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The influence of Michael Johnston on government’s education policy

Summarised by Centrist

The government’s education policy is led by Erica Stanford and Michael Johnston. The latter is a cognitive psychologist and a senior fellow with the New Zealand Initiative (NZI), who leads the think tank’s education workstream and advocates for a structured approach to literacy

However, Johnston’s association with NZI and his advocacy for the systematic method to reading as opposed to the previous government’s “balanced approach” is raising concerns for some.  

While Johnston defends his approach as evidence-based and non-ideological, some worry about the narrow scope of advisors influencing policy design. 

How much influence should one person have over education policy? 

Editor’s note: Considering the poor state of education, why not have different schools try different methods and compare results, like the charter schools that Labour nixed? Also, where was the concern for the outsized influence on education of former PM and education minister Chris Hipkins’ mother, Rosemary Hipkins? Rose Hipkins is a member of the highly influential NZ Council for Educational Research. An advocate of mātauranga Māori as an equivalent to traditional science, her 2006 thesis paralleled (and arguably the blueprint for) Labour’s own attempt at education reform. 

Read more over at Newsroom

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