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AMY BROOKE: Cleaning out the Augean Stables – Is it too late for New Zealand?

As we all well know, education reform is now a long-overdue and huge issue, and National doesn't have a hope of trying to reverse the shocking decline in education standards as long as the control of the curriculum and the overseeing of schools - of education philosophy and practices - lies in the hands of our Marxist-infiltrated Ministry of Education.

It's by no means irrelevant that when I was given the books on education to review for the Christchurch Press in the late 80s and 90s, individuals writing of their plans for education “reform” and quite openly describing themselves as Marxist, later became prominent within the Ministry of Education and its associated bodies. The word bourgeoisie, referring to conservative New Zealanders, was still in play, and their philosophy was to achieve the dumbing down of education in the name of “equity”. The theory was that as some children found school difficult, standards should be lowered so that brighter, or even more hard-working, children should not have any advantage.

The new mantra they pushed was, “The teacher is not the sage on the stage, but the guide on the side.” Rather than actually teach, teachers should regard themselves as "facilitators”. Rather, they should mainly send children to the web for anything they wanted to learn. Teachers were also encouraged to dump “projects” on children to research and on which to write – to save actually having to teach, leaving the children to supposedly fact-find for themselves. As far back as 2002, when I was asked to address a conference of primary school principals, they had been instructed by the ministry that knowledge was out - skills were in. To acquire an important body of knowledge through systematic, thorough teaching was unnecessary as people could always access information that they needed for any subject they wished to learn.

This great madness has persisted and I recall a survey-finding from University of Canterbury first year students asking what they particularly disliked about their time at school. They said there was too much infotainment and they would like to have actually learned far more systematically.

I recall when later writing as a columnist for the then Dominion newspaper, and for Ian Wishart’s INVESTIGATE magazine, being contacted by fine teachers and HODS (Heads of Departments) about what the ministry was inflicting on them. They were writing in professional journals in an effort to combat these wrong directions. Unfortunately, the real battle lay in the mainstream media, where they found it almost impossible to get published.

It is little wonder that so many New Zealand children do not turn up at school, when so much of what takes place there is so very boring, with the lowering of academic standards. Many now arrive at university without even having read a book in their lives! And National’s plan to have children practise writing for an hour a day will achieve absolutely nothing - if they have not learned the tools of language, the grammar and syntax which also provide the tools of thinking - as George Orwell so rightly pointed out - emphasising that if people are not taught to think, others will be only too happy to do their thinking for them. And this is certainly what has happened to education in recent years.

Unfortunately, too, we no longer have a majority of English teachers who are even competent enough to do this, to teach the language consistently and thoroughly - as with teachers of Maths. Genuine education reform would check that these teachers are able to prove their competence in the subjects they are supposed to be teaching. If not, why are we paying them?

However, like most of today's politicians, they themselves are the products of a thoroughly dumbed-down education system, where the subject that originally taught me to stop, to think and analyse, Latin - which I regarded as the most valuable of all I studied - has now, thanks to Chris Hipkins (whose own mother works within the ministry) been discarded, as part of that ongoing attempt to ensure that education remains a valuable tool for government propaganda. We see its result in our brainwashed MPs and our young, convinced that CO2 is contributing to catastrophic global warming, and that Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is responsible for the murderous attack by Hamas Palestinians on the country they want to wipe from the face of the earth. This, in spite of Hamas’s butchering of Israeli citizens in its surprise attack, and the deaths and tortures released hostages have described taking place at their hands.

To ensure a country gets thoroughly dumbed down, to steer our young towards participation in sport - without any balanced attempt to ensure they also cultivate their minds - it is necessary to gain control of the education system. The Marxist-infiltrated Ministry of Education has done just that, leading around by the nose successive ministers from both major political parties. This is the greatest needed reform of all. While it may be the government’s job to ensure that all children get an education, it is not the job of the government to supply one. And what a disadvantage is being inflicted on those poor part-Maori children sent to te Reo immersion schools.

A ministry website giving information about its staff offers little prospect for hope. The six people it features as Senior Leaders all use highly politicised terminology referring inaccurately to Aotearoa, rather than our correct name, New Zealand, and introducing themselves in what passes for today's largely reinvented Maori language. Maori’s original approximate 2000 words cannot of course cope with providing translations from English, so most of today’s “Maori” has now been made-up, and is basically inauthentic, of no use whatever outside New Zealand. It displaces far more useful languages and important subjects in our schools. Standards of literacy are also not likely to be assisted by one leader who apparently is not sufficiently competent to realise that ”between my partner and I" is grammatically quite wrong.

And this is the huge challenge…. In a country where today’s parents, let alone their children – and apparently, including the majority of our MPs - are far less well-educated than their own parents and grandparents, where are those who men and women with fine intellects, able to tackle the massive task ahead? We undoubtedly still have at least some excellent teachers. But what should very much concern us is that those genuinely able to identify what has gone wrong are conspicuous by their absence. Least of all can they be found among our “experts”.

Amy Brooke is the author of '100 days - Claiming Back New Zealand'

4,685 views140 comments


The cynic in me says the left appears to have a deliberate policy of;

“To keep ‘em loyal, keep ‘em dumb, keep ‘em dependent!”


I'd love to know where you've found your "compelling empirical evidence" for man made CO2 being responsible for catastrophic global warming. Actually, just some evidence that a catastrophe is happening at all would be useful.


CO2 isn't accelerating climate warming? It isn't even a crisis? Ye gods... there goes your credibility as an analyst.

The empirical evidence for global warming is orders of magnitude more compelling than your simplifying, populist explanation for educational collapse in this country. Did I mention your gratuitous swipes at te reo?

Yes, standards have crashed. Yes, today's pupils are being taught by teachers who are themselves badly educated. I used to mark the homework sheets of my daughters' teachers until my daughters refused to hand them in with their homework - they were a blood bath of corrections.

Is Marxian doctrine responsible for this? Well, it may have played some part in it. But I note that standards really began…


Feb 25

Now is the time to make English, NEW ZEALAND'S official language.

And moreso, NEW ZEALAND'S ONLY, official language.

We have had enough of the destruction of English, both spoken and written.


Many regions of the world are also unnecessarily crippling their children by operating multilingual education systems: Flemish and French in Belgium; Italian, German and Ladin in northern Italy.

To avoid such a disaster and ensure our children are strong monolinguists we must revert back to an English only system. Any other language is to be taken as an optional subject. No smuggling in a word or phrase here, a compulsory class there. It only serves to confuse, distract and ultimately hobble children, cruelly diminishing their future prospects.

Feb 26
Replying to

I could understand learning more than one language in central Europe, mainly because of the freedom to travel throughout Europe, and the fact that most of the languages are Latin or Greek based.

Where as here we are teaching a second language that is no practical use here, or anywhere else in the modern world.

We must be the south side of stupid to entertain such foolishness.

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