"Angela Constance said she was "astonished" that some subject teachers in secondary did not think reading and writing was "vital".
"However, her comments provoked a backlash from teaching unions who suggested the Government should provide more resources to schools rather than "blaming teachers".
"Ms Constance spoke out after recent official figures showed standards of literacy in Scottish primary and secondary schools are falling."
"The Scottish Survey of Literacy found performance in reading dropped in primary schools between 2012 and 2014, as well as in the second year of secondary school. Last year, the same survey found Scottish primary schools had experienced a dramatic decline in standards of numeracy."
"In a keynote speech to an audience of education specialists at Glasgow University, Ms Constance said: "The results on numeracy and.... literacy show that we need to step up the pace of change. Frankly, it's not good enough that some children appear to be doing less well in basic skills the older they get...."
"However, Seamus Searson, general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, said the suggestion some teachers were unaware of the importance of basic skills was "unfair".
Are we supposed to believe that over the past few years it is teachers who have changed? I think they have a right to feel more than a bit peeved at Ms Constance`s remarks.
At one time children had textbooks. This meant they could catch up if they missed a lesson or failed to grasp it in class. They could get help from friends or parents because the material was available. It was also there for revision purposes. Reading was constantly reinforced. How children manage without books I do not know because resources do matter, especially for disadvantaged children who are less likely to have the resources at home.
As well as that black hole, there are all the changes involved in Curriculum for Excellence: active learning, collaborative learning, social and emotional learning, workforce learning, talking, listening, planning next steps, everything and anything but getting on with it. It has been a disaster in the making.
Unfortunately, teachers are leaving teacher training colleges full of these progressive ideas.