National Curriculum …

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 …

  • Comprehension
  • 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 …

  • Liberty
  • The rule of law
  • Democracy

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
  • Sustainability.

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 …

Mathematicians from Asia continue to contribute to the ongoing development of Mathematics.

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.

Falling behind in maths …

I went to school in the post war years in London’s east end. My final primary school class had 44 students. 40 of them passed the Eleven+ examination.

My secondary school was woefully equipped, staff student ratios were better than 1:44 but nothing like today’s ratios. Our gym was two classrooms with the dividing wall knocked out. Somehow a great majority of students went on to obtain degrees and somehow the school seemed able to generate basketball players that went on to represent England at junior and senior levels.

Those schools succeeded because of the quality of the teachers and the focus of the curriculum.

Here is an excerpt from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority website (ACARA) …

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.

The maths class would be a good place to concentrate on maths, leave the social engineering to whichever syllabus has replaced religious instruction.

It ain’t the money …

The Gonski reforms are just one of the “spend the future” schemes that Labor is desperate to shackle Australia to before the ALP gets its arse kicked out of government.

This is Greg Sheridan writing in the Australian

Education more generally demonstrates our almost complete divorce from our Asian neighbours. We are about to waste a colossal amount of money on this Gonski madness. This money will have no measurable effect on our educational quality…

I have spent a lot of time in schoolrooms in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Almost without exception, these schoolrooms are physically less well endowed than their Australian counterparts. The class sizes are bigger, the grounds smaller, the buildings tackier. But the instruction is traditional, the teacher is boss, the school day and year are much longer, kids have to learn and remember a huge amount of content.

The result? The outcomes are vastly better than Australia’s. This is a lesson official Australia never wants to learn. Asian migrants are now bringing this wisdom to Australia, which is why Asian kids do so disproportionately well in our schools. Our society is well engaged with Asia, but at most policy levels our government hasn’t a clue.

Research bias …

If you were setting out to manufacture a fine product you would ensure a good quality control process was in place.

There was a time when that was the case in education, but gone are the days when an inspector would sit in on a class to directly measure the effectiveness of teachers. Indirect measures of teacher performance, testing the students, are also unpopular with teachers … but popular with parents because they would like to know how their kids are going.

The first national study into NAPLAN’s impact, in which researchers garnered responses from more than 8300 teaching staff, has found it is “plagued” by unintended consequences.

More than 80 per cent of teachers felt test preparation was adding to an already crowded curriculum while just over two-thirds believed it had led to a timetable reduction for other subjects.

That research was conducted by asking teachers whether testing kids was a good thing … what answer would you expect?

 

Nutbags …

Meanwhile in Mount Martha …

A PRIMARY school principal has defended her “crazy” and “ridiculous” decision to ban kids from playing tiggy and giving each other high fives.

The story is also being carried in the Age, where a reader poll is running 94% to 6% against this policy.

The nutbags of today socially engineering our citizens of tomorrow …

Mt. Martha Primary were invited to comment on the story but have not responded.