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But you won't fool the children of the Cultural Revolution

Submitted by Rick Eyre on October 11, 2007 - 1:55pm

John Howard and his ministers are making announcements like there's no tomorrow (which, give or take six weeks, is almost certainly correct). Two more legs of his education platform, otherwise known as the Cultural Revolution (registered trademark under licence from the estate of Mao Zedong), have been announced today.

One is stage two of the Cash for Chaplains program, and the winners of the latest Dash for Cash are listed here. And to be fair, there are quite a few Islamic schools on the list. So no jokes about pork barrelling, please.

The other, is the detail of the Compulsory Great Aussie Yarns classes that Year 9 and 10 students will be expected to complete beginning in 2009 (as if Johnny will be on deck till then).

Or, as JWH calls it, the "root and branch renewal of teaching of Australian history in our schools". Let us hereforth call it the R&B program.

The "Guide to the Teaching of Australian History in Years 9 and 10" as determined by a four-person reference group including Gerald Henderson and Geoffrey Blainey, can be seen here in PDF format.

Now I have nothing against the teaching of Australian history in Australian schools, although I seem to recall covering it in depth well before Year 9. It's the motives behind the Howard push that worry me, not to mention the lack of genuine divesity of thought among the reference group and the excessive attention to detail in the final document. (And why was the Sydney Olympics of 2000 listed as a milestone event in Australian history, but not the Melbourne Olympics of 1956? And Papua New Guinea independence made the list?)

Anyway, the education policy I am waiting to see, if those flying pigs don't obstruct my vision, is the one which ensures that every Australian child becomes proficient in at least one additional language before leaving school.