afford their own houses. It's a country which has been shockingly ineptly managed, damaged by our political masters, and still marching along the same path. Our perceivedly under-educated, poorly-spoken, grammar-mangling rock star Prime Minister enjoys performing centre-stage while above us hangs the question of  what is happening to a society too long dominated by ill-advised politicians maximising their own incomes and survival prospects  - and too close to powerful special interest groups.

I was there on a sparkling summer’s day to attend a local  junior school swimming sports at the request of an enthusiastic little granddaughter. Like a microcosm of the destruction wrought upon this country, only three young mothers were also there, and just one father.  Four parents only able to attend… with mothers now forced to work, and even two incomes insufficient for so many families.

What a pathetic contrast to when, sitting on the same wooden forms by the same pool, the sports in which her own father had swum, as a small boy - while scores of happily chatting parents and toddlers took up all the seating and standing room. I used to feel sorry that income-earning Dads missed out on so many of the landmarks of their children's lives.  Today’s thirties-something father was able to come for his five year old son’s sake because he works from home.

That in one generation this country has lost so much was brought to me. And unfortunately, much of the reason has been the failure of so many individuals, who could have done so, to themselves stand up to be counted, to be involved. It hasn't helped that this present generation of parents has been quite deliberately under-educated. Many feel diffident, with a growing awareness of their ignorance; of an inability to understand what has happened; to articulate their thinking; or to be asking the questions they should.

The same little five year old girl, taught, with good reason, to read before she arrived at school to be messed around with by the usual disastrous education theorising, devours books at the level of an 8 to 9-year-old, loving the wonderful The Enchanted Wood and The Magic Faraway Tree stories, even the harder Galliano’s Circus stories by the brilliantly imaginative Enid Blyton -  predictably so long banned by librarians and educationists.

However, this eager child seemingly did no work at all for the first three weeks back this year…work apparently scheduled to start only once all the grading and asessement was done. I recall my own time  in secondary school language teaching  where one started teaching at once, on the first day. One started as one intended to go on, even while making the learning process as interesting and rewarding as possible. Even now, this little girl is markedly under-extended. Maths and reading (the latter well below her level of ability) to date seem to be the only concrete subjects taught in the school day. Sports activities, displacement activities and comical, cartonised DVDS with no relation at all to quality teaching or learning are not infrequent. There are some good initiatives - the buddy system of a child from an older class taking care of a younger, new child; a system of sharing within the classroom with every child to befriend another new partner each week; well-meaning teachers.

But this does not address the issue of a dumbed-down,  inadequate curriculum dominated by playway  initiatives and an inappropriate and damaging emphasis on computer use,  plus the distracting eco-activism of teaching “sustainability”,  pitched at all levels. Nor does it help that today’s theorising has it that badly behaved, disruptive, even bullying children must remain in the classroom, a distraction to children who want to learn. The same school has children over-familiarly addressing the teachers by their first name as if a Tracy, Maggie, Liz, Tina, Katy… which arguably lessens respect, and doesn't help discipline. However, this little girl’s parents insist on the teacher being more appropriately addressed as Mrs “Brown”- which some other parents surreptitiously  agree with – and she is happy to do .

It is good to see discussion about what has happened, but the wheel is being reinvented. In an effort to improve teaching standards, former Auckland Grammar headmaster John Morris advocates graduates learning on the job, rather than having to be teacher-trained in an institution. We had that very choice when I went straight from university with a double degree in English and Latin to secondary teaching at Queen’s High School in Dunedin. With no substantial supervision I can recall, apart from the then regular inspectors’ visits to the school, I learned on the job, by reading good material, using my common sense, together with good advice from my headmaster father and my own love of the subjects I taught. A graduate friend who opted instead for a postgraduate course at Teachers College in Christchurch regarded it as a complete waste of the year.

In the last issue of Investigate, Denis J McCarthy called upon parents and grandparents to take a more active role in combating the dumbed-down curriculum and the imposition of left-wing ideology on our children, who have no defence against it. What reasonable parent could possibly disagree with his eminently sensible suggestion that if you have children in a State school, you should insist on an outline of learning objectives which will be covered for the year in your child's class?  Moreover, he makes the point that  parents (and grandparents can be helpful in supporting parents in this respect) should make it clear to a Board of Trustees that you want them to represent you when and if another ideological programme is being introduced. He makes a point well overdue for New Zealanders to take on board -  that nothing is going to happen to save this country - and  the word save is no exaggeration - unless individuals take an interest and start to take political action “to put some pressure on the steering wheel”.

Tentative parents need to take on board the lesson shown them by those three or four parents who objected to a school providing, for pupils, information on the teaching underlying Christian belief. These parents are perfectly free to withdraw their children, but still made a fuss, claiming their children would feel excluded or targeted. When I withdrew a son from the ideologically captures “life skill’s classes at a local college, to teach him School Certificate Latin  instead, his envious classmates asked to be able to also transfer - to the annoyance of the teacher concerned, pressuring an intimidated principal to duck for cover.

If so few “liberal” parents can so successfully pressure schools to achieve the results want, the lesson is clear. So too, can the far more numerous conservative  parents  - many of whom  have forgotten that what may well eb needed is more moral courage, individual initiative -  and fewer excuses.

We need more of those wonderful parents who made such a strong stand recently against the utterly pernicious sex “education” now disturbing so many of our children at the  headmaster immediately put a stop to those. But the harm done to so many of our now destabilised children is widespread, and the hour is late for individuals to wake up to the fact what happens to this country depends on them… not everybody else.
 

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Education In NZ:Intellectual and moral bankruptcy?

Feb. 5th, 2014 | 09:24 pm

Education In NZ:Intellectual and moral bankruptcy?

Why do Australia's top media commentators so often leave our under-informed, yet opinionated columnists so very far behind?

It's sobering to think it's nearly quarter of a century ago that in 1989, Greg Sheridan, now the foreign editor of The Australian, wrote a deservedly scathing attack on the Australian education system for the social crimes committed against young Australians by the rubbishy syllabus content.

What he described as “one of the most monstrous media reports on education in recent years - and that's saying something” - came with a list of recommendations concerning perceived social problems - the equivalent of the social issues thrust into our schools - the promotion of “correct thinking “on biculturalism, racism, sex education, feminism, the pop culture and the active promotion of lesbian and homosexual lifestyles as desirable. The then replacing of subjects of real value by politicised social agenda, as in this country, has been a combination both of a kind of envy of the possibilities open to the intellectually gifted, and of radical activism operating within the education establishment.

As Sheridan pointed out, “When you let the social issue activists run amok with the school curriculum, you inevitably get an atomised, amorphous education with no depth, and endless, tiny, worthless little units”. (Think NCEA.) He noted the irony of education “reformers” achieving the removal of a traditional, in-depth, largely classical education, available to all.  Instead, many children were too readily categorised as incapable, rather than being extended, all to the level of their ability.

With traditional teaching, he rightly argued, they had the mental equipment to command both language and numbers. They then had a far better chance of acquiring the ability to think clearly and deeply, with which to make sense of these myriad social issues. Even more ironically, the “reformers” were very keen to get their own specific content permanently included within these endlessly proliferating politicised courses.

Australia has now taken the steps to address what has been, throughout the West, an hostility to what was called disparagingly textbook education - part of a reflex anti-intellectualism underpinned by Marxism, and fostered by a “child-centred” theory of education. This has overseen sidelining actually teaching worthwhile content in favour of group activities, exposing both youngsters and teachers to little in-depth knowledge of subjects of real importance. 

What this Australian commentator rightly emphasised is that “in education,  as in life, you don't get payoffs if you don't lay the foundations”…and that if  the object is really to produce independent, critical, active minds, the foundation of a traditional, even classical education, is quite simply the best.  “If a student has really come to grips with some of the great literary works of our culture, he will have had to think critically, and he will have seen other minds, great minds, thinking critically as well. He will get far more from this approach than from being chief whinger in some imitation student activist body set up in his school”.

The point largely missed today is that further back even than the 1980s, the fight to remove as much of the real worthwhile content in education and best teaching practices stemmed from that miscalled “liberalism” which is basically Marxist, fundamentally deeply hostile to the values of a Christian-underpinned society. Unfortunately,  the majority of teachers, so many also products of the same long-trashed education system, now uncritically endorse every plausible but basically destructive policy inflicted on schools by an activist ministry, and its recent succession of gullible and captured ministers.

Today, group learning in schools focuses on an environmental overview of a planet under threat. It also centre-stages, throughout the whole curriculum, a bowdlerized version of pre-European Maori values - and argues for the equal worth of all belief systems - except, of course, those of our parents and grandparents.

The result? A major consequence now is the potential for psychological intimidation, and for the manipulation of youngsters’ thinking by the essentially predatory “gays and straights” or “queers” support groups set up in schools. Assisted by teachers who are fellow travellers, they are designed to recruit vulnerable children distanced from their normal family discussions and home protection.

Australia is now way ahead in removing schools from centralised control. However, in New Zealand, parents and grandparents have been too passive in challenging pernicious indoctrination, and poor quality teaching. At the same time, government advisers have been trumpeting that we have a great education system – which is palpable nonsense.

We know that the teaching of one of the most important subjects of all, the history of Western civilisation is completely neglected…that there are far too many ineffective, in fact incompetent teachers in areas such as mathematics and English…although the latter provides not only crucial access to all other subjects, but the very necessary tools of thinking and analysis. Today's teachers are not even required to prove their competence. Yet the result would show how far the situation has continued to deteriorate since the 1960s, even, when Dr Margaret Dalziel wrote that most English teachers she was encountering were simply basically ignorant.

Nothing has improved in this area, so it should not surprise us that a  University of Otago College of  Education lecturer suggests, incredibly enough, in a recent Alumni magazine, that, we should forget about teaching literacy in favour of “rethinking what literacy is…”  replacing it by purely visual “texts” - such as DVDs, video clips, posters, etc? The education ministry itself - which should have been closed down as soon as this was suggested - will settle for text messaging.

This is far from the quest for excellence supposedly made available to all from the age of five upwards.

The saddest thing about removing subjects and content of real value in our schools this last half century is that already disadvantaged children are most cheated. The children of parents well-taught themselves are naturally advantaged.

Moreover, most damaging of all is the increasing sexualisation of younger
and younger girls and boys by the radicalized and pernicious Family Planning organization pushing damaging sex “education”  into schools -  and the downward creep of the pop/rock world into primary schools - although studies show what informed parents have well known - that the highly sexualised pop world is even more of a threat to young children than hard-core pornography.

Schools should be boycotting the SmokeFreeRockQuest, aggressively marketed by those profiting by the ease with which too many principals and teachers can be persuaded to point children towards a destabilising lifestyle where the crudest are most celebrated. But what about the fact that the revolting Madonnas, Lady Gagas and Miley Cyruses, antagonistic to any wholesome concept of womanhood, offend against the innocence of children?

However, what can we expect when fishnet-clad teachers at a local primary school, dressed like call-girls, "revel" in a "slightly risqué-cabaret extravaganza" for parents - and no doubt any of their pupils attending. "The show probably pushes the edges like (sic) most parents and teachers normally do. That's part of the fun of it.”

All around us is graphically illustrated the success of the dumbing down of education and of actual thinking processes, and the undermining of standards this half-century.  Are we now, in crucial areas, a genuinely stupid country?

© Copyright Amy Brooke

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Shame on church schools selling out

Jan. 3rd, 2014 | 08:53 pm

Shame on church schools selling out

Once there were standards, genuine standards. The puppeteered Ministry of Mis-education has seen to removing these. But worse, the compliance of what should be genuinely conservative organisations who used to know what standards were - such as the church schools - has let us all down.

In a recent speech, US talk host Dennis Prager maintained that most of the ideas dominating public education in America have worked against students, teachers, and the country, and he laid out how to fix them in a  proposed principal’s commencement speech for students.”

“First, this school will no longer honour race or ethnicity.  I could not care less if your racial make-up is black, brown, red, yellow or white…if your origins are African, Latin American, Asian or European…if  your ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower or slave ships… The only identity I care about, the only one this school will recognise is your individual identity…your character, your scholarship,  your humanity. And the only national identity this school will care about is American”.

His inspirational address should help us to carry the fight to our ministry.

New Zealanders need the same education revolution. Worried parents, well knowing something is rotten within our system, and making financial sacrifices to send their children to private schools, are becoming shocked at the sell-out of even Catholic schools to the State curriculum; the State agenda; the pernicious promotion of sex education. To this we can add the general dumbing down of the curriculum, now heavily geared to prioritising Maori triumphalism (i.e. a highly censored version of life within the barbaric, revenge-seeking and cannibalised culture of pre-European New Zealand. One primary teacher, for example, tells me that no matter what subject she is actually teaching, she has to show in her official self-assessment that she is targeting Maori-only specialness).

Parents I know withdrew their child after one day only at a Catholic primary school. With these no longer run by dedicated nuns and well-educated priests, they encountered an indifferent new entrant teacher; a song-sheet where 13 of approximately 15 songs were in today’s inauthentic “Maori” - no translation supplied; and a school which has bought into the inappropriate and frenetic jump-jam - daily pop-based workouts not too far removed from Korean rapper gangnam style and inappropriately pushing pop lyrics (I want you to be my man..) at 5 year olds… Its well-meaning principal ignorantly maintains that learning spelling has had its day.


Everywhere good teachers are targeted, parents disturbed at what they are encountering in schools once respected as bulwarks of basic traditional values, inescapably based on Christianity. Its emphasis on the intrinsic worth of every individual, regardless of colour, gender, race or creed, directed our young towards the pursuit of truth, what is worthwhile and enduring.

Moreover, according to the ministry, what is “relevant” is a damaging emphasis on utterly inappropriate racial promotion and preferment. The pursuit of excellence, the only real relevance for any worthwhile society, has long gone. Our apparatchiks prioritise part-Maori above all other races, aiming to lock such children into a myopic viewpoint within their own restricted world - a move cynically underpinned by powerful iwi, conning their own people to increase neo-tribal influence and bargaining power.

At another Christian college the principal is gunning for a highly-effective teacher determined to actually teach, braving politicised requirements to deflect children to access computers instead.  Formerly “child-centred education” is now reinvented as “enquiry learning/teaching.” Another Catholic school, heavily promoting pop/rock music, has abandoned genuine teaching and literacy skills in favour of all work being computer-centred, each child required to own and use one. The damaging consequences are obvious.

It is by no means accidental that a sexualised pop culture is pushing further down into all primary schools, with juvenilized teachers excitedly boasting that their classes are learning Lady Gaga-type trash. The now racially divisive Nelson College for Boys has lost the respect it once had as a fine academic college.  Quite incredible was what was foisted off on a secondary classes’ set song contest - not any of the great traditional songs for boys, but the demeaning lyrics of “Beam me up, Buttercup…. I could be your toyboy…” No wonder so many demoralised males feel under attack. Nor is it irrelevant  that National Radio’s highly embarrassing “The best song ever written” programme produces not forgivably favourite songs  (with some special meaning, perhaps, to those requesting one) but third-rate banalities invoked as “best” songs… 

Gradually, the knowledge of what is first-rate, of what is in fact worthwhile  knowledge – of exciting and  wonderful worlds to explore - has been side-lined; knowledge passed down to us of other peoples, other cultures, the history of the world itself; stories of pivotal battles won, and lost. For example,  Lepanto, in 1571…  What would have happened if that great Muslim push to subjugate the West had not been defeated by the young Don Juan of Austria, half-brother of Philip 11 of Spain of Armada fame? - in reality a decent, honourable king, kind and faithful to his older wife, the troubled Queen Mary 1, half-sister  to Elizabeth II - a far more scheming and murderous Queen, but romantized by liberal historians.

History, geography, mathematics, science, great art, our finest poetry and literature -  these have enriched us -  together with the classical music and opera which brings to a halt flash-mob crowds listening with wonder to music they have never before been offered.  And what of the wonders of discoveries, often made at enormous cost…or of the classical languages of Greek and Latin, deliberately and destructively removed from our schools? Why are important second languages not (as overseas) being taught at an optimum age?

Once the schools’ curricula were worthwhile, doors and windows opening for their new entrants onwards. In our grandparents’ time, children leaving primary school far more knowledgeable, literate and arithmetically competent, could enjoy reciting favourite poetry. A working class pocketed Dickens, Thackeray, Shakespeare…poets like Tennyson, Byron, Shelley, Browning. Today, most New Zealanders have never encountered the best of our writers and poets - nor been made aware of what they had to teach us.

Dr Elizabeth Rata’s recent article in the New Zealand Herald centred on the deliberate demotion of  knowledge in favour of centre-staging “skills” -  a blatantly destructive move by the Ministry of Education  which cannot be unaware that genuine skills must depend upon on a bedrock  of knowledge. But then this bureaucracy has long been infiltrated by acknowledged neo-Marxists committed to destroying Western democracy.

What little ground we have recaptured from this destructive politburo was brought home to me when I recall it is now over a decade ago since I addressed a conference of primary school principals, critiquing that same dangerous, basically ridiculous theory, as did Dr Rata’s recent article.

Far from making progress in claiming back this country, for the sake of its children, we are up making little headway against a hydra-headed ministry repackaging and recycling its deliberately dumbed-down, doctrinaire edicts.

“New” trendy theories continue to be foisted off on our schools by this bureaucracy, dishonestly promoting its duplicitous theories and arguing the effectiveness of “national standards” - which are nothing of the sort. Culpably, some church schools, including Catholic schools, are among the worst at abandoning the fight for the truth of these issues. Shame on them.


© Copyright Amy Brooke

www.amybrooke.co.nz
www.100days.co.nz
www.summersounds..co.nz
http://www.livejournal.com/users/brookeonline/


 

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NZ Children's Book Awards - damaging books for children

Oct. 8th, 2013 | 11:19 pm

A shocking state of affairs.  Who’s promoting these damaging outcomes?


The furore in relation to the recent children's book awards can do nothing but good. But this is only if decent, well-meaning,  but far too uncritical New Zealanders -  or those too long intimidated by the group-think of so-called “experts” - at last hold to account those with a highly questionable agenda.
Government, i.e. taxpayer funding is supporting many of the literary awards, grants, promotions. All are now highly politicised, and firmly controlled by the usual suspects.

However, Booksellers NZ, which administers the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, choosing the judges, is funded by 350 bookshops whose owners should long have been questioning what has been happening.  That some are now refusing to stock this year’s winning book is at least a healthy start.

The very poor judgment judges have shown this year is not new, although utterly out of touch with the values of most parents. The placing of the winning book is not only challengeable, but has left many almost incredulous, and shocked. And the recycling of other in-writers whose work is distinguished largely by an inevitable mediocrity and unsuitable themes - the third-rate replacing the first rate - is nothing new.

Whether these judges are simply misguided, Lenin’s “useful fools” or agenda-driven activists, the result is the same. For the agenda underpinning the takeover of our institutions is very real, specifically signalled in the neo-Marxist literature outlining the ways for fellow-travellers of the far Left to propagandise and undermine the West, in order to destroy the values which long stabilized our society.

I was reminded of their very focused areas of planned infiltration - including the particular intent to gain control of all areas where children could be reached - when the admirable Esther Henderson recently forwarded a copy of the DVD Agenda - Grinding Down America, which, although with an over-heavy speaker or two, legitimately homes in on the very specific aims of those long working to undermine our families and indoctrinate our children.

It is late in the day for so many parents and others in the community to cotton on to the destructive, long-planned, radicalised activists’ attack on our children and grandchildren, and to the knowledge that the field of children's writing, long well and truly controlled by those who certainly do not have the best interests of children at heart, has been captured and contaminated.


Among those who do not respect the fact that a child is a child; that  teenagers are both emotionally volatile and vulnerable;  and that it is morally wrong, if not quite wicked, to corrupt and destroy the world of childhood, are far too many cerebrally-challenged reviewers, librarians, teachers, and principals. These have long stood by and done nothing to confront the very obvious agenda of those controlling our well-funded literary circles - not only here, but in other Western countries these recent decades.

The content of award-winning children’s stories (long deliberately mis-called  “novels”)  is now often not only damaging, but depraved, and it is the authors whose writing is particularly challengeable that inevitably end up heavily promoted, rhapsodised over, and offered to our young.  Philip Pullman’s award-winning His Dark Materials, highly troubling in its content, contains the gruesome murder of children, the featuring of the occult, and deliberately caricatures Christianity. It’s no coincidence that Pullman is so extraordinarily hostile to C.S. Lewis’s much-loved and far more wholesome and valuable Narnia series.

Naturally His Dark Materials was heavily promoted in this country – in the same way as our all-controlling literary Left invites its favoured, controversial speakers to annual Writers and Readers Festivals – as with the “moral philosopher” Peter Singer, for example, “voted one of Australia’s ten most influential public intellectuals’.  Included in Singer’s often specious but essentially perverse thinking is the discarding of the notion that a vulnerable baby in the womb has any right not to be killed. He also maintains that sex with animals, i.e. "mutually satisfying activities" of a sexual nature…is reasonable and permissible.

Typical, too, is UK children’s prize-winner Melvin Burgess’s Hitman, about a new euthanasia drug called Death; his controversial Junk, about teenage drug addicts slipping into the company of murderous psychopaths; and Doing It: e.g.  “Jonathon likes Deborah, but she's overweight; fearing condemnation from his friends and because of a disgusting looking bump on his penis, he fears showing his true feelings. Ben's been secretly seeing his teacher, Miss Young, the typical teenage fantasy. He used to love it, but now it overwhelms him. Ben tries to break it off for a girl his own age but it causes big trouble for him, Miss Young, and his new girlfriend.”

It is our own fault – or at least the fault of those who never speak out - that Muslim spokespersons, even given some of their more than challengeable cultural practices, can call the West morally corrupt, even decadent, with the inappropriate sexualising of our young. They have a good case.

The point of the fashion for dark, edgy, unpleasant, and agenda-programmed writing for children is certainly not that it is “a reflection of reality,” as ever-so-plausibly invoked, but that it is profoundly disturbing, nasty, third-rate, and designed to be shocking in what it offers to our children. Its prioritising is a substitute for far better writing, and far more worthwhile reading.

Those of us who have stood up to the bullying agenda of the children’s writing establishment in this country have paid the price for doing so. With eighteen books for children and young readers alone published to date, initially attracting excellent reviews, I gave up sending books for review, given the takeover of the children’s literary establishment and the antagonism of a captured reviewers' pool deeply antagonistic to my then Dominion columns. Indicative of this new climate has been, as my former distributor told me, the apparent fact that “They hate you…so they are taking it out on your children's writing.”

Hate is a very strong word, but the menace of those who do not like their arguably warped values or poor thinking challenged  is palpable in this country - hence the prevalent abuse or ridiculing of those who stand up to be counted. I found this in reviewer (and subsequently children’s awards judge) Trevor Agnew’s extraordinarily destructive and factually wrong “reviews” of my titles - Who will speak for the Dreamer? and From Whatever Shadows They Come, which were in considerable contrast to those of other, including overseas, reviewers -
http://www.amybrooke.co.nz/books/. (No prizes for guessing whether there was any point in presenting my books to Agnew with his new, judge’s cap on.)

Similarly, the thing I most recall about sitting through two episodes of the recent TV series, Top of the Lake, set in the hauntingly beautiful country of the lower South Island, is that it was bizarre, unreal, utterly amoral and basically disgusting - a shocking and distorting advertisement for small town New Zealand – if overseas viewers should tune in. The levels of crudity and grossness that permeated this whole production, too, are arguably an indictment on those who would find it acceptable. But I suspect that these would be largely confined to the related ultra-liberal, pseudo-intellectual in-crowd now obviously also controlling the children's writing establishment.

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Nobody Jumps higher than self-serving MPs

Jul. 27th, 2013 | 06:28 pm

Nobody jumps higher than self-serving MPs...

It was a shocking admission - almost worse in that Nick Smith, Nelson's National Party MP, was apparently boasting when he recently stated : “I’m the old-fashioned type: when the Prime Minister says jump, I say how high. It is the only way a political party can operate.”

But no; this is not the only way a political party can operate, nor ever has been -  and  to admit that you simply kowtow when told to is an arguably shameful admission. It indicates not only that this MP’s personal judgment, and even conscience, will seemingly be  ignored if it clashes with the edicts of a strong leader, but that his priority is not representing his electorate. Smith’s stated eagerness to not only do as he is told, but the excessive compliance implicit in an inappropriate eagerness to show total obedience, is embarrassingly cringe-making. 

How high…? This is, of course, part of today's damaging substitution of the importance of individual conscience, individual action – so often depending on individual courage - by the now almost iconic cult of leadership, one of the most damaging concepts in history. Claiming that one should hand over one's judgment  and conscience to a leader diminishes us morally as human beings. Our parliamentarians need to remember that the excuse of only following their leader’s orders did not, for example, save high-ranking Nazi politicians from the judgment and opprobrium of history.

MPs reduced to simply doing as they are told are no different from all others who disregard the responsibility placed on them as adult  individuals. It wasn't always the case in the history of New Zealand's political parties. The  expectation has long been that MPs of integrity are expected to listen to their own conscience, rather than merely obey the edicts of a self-willed leader.

Nor are conscience issues rare when it comes to considering the consequences of proposed legislation. We know, for example, that Prime Minister John Key’s arrogant substitution of his own determination for the will of the country at large in his highly damaging endorsement of the anti-smacking legislation, with its disastrous effects on so many intimidated parents,  dismayed many in the National Cabinet. By no means a minority of  National Party MPs were also well aware the Marine and Coastal Area legislation was anti-democratic…that the Emissions Trading System was an unnecessary, further burden on New Zealanders.

Their silence at the prospect of being deprived of their ministerial positions, higher salaries, ministerial cars, perks and privileges tells us how basically corrupt has become what is no longer a democratic process - one in which grassroots New Zealanders should be making the decisions about the directions to take the country. This isn't happening - and what is now occurring can be described as the moral disarmament of Parliament.

With its current domination by the leader of whatever major party currently rules - and “rules” is the appropriate word – what we need to be urgently aware of is  the actual ambition of the leader - one with so much power that when he and his inner clique tell  rank and file party members to jump, indeed, they jump. Our MPs have apparently become unfit, individually and collectively, to genuinely evaluate what is happening to the country - aided by the mass media’s intellectual laziness and not infrequent bias.

Following her Che Guevara days, Helen Clark, a smooth-tongued, consummate politician,  seemingly gave her loyalty to the kind of democratic subversion which is Marxism, underpinning much of her basic attack on the traditional family values stabilising and underpinning this country. The pro-gay propaganda intensified…the subversive “rainbow coalition” arching across the political parties now so determinedly working to present an association of members of the same sex as basically  marriage -  a not  only contradictory but thoroughly untenable concept. It was Clark who, knowing very well that this was certainly not the case, made the glib claim that “we live in an incredibly benign environment” an excuse for her aggressive move against the Air Force combat wing - a move understandable only when it is recognised that her allegiance has long been not to this country, but to a  “A New World Order”.

As far back as 1986, this previous Prime Minister admitted she was a branch secretary for Parliamentarians for Global action – which disingenuously claimed its aim “as an international organisation of legislators “(read…those who inflict laws on others, worldwide) was to promote disarmament, development,  and “more effective international institutions”.  The attack on our Air Force, the weakening of our naval defence capability and the rundown of our military equipment and provisions over a period when she was markedly antagonistic to the US, while allowing an extraordinary number of top echelon Communist Chinese military personnel to tour our bases in this country, becomes ominously more understandable.

How many New Zealanders are aware of the large, cross-party number of parliamentarians, some no doubt simply naïvely so… others well aware of what is at stake (60 were members in effect, in 2004, including many still in Parliament) who belong to the suitably vaguely named Parliamentarians for Global Action Group? Its 2004 conference, chaired by the same National Party MP, Nick Smith,  paid tribute to Helen Clark's “leadership”.  In 1994 Michael Laws, then also a National MP, stated he was “a globalist and a strong supporter of an eventual ‘One World Government’.”

Such a concept of course, is thoroughly undemocratic, requiring member countries to surrender vital aspects of their sovereignty, including in economic, legal, and defence areas, and double-taxing their people to support what would undoubtedly become (as the EU has, with its spiralling costs and autocratic rulings) a massive, arrogantly dominating bureaucracy with, eventually, its own armed forces. We would be extremely naive not to recognise that these could eventually be used against rebellious countries failing to endorse their edicts. We should make no mistake - The One World Government proposal is the perennial fork-tongued attack on individual freedom and democracy - the familiar two-sided but identical coin of both the Far Left and the Far Right.

John Key’s early and keen ambition to be Prime Minister points to the fact that he thinks ahead. When the New Zealand worm finally turns against this self-willed leader, with no desire to be in opposition he must inevitably court the world’s power-brokers…in all probability has long been doing so. Hence his flouting the wishes of the country, as with the anti-smacking legislation and his promotion of racial preference among other anti-the West, UN-pushed policies?

What of his legacy? In his book Antifragile, illustrating the fading of moral and intellectual authority,  Nassim Nicholas Taleb illustrates how ethics has been replaced with legalese. His first ethical rule? “If you see fraud and do not say fraud, you are a fraud…”i.e.  being tolerant of anyone undertaking a wrong action condones it.

What is basically a connivance at corruption can become spread over all socio-political and intellectual areas of society. Arguably it now has, in this small country. However, the way New Zealanders can win back control of our future is covered in my forthcoming book: The 100 Days - Claiming Back New Zealand – what has gone wrong and how we can control politicians.





 

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“Who will free us from the yoke of Western Civilisation?” George Lukacs – Marxist Theoretician.

Apr. 4th, 2013 | 08:46 pm

                                         

“Who will free us from the yoke of Western Civilisation?” George Lukacs – Marxist Theoretician.


One of the most culpable things about the blatant untruths parents have been told about how well New Zealand children have been doing in schools, and what a great education system we have, is that supposedly international standards have been used to  “prove” we are right up there near the top. This is particularly relevant when it relates to the tools of thinking, the ability to use language well. New Zealanders’ use of language, both written and spoken, is in fact poor - very much because of the dereliction of, or deliberate planning by, our official educationists. Decades of withheld teaching were becoming very obvious well before the end of last century.

Long curious about this, and knowing that my own research and practical experience  - let alone following what four sons were encountering in their  English classrooms  - (no sign of any challenge to excellence nor highly capable teachers supposedly producing such great results in the much-quoted quoted surveys)  -  I began to check out these international standards. One of the most well-known was the much-invoked IPA literacy assessment of the 1970s, still trumpeted by the education bureaucracy in the early 90s. It was apparently a feather in our cap, New Zealand children being right up there among the top achievers in literacy standards, writing and reading.

Only it was completely untrue. Somewhere, feet deep in boxes of research material I still have the evidence that New Zealand children's performance ratings ranged from about 49 to 51 % in formal literacy writing skills – their showing poor. Where we apparently performed well was in informal tasks such as the non-demanding colloquial, casual language one might use writing to family or friends. When it came to evidence of well-structured learning and competence with words with using grammar and syntax well, those tools of analysis so fundamental to good thinking, New Zealand children failed, in formal writing skills. These are now a lot worse understandably - for very good reason. But we’ll come to that.

In other words, the results were fudged, the country told the opposite of the truth. So, too, with an Australasian English competition, won by one of my fourth form Latin pupils at a local state school where I’d agreed to teach part-time, two sons having thankfully avoided the tedious propaganda of Life Skills classes by opting for, and passing well,  School Certificate Latin instead - one at Form 3, one at Form 4 level. (Incidentally, once word got around, other boys also asked to be transferred from Life Skills.  However, its teacher apparently flew into a temper, pressuring the principal, not exactly famous for his courage, although a pleasant and helpful individual and he lost his nerve. They remained very reluctantly excluded from Latin classes.

However, what was interesting was that this pupil who won the English competition had minimal competence in written English, no idea even where he should use a comma or full stop. Today, even Ph.D. graduates don’t know, never having been taught how to know when a sentence should end. Nor did this bright boy have any idea what a verb or noun was - let alone the extraordinary mystery of a past participle…

Particularly interesting is that it was very difficult for him trying to learn, at about the age of 14, rules of English grammar and syntax far easier to assimilate down at the primary school level, before the adolescent brain moves into a different functioning mode. It was uphill work to teach him Latin grammar and syntax, even though our classes were fun - as he had no idea of the English equivalents.

What I then went on to discover made sense - there are optimum learning times when the pliable, younger brain can absorb far more easily what an older mind must set out to methodically learn, using tools of logic instead. The reason this boy won the competition was that he had at home a wonderful heritage of English literature he was very familiar with - as his parents refused to have a television. It was his knowledge o stories and their authors which won him his placing.

I recall my incredulity, too, when reviewing the much-vaunted PISA literacy 2000 assessment written on in more detail elsewhere. Once again New Zealand pupils were apparently up there with the best. But in line with the new emphasis on anything except actually teaching English in schools, edged out by media studies, filming, advertising, computer technology - anything electronic substituting for actual language teaching - this vaunted assessment had very little to do with genuine literacy. Its jargon-ridden emphasis was on all the above, being able to “recognise” icons, billboards, advertising slogans.

What changes? As recently as 2010 in a cutting sent to me by Craig C.  Jackson, long fighting to re-introduce the very important practice of teaching spelling well, a Sunday Star Times article pointed out that 9 out of every 10 primary school children were failing to meet the new national writing standards... but that the ministry was holding this back. No surprises there. The standards had been set to check how well New Zealand children can put their thoughts into coherent sentences. Largely, only who work very hard, or lucky enough to come from a well-educated family, have any chance of achieving this. For the rest…? “It was like…he was like… I was like… awewome, Bro, Gidday mate…me and Sarah…I dunno…Him and me decided…”After all, just basic “communication” is what our dumbed-down ministry decided was the most important thing when officially jettisoning the teaching of grammar and syntax in the new English curriculum that Lockwood Smith, completely out of his depth, presided over in the early 90s.

The primary teachers union? Wonderfully true to form, they decided that if 90% of young New Zealanders were failing very basic standards, well, then, rather than teachers having to lift theirs, it was of course, the standards at fault.

To make sense of all this, New Zealanders urgently need to face the fact that, in the early 20th century it was decided that to destroy Western civilisation, there was no more important battleground than that of the education arena. This is not a question of any conspiracy theory - the pejorative name-calling enemies of the truth use to ridicule opponents they fear…

Essential reading, for those with the sense to be seriously concerned about the highly destructive attack on our European-derived culture and the values that underpin it, should be The Death of the West by Pat Buchanan…*

However, without far more realising that we already have another very real, great war on our hands, it may now be too late.  That “long March through the institutions…” the schools, colleges, universities, theatre and film, newspapers, magazines radio and television, the arts… “each had to be captured and converted  and politicised into an agency of revolution…with fellow Marxists urged to form popular fronts with Western intellectuals who shared their contempt for Christianity and bourgeois culture, and who shaped the minds of the young”.*

And for a highly accessible and excellent analysis of the battle for our children see Australian Commentator Bill Muehlenberg - http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2012/09/04/education-wars-the-battle-for-our-children/

The problem for our children and grandchildren is - who is actually winning?

 

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The damaging bureaucracy of "professional educationists".

Jan. 9th, 2013 | 04:59 pm

“The Captain and the Kings” long gone…

Is it is no exaggeration that the greatest enemy for any prospect of a first-class education for New Zealand children - regardless of the usual excuses for some succeeding more than others – ( ethnicity, particularly activist Maori background, and parents’ socio-economic status)  has been the bureaucracy of “professional” educationists misusing their positions to inflict their socio-political agenda on our young.                     

This has now been the case for the past 50 years in this country. What was once a well-thought, solidly-constructed, coherent curriculum underpinning all education practice became subverted in the hands of educational theorists who gained control of the Department, now Ministry of Education, headed by those responsible for forward planning, many of whom openly described themselves as neo-Marxist. Their names can be found in the literature of the 60s onwards.

Socio-economic status really has very little to do with a child's chances to succeed - provided of course that it is taught enthusiastically and well. We should stress taught, not diverted to flounder around accessing the internet and having to perform tedious, mind-numbing tasks such as embarking on projects which relieve the teacher of the hard work of actually teaching well-prepared lessons, following quality planning.

It is true that deadbeat parents are a great hindrance to any child - and among these can certainly be found, sadly, activist or gullible Maori parents brainwashed by the anti-European politicised Maori activists of the 60s onwards, many of  whom themselves had the advantage of scholarships and university-backed education - today holding lucrative political, professional, or media-centred positions - but who did enormous damage to disadvantaged Maoris by telling them to have nothing to do with the “Pakeha” system of education.  This ill advice persists in the constant push to appropriate young part-Maori for Maori immersion schools with their fantasy-Maori language (how does one legitimately teach chemistry, physics, math, microbiology, dentistry and medicine in spurious, newly invented but pseudo-Maori?.

The hijacking of our state schools by so-called education professionals  - (I noted when at university that these were very largely students and staff, often earnest and well-meaning, who  would not have made the grade taking the hard choices of far more demanding courses - they were not, essentially,  rocket scientists) - was highly destructive.

In the Twenties and Thirties when the Training Colleges’ far more demanding course requirements earned them a respect equivalent to the universities, highly intelligent individuals with good degrees opted for teaching as a genuine vocation. I recall my father, John Mora, a gifted, well-loved headmaster who had previously turned down the opportunity to lecture at Canterbury University because of his genuine love for the young, his appreciation of their vitality, intelligence, and  enormous intellectual curiosity - all of which - like other highly enthusiastic teachers - he thought it a joy to foster, to help them as far as possible along their way.

When my parents taught at what were then the Native Schools along the east coast of the North Island, his enjoyment of the spontaneity and keen intelligence of the young Maori children of the school-house Pa caused him many years later to proudly recollect that they had sent as many promising youngsters as possible down to the universities and training colleges. He also deeply regretted the government decree (in response to the senior Maori delegation that went to Parliament to request this) that the children were no longer permitted to speak Maori at school. His puzzled query to a local Maori elder, Sam Aupouri, brought the response that the elders wished the children to gain the same advantage as the other children from speaking English as a first language. When my father enquired what would happen to Maori as a result, he was confidently informed that they would teach the children Maori at home.

We know the result. All New Zealand taxpayers, of no matter what ethnic descent, are forced to pay many millions of dollars annually for the promotion of the far from authentic, newly invented pseudo-Maori of minimal use to young Maori, now used as tools by politicised iwi in their increasing push for separatism, media limelight, and ongoing taxpayer funding - provisions which formed no part whatever of the intentions behind the signing of the treaty of Waitangi.

The failure rate of so many part-Maori children can be directly attributed to the substantially inferior education foisted on our young for decades now by the ministry, together with the agenda of politicised Maori persuading parents to bypass mainstream education - instead of joining those working to re-establish a state education system to hold its own against those countries performing far better. These did not include other English-speaking countries such as the US, the UK, and Australia - all of which inherited the consequences of education becoming the tool of those interconnecting groups, worldwide, which long recognised the most effective way to subvert and bring down Western democracy was through the now well-quoted “long march through the institutions.”

However, the counter-revolution worldwide has now started, with far more success than is happening in this country, whose very smallness counts against it. There is no doubt that we have lost the intellectual flower of the country, not only in education but in the writers and artists in-groups dominated by the far Left, well supported by their contrived government funding, motivated by the politics of envy, and long working to bypass or ostracise genuine talent. We are all well aware of how out of touch are the leftist teachers unions, dominated by what can best be described as Lenin’s useful fools,  implacably opposed still, to that rigorous quality education which gives all children, as far as possible, an equal opportunity, from the age of five upwards, each to achieve his or her potential to achieve.

In this respect, the primary school years are the most important to stimulate children's intellectual curiosity, awaken them imaginatively, and to teach them, essentially, to be good people, using all the tools available from the treasure house of fascinating discoveries passed down through generations, and in particular celebrating the best of the wonderful poetry and literature which continually evokes joy in the minds of those fortunate enough to have been given these gifts - when once we did have quality education.

Its day has long passed. Contrast when children are allowed to come in late to lessons…when a teacher can be faced with a sexual harassment suit for asking a girl pupil what has kept her…when children are allowed to chat pretty much unchecked throughout lessons…a teacher allowed to make a generalised appeal, but not to single out a talker by name...

With dumbed-down, politicised English classes having become media studies under the excuse of “communications “;  with teacher training focusing on the politics of race or gender and class; when university graduates with Ph.Ds can't spell, punctuate correctly, or write a coherent essay, we are faced with the social and economic costs, the  intellectual impoverishment of cheated individuals unable even to speak without sounding uncouth, a universe of great writing and thinking long withheld from them.

Our own counter-revolution is well overdue. But where, faced with our also profoundly ignorant and under-educated teachers, are there now the genuinely knowledgeable to lead it?-

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Squandering what we had going for us…

Oct. 2nd, 2012 | 10:24 pm

Squandering what we had going for us

The Dominion Post, part of the overseas-owned, Fairfax media stable of newspapers,  magazines, and radio stations, is, like most of our newspapers and journals, now a far cry from a once solidly-based, New Zealand-owned paper reflecting the values of heartland New Zealanders.

As usual, another near-recent headline couldn't be more wrong. Reflecting an increasingly ultra-liberal, celebrity-eulogising stance, its obituary for Carmen (Tiote Rupe) - “brothel keeper, prostitute, transsexual”, trumpeted - “Having fun broadened attitudes”.  This supposed family newspaper praised Carmen, originally Trevor David Rupe, for having “lowered social barriers for gays, transsexuals and other sexual minorities…”

Pictures of Carmen in his/her later years showed a pathetically gaudy figure living in declining health in a one-bedroom flat near King's Cross Sydney, a far cry from the Carmen who “bared her enormous, man-made breasts at the Trentham races”. However, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown predictably enthused, in the usual clichéd phraseology, that this basically isolated, highly controversial figure had  “broke{n} down barriers among conservative 1970s society.” By Carmen's own reckoning, her staff contained homosexuals, heterosexuals, lesbians, masochists, sadists, transsexuals, transvestites and cross-dressers.

All jolly good fun? Or symptoms of a breaking society?

A craving for what we may call the truth of things seems almost innate in most people. And as Spectator columnist Matthew Parris points out… “no rule-based civilisation can function if its members feel no inborn respect for the idea of rules.” We can add… and of boundaries.

The implications are considerable. It has never just been a case of our society being inclined to pedantically conform to rules and regulations.  The human spirit rebels against pointless constrictions on freedom, overly pious decrees, edicts, injunctions - anything in the line of top-down controls on individuals. Nevertheless, respect for the reality of values has always been based on recognizing that some of these, accepted down through the generations, are essential for any society to cohere in the sense of offering stability, permanence, and an insistence on protecting those least able to protect themselves. Children are central here.

Both primary and secondary schools set their pupils to read the daily newspapers to become informed about the issues of the day  - inappropriately, prematurely, and without any defence against this sort of  damaging propaganda, in the eyes of many discerning parents. But then our state schools (and by no means excluding some private schools) in spite of all the hyped-up nonsense about our first-class education system, are basically basket cases. One doesn't have to look further than amiable, well-disposed, empty-headed and extraordinarily ignorant, poorly-spoken, propagandised and damagingly uncritical products of all those years of primary and secondary schooling to realised how criminally short-changed so many of its graduates have been.

 “That there is cultural decay in a declining West is hardly worth arguing about,” observes another widely published, provocative columnist, Taki Theodoracopulos, political commentator and socialite. This Greek gadfly, intellectually astute, is well able to hold his own when critiquing the decay in standards and behaviour, in civility and courtesy, the decline in knowledge  -  even the ominous inability to actively think.  “Nor can one deny that a powerless, and increasingly cretinized citizenry has been brainwashed into a state of conformity comparable to domesticated animals, with their lives totally controlled by technology and non-elected bureaucrats.”

 Its parallel has been the worldwide rise of an immensely wealthy nouveau riche - dictators, politicians and financiers,  many steeped in the corruption accompanying the breakdown of the former Soviet Union; the fragmentation of Europe and the destruction of its family monarchies; and the growth of nepotism in the Chinese Communist Government’s phenomenally rich, self-serving hierarchy.

A stance far more likely to win agreement by those essentially intimidated by the intolerance of the “liberal” minorities who command the support of our overseas-owned media; our now subservient politicians, and our show-off of a Prime Minister, is that by the Catholic Cardinal Keith O'Brien in Scotland, confronting British Prime Minister David Cameron and pointing out the  essential madness of the call for homosexual and lesbian “rights” to same-sex marriage -  a biological impossibility and an offence against the truth of what marriage essentially is and has always been…as “an attempt to redefine reality… at the behest of a small minority of activists.”

What changes? There is belated recognition that the children of the West, not just in New Zealand, have been tools in the hands of ideologues misusing the education system to peddle their beliefs through the schools, in the determined attack upon democracy best achieved  - according to the Italian communist Gramsci's instructions  -  by “the long March through the institutions”.

Overseas, the reaction has been an extraordinarily successful handover of control of neighbourhood schools to parents and other private interests - removing them from the control of government and state bureaucracies promoting their basically subversive doctrines and advocacies.

Here the move is being bitterly opposed - predominantly by the leftwing teacher unions with their revealing opposition to teachers being scrutinised and assessed to ensure that children are being properly taught. Moreover, some of our private schools themselves need challenging.  Nelson’s Catholic Garin College supports the pop-rock cult - even given its displacement of genuinely worthwhile learning - and ignoring the reality of its highly damaging, alcohol-ridden, drug-taking,  sexually subversive world. Its principal, John Boyce’s wrong-headed push to abolish schoolbooks  in place of e-learning reminds me of Sebastian Faulks’ warning  (A Week In December) that this is the first generation in Western civilisation less well educated than its  parents.

The equally damaging “literature” being forced onto defenceless teenagers includes Auckland’s St Cuthberts English department’s (it's always the English Departments) promotion of  a book which has a shocked girl suffering nightmares, after being forced to read about a girl beating her mother to a bloody death with a brick. No prizes for guessing Heavenly Creatures   - the film she was also forced to watch… A second book? The Lovely Bones –“the story of a teenage girl who, after being raped and murdered , watches from her personal heaven as her family and friends struggle to move on with their lives while she comes to terms with her own death.” The third from the same school? The Kite Runner which describes a boy being raped. Naturally.

An understandably upset mother tells what we are increasingly hearing.  Well- educated, intelligent immigrants are now leaving because of the sheer awfulness of so much of our mass education system.  In this case it is Chinese and Malaysian- Chinese parents living here who are taking to send their children back home to Malaysia or China to stay with grandparents to  be educated for a year or so in a  Malaysian-Chinese education system. Upon their return these children are well ahead of their New Zealand-schooled peers.

An English immigrant who loved New Zealand when he immigrated 30 years ago commented sadly the other day that New Zealanders have squandered so much of what they had going for them. He still loves the people. Is it what has been done to the country - no prizes for work for working out by whom - which troubles him.

He is right  - and  those who care are welcome to add their determination to claim back this country. See www.100days.co.nz

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