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Australian Science Curriculum over run with green politics. Help them fix it!

The Labor Party pushed and got a National Australian Curriculum. Now instead of the states separately mucking up parts of kid’s education, we’ve achieved a monoculture — an entire generation spoon-fed the same flaws. At least with the state systems — for all their imperfections, some states would do better than others, and we’d get a generation of Australians with different strengths and weaknesses.

Three sacred topics?

Get the Pillars of Political Correctness out of our curriculum

The new Australian Curriculum insists that three areas were so important they must be taught in every subject. So, if you are a maths teacher or a French teacher or any other teacher of K – 10, you’ll need to consider how to embed these “Cross Curriculum Priorities” in your subject.

You and I might, in our naivety, think that the pillars of Western Civilization might be the sacred keys — perhaps we ought teach how free speech influenced maths, science and social studies? Maybe the idea of equality before the law, the Magna Carta, or property rights and liberty, the political foundations of our society’s success, ought influence every subject? Or how about the idea that science is a philosophy like no other — a way of knowing and understanding that depends on observations and not opinions — the most egalitarian of philosophies where gurus can be proven wrong, and favoured dictums can be overturned.

But instead of three pillars of Western Civilization, we’ve got three pillars of  political correctness:

Did anyone ask future employers whether they want maths graduates who understand calculus, or maths graduates who understand that good citizens reuse shopping bags?

For each cross-curriculum priority, a set of organising ideas reflects the essential knowledge, understandings and skills for the priority. The organizing ideas are embedded in the content descriptions and elaborations of each learning area as appropriate.

For example, figure out how you would teach the periodic table with reference to organizing idea 4:  “OI.4 The arts and literature of Asia influence aesthetic and creative pursuits within Australia, the region and globally.” Mendeleev, eat your heart out. Shall we stir-fry some Strontium? This is not simplifying and clarifying our curriculum, it’s a bonfire of clutter and complexification. These are disorganizing ideas. These are politicizing where politics does not belong, a la the Soviets, with every teacher a potential political indoctrinator, comrade.

To be sure, an excellent teacher can still be excellent even within this politicized curriculum, but for teachers who are taught by this system, and with the same philosophy in university, what chance do they have?

Turn these tables around. Rather than have social, political, and historical themes all through maths and science, shouldn’t we make sure the logic of maths and science are taught through every other subject. Get the humanities out of science, and put some science and reasoning into the humanities and we will all be better off.

“Sustainability” doesn’t mean sustainable. It means Green politics

I want sustainability – I want sustainable civilizations.

It would be fine it sustainability meant sustainability — but it doesn’t, it’s a coded, loaded word for sustaining Green philosophies. Consider that the new curriculum aims to sustain the biosphere, the ecosystem, and the environment, but not our lifestyle, our living standards, our productivity, liberties, or our budget. This is not a philosophy that cares about sustaining the workforce, our health, or our legal system. Real sustainability would be concerned with sustaining The Scientific Method. Green political sustainability does the opposite.

In the disorganizing idea of sustainability, the word environment appears six times, the word global — three times, but spending, budget, debt, or balance sheet don’t get a single mention.

I want sustainability – I want sustainable civilizations. What makes human cultures rise and fall, why have some countries prospered or conquered and others collapsed? What is it about the West, or the Anglosphere, that extends lifespans, increases wealth, discovery, productivity and means we look after our environments so much better than poorer civilizations? What is it about the West that means people from most other cultures want to move here, but few of us want to leave? (Pace Daniel Hannan, UK MEP that I was lucky enough to meet at the CIS event in Perth – book here for Melbourne.)

 A racist curriculum?

I’ll probably be called a racist for protesting that Aboriginal or Asian culture, beliefs and spirituality should not be a key part of our maths and science curriculum, but note that it is not me, but the curriculum that is making race an issue. Maths has no race. Science is not about skin color but about universal truths. Which part of trigonometry do we leave out in order to add Cambodian counting systems? Isn’t it odd that introducing race where it does not belong and treating subjects differently by race is not considered racist by you-know-who, but protesting that probably is. Orwellian.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Chinese, Korean and Japanese kids outscore ours in maths. Perhaps we should  teach maths in our maths class instead of teaching ours how to save the spotted quoll? I’ll bet the Korean curriculum does not insist kids engage with westerners and Christianity in their maths plan.

 Please send a submission to the review today or tomorrow.

 Terms of Reference

To read the Australian curriculum visit the ACARA website.

The people who created the curriculum don’t understand maths and science

Consider the  rationale for science. The whole topic is damned with faint praise. This is not about a philosophy that gave life to billions of people — that feeds the world, moves the food, cools it, warms it and cured diphtheria. This is not what keeps 10,000 planes in the sky continuously day in and day out.

“Science provides an empirical way of answering interesting and important questions about the biological, physical and technological world. The knowledge it produces has proved to be a reliable basis for action in our personal, social and economic lives. Science is a dynamic, collaborative and creative human endeavour arising from our desire to make sense of our world through exploring the unknown, investigating universal mysteries, making predictions and solving problems. “

Likewise the team which wrote the rationale for Maths seems to find maths a bore  — and we wonder why kids switch off? There is no passion, no concept of what maths means. They say “Learning mathematics creates opportunities for and enriches the lives of all Australians”... but we could say the same about golf. The discipline of numbers and quantifying our lives is the difference between phoning your friend or sending a carrier pigeon. It’s about having enough food to eat, or the right dose of medicine. Our quality of life depends on our ability to quantify our needs and meet them. The plane flies or it doesn’t; it is not about a spiritual connection, a diversity of people, or the uniqueness of an environment. Is the national curriculum more class warfare by the postmodern arts graduates who run our society against people who actually know what they are doing, or what?

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