Friday, 17 January 2014

Australian Liberal-National Politics 2014: you stupid, stupid men



Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne demonstrate their abysmal intellectual and political stupidity in appointing Kevin Donnelly one of only  two individuals who will be reviewing the national curriculum from Foundation to Year 12.

Former teacher and ex-Liberal Party staffer Kevin Donnelly says Australian education has become too secular, and the federation's Judeo-Christian heritage should be better reflected in the curriculum. [http://ab.co/1d9CV5e, 11 January 2013]

It is no secret that Donnelly would like to return Australian education to a time when the teaching of history was little more than instilling the political and cultural myths of dominant elites into the minds of students.

His hostility to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and the current national curriculum is well known.

As to why religion is ignored, the answer is easy to find. In a report on the consultation process related to the curriculum, those responsible are content to argue, “The treatment of religion within the paper needs to be reviewed to include more reference to ‘non-religious’ views.”
The authors are also happy to embrace a politically-correct, postmodern view of society. Their belief is that Australia is “a secular nation with a multicultural and multi-faith society”, one that is “diverse and dynamic” and where students are taught to “value their own cultures, languages and beliefs”. [Dr Kevin Donnelly,8 June 2013,National curriculum's crusade against Christianity]

The history curriculum, in addition to uncritically promoting diversity and difference instead of what binds us a community and a nation, undervalues Western civilisation and the significance of Judeo-Christian values to our institutions and way of life. [Kevin Donnelly,29 October 2013,Our colonised classrooms]

While Donnelly’s fear of a factual history of Christianity as a political/social force (particularly the history of the Catholic Church) being taught to high school students is obvious:

In an early draft of the history curriculum, while “Christian” appeared once, there was no mention of Christianity. While the most recent document refers to Christianity a number of times (and once to the Catholic Church) the focus is very much on diversity, difference and cultural relativism. When Christianity is mentioned it is usually in the context of other religions (Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam) and there is no attempt to detail the historical and cultural significance of Christianity. When studying ancient Rome, for example, students are asked to consider the rise of the Roman empire and the spread of religious beliefs, but there is no mention of Christianity. In the study of Medieval Europe, Christianity is included, but the stated aims, that students should learn about “the dominance of the Catholic Church and the role of significant individuals such as Charlemagne”, “the Church’s power in terms of wealth and labour” and “the nature and power of the Church in this period”, indicate that students will be left with a less than favourable impression. [Kevin Donnelly,1 March 2011, A Back-to-Nonsense Curriculum]

Donnelly seems to have a long personal history of pushing ultra-conservative, religion-based views and resisting the concept of an inclusive society.

Dr Donnelly is the director of the Education Standards Institute, which his website states is the trading name for Impetus Consultants Pty Ltd, a business registered to the K Donnelly Family Trust.
In 2005, Amanda Vanstone told Parliament the Education Department had engaged Impetus Consultants to provide advice and services since 1996.
Ms Vanstone said Dr Donnelly had been paid $165,997 between 1997-2005 by the Howard government for consultant work....
Dr Donnelly wrote in 2011 for the ABC: ''Multiculturalism is based on the mistaken belief that all cultures are of equal worth and that it is unfair to discriminate and argue that some practices are wrong''.
In 2004, he wrote that ''many parents'' would consider homosexuality ''abnormal behaviour'', arguing: ''the reality is that gays, lesbians and same-sex couples with children are a very small minority and such groups do not represent the mainstream.''
He has also called for the Bible to be taught in state schools.  [The Sydney Morning Herald 12 January 2014]

Unfortunately Donnelly also appears to view the national curriculum and education as part of a wider political battleground:

the Cultural-left is dominant in areas like the ABC, the Fairfax Press, most of our universities and amongst our so-called public intellectuals. Listen to the news, read the papers or follow public debates and it soon becomes obvious that the consensus on most issues champions a Cultural-left perspective.
With the exception of the Murdoch Press, especially The Australian and commentators like Andrew Bolt, conservative authors and commentators like myself find it impossible to get an airing and, if we do, it is generally as the token spokesman from the ‘right’ selected to balance the other 2 or 3 hand chosen from the ‘left’. [Kevin Donnelly, Quadrant online,Education Standards Institute]

Donnelly's educational expertise is also called into question by past behaviour.

The education guru tasked with reforming Australia's national curriculum by the federal government was previously employed by tobacco firm Phillip Morris to design a school program teaching children about peer pressure and decision making that did not discuss the health dangers of smoking.
The material, which was given to more than 1500 children in Australia and New Zealand, instead encouraged students to make their own decisions about doing ''something wrong'' including smoking (later versions of the guide, including an Aboriginal version, included discussion of the harmful impacts of smoking).
On Friday, the material's author, Kevin Donnelly,.... [The Sydney Morning Herald 12 January 2014]

The Australian Medical Journal, “Below the Line”: The tobacco industry and youth smoking - in part a critique of Donnelly's school program.

The appointment of this two-man review body makes one suspect that both Abbott and Pyne are progressing their own personal religious agendas rather than creating policy for the national good.

Background



1 comment:

John Fraser said...

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And this is why I show people the North Coast Voices site.

As well as the photo collection of a very beautiful area.