Well, here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: Stuff are right.

Of course, stopped-clock-like, they’re only right one time. Because the implications of what they’re right about would drive most Stuff journalists screaming for the hills.

First, the good.

The very best thing about the Tomorrow’s Schools system is that much of the power resides with parents. This is appropriate given they pay for the system, and it is their children enduring it. If a parent wants the school their child goes to to thrive then a lot of the responsibility lies with them […]

The first three years are crucial to the brain development of a child. They must feel safe and nurtured. They must be stimulated thought massive amounts of words and conversations. Good music, books being read out loud, trips to the park and the beach, interactions with other children.

In other words, no palming them off to the electronic babysitters: television and iPads. Maybe even – horror of horrors! – actually have one parent stay home and raise their precious offspring, instead of farming that job out to cradle-to-school childcare.

This 1995 Leunig cartoon outraged his lefty followers. The BFD.

I hear too many parents say that they cannot wait for their child to start school, so they can learn to read.

Both of my kids could read before school, or came home from their first day with a reader that they could confidently read – by which I mean, not recite parrot-fashion, but identify individual words when prompted. From just a few months old, we’d read to each of them, every night. Starting with simple picture-books. Reading slowly. Pointing to the words and pictures as we read, and encouraging them to join in, making the appropriate animal noises, or filling in the word for the object. It wasn’t a chore, it was a time I sometimes wish I could do all over again.

Once they start school be sure to be involved. Go to the school as often as you can. Talk to the teachers. Sit in on a class. Don’t be put off by being called a “helicopter parent”. The school belongs to you.

I would encourage every parent to find the time to do fill in as a one-on-one reader at their kids’ school. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience and you get to know the school and teachers in a way you won’t by simply dropping the kids off and picking them up at the end of the day.

Go to board of trustee meetings sometimes and get to know the heartbeat of the school. Be supportive and help where you can. At every level of schooling be sure that you know what is being taught. If you can’t do the maths to help with homework, don’t say, “This is so different to my day” or “Maths was never really my thing” or “When will you use this in the real world?”

As your child moves to high school (or is already there), find out all you can about the performance of the school. If the results are good, find out how best to support your child in their pathway […]

Make sure your child goes to school every day and talk to them about being positive and engaged. Keep visiting the school. Sit in on some classes and understand the culture of the place.

And here’s where it gets thorny for your average Stuff journalist.

Don’t be passive. Advocate for your child. Get together with other parents and seek improvement from the school. Be persistent and don’t accept excuses or mediocrity in any form.


This is what many parents in America, for instance are beginning to do, especially the “Mama Bears” who are so spectacularly kicking back against the onslaught of Critical Race Theory and creepy transgenderism in public schools. They’ve come to “understand the culture of the place”, and they are not happy.

And they’re doing something about it.

And, boy oh boy, are the media, the teachers’ unions and the Long March activists unhappy about it. Those deplorables are starting to act as if what their children are taught is somehow their business.

Yes, parents of New Zealand: don’t just sit back and complain about the creep of woke-ism in your kids’ schools. Be passionate advocates for your children’s education, indeed.

Tell ‘em Stuff sent you.

Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In the last decade...