Holmes on National Standards

Paul Holmes makes a fascinating comparison in yesterday’s HoS column:

Well, how did it get to this? After decades and decades and billions and billions of dollars it turns out about a million New Zealanders don’t have the numeracy and literacy skills to make a living or make a go of life.

And the learned education experts, the principals, are doing their damnedest to undermine their minister who simply wants to introduce a national standards system so that a parent in Masterton knows how their child is doing in relation to a child in Kerikeri.

I can think of only one reason they want to fight it. They are alarmed that we may be on the point of finding out.

And then after talking about Mel Brooks’ The Producers, he goes back to 1986:

It is a lesson for broadcasting interviewers and I learnt it myself during those bitter months back in 1986 when the Homosexual Law Reform Bill was exciting the most extreme debate up and down the country.

The Happy Clappy churches and the awful, proscriptive Dutch Reformed Church were passionately, almost fascistically, opposed.

They put up for interview on radio and television programmes all kinds of preachers and visiting “experts” who spoke with hellfire authority about the evils and what men would start doing to one another if the bill passed into law, as if it were going to make homosexuality compulsory. They quoted great tracts of scripture to back it all up. It was insane.

But I realised one morning in 1986, when I was interviewing one of these frightened, hate-filled types, that there was no point arguing on his territory.

Holmes has wonderfully compared the teacher unions to the anti HLR forces in 1986. If they complain too much, I am sure he will artfully point out he never directly compared them. Instead he just allowed the readers to connect the dots.

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