Waleed Aly on National Curriculum

I said in the previous post that I was having trouble figuring out Aly’s take on National Curriculum in the latest issue of The Monthly.

Some of the key points seem to be:

“(Curriculum) … is a form of political activism.”  [National Curriculum, like Texas curriculum on evolution, is political]


“…Perhaps I never got a decent education in Australian history – but it is abundantly clear that the failures of our education system have occupied a significant place in this country’s culture wars in the past decade or so” –

DISAGREE –  The ‘failures’ of our education system are ‘alleged’ and also political.

“Is this the Rudd government finally putting its stamp on the country, Education Revolution and all? Well, sort of. Certainly, the idea of a national curriculum, displacing the various state-determined curricula that currently prevail, sounds suitably muscular and revolutionary. It has the resonance of ‘getting serious’, of ‘raising standards’ – of whipping our kids into shape. But only very modest changes have been made to the maths and science curriculum we presently have, and these changes will actually make the materials less dense, with an increased focus on statistics and probability. The biggest change is history – which will now actually be taught in its own right – but even here, the revolution is incomplete. And who, exactly, is going to teach it? “

UNSURE. Most experts I’ve talked to who’ve looked closely at the drafts so far have seen them as regressive. Aly seems to be arguing for DENSE curriculum (think stand-alone history rather than soft and fluffy SOSE) but the curriculum drafts seem content heavy and old-fashioned.

“You could be forgiven for assuming Australian students have become an embarrassment when it comes to literacy and numeracy. Nobody seemed to listen when Peter Freebody, the lead writer of the English syllabus, said that “Australians are more literate now than they were when grammar was taught intensively, but in isolation from language use and literary studies.” Freebody’s point was that “the basics” are no panacea, and have to be combined with a study of literature. But Gillard chose to stand before the media scrum, spelling – “c-a-t, cat” “

AGREE – See previous post.

Aly  goes on to argue that Rudd seems intent on being both Asian-centred and progressive, as well as tougher on teachers and asylum seekers than Howard.

However, I was surprised to find that the whole piece is online and you can try to figure it out yourself HERE.

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