Modia Minotaur

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Attack of the Ideologues

I have to admit that my jaw dropped when I heard of Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop's plans to take over the setting of state school curricula. That's before I heard reports that the original version of a speech she delivered yesterday claimed state-based education had been taken over by `left wing ideologues' whose policies come `straight from Chairman Mao'.

I mean, please.

As so often, what the Right get away with bald faced would be condemned from every corner had such extremism come from the mouths of the Left. Can you honestly imagine a Labor Education Minister proclaiming that Aussie children would henceforth be singing from the choirbook of Sydney and Beatrice Webb? Hardly. The arrogance is quite astounding.

What's even phonier is the debate over Australian education. Both Bishop and John Howard have claimed that national standardisation is an imperative because Australian education standards are so low. This is, quite simply, rubbish. All major indicators show Australia as one of the top countries in the world for literacy and numeracy. The OECD's most recent PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) report lists Australia as amongst the top five in the world for literacy, numeracy and science skills. Australia comes second only to Finland in literacy levels. This has been achieved despite the fact that the amount of money spent on public education has been falling steadily since 1995, while the amount of public money spent on private education is comparatively high on an international scale.

I won't even start on the History Wars, covered at length elsewhere. History is notoriously mutable; it is pulled in the direction of whoever interprets it. But whitewashing events that undoubtedly happened - for example, the Stolen Generations (yes, I've met members of them), even the fact that the establishment of European Australia involved the near-annhilation of the culture and people that preceded it - I'm sorry, but that's the work of ... what's the word? Ah yes. Ideologues.


At 1:40 am, Anonymous Perry said...

As you can tell by my inability to reply with any mastery of the English language, I failed grade ten English. I have managed to live without ever discussing Shakespeare, Oliver Cromwell, quantum physics, the political situation in Eastern Angola, and thousands of other subjects that are totally irrelevant to my life so far. Why force feed education on those who don't need it? Nobody needs a university degree to drive a truck, yet.

At 10:23 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally think this is brilliant politics - the Liberals are going to run on a complete conservative values campaign.

Expect a whole range of conservative announcements on family and welfare

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