Fairly recently Australia developed a national curriculum. It hasn’t been introduced as yet so we can’t blame it for the slide in Australian achievement levels in literacy, maths and science.
Since the development of the curriculum there has been a change of government. The coalition wants a review. According to The Age educators are baffled by this. The deputy dean of Monash University’s education faculty, Deborah Corrigan, who was a senior adviser for the national senior science curriculum, said the move appeared to be motivated by politics.
And indeed it is. She is not so baffled after all.
The new curriculum enshrines three priorities. Matters so important that they must be given a place in every subject. Your mind is no doubt racing ahead and thinking of matters like …
- Clear thinking
- Clear expression
The sorts of things that help you do well in any exam. Read the question carefully, think about your answer, get your answer down clearly and neatly. You’d be wrong of course. Think in terms of more lofty ideals. No doubt you are now considering the cornerstones of our civilisation …
- The rule of law
Well wrong again, in the view of our guiding educators the three things so important that you must absorb them in every subject, such immutable priorities that without them your education for life as an Australian citizen would be utterly deficient, so weighty that no maths or science syllabus could be good enough are …
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
- Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia
This is how the first priority will intersect the maths syllabus …
The Australian Curriculum: Mathematics values Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. It provides opportunities for students to appreciate that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies have sophisticated applications of mathematical concepts.
Students will explore connections between representations of number and pattern and how they relate to aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. They will investigate time, place, relationships and measurement concepts in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contexts. Students will deepen their understanding of the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples through the application and evaluation of statistical data.
I particularly like “It provides opportunities for students to appreciate that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies have sophisticated applications of mathematical concepts.” Of course they do … they go to school and thanks to the National Curriculum they learn exactly the same maths as, as well, er … the rest of us.
There is nothing new about social engineering in schools. The Jesuits have been saying “Give me the boy and I’ll give you the man,” for five hundred years or so. German Nazism, Russian Communism, British Imperialism have all had a go at it. Now our trendy lefty educators are determined to bring you a generation that know …
- OI3 … Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have unique belief systems and are spiritually connected to the land, sea, sky and waterways.
- OI7 … The broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies encompass a diversity of nations across Australia.
- OI9 … Australia acknowledges the significant contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people locally and globally.
- OI2 … Interrelationships between humans and the diverse environments in Asia shape the region and have global implications.
- OI9 … Sustainable futures result from actions designed to preserve and/or restore the quality and uniqueness of environments.
The Australian student will also learn …
The question is will mathematicians from Australia also be making a contribution. To do so what they must learn in mathematics is mathematics not that Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders are spiritually connected to the land, sea, sky and waterways, or World views that recognise the dependence of living things on healthy ecosystems, and value diversity and social justice are essential for achieving sustainability.
What I would like to see in a future Australia is a clever populus who can manage maths and science well, contribute academically on the world stage and sustain or improve their standard of living. They would be held safe by the constitution and the courts without regard to their colour or creed and free to speak their minds. It’s another old idea, derived from a culture that has enriched us immeasurably. The lady with the sword and scales is usually blindfolded.
The review of the Australian Curriculum is under way. If you wish to make a suggestion you may do so <HERE>. Our educators seem determined to create ” … a diversity of nations across Australia“, I think it would be better if their three priorities were consigned to the garbage.