In February, 2007, then-Prime Minister John Howard lashed out at the “new-age fads” infecting the school system. In 2006, then-Education Minister Julie Bishop had a crack at education bureaucrats distorting curriculums with “Chairman Mao” type ideologies.

Cartoon: Peter Nicholson

The Australian at the time reported: “John Howard has accused public schools of allowing “incomprehensible sludge” to infect the curriculum and declared that the need for a national system was a “no brainer”.”

More than five years later, with a national curriculum on the boil, and he’s no happier, declaring the draft national history curriculum “unbalanced… and in some cases quite bizarre.”

He has quite specific worries about what’s included and what’s not – for example, in Year 10 students are required to an in-depth study of one of three aspects of globalisation from 1945 to today, he writes.

“The options are popular culture, environmental movements of mass migration movements.

“Now I read that several times and I thought: since 1945, what has been the most significant element of globalisation that has really affected the world and Australia? Surely it has to be economic globalisation?”

Maybe it is; maybe he has a point. But the point he seems to be missing when he bemoans that “AC/DC and Kylie Minogue are more important to an understanding of the globalising world since 1945” is that it’s quite a bit easier to get kids interested in pop culture than global economics.

It shouldn’t be the case; in a perfect world a brilliant Dead Poets’ Society-esque teacher would inflame the receptive students’ passion for whichever topic was most worthy. But it’s far from a perfect world.

Teachers need to stoke the fires of their students’ curiosity, to introduce them to the methods of research. We have long moved past the idea of rote learning, of memorisation of facts.

At high school, it is far more important to foster a love of learning itself, of research itself, of the exploration of ideas. University history students can delve into the micros of macroeconomics.

Of course kids need to learn the basic facts, of how Australia and the world came to be what they are today.

And Mr Howard is right that Judaeo-Christian influences are a large part of that.

He may be guilty of some hyperbole when he says our Western heritage is conspicuously absent; but like all good politicians past and present he has tapped into a deeper malaise, a fear that the country is changing fast and the past may be forgotten, rewritten.

But he’s lost touch with reality by listing the specific things that are not on what must be a finite curriculum.

Just because there is not an elective on “a detailed study of free enterprise, including the central role of private-property ownership” doesn’t mean future generations will be denied a proper knowledge of our nation’s history.

It’s clear the curriculum doesn’t – and never would – comply with Mr Howard’s demand for an emphasis on conservatism, on Thatcher, on “the reference to the decisive rejection in the late 1940s of attempts to nationalise Australia’s banking system”.

But I’d suggest that’s more about keeping students’ eyeballs on the texts than some subversive progressive ideology.

Twitter: @ToryShepherd
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    • Tracker says:

      12:59pm | 28/09/12

      How many minutes will it take to learn all of that ? Where is the significance of Australia Day mentioned ? Oh that’s right, they want to change it to Citizens Day.

      Why is the curriculum so broadly defined ?

      I am with John Howard on this one.

    • Rickster says:

      01:52pm | 28/09/12

      @ Tracker , don’t you mean WHAT is the significance of Australia day? should be renamed invation day.

    • Winston Smith says:

      02:03pm | 28/09/12

      Tracker, John Howard introduced Citizenship Day in 2001 and it has been celebrated every year on 17th September.

      I am not sure who you think “they” are.

    • Anubis says:

      02:56pm | 28/09/12

      @ Rickster - what a load of politically BS. Invasion Day is crap. I have ancestors who came on those first boats, they definitely were NOT invaders and to use that term denigrates them even more than the system did. Without there blood, sweat and tears Australia would not be the country it is today.

    • JB says:

      03:20pm | 28/09/12

      @Rickster, It is celebrating the foundation of a nation!
      Your “invasion day” crap does nothing to build unity among all Australians. Even suggesting it means that you are happy for people to still be divided. Aboriginals get benefits that other can not, they received an apology and have native title. What else do you believe should be handed over?

    • JB says:

      03:15pm | 28/09/12

      @Rickster, It is celebrating the foundation of a nation!
      Your “invasion day” crap does nothing to build unity among all Australians. Even suggesting it means that you are happy for people to still be divided. Aboriginals get benefits that other can not, they received an apology and have native title. What else do you believe should be handed over?

    • iansand says:

      04:08pm | 28/09/12

      I read Rickster’s typo as Invitation Day.  I concede that I may have been wrong smile

    • acotrel says:

      05:04pm | 28/09/12

      The Cecil Rhodes Foundation is not an Australian body ? Certainly not a public school, its standards are too low !

    • Rickster says:

      05:04pm | 28/09/12

      @ Auibus.incestors came on the first boats From Indonisia or Srilanka? shoud have got the navy to turn them back definatley no invataions

    • Angus McGee says:

      07:41pm | 28/09/12

      @Rickster. Deaf, dumb or stupid?

    • SAm says:

      12:35pm | 28/09/12

      bit hippocritical if you ask me, him having a go at those pop-stars being included, yet im sure he would jump at an opportunity to include Don Bradman. Whats the difference?

    • Alfie says:

      01:27pm | 28/09/12

      “...yet im sure he would jump at an opportunity to include Don Bradman.”

      He didn’t, so what’s your point.

    • Peter Yo says:

      01:29pm | 28/09/12

      In year 8 History we actually learned about Bradman and Phar Lap in correlation to the Dreat Depression and how it affected the Australian Psyche at the time.

    • SAm says:

      02:26pm | 28/09/12

      my point alfie is im raising a hypothetical, as many people do regarding politicians…
      going on past statements and policys (bradman being in the citizenship test for example) would mean that he classifies it as an important peice of australian history, ergo worthy of teaching.
      Didnt take a rocket scientist to figure that out, but feel free to get offended as always when someone questions John

    • Alfie says:

      04:20pm | 28/09/12


      No, you said it was “...bit hypocritical (spelling) if you ask me”. It can’t be if it was only in your mind.

    • R* says:

      12:39pm | 28/09/12

      Seeing as global economics has driven and is still driving the world we live in I believe that it should be a mandatory subject in schools. An understanding of basic global and domestic economics across the whole population would be an excellent thing.

      Globalisation continues to have the biggest impact on our day to day lives. Maybe if they taught economics as a compulsory subject in schools we may actually get pollies who can adequately manage our economies.

    • Friedrich Von Bastiat says:

      01:24pm | 28/09/12

      Bad idea.

      They’d simply be infecting students with Keynesianism and Monetarism at an earlier age.

      Though it looks like your faith in central planner’s ability to “manage our economies” is still strong, notwithstanding current trends [and past history].


      Probably for the best its not mandatory.

    • Millsy says:

      02:15pm | 28/09/12

      Friedrich your fear of “Infecting them with Keynesianism” is a load of rubbish. Keynesianism is the reason Australia survived the GFC relatively unscathed. Howard and Costello produced budget surpluses and saved while times were good, Rudd boosted aggregate demand with government spending when the private sector was dropping off.

      Austrian economic thought (which I’m guessing you’re a disciple of) is a nice fairy tale built on maths and ideology that has very little to do with empirical evidence and real life.

    • Tom says:

      04:41pm | 28/09/12

      Millsy, the mining boom allowed the LNP to stash money away. The mining boom also lessened Australia’s exposure to the GFC. Rud spent the money that the LNP had stashed away.

      BTW: the German economy is closer to the Austrian system while your mates in Zimbabwe and Greece just love Keynes. I know which economy is doing the best. This is not a fairy tale.

    • Rose says:

      06:04pm | 28/09/12

      Keynesianism is still the best option we have, there is no better economic system that provides for market forces while at the same time allows for governmental influence to reduce much of the risk of boom/bust cycles.

    • Mitch says:

      12:46pm | 28/09/12

      Obviously there’s not enough Phar Lap and Don Bradman in the new curriculum for old Johnny’s tastes. 

      Really what it comes down to (once again) is that the world is changing and the angry oldies are upset that its doing it without their permission. Things which were once whitewashed from history, or considered unimportant next to the “Western Judeo Christian influence” are actually being examined, and that can only be a good thing.

    • Lola says:

      12:46pm | 28/09/12

      Well it’s good to bring this into the public domain because what’s in the national curriculum may be more important for raising educational standard and outcomes than just spending $6 billion extra. But money says ‘I care’ better I suppose.

    • Mikey says:

      12:43pm | 28/09/12

      I think Howard’s just upset that reality seems to have a left wing bias.

    • Mum of a soccer player says:

      02:59pm | 28/09/12

      Haha good joke!
      You mean, reality has a right wing bias, which is why right-wing types get out there and have a go, work 24/7 and lo and behold appear to be the financial ‘winners’...

      meanwhile the Aussie political culture has a fairly severe left-wing bias, meaning Australia is reduced to a mine pit,  and the pollies and their luvvies spend all their efforts working out new ways help themselves and their institutions to the money generated by the few remaining right-wing types left in this country.

      Ever tried to run a small business in this country?

    • Steven says:

      12:46pm | 28/09/12

      Surely any discussion about economic globalisation would be better suited to, oh I don’t know… an Economics class?

      Methinks it’s time for your midday nap, Mr Howard

    • Peter says:

      03:50pm | 28/09/12

      My thoughts exactly.  And a lot of that is also covered in Legal Studies.  Which makes me think that what Howard is really talking about Social Studies.  Not “history”.  If he realised that, maybe he would shut up already.

    • EM says:

      12:52pm | 28/09/12

      Yeah god forbid if our schools don’t teaching that money is the only important thing in the world…

      I live in a society, not an economy.

    • Mayday says:

      01:41pm | 28/09/12

      And without an economy there would not be a society worth living in.

      History tells us when people are economically marginalized, social unrest becomes the order of the day.

    • St. Michael says:

      02:51pm | 28/09/12

      Correction, EM: you live in an economy that permits a society to exist.

      Try and see how much “society” you get under a communist government such as existed in Russia.

    • dry Liberal says:

      12:58pm | 28/09/12

      It’s disingenuous to say that “there’s not enough room in the curriculum to teach about the success of free market capitalism and economic liberalism” when there IS room in the curriculum for Marxism. If it’s must be an either/or, then capitalism, which history proves does work, should be studied instead of Marxism, which history has shown us does not work.

      And Howard is right, why does the curriculum only cover Chinese history up until 1976? That was the year Mao died, and it was only after that tyranny was dead, who was responsible for for more deaths than any one else in history through the failure of his communist ideology, that China could recover and become strong again. In fact, the whole economic history of China is an excellent example of how very very evil and bad communism and socialism is, and how excellent and virtuous economic liberalism is, seeing as though it was Deng Xiaoping’ s economic liberal reforms which finally allowed China to prosper.

      By ignoring these real facts in favor of pushing their own leftist ideology down impressionable students throats, the bureaucrats who wrote the national curriculum have outed themselves as crass culture warriors rather than conscientious educators.

    • Monty says:

      01:16pm | 28/09/12

      You think covering the Chinese civil war is the same as studying Marxism? Was covering the Russian revolution an endorsement of Collectivism? (By the way, Maoism was quite different from both Marxism and Stalinism).

      Like it or not, China is going to be very important in the coming decades and knowing why it is the way it is, is also very important.

    • Michael says:

      01:26pm | 28/09/12

      I studied modern history two years ago when I was at school and I think you’ll find it goes past 1976.

      We had to learn about Deng Xiaoping, Tiananmen Square and post-reform China.

    • Nathan Explosion says:

      01:31pm | 28/09/12

      @dry Liberal

      The only time I learnt about Marxism is high school was when I studied the Russian revolution… and it was an elective history class.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      01:27pm | 28/09/12

      Right China has economic liberalism, funniest joke I’ve heard all day. Did they get rid off all the state owned enterprises, remove all the restrictions on investing in China and unpegged the Yuan from the U.S Dollar while I wasn’t looking? I would suggest that the reason China is more successful at the moment than the U.S which has true economic liberalism is the level of state involvement in Chinese economy while the U.S is an economic basket case whose only solution seems to be print more money. I’d suggest the curriculum look at both the failures of Marxism and the failures of Capitalism.

    • Nathan Explosion says:

      01:35pm | 28/09/12

      Also, I’m pretty sure China is still a Communist country. It seems to have worked pretty well for their economy. For the citizens, it’s a different story…

    • Elli says:

      01:36pm | 28/09/12

      Dry Liberal, that’s a great economic/political discussion, which would be right at home in an economics/politics/sociology class. We’re talking about history. One of the greatest things about history is our ability to learn lessons from both the successes and the failures. Having students study marxism, communism, and nazi socialism gives them the skills to understand how something that sounds like a good and rational idea can have disasterous consequences.
      Besides, the ciriculum cannot cover everything that is important and of interest - or it would be a 20 year cirriculum just to do a broad overview.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      02:28pm | 28/09/12

      @dry Liberal, but surely given how you feel about Marxism, it is important to include this in history to show the problems it has caused, or are you worried that it might create a generation who truly understand what Marx was trying to achieve and will successfully implement it?

      The whole point of Marx’s manifesto was reliant upon the one factor that to date has not been present, a person who is not self-obsessed or self-centred. If you put everything Marx proposed into practice in a society that was not focused on the individuals in that society but rather society as a whole, you would end up with “utopia”.

      If you would like to discuss capitalism, it is a flawed system that attempts to simulate Marxism through the reliance of citizenry upon business and vice-versa, the result is both sides claiming the other wouldn’t survive without them (which is true). Capitalism led to unionism, which is something else that conservatives have an issue with, so really all the wrongs and evils conservatives see in the world are actually tied in with the advent of Capitalism.

    • St. Michael says:

      03:14pm | 28/09/12

      @ Elli: “Besides, the ciriculum cannot cover everything that is important and of interest - or it would be a 20 year cirriculum just to do a broad overview.”

      On the contrary.  It would take the equivalent of one book or TV series—Niall Ferguson in “The Ascent of Money” is high-school level stuff and teaches quite clearly how money is, in fact, the driving factor in most if not all major historical events in European history.  Economics is the driving force behind history, and it deserves a lot better understanding than it presently gets.

    • Monty says:

      01:00pm | 28/09/12

      I, strangely enough, agree with Howard about economic globalisation. History lessons should teach how every economic “miracle” of the era of globalisation has spectacularly failed one after the other.

    • dry Liberal says:

      01:24pm | 28/09/12

      No Monty, economic globalisation has not spectacularly failed.

      Spectacular failure would be the disintegration of the Soviet Union under the weight of its own inefficiencies caused by socialism and command-economics.

      Spectacular failure would be the EU project, which is falling apart even as we speak because left-wing governments couldn’t stop spending borrowed money to save themselves.

      Spectacular failure was the GFC, which was caused by a central bureau of command-economist know-it-alls (aka the Federal Reserve) sitting around in meetings thinking they knew better than the market, and setting interest rates artificially low for waaay too long causing an enormous housing bubble in the US, which burst and caused the GFC (of course, other contributing factors, like Bill Clinton’s Statist mandate that banks MUST lend to sub-prime borrowers by law played a role in it as well).

      But economic globalistion itself has not been a failure. Look at Singapore, look at Hong Kong, look at South Korea, look at Chile, look at New Zealand, indeed look at Australia: every country where free-market reforms, economic deregulation and liberal globalisation has been pursued, economic success has followed soon after.

      If there’s one thing history teaches us, its that small government, low taxes and the rule of law ensures economic prosperity and success for ALL nations who dare to try it.

      That is what our kids should be taught, because it is the most important lesson in all history.

    • Monty says:

      01:43pm | 28/09/12

      The Asian Economic Miracle, The Celtic Tiger and Iceland all fell apart right after they were hailed as triumphs of the free market and deregulation.

      In the USA the lack of any regulation on securities lead to a long-term bubble that wrecked their domestic economy when it all came home to roost. (The sub-prime mortage problem was only partly at fault and its contribution to the crisis was enhanced by the lack of control over securities trading)

      Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea are not triumphs of the free market. Each of those countries nurtured domestic industry with protectionism and state ownership (or part ownership) of business and enterprise. The reason they are successful is precisely because they used government market controls.

    • dry Liberal says:

      02:04pm | 28/09/12

      @Monty, the examples you list, i.e. Ireland, Iceland S.E. Asia et al, were hollow economies. What I mean is: there was this massive credit bubble, caused by idiotic bureaucrats and central bankers thinking they knew better than the free market what the price of money should be, and set it far too low.

      Now, all this hot money flowed into these economies, bidding up the price of assets unrealistically and unsustainably, and then when the credit bubble popped, these economies had a crash.

      So, how can you say it was a failure of the free market, when infact it was the opposite! It was a failure of central planning, by bureaucrats who thought they knew better than the free market!

      Now, I take your points about government involvement in Industries in South Korea and Singapore (not so much HK though…), however, when you look at their guiding philosphies, even at a government level, they are very capitalist-friendly, as opposed to, you know, all those failing Southern European governments for example…

    • Friedrich Von Bastiat says:

      02:36pm | 28/09/12

      Not sure what your point here is Monty, with all those examples. What is clear though, is that you have no idea what the difference is between actions of the ‘market’ and of the ‘State’.

      You can’t have a free market under a socialist monetary system. You may point out all the deregulation that went on in the West, but it is not conducted in a ‘free market’ environment.

      It’s hardly a ‘free market’ deregulation when organisations involved in securities trading have a lender of last resort that will bail them out when they lose.

      Lets see if we can get you to take that one extra step in analysing the chain of causality. You talk about the housing bubble and the derivatives bubbles, so let me ask you: who controls the currency? Who expanded the money supply to create these bubbles?

      Ah the plot thickens.

      P.S. Funny about Iceland, it is the only example of those three ‘miracles’ to apply a relatively market driven capitalist solution - they didn’t intervene into the market with bank bailouts and they defaulted on debts that couldn’t be repaid. Yet they have recovered spectacularly from their recent GFC troubles.

      As for Ireland and Japan…

      P.P.S. Protectionism is not antithetical to free markets, but in fact necessary to maintain them; to prevent especially the international distortion of the pricing mechanism by say command economies such as China.

    • St. Michael says:

      03:09pm | 28/09/12

      @ Monty: You seem to be straw manning a bit here since you’re not willing to address the fact of the United States’ pre-eminence economically for the past, oh, 150 years or so rests on the three factors dry Lib mentioned: a small Federal government, low taxes, and the rule of law.  Those were the founding economic assumptions of the United States when it broke away from England in 1776.  To a certain extent, they were also the founding economic assumptions of Australia as well, since our own Constitution takes a number of cues from the US Constitution, in particular the corralling of Federal power to certain delineated areas.

      Those are not the present economic assumptions of the US, mainly because the US Federal government has bloated to such a degree you can hear Franklin, Jefferson, and Madison turning in their graves.  That bloating, and the delegating of extraordinary power to unelected officials, is a big reason why the US is presently in the toilet economically.

      Lack of regulation was responsible for the GFC, but not quite the way you term it.  There were plenty of regulatory authorities around before the GFC hit.  The ratings agencies in particular: S&P and Moody’s in particular kept rating dogs as AAA investments right up to the end.  They were dishonest, and deserved to go to jail.  The point was: all the regulatory power was there and available, but the regulators themselves were dishonest.  You could’ve had a ton of regulators in there and it would’ve made not one bit of difference, because nobody wanted to blow the whistle and stop the party.  That’s leaving aside the joys of government creating a moral hazard by having a regulator in place to start with.

      But overregulation had a big part to play in it as well: in particular, the overregulation that created FNMC and FNMA to exist and force banks to make loans to unqualified depositors—affirmative action for losers, in short.  That dates back to Jimmy Carter’s time.

      Governments have one of two choices when it comes to regulation: either don’t regulate it at all and people be responsible for their own decisions and their own due diligence—or create Goldilocks regulation, which is to say, not too little and not too much, but just right.  The latter, given how government works, is de facto impossible, so you might as well just go with the former instead.

    • Brad says:

      01:04pm | 28/09/12


      You were going fine until you used the word ‘hyperbole’. 
      Ms Gillard stuffed that for everyone…

    • Hanzel says:

      01:04pm | 28/09/12

      After enjoying a well earned 21 year rest after finally defeating the Soviet Union in 1991, it’s now time for Conservatives to get back in the game - for while they’ve been sipping on pina coladas the neo-socialists have taken control of every culturally significant role in Australian society. The Russians did it with a quick revolution, the new lot do it with small, ‘progressive’ steps - but the outcome is the same.

    • Mitch says:

      01:23pm | 28/09/12

      “The Russians did it with a quick revolution, the new lot do it with small, ‘progressive’ steps - but the outcome is the same.”

      Getting rid of autocratic, outdated rulership? I’m not the biggest fan of conservatives, but that’s being a bit harsh.

    • AdamC says:

      01:06pm | 28/09/12

      “But I’d suggest that’s more about keeping students’ eyeballs on the texts than some subversive progressive ideology.”

      Surely it is a case of a little from column A and a little from column B on that point?

      I am more worried about the dumbing down than I am with the left wing nonsense. Despite Tory’s suggestion to the contrary, smart Year 10s
      are quite capable of being interested in more meaty historical topics. My Year 10 history class (in the far away 1990s, I will admit, before they dumbed down even the vocational high school qualifications) we studied things like nationalism, socialism and imperialism. It was a popular subject, no pop culture history in sight.

      Also, I hear you ask, why am I unconcerned about lefties running education? Well, mainly because they have been doing just that since the 1970s and we have not had the revolution yet. Leftist educational administrators’ main achievement has been to ruin the reputation of the teaching profession. Not to mention, I went to one of the most expensive, politically-correct and left wing schools in Melbourne, and look how I turned out!

    • Matthias says:

      01:15pm | 28/09/12

      I think John Howard’s forgotten he’s in Australia, not the US. We don’t worship the free market, privatisation and the almighty dollar here.

    • dry Liberal says:

      01:21pm | 28/09/12

      The free market and private enterprise are very VERY good, virtuous and desirable things, history proves it.

    • Matthais says:

      01:54pm | 28/09/12

      Yep, that whole “world economy in ruin” thing really shows the triumph and virtue of the free market. Go home and cuddle with your Ayn Rand collection .

    • Philip Burrows says:

      01:16pm | 28/09/12

      John Howard will never earn the “post-office-of-PM” stature, respect and regard that Malcolm Fraser has—- at least from me!  I was a critic of Fraser in office but his humanity has been demonstrated time and again.  His recent interview on ABC should be compulsory viewing by all LNP suporters, including the Opposition.

    • AdamC says:

      01:19pm | 28/09/12

      Is this some sort of satire?

    • Mayday says:

      01:35pm | 28/09/12

      Joke of the week.

    • Ben says:

      04:47pm | 28/09/12

      >>John Howard will never earn the “post-office-of-PM” stature, respect and regard that Malcolm Fraser has

      For which Howard will be eternally grateful.

    • The New Economist says:

      01:25pm | 28/09/12

      With one child in Grade 10, I can assure you that he has studied more about the Ancient Spartan/Greek Culture, Roman Politics, the Tudors, the American Revolution, the causes of World War I, the rise of Nazism in Germany, History of WWII and the Independance of Asian Countries, than he has ever studied on the settlement/development/government of Australia.

      I wait with baited breath for the inclusion of an “Australian History” subject as High School elective. Unfortunately I doubt that there would be enough teachers qualified to take the subject.

    • Markus says:

      02:14pm | 28/09/12

      Australian History was one of the four courses that made up my Modern History elective in years 11 and 12 (along with German, Russian and American).
      It was by far the least comprehensive of the four.

    • Friedrich Von Bastiat says:

      01:36pm | 28/09/12

      Interesting proposal national curriculum; a further centralisation of State influence and power.

      I’m wondering if it occurs to anyone that we no longer have private schooling in Australia anymore: schools do not have autonomy over their curriculum.

      In any other industry, in the provision of any other product, commodity or service, this is rightly recognised as - at least in part - a publicly owned organisation.

      Perhaps a step in the opposite direction would be a good idea? Exempt schools from intellectual property laws and allow them to create their own curriculum; without government oversight.

      Oh the horror!

    • Chris L says:

      04:14pm | 28/09/12

      You mean give schools the change to teach that evolution is a lie, or that the miracles of Muhammed are recognised by the world as fact?

    • iansand says:

      01:37pm | 28/09/12

      History is always ideological.  Howard knows it and is playing a long game.

      Or, as Chou En Lai probably didn’t say when asked if the French Revolution was a success “It is too soon to tell” (one of my favourite (non)quotes.)

    • stephen says:

      06:09pm | 28/09/12

      Ideology is only a description of, and a reason for, events that Historians use, and is always used past tense.
      All ideologists have failed, and that’s because the important classes, those who want to centralize their feelings and wants - they are the same people who moderate their expectations - and they desire no illusions, want what they can get, or at least reasonably hope for, and start reading literature only when they get a misfortune.
      No judgement there ... but J. Howard is very practical, and he is right about history teaching.

      In short, if students do not want to participate in western culture, whether is be via art, music, lit. or even team sports, then they should be forced to read, through a new curriculum, our openness, the sacrifices our grandfathers made for freedom of speech, and that we have no atrocities to apologize for.
      We’re clean, but students need to know why.

    • Dash says:

      01:35pm | 28/09/12

      I don’t trust Gillard and the Green lefty coalition with the minds of our children!

      And teh ALP has a record of re-writing history. Just look at the bullshit over Gough whitlam. Shameful!

      Get this ALP lefty political propaganda out of our schools!

    • Elan says:

      05:14pm | 28/09/12

      I don’t trust Howard and the shifty Right with the minds of our children!

      And teh Libs have a record of re-writing history. Just look at the bullshit over John howard.Shameful!

      Get this Lib righty political propaganda out of our schools!

    • JC says:

      01:59pm | 28/09/12

      You don’t need to like school you just need to do well at it. Why must we always change things so people “like” it? I disliked many topics at school but if I wanted the result I had to do the hard yards. What’s interesting to one person may be uninteresting for another, so simply adding in topics of interest is a poor approach. One of the hardest things in life is applying yourself to something you have to do, but don’t want to do. This lesson follows you throughout life: you have no money, you get a job; the baby cries, you attend to the baby; that early morning pickup from the airport, yes you have to help out. This quality separates the winners and the losers of life.

    • Peter says:

      03:52pm | 28/09/12

      Because school is about learning, not earning.

    • lostinperth says:

      01:59pm | 28/09/12

      “We have long moved past the idea of rote learning, of memorisation of facts.

      At high school, it is far more important to foster a love of learning itself, of research itself, of the exploration of ideas”
      But what are they learning? Love of learning and research is a process - what they are researching and learning is the issue.

      If they love learning about reality TV, which boy band is now popular, and whatever fad seems politically correct in late September 2012, what are they actually learning?

      You seem to confuse activity for achievement Tory, which is something the education elitists also seem to have trouble grasping. Which is also possibly why Australia rates so badly in international comparitive studies that compare students.

    • Utopia Boy says:

      02:05pm | 28/09/12

      What’s in the curriculum is not as important as having a national one - for now. Simply put, each state has been doing their own thing for too long and if a consensus can be reached, then obviously a governing body can be introduced, and only then can a real, modern (but not whimsical) learning program be introduced.

      With the roll out of the NBN, the opportunity is there to have a truly national school system that can benefit ALL students, updated “live” and as required.

      I wish I had the chance to undergo “agricultural studies” at high school, but those options simply weren’t available in the city. Perhaps my country cousins would have liked to learn Japanese - because I sure didn’t!

    • Rickster says:

      02:29pm | 28/09/12

      Why is it that these old pollies keep poping up like a turd that won’t flush…......who cares what he thinks.

    • Babylon says:

      02:42pm | 28/09/12

      “Hyper bowl” ha ha so funny.

      “Hi per bool lay” please Gillard.

      As you sure you want her unfunded Education Reforms?

      Scary how the Socialists always got for the schools.

      Bye bye Thomas the Tank Engine and Snow White.

    • Gregg says:

      03:39pm | 28/09/12

      Could not read the full article linked Tory as you need to log in but if the opening:
      ”  Mr Howard said a lack of proper perspective in history teaching would “deny future generations a real understanding of what has made us as a nation”.
      gives a gist of his claims he is not too far of the mark as it is perspective that can say a lot, otherwise we can generalise.

      I’m a little curious though with you moving from popular culture to pop culture for is that is what intended as an option? and with talking up economics are you not talking of a result of globalisation rather than exploring what the aspects are: ie. ” “The options are popular culture, environmental movements of mass migration movements. ” and I assume that should be environmental movements or mass migration movements to give us the three.

      They are three of a few I suspect and some could even be more important and there will be some that transcend longer periods within the time frame since 1945.
      Immediately post 1945 there was certainly some mass migration and it is probably well since 1945 that environmental concerns have become far greater.

      In addition to the three aspects, I feel one the bigger aspects of globalisation is technology and that has been ongoing since 1945 and incorporates the far easier international travel and also more recent decades re communication, both of which without there would likely be less globalisation.
      Technology also helps the burgoning populations to be fed and without improved farming there would likely be far more deaths from famine.

      Other aspects are in fact the population pressures and in particular you see the extent a country like China is going to with involvement globally to provide their country with resources and also markets for products.
      Ironically, it is somewhat the opposite of what happened a bit over a century ago with western nations forcing China to open up, a school visit to the cinema about a half century ago to see 55 days at Peking being historically entertaining and a way of a good teacher motivating his class on some history.

      The international trade even from Marco Polo’s days, the Clippers and what happens now could be a thread entwining economics of globalisation and yes, the GFC is a significant globalisation issue to be studied though what would be accurate is somewhat questionable.

      We also have continued warfare since 1945, the fighting against communism in Korea, Malaya and Vietnam, still conflict in places like India and Nepal against Maoist rebels and then let us not forget terrorism and civil wars in more than a few African nations and the refugee issues.

      The United Nations is another aspect of globalisation and religion looms also as an aspect for globalisation and the impact that it could have, the west wanting Iran to cease their nuclear program ample evidence of that.

      If John Howard feels all such aspects that western nations and others have had to contend with ought to be looked at to give some perspective globally, then he is not far from the truth.
      On the home front, we also have our local economics of no longer riding the sheeps’ back to today of the resources boom and who knows what we’ll face in the future without either manufacturing or resources industries of any note.
      Certainly that could lead us to being a less wealthy nation and a lot of hard decisions to be made on not just how we can care for the environment.

      So unless a curriculum has some meat about it, we may as well not have it at all and yes, there is plenty of juicy topics for teachers to get their students minds active on.

    • maria says:

      03:40pm | 28/09/12

      Of course kids need to learn the basic facts

      Can you explain why the teaching of english grammar -vocabulary and history was forbidden in our education system the day multiculturalism was imposed by stealth?

      I’m wondering if this is still the norm?

      They say “knowledge is power” or “The more one knows, the more one will be able to control events”.

      if you know something and another person doesn’t have that information, you have the advantage in certain situations.

      Isn’t it what our politicians want you to be illiterate or uneducate so they have the freedom to make phoney laws and be untouchabled as they are under their own political rules.

      If democracy means rule by the people without preferences than why do we call our system a democracy when the people are irrelevant and powerless in every decision?

    • Luigi says:

      07:04pm | 28/09/12

      Johnny, effing retire.  You were a loser in power and a loser now.  Sip G&T’s by the pool and bring along your good mate Peter Costello and recall the failed years where you were lucky, not smart..


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