It was with great trepidation at 8:30 this morning I clicked on the headline link ‘Howard revives History Wars’ on my daily Capital Circle email from the Australian. The media love ‘the history wars’. It’s a debate that has no real finite conclusion and is a story that ‘just keeps giving’. But it’s not the real issue here.
To preface the rest of this article I must declare that I agree we need a national curriculum. I agree with John Howard’s assessment of what historical events and changes should be included within our national history syllabus. But I also acknowledge Professor Barry McGraw AO’s rebuttal statement, on behalf of ACARA, that specifically details where within the proposed curriculum students have the opportunity to learn about Australia’s western heritage.
However, that is not the real problem.
The real problem with the proposed national curriculum is the actual criteria students are assessed against. As a history minor, it makes me physically terrified. To illustrate the entire point of this article, I have prepared a handy example comparative table using a Queensland context.