In Senate Estimates today, the Abbott Government’s curriculum review was exposed as a completely unnecessary process, which has done little more than provide an opportunity for the Government to appoint mates, and see public money spent on a reviewer with racist and sexist views.
Claims that the curriculum does not include a focus on phonics, or content relating to Western Democracies, business, economics, industry and religions - including Christianity - have been proven false by the independent Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).
ACARA also revealed that its current monitoring and evaluation program has identified the same implementation issues as the Abbott Government’s review, including the concerns of many teachers that the primary curriculum could be expressed in a more streamlined way.
Evidence given by the Education Department confirmed that the appointments of specialist curriculum reviewers were not checked, and that Professor Barry Spurr, who was appointed to review the English curriculum, was paid over $8,000, despite his now infamous racist and sexist comments.
Abbott Government Curriculum Review - Recommendation 15 - ACARA revise the Australian Curriculum to place more emphasis on morals, values and spirituality as outlined in the Melbourne Declaration, and to better recognise the contribution of Western civilisation, our Judeo-Christian heritage, the role of economic development and industry and the democratic underpinning of the British system of government to Australia’s development.
“There are huge process questions that still remain unanswered by the Education Minister and the Government,” Kate Ellis, Shadow Minister for Education, said.
“It’s now patently clear that this whole review was initiated for ideological reasons and that the process was flawed.”
“The existing processes of the independent curriculum authority have been shown to be transparent, comprehensive and apolitical – a far cry from Tony Abbott’s review.”
“This review has been exposed as unnecessary at best, and a wasteful political exercise at worst.”
Questions relating to Western Democracies, religions - including Christianity, business, economics and industry
Senator O’Neill: Can I just check these elements – if they are already in the curriculum? … The history of Western democracies – to the best of your knowledge – is that in the Curriculum?
Senator O’Neill: The World Wars?
Senator O’Neill: The history of democracy?
Senator O’Neill: The development of the Australian system of Government?
And the questioning continued:
Senator O’Neill: Teaching about religions, including Christian religions?
Senator O’Neill: Business, economic theories and practices, and development?
Senator O’Neill: Industry and business?
Questions relating to phonics in the national curriculum
Senator O’Neill: And the National Curriculum has phonics in it?
WEDNESDAY, 22 OCTOBER 2014