In an article in The New Zealand Herald of 19 April 2005 about the proposal to give parents remedial reading vouchers enabling them to buy extra tuition for their children, Prof. Tom Nicholson wrote the following:
‘Reading vouchers are necessary at this time as an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff to rescue many thousands of children who will slip through the cracks of our educational system and whose lives will be ruined because of lack of literacy.
‘But this is a short-term measure. The real problem is that schools are saddled with the whole language reading method that fails too many children and that excludes other methods such as phonics.’ [Emphasis original]
As Lesley Drake commented on the RRF Message-Board: ‘I can’t help but think this is a bit crazy. The government pays for schools to teach children to read. They don’t do the job, so the government pays parents to take their children somewhere else to be taught how to read. So the government pays twice for the same service. Why not just get rid of the doctrine that causes teachers to fail to do the job they are employed to do in the first place?’