An education should not be a political indoctrination, writes Jerome Appleby.Parents should be alarmed about the Rudd Government’s draft national school curriculum. It is a stalking horse for promoting a blatantly political agenda.
Take the subject of English. It doesn’t take long before the drafters go off on a tangent – second paragraph, in fact – about how the English curriculum “respects the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ contribution to Australian society”. No offence to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but what has that got to do with teaching children to read and write?
The whole document is riddled with subtle, and not so subtle, political propaganda.
Radical green ideology – a perennial favourite cause of the political Left – gets a guernsey, too. The curriculum states that students will “learn to make informed decisions about issues related to sustainability” and that there is “ample opportunity across year levels to discuss contemporary issues relating to sustainability”. Can you guess which subject area those two statements come from? If you guessed English, give yourself a pat on the back.
But the English curriculum doesn’t stop there. Why should it? Students are to “read about and develop understanding of the diversity of Asia’s peoples, environments and cultures” and to “recognise similarities and differences with their own world and increase their intercultural awareness and capacity to engage confidently with people from diverse cultural environments both at home and abroad”. Yes, all of that is in the English curriculum.
Even the maths curriculum is not immune from the contagion of political correctness. It states that it is “imperative that all Australian students learn from the wisdom of the first Australians”. (Presumably the West’s time-honoured Arab numerical system is lacking in some way).
Further, it states that “sustainable living and the knowledge and understandings related to Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia provide engaging and rich contexts for mathematics learning”. Maths has certainly come a long way since I was at school.
The science curriculum doesn’t escape the apparently obligatory emphasis on sustainable living and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In fact, at one stage it even included Dreamtime stories, before an outcry prompted their removal.
Parents want their children educated in the basics, not indoctrinated with trendy left-wing political correctness. Before children can appreciate and interact meaningfully with other cultures, they must first be well versed in their own culture. Mastering English grammar and composition, developing appreciation for fine literature and learning a second language would be good starting points for developing a broad education.
Students deserve better than to be treated by school curriculum experts as raw material for social engineering.
The Rudd Government should scrap its draft national school curriculum and hire new educationalists whose primary focus is on education, not on pet issues of the political Left.
Jerome Appleby is an Arts/Law Graduate and is South Australian state officer of the National Civic Council and Australian Family Association.