Is it time to save the world again?

Or set you all on the right path? Or shirtfront you even?

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Mister Bogan Slogan was in good form yesterday, wasn’t he? Mind you, the potential shirtfrontee in this case is even worse…

I took the trouble to download the Report on the National Curriculum, even if it is hardly worth reading since it merely rehearses for 300 or so pages every conservative cliche we have heard in the past twenty years or more. Furthermore we had heard the key findings from Christopher Pyne and Dr Donnelly even before the Report was written. To that extent the Abbott Government is adhering to its “no surprises” mantra.

But there are bits I agree with, such as the curriculum being overloaded and more attention being needed to those doing less well. Mind you, implementing Gonski properly would have helped provide conditions for doing better on the latter, wouldn’t it? OK, so I downloaded it as PDF and guess what? It won’t open. Is that a security thing? Has some spybot told them I am not the sort of person who should read it?

I’ll try again. (This time it worked. I will return to it when I have fully read it, if I can be bothered.)

Meanwhile, enjoy this morning’s flowers here in West Wollongong.

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Illawarra Flame

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Bottlebrush

Update on the pseudo-review of the National Curriculum

Jim Belshaw posted The Pyne curriculum review – results yesterday, finding it “a moderately useful discussion”. But western Sydney secondary teacher Thomas nailed much in a great comment which I venture to copy here:

Wish I was around for the January discussion/debate that you and your regulars had! Given that I actually have to comprehend, apply, teach, and review the curriculum on a day-to-day basis, I probably could have given a bit of insight!
Just a general comment about the whole process: The overwhelming opinion (albeit in my sphere only) is that there is just a want for stability. ‘Everyone’ got over the ‘issues’ of the curriculum in the draft phase, and then when it was released as the national curriculum, and then adopted for NSW (more on that next). We had 3 years or so to rewrite and rework whole faculties around this document. Now, as the final roll-out (so to speak) comes into effect, we are looking down the barrel of MORE changes.
PLEASE! For the love of everything, I wish the government could just let be for a few years and see what the issues are. There needs to be stability to get results and performance – surely even the non-schooling minded can see that!
As for the NSW adaptation, I feel as though this comment could have helped in your earlier discussion: In NSW, we don’t teach the national curriculum as it appears on the ACARA website. It has been adapted and modified (subtly in some areas, explicitly in others). Yes, there are still the cross-curriculum priorities HOWEVER the depth and manner in which you approach them is left up to the school. You could build your units of study around them OR you could touch on them in passing lessons. Indeed, some may not even be more than an activity in some situations.
If you look closely at the website (http://syllabus.bos.nsw.edu.au), you can see that the NSW BOS has actually integrated the cross-curriculum priorities for teachers and that by simply following the syllabus, you are fulfilling the requirements anyway.
Why do I take the time to mention all this? Because the review group/Pyne have picked ONE area to discredit this whole document which – I would argue – has been a GREAT thing for schools as is!
If this isn’t politicisation, then what else is it?
Yes, there is a right to review things – especially in terms of education. But to review something that hasn’t even been rolled out!? Something is fishy.

I may indeed post myself  later if I can stomach doing so. I say that because I have found the whole thing quite fatuous from the get-go. Aside from the fact that I am no longer a player, having retired some time ago, I could scream every time I hear The Pyne or Dr Death or various media hacks repeating as if it were divine revelation some dubious argument about, say, literacy teaching in terms that I really did think we had been rehashing again and again for probably at least half a century. Some of the arguments were around at the beginning of the 20th century when my grandfather commenced teaching. This has been from the start an epic self-indulgence by inveterate culture warriors, and that is all it has been.

Some of the matters raised by the review I dealt with as far back as 1998 at some length – and even then they were rather old hat. See Literacy and Why I reject Kevin Donnelly’s educational analysis.

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2 thoughts on “Is it time to save the world again?

  1. Well, I had to look up “shirt front”, as I expect did the majority of Australians – which is actually a small comfort.

    I look forward to the G20, where our PM may head but Pres Obama over his climate change stance, and perhaps king hit Cameron and go the knuckle with the Chinese. Are there any women invitees? If so, perhaps a wall punch?

    Anyway, it will make good sport, and is totally in line with the current two-word-solutions-to-everything political phase we are in. Gone are the days of beer skulling prowess; what have we become?

  2. “…what have we become?” I do wonder. I really do. But I was rather chuffed that a fellow Diggers Club member today — not a stereotype leftie of by any measure an inner city elite, but a plain working man — immediately also thought what Tony Abbott said yesterday was remarkably stupid.

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