Your front page article (NZ Herald, October 7) was a good reminder of how deluded "child-led" teaching is. Briar Lipson's research and reasoning is realistic and sensible. Also P. J. Edmondson's letter and
Shane Kennedy's point that NZ education in the past 20 years has been on a downhill slide.
The idea of children knowing what is best more than adults has always been modern liberal ideology at its most nauseating. Teachers are trained adult experts in a variety of subjects to lead children in education, not vice versa.
Certainly up to around 12 years old, children only need be taught basic conventional literacy, numeracy, nature study and history within any secure, happy holistic environment. Certain age maturity is required before circumspective choices can be made on other diverse subjects etc. Nationalised standard, consistent curricula and assessments are crucial. Discovering vague random topics through their own spontaneous immature inquiry is confusing these young kids, who have yet to build good fact/data foundations before this can occur.
Maybe at best, fringe subjects or methodology could be indulged in for a bit of fun interest one hour a week?
Simon Guinness, Greenlane.
Briar Lipson has written a compelling and evidence-based report (NZ Herald, October 7) on how child-led learning in New Zealand could be impacting on our children's declining academic outcomes.
While Lipson's view clash with the Ministry of Education's current direction - and the innovative learning environments (ILEs) that support this style of learning - it might also sit uncomfortably for principals of schools with ILEs, such as critic Claire Amos. However, the NZ education system cannot afford to continue to put on blinkers and ignore any evidence that doesn't support its theory-of-the-moment.
We are fortunate to have independent research bodies such as the NZ Initiative; hopefully, principals and teachers have the opportunity to read and consider Lipson's articulate and evidence-based report.
Julie Cullen, Pt Chevalier.
Last week, while in the main shopping area of Remuera, there was an elderly man with a begging bowl. He had urinated and his stream stained the footpath to the gutter.
At the local New World another younger man, who may have been on drugs, attempted to steal a basket of groceries donated by shoppers to the Salvation Army.
Sadly, this is not the New Zealand I have known.
What are Labour, National and other parties going to do? Minor tax imposts on so-called high earners are not the answer. Nor is temporary tax relief.
Politicians of all shades, please demonstrate to voters compassion combined with economic sense, if you are up to it.
S. P. Laffey, Remuera.
I am a not very enthusiastic user of the Auckland Harbour Bridge but I must say such enthusiasm as I had was fast dissipated by the extremely inadequate response from NZTA to Dr Tony Lanigan's letter (NZ Herald, October 7).
Dr Lanigan, an expert whose knowledge cannot be gainsaid, even by a "system manager" from NZTA, refers to "widely apparent" corrosion. That cannot be dismissed by a reference to "minor surface corrosion" and a claim that minor corrosion does not affect the structural integrity of the bridge. Widely apparent corrosion is not, and is more than, minor surface corrosion.
We need from NZTA a response by a knowledgeable person who will directly address the issue raised by Dr Lanigan.
This is not a vague middle management question. It is an engineering issue of considerable moment.
Peter Newfield, Takapuna.
We are continually informed that we suffer from low productivity. In Auckland, the largest barrier to increasing productivity lies almost exclusively at the door of Auckland Transport.
The city is covered in road cones, before a project is completed it starts another.
AT has lowered the speeds across large parts of the city in the name of safety and then created dangers with its road designs and the amount of continuous roadworks.
The phasing of traffic lights appears to be driven by maximum disruption in an attempt to force drivers on to public transport.
AT seems unaware that delivery trucks, shift workers, tradies, courier drivers to name but a few cannot use public transport for their work.
To confirm my view, one only has to look at the shambles that is the Takanini interchange. Around four years in the making and looking highly unlikely to be finished this year. How can productivity increase when a council entity gridlocks the city as it sees fit in the endless pursuit of getting everyone on to pushbikes and public transport?
Jeff Berge, Takanini.
The leaders of both major political parties have consensus on at least one topic: a four-year term of government.
The three-year term does nothing but encourage fear and mediocrity. Politicians are too frightened to make transformational change. Their priority is to stay in power and not "rock the boat".
No wonder the election campaign is so mundane. There's a total lack of creative ideas from both Labour and National.
I propose a four-year term be introduced for the next election, in 2023.
Mark van Praagh, Mt Eden.
It would be, at the very least, cynical to say that the National Party Leader, a Christian, was seeking the Christian evangelical vote by praying on her knees with the emoji hand stance in front of national TV cameras – wouldn't it?
Conversely, The Prime Minister, an agnostic, in simply and consistently treating others with respect, patience, kindness, courteous grace, truth, humility, and even infectious joy, acts like a Christian – doesn't she?
Challenging, isn't it?
Actions speak louder than words, we are told. At the very least, and to use a sports analogy, let's not lower the bar.
Truth in politics is important. Having a smart answer for everything may be just that; not the best one. When all our human priorities are being questioned, integrity in leadership is important.
I probably need to go and work on removing the plank in my eye.
C. Nicholson, Whangārei.
With all the political reports inundating our news media the report from Unicef as published in the Washington Post on the well-being of our children makes sobering and distressing reading.
With around 4 per cent of children living in poverty it is clear we are not doing a good job of providing for our most vulnerable citizens, but the situation is worse than that figure would appear.
Of the 38 countries analysed we have an overall ranking of 35 ahead only the US, Bulgaria and China. In terms of mental well-being we're a distressing 38th out of 38 - last place.
In terms of physical health we're only marginally better at 33 and do a little better in terms of skills at 23rd.
None of these allow even a smidgen of complacency and rather than addressing what all political parties are doing, I suggest this disgraceful indictment of present and past policies and practices should be the prime focus of us all.
Clearly we must do better as we can hardly do worse.
Rod Lyons, Muriwai.
From birth to 3 years of age are known to be the most important years in a child's life in terms of its health and education and future development.
Until governments see education in these two areas as critical and provide for all parents, many children will continue to fail at school and as adults, generation after generation.
Jasmine Archer, Windsor Park.
The annual ASB Classic tennis tournament is a superbly organised event, held in an immaculately kept facility.
Had it been allowed to occur this season, I have no doubt it would have been managed in a highly responsible way.
The government has denied thousands the pleasure of their annual highlight for the summer season, while allowing other sporting events to occur.
Lauris Lee, Mt Wellington.
Short & sweet
Though taking away gang's income and making drugs "safer" is admirable, unrestrained use of cannabis as a soporific could make the section of society which consumes it fall further down the ladder. Richard Kean, Ngongotahā.
Am I the only one who was appalled by the media following Judith Collins into a church to photograph her in a private, personal moment? Is nothing sacred anymore? H. Robertson, St Heliers.
I wonder why so many older men seem reluctant to wear masks in malls and on buses, etc. Not a macho image perhaps? Pamela Russell, Ōrākei.
I once heard it said that politicians are like ships, they make most noise when lost in a fog. Terry Harris, Mangawhai.
I cringe every time I see that ghastly orange blob and I cannot fathom the mentality of anybody who would regard it as influential advertising. I find it puerile, unsightly and a total insult to voter intelligence. The Electoral Commission should lift its game. Geraldine Taylor, Remuera.
Richard Prebble's "fact" that there is nothing intrinsically carbon-free about steel wheels (NZ Herald, October 7) ignores the physics that trains are seven times more efficient than rubber wheels on tarmac. Neil Anderson, Algies Bay.
The Western Springs woods are very close to the zoo, and need to be tidied up before they become a more serious fire risk. Jane Leyland, Pt Chevalier.
A political correspondent in the Herald described the Act Party as gaining traction. What he failed to add was whether it was uphill or downhill. Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.