New Paper Restarts the History Wars

Not entirely sure why I continue to be suprised at self-serving politicians who reckon they know what schools should be doing better than the professional educators in schools themselves. But I do! I think I need a new blog category: stuff that governments,business and other interest groups think schools should be doing other than educating students. Nah, too long.

I’ve blogged about this Federal Government’s interventionist approach with regard to reporting and assessment, literacy, and even spelling as well as Australian history and whose stories anyway. In the AGE today Education Miister Bishop argues for more facts and dates. That’s what history is about, facts and dates!

Perhaps Julie Bishop could sponsor a poetry competition to set Year 10 students hearts racing, modelled on this old history narrative…

‘In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue..’

THE history wars are about to be reignited, thanks to a paper that argues that Australian history in schools focuses “excessively” on topics such as the Vietnam War and the Whitlam government while ignoring issues such as economic development.

The paper, commissioned by the Federal Government for consideration at a national Australian history summit this month, also stresses the need to tackle the common perception that “Australian history is crap … ’cause nothing happened”‘.

Its author, Gregory Melleuish, says school is the only significant contact most people have with the study of history. But he argues there is a tendency for Australian history lessons to “exclude or marginalise” many significant elements.

“These include economic development issues, middle-Australia, people of religious belief and the churches,” Associate Professor Melleuish says in the paper, which outlines what he believes students should be taught by the end of year 10.

“It is necessary that a place be made for these elements.”

Education Minister Julie Bishop announced the summit last month, claiming that not enough students were learning Australian history, there was too much political bias and that not enough pivotal facts and dates were being taught.

She said it was essential that a structured, narrative approach was taken and every child should know when and why James Cook sailed along the east coast of Australia.

Original article HERE.

I’ll try to find if the report is available online.