National Curriculum

I’ve got real issues with nationalised curriculum; but the possibility of a curriculum behemoth emanating form Canberra and applicable everywhere from Freo to Cairns took a step closer to becoming reality this week, more in the name of political oneupmanship than good learning.

From THE AGE today:

AUSTRALIA seems destined for a common national curriculum after
Kevin Rudd yesterday mimicked the Howard Government’s controversial
grab for control over what is taught in schools.

In an audacious move, the new Labor leader went further than the
Government, pledging to extend the plan to primary as well as
secondary students and committing to a time frame and costing. He
said a new national curriculum board would be in place by 2010.

And, unlike the Government, Mr Rudd is likely to get the support
of the states.

Victoria welcomed the plan, despite previously criticising the
Federal Government’s policy as an exercise in “state bashing” that
would lower education standards.

Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop controversially called
for a common national curriculum last October, claiming left-wing
ideologues in state governments had hijacked what was being taught
in schools, with some subjects “straight from Chairman Mao”.

But Mr Rudd said Ms Bishop was more interested in political
point-scoring than getting a national education outcome.

Under Labor’s so-called education revolution, a curriculum board
would develop a national syllabus covering a child’s entire school
education, starting with mathematics, the sciences, history and

The board, to be led by an “eminent education expert” and
include representatives from Catholic and independent schools,
would receive $5 million annually.

Ms Bishop accused Labor of pinching Howard Government policy,
and said Mr Rudd had stolen the “education revolution” slogan from
a 2001 book by former Labor leader Mark. “Naughty boy! You
stole that idea didn’t you?” she said in Parliament to hoots of
laughter. “So the new policy adviser on education is Mark


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