HOW POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS CHANGING EDUCATION

“There is something sinister going on in Australian classrooms.  The “cultural left” is using political correctness to control how students think about everything from post-colonial theory to maths and science,” Kevin Donnelly, a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University said at the launch of his new book, How Political Correctness is Destroying Education and Your Child’s Future.  “Political correctness is also visible in the Acknowledgement of Country, commonly used to pay respect to the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owners of the land, which should be accompanied by a prayer,” former prime minister Tony Abbott said.

“Recently I went to the opening of the new Northern Beaches Hospital and there was a formal welcome to country.  Every single speaker, and there were about six of them, acknowledged country, fair enough, but there was not a single prayer, even though our society is absolutely unimaginable without the influence of Christianity,” Mr Abbott said.  There is also a lack of religious and cultural teachings in schools, Mr Abbott said at the launch of the book, which is a follow-up to Dr Donnelly’s earlier book, How Political Correctness Is Destroying Australia – Enemies Within and Without, released in June last year.

“It’s not enough to be able to read, write, count and think, there needs to be a cultural literacy that everyone coming through an Australian education should have,” Mr Abbott said.  “That means a familiarity with the gospel stories, especially the parables, which have done so much to shape our culture.  And this is not a question of trying to ram religious faith down people’s throats, it’s a matter of giving people the knowledge essential to understand the culture in which they live.  “I am all in favour of Asian, environmental and Indigenous perspectives, but are these really the top priorities which should permeate every aspect of our curriculum? I doubt it very much indeed.”

Dr Donnelly’s new book argues for the need to preserve Western culture.  “It argues that mathematics, physics, science, all social constructs, have no inherent meaning or value,” said Dr Donnelly, who was a co-chair of the 2014 Australian Curriculum review.  “And if they’re constructs they can be reshaped, deconstructed, remodelled in terms of the cultural left’s ideology, so you now have Aboriginal science being put into the national curriculum.”  Dr Donnelly is referring to recommendations for teachers to incorporate Aboriginal culture and history when covering existing science topics in a bid to increase the accessibility of the subject and close the gap.

What we need, Dr Donnelly said, is a return to 1950s Australia, where things were less complicated and children were happier.  “Some people talk about political correctness as being polite and as being civil and that for many years we discriminated unfairly,” Dr Donnelly said. “Now all of that is true… [but] we used to run around as kids, happy as Larry, free-range, no helicopter parents, doing all kinds of dodgy stuff.  “No one had heard of multiculturalism or diversity and difference, no one had heard of identity politics or micro-aggression.  We were kids growing up in Australia in the 1950s or 60s.”

Abbott continued “We were all equal, we were all proud of who we were, but how times have changed.”  Mr Abbott also had some advice for state and territory education authorities on how to arrest Australia’s fall in international rankings such as PISA and TIMMS, including raising entry requirements for teaching degrees and increasing pay.  “We need to focus on better acknowledging and rewarding the very best teachers, and the best teachers of senior subjects, even at a state school, should be paid at least as much as a backbench member of parliament” Mr Abbott said.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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