An unenlightened education

The Australian Curriculum is a dismal and defective document that sucks the lifeblood out of learning, I argue in The Australian this morning.

But conservatives will have to muscle up if they want to drive a stake through its heart.

Kevin Donnelly is on the right track – sort of – when he draws attention to the omission of teaching about Australia’s Judao-Christian heritage.

It is an imprecise argument, however, and an invitation to misinterpretation which his critics have gleefully taken.

The curriculum’s central error is its failure to acknowledge the influence of the Enlightenment on the history of modern Australia.

Australia was the scene of the Enlightenment’s most audacious experiment: an attempt to build a civilisation from scratch by applying scientific knowledge and liberal thinking.

European settlement makes no sense unless it is considered in the context of the European Enlightenment, yet the curriculum mentions the Enlightenment three times over 699 pages, and then only in passing.

By contrast, the words sustainable and sustainability - expressing sentiments hostile to the Enlightenment’s spirit of progress – are mentioned 139 times.

Students should grow up in a world of infinite possibly. Instead, the curriculum’s obstinate obsession with sustainability and its Malthusian consequences limits horizons and constrains young minds.

The curriculum’s melancholic reference to lunar exploration is emblematic of its miserablist, pessimistic outlook.

Neil Armstrong’s first words on the moon – “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” was a triumphant expression of human ingenuity, industry and audacity.

For the sustainablists, however, it was charged with deep foreboding. Year 10 History students will study:

The growth and influence of the environment movement within Australia and overseas, and developments in ideas about the environment (notion of ‘Gaia’, ‘limits to growth’, concept of ‘sustainability’, concept of ‘rights of nature’)…

… recognising the historic impact of the pictures of Earth taken during the Apollo 8 mission and how they influenced people’s view of the world.

Can the curriculum be rescued? In The Australian today I ague not, but I’m open to persuasion.

[AUSTRALIAN CURRICULUM]

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108 Responses to An unenlightened education

  1. blogstrop

    No, complete rewrite please.

  2. Driftforge

    What strikes me most about the curriculum is it’s size. In the sheer scale, there is no emphasis on essence.

    The work required has not been done.

    Cull that 240,000 pages, and develop a 24 page document. What can’t be fit into 24 pages isn’t worth fitting and should be discarded.

  3. Token

    Wow, is Nick Cater joining the panel of Cat contributors, or is this a guest post?

  4. KC

    A lot of the blame goes to state based Liberal Education Ministers for allowing this tosh to be introduced over the last twenty years, only for it all to be consolidated together when the curriculum was (for reasons that are beyond me) ‘nationalised’.

  5. Sinclair Davidson

    Pleased to announced Nick is joining the Cat. The first of hopefully many posts. Please give him a warm welcome.

  6. Gab

    Hope it’s the former, Token. What a terrific addition to the stable of thread posters (Rafe, Judith, Samuel, Steve etc) at the Cat.

  7. TI3VOM

    Like the unionists, the educatalarmista have destructively gone too far and are in a zone they cannot now ideologically back down from. (Is it a left thing to eat oneself?)

    Without a total rewrite, we leave it open to endless argument about turn of phrase.

    There is nothing worth saving, start again.

    So much to do, why did we allow the left get us into such a mess?

  8. Gab

    Confirmed by Sinclair.

    Welcome, Nick!

  9. Leo G

    Can the curriculum be rescued? In The Australian today I ague not, but I’m open to persuasion.

    The curriculum appears like Caliban- a monster who does have an ague, and an intent to people this isle with Calibans.

  10. Aristogeiton

    Sinclair Davidson
    #1150233, posted on January 14, 2014 at 12:07 pm
    Pleased to announced Nick is joining the Cat. The first of hopefully many posts. Please give him a warm welcome.

    Awesome!

  11. Not sure what the point is if all he does is post links to his Oz articles, like Henry. Engaging with the community is what blogs are for.

    [Edited. m0nty - you are a guest here. Do not overstep your welcome. Sinc]

    Students should grow up in a world of infinite possibly.

    Indeed. ;)

  12. Ant

    You’re tresspassing onto one of the Left’s most closely guarded reservations: Child education.

    How dare you insist on polluting the minds of the young with things like facts and – OMG! – the realities of human experience and the massive advancements made possible through the Enlightenment and Western Civilisation!

    And why place any primacy on how these were so closely intertwined with Christianity and the Reformation when they’re of equal consequence when compared to Aboriginal “Dreaming” and other beliefs such as those propagated by the medieval Islamist death-cult, Gaia-worship and radical egalitarianism, etc?

    It’s going to be such a bitter, bitter pill for the Left to swallow. I hope they choke and die on it.

  13. Aristogeiton

    m0nty
    #1150245, posted on January 14, 2014 at 12:13 pm
    [...]
    Engaging with the community is what blogs are for.

    Why do you post here, then?

  14. Token

    Pleased to announced Nick is joining the Cat. The first of hopefully many posts. Please give him a warm welcome

    Excellent. We know Nick is a busy man, but his posts will be greatly appreciated. Welcome.

  15. Gab

    Not sure what the point is if all he does is post links to his Oz articles, like Henry. Engaging with the community is what blogs are for.

    Ah the Cat’s very own whiner-in-residence makes an appearance.

  16. Ant

    Great news about Nick becoming a Cat contributor. Looking forward to reading many leftie-eviscerating pieces.

  17. Ant

    I hope Steve isn’t discouraged by m1nty’s anti-Kates fetish.

    Wear it as a badge of honour, buddy!

  18. Rabz

    Great news, welcome Squire Cater.

  19. Token

    As people like Mark Steyn & James Dellingpole note, children who are 18 have spent their whole school career being indoctrinated about global warming, when the fact is that since they were 3 the earth has not warmed.

    Given this, as Nick notes this is what they face in their education:

    By Year 9, they will be encouraged to ponder “Gaia – the interaction of Earth and its biosphere” and to think about the “limits of growth – that unlimited growth is unsustainable”.

    They will be asked to “interrogate” Rachel Carson’s The Silent Spring and 1970 editions of Mother Earth News magazine, before considering the “rights of nature recognition – that humans and their natural environment are closely interrelated”.

    The words “sustainable” and “sustainability” appear 139 times in the Australian Curriculum; “business” crops up six times, “markets” twice and “free markets” not at all. “Prosperity” features three times and “economic growth” is mentioned just once (and not in a nice way), for history is not the tale of steady improvement but just one shameful act after another.

  20. Instead of cherry picking and indulging in meaningless word counts Nick (the first indicator of lazy journalism – you can do it without getting off your arse), can I suggest you actually get yourself into a few classrooms.

    You haven’t a clue….

  21. blogstrop

    If anyone hasn’t yet read Nick’s book The Lucky Culture, it is recommended wholeheartedly; it is quite simply a must-read, and very readable. I see The Book Depository has it for $21.95 incl. delivery, but you can also get an ebook version for $13.99.

  22. Aristogeiton

    1735099
    #1150273, posted on January 14, 2014 at 12:27 pm
    Instead of cherry picking and indulging in meaningless word counts Nick (the first indicator of lazy journalism – you can do it without getting off your arse), can I suggest you actually get yourself into a few classrooms.

    You haven’t a clue….

    Never stop shutting the fuck up.

  23. Rabz

    Tokes, that reminded me of the legendary Steyn quote below:

    As for many teachers, they regard the accumulated inheritance of western civilization as an unending parade of racism, sexism, imperialism and other malign -isms, leavened only by routine genocides.

  24. blogstrop

    Sinc, I reckon Numbers has gone over another line this time, and should be banned. You specifically asked for a welcome, and you have been dissed along with Nick by that worthless creature.

  25. Uber

    “The curriculum’s central error is its failure to acknowledge the influence of the Enlightenment on the history of modern Australia.”

    Oh, come on. The theory of evolution is the most important thing about our history? That old canard?

    So convicts were sent over here based on the usual reductionist Enlightenment philosophical nonsense. That is a mere straw against the giant hay stack of our Judeo-Christian heritage.

  26. jupes

    Welcome Nick.

    Not sure if you’ve met the trolls here, however you have already upset two of them so you have obviously hit the bullseye.

  27. Major Elvis Newton

    “…children who are 18 have spent their whole school career being indoctrinated about global warming…”

    Absolutely right.

    And the mining and resources industries wonder why they struggle to attract any investors below the age of 30.

    How do you unring this indoctrination education bell?

  28. craig

    1735099, oh yea, THAT army guy………..Please enlighten me where Nick is getting it wrong?

  29. ChrisPer

    Thanks for an excellent article and first post, Nick!

    And thank you also for your book ‘The Lucky Culture’ which I relished paying for, and relished also reading. I hope very much you write another, working deeper on those themes of dispossession and restriction of intellectual freedom that Australians have suffered under political correctness and unchallenged bad ideas.

  30. Ant

    I recall I had a history teacher around years 9-11 who called Churchill “one of the biggest jerks in history”. (Naturally, Hitler or Stalin didn’t rate a mention. I guess they were OK.)

    And why? Because, according to him, Churchill resisted independence for India while WWII was on because he wanted to exploit Indians as cannon fodder against the advancing Japanese.

    Of course, Imperial Japan had only benevolent intentions towards hapless India.

  31. blogstrop

    Can’t you just see it: “We interrupt this war to the finish in order to bring you a heartwarming piece of pageantry whereby the Viceroy hands over India to some chaps in Nehru jackets.”

  32. Please enlighten me where Nick is getting it wrong?

    This – to begin with.

    The curriculum’s central error is its failure to acknowledge the influence of the Enlightenment on the history of modern Australia.

    That influence can be constructed in a number of ways. This is one of them.

    Cater seems to be saying that the enlightenment, as an event in history, can only be interpreted in one accepted form. That is indoctrination, something that the Left is accused of.

    I don’t believe we should be telling students what to think.

    The outcome is usually totally counter productive. Youngsters these days reject indoctrination.

  33. jupes

    Youngsters these days reject indoctrination.

    We can only hope.

  34. Infidel Tiger

    Youngsters these days reject indoctrination.

    Despite your best efforts.

  35. We can only hope.

    They have learned to think, evaluate, be critical.
    That is one of the issues that the Right find threatening.

  36. feelthebern

    I don’t under stand why we don’t try different methods, different curriculum etc in different states.
    See what produces the best students on a range of criteria (employment, ranked against international peers).
    We are spending so much on education, why don’t we try make sure we are doing it right.

  37. he wanted to exploit IndiansAustralians as cannon fodder against the advancing Japanese.

    FIFY

  38. Sinclair Davidson

    Any yes. The genocide lie.

  39. The teaching of the notion of Gaia? So to be clear, Gaia represents a quasi-religious idol, having it central to sustainability is in all realities the teaching of religion, not teaching about religion but the direct teaching of a chosen faith to every student in the country…

    Certainly, this has to be challenged.

  40. Major Elvis Newton

    “…Youngsters these days reject indoctrination…”

    Of course. That would explain the pitifully small numbers of “youngsters” who use Fakebook, SnapChat, Instagram, Twitter etc…

    “What are ya rebelling against Johnny?”

    “Whaddaya got!”

  41. Aristogeiton

    1735099
    #1150302, posted on January 14, 2014 at 12:50 pm
    [...]
    That influence can be constructed in a number of ways. This is one of them.
    [...]
    Youngsters these days reject indoctrination.

    And yet, despite many ways of “construct[ing]” (construing?) the influence of the Enlightenment, the National Curriculum only concerns itself with a single mode of ‘construction’, and fails to mention the ‘constructed’ event except in the most cursory manner.

    If the young reject indoctrination, an heroic assumption in my view, then why do we need to jam this postcolonialist nonsense down their throats in the first place?

  42. Turtle of WA

    Spot on Nick. Good to see you on the Cat. What you say is only too true. Kids are spending half their time learning (being indoctrinated) about environmentalism, it is used as the content for a broad range of subjects. from English to science to ‘SOSE’. I saw this coming years ago when they changed Social Studies to ‘Studies in Society and Environment’. This change coincided with socialism taking Environmentalism on as it’s ugly twin sister.

    They strange thing is that when you question these kids about the science of global warming they don’t even know the basics. Most don’t know what CO2 is. They know only the attitude and the fear, not the facts.

  43. Mr Skeletor

    You have a very lovely writing style Nick. Welcome!

  44. Aristogeiton

    Liberty quote:

    The pseudo-liberals monopolize the teaching jobs at many universities. Only men who agree with them are appointed as teachers and instructors of the social sciences, and only textbooks supporting their ideas are used.
    — Ludwig von Mises

  45. Again the Sustainability emphasis is coming out of both UNESCO and the OECD. There is a hostility to the Enlightenment because of its emphasis on the individual and tragically on reason itself. The real antagonism though is to the transmission of knowledge itself.

    Nick, it’s nice to meet a fellow ed warrior from the other side of the world. It’s a global battle and we are actually in the 8th inning or 4th quarter depending on the favorite sports analogy.

  46. Turtle of WA

    They have learned to think, evaluate, be critical.
    That is one of the issues that the Right find threatening.

    Hey Eureka stockade dude, if this is the case, why do lefties uncritically believe in, for example. Marxism Catastrophic Anthropogenic global warming? The teaching of ‘critical thinking’ is in practise often far from what happens. It is usually about being critical from one point of view ie leftist.

  47. Johno

    But conservatives will have to muscle up if they want to drive a stake through its heart.

    This is the real heart of the matter. If we want Donnelly and Wiltshire to have more success than Sloan, Kroger et al did with the ABC, then conservatives, especially those in Parliament, will need to work hard in understand their opponents and taking on the fight. If they persist with being nice and genteel, nothing much will happen in the long run. The Left will not willingly give up their hold on our education system.

  48. Vicki

    The miserable bunch of nihilists that constitute the Left & the green lobby in this country have neither appreciation, nor understanding of the Enlightenment. It is strange and sad. Even if the they are moved to deny faith of any kind, I cannot comprehend why they would reject the great precepts of humanism. Yet they do.

    But all of us should fiercely resist their determination to strip learning of all traces of human achievement that fails to conform to their narrow and bleak view of the world.

  49. Vicki

    By the way – welcome to Nick – an iconoclast of the first order!

  50. craig

    1735099, so what do you suggest that our kids MUST learn, not what would be nice. Me, I want our kids to grasp basic 3 r’s for starters let alone confuse them with Gaia or some other free thinking approach that education is allowing to proliferate. Not saying the Nick has it absolutely right.

  51. twostix

    Craig, Numbers is a devout communist and he lies about everything.

  52. Bear Necessities

    I don’t under stand why we don’t try different methods, different curriculum etc in different states.
    See what produces the best students on a range of criteria (employment, ranked against international peers).
    We are spending so much on education, why don’t we try make sure we are doing it right.

    I would go further and allow schools to determine what is in its own cirriculum and how to teach it.

  53. Chistery

    The curriculum is written in the private language of educationalism, which, like Latin in the hands of the medieval clergy, serves to keep the rest of us in our place

    My wife recently completed a Masters of Education. I pitied her from start to finish. Every textbook and assignment was a wall of impenetrable big words and long sentences specifically designed to demonstrate the cleverness of the author by making it as unintelligible to the reader as possible. It is counterproductive to the objectives of education but this is an artifact of handing over control of education to Arts academics. They’ve taken a reasonably straightforward field and are having an intellectual wank all over it.

  54. twostix

    The NSW HSIE teachers handbook reads like a Greens publication.

    Straight from the official NSW Government teachers handbook:

    “Conduct class interviews with a variety of people from the community whose beliefs influence their work or lifestyle, eg charity workers, WIRES representatives, vegans, social activists.

    Ask students to investigate what can be, or is, produced at home and ways of ‘shopping’ that do not involve money, eg subsistence farming, bartering, cooperatives. Investigate bulk buying.

    Discuss the use of exposition in letters. Model the use of language with high modality, eg ‘The logging of the … Rainforest will …’ Have students write letters to
    environmental organisations, eg Greenpeace, to express their concerns regarding particular issues raised on their mind maps.

    Invite a guest speaker from Greenpeace or another environmental group to explain possible consequences of human involvement with the Antarctic. View the Greenpeace website at http://www.greenpeace.org/
    n Have students create a poster to alert others to future threats to the Antarctic, eg overfishing, waste disposal, ozone depletion, oil spills, effects

    There are hundreds of gems such as those.

    Then there’s the Aboriginal spiritualism in Science, Gender Studies, the “whole child” totalitarian ideology, etc, etc. The left have completely taken over public schooling and absolutely ruined it. Children spend more time in government schooling than ever and and are less literate and less numerate than 70 years ago when schooling for many was only three days a week.

  55. Petros

    Welcome Nick. Great news. The conservatives certainly do need to muscle up. Liberal leaders should come with a warning: May contain traces of nuts.

  56. Aristogeiton

    craig
    #1150350, posted on January 14, 2014 at 1:39 pm
    1735099, so what do you suggest that our kids MUST learn, not what would be nice. Me, I want our kids to grasp basic 3 r’s for starters let alone confuse them with Gaia or some other free thinking approach that education is allowing to proliferate. Not saying the Nick has it absolutely right.

    Not only that, but he doesn’t understand the meaning of basic english words, i.e:

    “Teaching”: a process by which colonial power relations are transformed into social norms.
    “Construction”: the thing which happens after a deconstruction.

  57. Aristogeiton

    Oops, wrong quote:

    twostix
    #1150354, posted on January 14, 2014 at 1:45 pm
    Craig, Numbers is a devout communist and he lies about everything.

  58. Paul

    Who needs wars when imposition of Will through control of the narrative will achieve much the same ends? Been happening forever, but is now more overt than ever before.

  59. Megan

    Great news…a real bonus for the Cat. Ignore the Numberskull, almost everyone else does. What he writes says far, far more about him than it does about you. When the first and only response is insult, it’s because there is nothing else, such as intelligence or research, on which they can call.

  60. Vicki

    But conservatives will have to muscle up if they want to drive a stake through its heart

    This is very clear, since both Donnelly & Wiltshire are being skewered by various sections of the media as we speak.

    I really don’t think most parents have a clear picture of what their kids are being taught since the “National Curriculum” was introduced in 2010. I have only realised the full catastrophe recently myself.

    The clincher is that the curriculum is not about “knowledge” at all, it is about “competencies”. Thus, “content” is quite subsidiary to “process”.

    Now, there is nothing wrong with an emphasis on “competencies” per se. Indeed, in my discipline (history) the higher end of things is all about the process by which you distil data. But, as with most areas of inquiry, “content” is complementary to “competency”. Structure is the framework in which both content & competency fit.

    At the end of the day, education is about making sense of the world around us. To help a child do that you need first to structure that vast store of cultural heritage of man. And as that rich treasure is revealed, you can THEN explore the ways that we interpret such material, and what sometimes stands in our way.

    Needless to say, this is not happening in our schools today.

    On noting my shock on observing the patchy, unrelated material on display as “teaching notes” in a Sydney suburban classroom last year, I was told by a nervous teacher that:
    “You understand that we teach children HOW TO LEARN these days?”

    Do they, indeed???

  61. Fisky

    Well said Nick!

    The Enlightenment is an area that MUST be taught to students. What a disgrace that Far Left cranks have banished it from the curriculum.

  62. twostix

    Been happening forever, but is now more overt than ever before.

    Which is why the only sane solution is to support the complete devolution of school powers to the local level. Local School Boards, powerful P&C’s and schools having control over what they teach, who they hire and what they spend money on.

    Instead Abbott and Co are smiling because Labor nationalised the curriculm, filled it with political indoctrination which means they are now they are able do the same (which in reality means simply bringing some of it back to the middle). However history shows us that Liberals have absolutely no stomach to handle sustained control of bureaucratic power and eventually always lose control of these things forever.

    In the mean time under the Labor state government curriculum’s of last decade literacy rates crashed with many kids now leaving school barely literate. However they’re all knowing, and confused, about this hypocritical and bizarre new quasi-religion called “sustainability” that they’ve been immersed in by the state. They’re confused about the weird lionising of Aboriginals in the classroom compared to the reality outside the class room of aboriginal “culture” requiring government “interventions” to save thousands of children from abuse, etc.

  63. twostix

    “You understand that we teach children HOW TO LEARN these days?”

    How redundant can these maniacal, totalitarian clowns get? Next up “Teaching children how to breathe”.

  64. Turtle of WA

    They’ve taken a reasonably straightforward field and are having an intellectual wank all over it.

    Dead right Chistery. Educational scholarship is pure wank. A bunch of tossers trying to impress each other with their incomprehensibility. Talk to you average teacher, then talk to your average expert on education. Then realise that nothing the researchers say will ever be relevant in the real world. Teaching is a practical, empirical exercise. You learn to teach by doing. By experience. Not by theory.

    To most of the hippies in education the term ‘Enlightenment’ is probably less historical more psychotropical. So to speak.

  65. stackja

    I left school in 1960.
    What was wrong with the 1950s curriculum?
    Education is too important to be left to the teacher’s union.
    Welcome, Nick!

  66. Jannie

    Welcome to Nick. Great article in the Oz.

    Requests to Ban Numbers just amounts to illiberal suppression of others ideas, even if those ideas add nothing to the stock of understanding.

    Only fools get caught up arguing with Numbers, Monty, Hammy etc. They don’t come here to discuss ideas, they come here to chant the mantras of their dogma. As soon as you engage with them, you lose.

    The only way to deal with them is to ignore them. It takes a small amount of discipline, but you start winning right away.

  67. twostix

    What was wrong with the 1950s curriculum?

    Too much learning, not enough emoting.

  68. Nick,
    If you can ague,it will be far more effective than any argument you might put up.Who knows the person to whom the ague is delivered may never be heard from again!

  69. Leo G

    That influence (of the Age of Reason) can be constructed in a number of ways. This is one of them…
    I don’t believe we should be telling students what to think.

    That’s the way you lead your students- to disregard the Enlightenment, for example, because it can be deconstructed to support an ugly ideology? Don’t tell them what to think, influence them not to think?

  70. candy

    I like Nick Cater’s approach of positivity and respect for human achievements and endeavour, but basically you have to wonder exactly why Australian students are falling so far behind in literacy and numeracy, the basic subjects. It would seem the first thing to address before it gets even worse.

  71. Steve of Glasshouse

    I sometimes feel that the ALP likes to keep the masses dumbed down..

  72. Blogstrop

    Jannie, even Sinc himself has said that it’s good to ban one occasionally in order to instruct the others. So don’t bother me with that useless do nothing tactic, or the illiberal suppression accusation. It would be that if there was a genuine attempt to give us some contributions of ideas, however there are at least three regular trolls who are only here to be a pain. They deserve no indulgence and would be no loss to conversation.

  73. Geriatric Mayfly

    While recognising the need for reform, it is to be hoped that “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Rabbit Proof Fence” do not lose their pre-eminent place in the curriculum. What a stirling pair of stalwarts, when you have nothing prepared, or you are given a replacement class. Soon to join them, “Persons of Interest.”

  74. Peter56

    Love the fact that this post is about education, and I read so many grammatical and spelling mistakes.
    Oh, the irony!!
    Of course, I’ve probably not done the double conjunctive thingy, but I only went to Form Four.
    Now Pete, triple check please. Done. Now send.

  75. Blogstrop

    Another pedant. Give us a break, peter56, it’s often a challenge to type on an ipad.

  76. We can only hope.

    They have learned to think, evaluate, be critical.
    That is one of the issues that the Right find threatening.

    Bullshit, numbnuts. Classic Orwellianspeak. They’ve replaced giving students information and letting them make up their own minds with telling them what to think under the guise of “critical thinking”. Why don’t they ask students to critically examine The Communist Manifesto?

    If the right were against free thought, why do we often disagree? And why do the left always sing from the same song sheet? The dog whistling is from the left, where the narrative is repeated on cue by the useful idiots.

  77. twostix

    Love the fact that this post is about education, and I read so many grammatical and spelling mistakes.

    Many of us were educated in the finest modern government schools money can buy. So what are you saying?

  78. twostix

    It would seem the first thing to address before it gets even worse.

    Candy under the national curriculm leftist ideogogy is even inserted into everything, even Maths:

    In every subject – from science to physical education - children must study Aboriginal culture, environmental sustainability and Australia’s engagement with Asia, under the national curriculum forged by the former Labor government.

    Kindergarten kids learning to count to 20 should also “read stories from other cultures featuring counting in sequence to assist students to recognise ways of counting in local languages and across cultures”, the maths curriculum states.

    Year 6 kids studying geometry can “investigate the use of rotation and symmetry in the diagrammatic representations of kinship relationships of Central and Western Desert people.”

    And Year 4 kids learning about fractions will “investigate the use of fractions and sharing as a way of managing Country: for example taking no more than half the eggs from a nest to protect future bird populations.”.

    So you can’t talk about fixing the curriculm without talking about politics because as usual the left inserts politics into everything. Like how Bob Carr had NSW science teachers teaching Aboriginal Spiritualism.

  79. Leo G

    Love the fact that this post is about education, and I read so many grammatical and spelling mistakes. … Oh, the irony!!

    And I’ll have to be more careful to avoid obvious logical errors (for a short time at least), otherwise the irony of pointing out that you went to no other Form but Four might be too much to bear.

  80. akn

    Beer Whisperer: the author’s intention with this article was to rightly insist that insufficient attention is paid in the current curriculum to the Enlightenment. Ignoring history is perilous, as you know. My son did do a critical examination of The Communist Manifesto while doing an advanced history HSC course. He feels that it is a key document of modernity. He also thinks that The Manifesto resonates with Enlightenment values.

    In other words, to spell it out for you, and I’m sure the author of this article would agree, Marxism/communism/socialism is as much an inheritor and product Enlightenment thought as any other movement of modernity. Ignore that tendency within Enlightenment values at your own risk.

  81. Peter56

    Whatever Blogstrop. Yet you lot are blathering on about education standards. Again, the irony. Or would that be hypocrisy?
    Of course, I do realise that in today’s society, most people are just so busy, doing whatever. Work, babies, taking kids to their 7 activities after school, all before tea, so they can’t spare the two minutes to proof read what they have typed on their IPad.
    It doesn’t embarrass me to be a pedant, but I would be embarrassed if I were somewhat illiterate.
    By the way, I am typing on an IPad.

  82. JC

    By contrast, the words sustainable and sustainability – expressing sentiments hostile to the Enlightenment’s spirit of progress – are mentioned 139 times.

    These were practical useful words in the English language. I despise them now. My hackles go up every time I hear them.

    The growth and influence of the environment movement within Australia and overseas, and developments in ideas about the environment (notion of ‘Gaia’, ‘limits to growth’, concept of ‘sustainability’, concept of ‘rights of nature’)…

    … recognising the historic impact of the pictures of Earth taken during the Apollo 8 mission and how they influenced people’s view of the world.

    Aren’t they just despicable. They try to wreck the wonder of that journey with negativity.

  83. Infidel Tiger

    Stick a few more commas in Pete5.6 and make your rant even harder to read.

    Best you stick to blogging about stuffing your face with satays and watching movies, you silly old duffer.

  84. Tardell G

    Dear Peter56,
    You are the stench that surrounds a pube-encrusted toilet seat.
    Now go away.

  85. twostix

    Whatever Blogstrop. Yet you lot are blathering on about education standards. Again, the irony. Or would that be hypocrisy?

    How does this even make sense?

  86. JohnA

    Uber #1150284, posted on January 14, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    “The curriculum’s central error is its failure to acknowledge the influence of the Enlightenment on the history of modern Australia.”

    Oh, come on. The theory of evolution is the most important thing about our history? That old canard?

    So convicts were sent over here based on the usual reductionist Enlightenment philosophical nonsense. That is a mere straw against the giant hay stack of our Judeo-Christian heritage.

    I’m with you Uber.

    Whenever someone says we should study “the influence of the Enlightenment”, I note whether they include the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror, the Russian Revolutions (1905, and two in 1917) and the rise of both Fascism and National Socialism (all spawned by an a priori assumption of the perfectibility of humanity).

  87. rebel with cause

    Must cheer the kids up no end when they get to the part of the curriculum that says the earth is overpopulated and Gaia would have preferred if they had never been born.

  88. JC

    What former molten lava deposit did you roll out from under, Peter56?

  89. harrys on the boat

    Peter56 is lower than a shit stain in Combets underwear.

  90. Hawkeye P.

    “They have learned to think, evaluate, be critical.
    That is one of the issues that the Right find threatening.”

    What total and utter rubbish, Bob.

    From direct personal experience, it’s these very abilities that lead students to question the one-sided, leftist indoctrination they’re now being routinely subjected to at both the public and private schooling level (the latter instance of which is particularly irksome).

    And it’s the absence of these abilities (and the resources to facilitate them) that sees them so easily transformed into a ‘right-thinking’ lefty robots.

  91. srr

    It seems that the sane here know what’s wrong with the indoctrination education system that is gutting the minds and souls of Australians, but some still want to believe that we can, ‘make it better’, by being ‘nice’.

    We can’t!

    ‘Nice’ is akin to, ‘Here’s my soft pink belly. I believe you only want to tickle it… with that chainsaw.’, when we are truly dealing with monsters!

    Don’t take my word for it, or let yourselves believe that the likes of ‘numbers’, are ‘seen through’ by the majority. The majority let this Nationalised Indoctrination become ESTABLISHED.

    I know it’s easy to fob off the resident Leftists here, where the few are easily shredded by many sharp minds, but here, The Cat, is not the real world, where caring but educationally sabotaged parents constantly come up against savage packs, such as those Friends of The ABC, who ripped into Nick for an interview about his ‘Lucky Country’ book. We can NOT be nice to these Monsters:

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/the-lucky-culture/4646712

    Thank you Nick Cater, for fighting the good fight.

  92. manalive

    These were practical useful words in the English language. I despise them now. My hackles go up every time I hear them …

    Another example of the corruption of language to corrupt thought.
    Using the uncorrupted meaning, European (or Western) progress since the Age of Discovery has been the epitome of sustainable development.
    Since the Club of Rome’s ‘Limits to Growth’ 1972 sustainable development has morphed into ‘sustainability’ i.e.” … sustainable [development] without sudden and uncontrolled collapse [predicted but unrealised] and capable of satisfying the basic material requirements of all of its people … ” (Wiki), a complete reversal of spirit of the past six hundred years.
    Satisfying basic material needs is subsistence living which doesn’t need much knowledge of science maths or literacy.

  93. Louis Hissink

    Pleased to announced Nick is joining the Cat. The first of hopefully many posts. Please give him a warm welcome.

    So if Nick writes a splendid post that causes intense grief among the trolls, should we call that troll noise caterwauling ?

  94. Stan

    I think you are correct, Nick. Our institutions are irretrievably stacked with left wingers, to the point where it is now impossible to reverse.

  95. Des Deskperson

    ‘[the Industrial Revolution] led, we are told, to “longer working hours for low pay and the use of children as a cheap source of labour” and is best interpreted through reading the works of Charles Dickens.’

    Clearly these educators have never read Dickens. Dickens was mainly concerned about the problems of the lower middle class and the lumpen-bourgeoise. He has bugger all to say about the industrial revolution. So far as I can remember, his novels portray only one factory worker – Stephen Blackpool, no miners and no agricultural workers. The one novel set in a new industrial town – Hard Times – tells us nothing whatever about working conditions, IIRC, it’s all about competing philosophies of education. OK, David Copperfield spent some time as a child worker in a London blacking factory, but that’s hardly your dark satanic mill of the industrial revolution and his main beef was that he was forced to mix with low companions.

    .

  96. Petros

    Peter56 it’s iPad FYI.

  97. Jannie

    OK, Blogstrop, I guess thats all the boxes ticked, between us. I sort of agree with you, but it does irritate when one of the usual suspects cruises in sideways with some inane Leftist cliche, and it derails the entire debate. They win. They rely on a kind of asymetrical warfare which rewards one stupid provocative comment with dozens of sincere, if angry responses. As soon as you respond to them you lose, even if it makes you feel better.

  98. Cato the Elder

    Well done, that Doomlord!

    And welcome to Nick. Liked the book. More please.

  99. Aynsley Kellow

    The enthusiasm for ‘sustainability’ in the curriculum is especially worrying, especially because there is no awareness that it is very definitely a contentious concept, and a rather dodgy descent from ‘Sustainable Development’ (which at least included some aspirations in the direction of development – for the poor). Sustainability without Development was pushed by the rather activist (read environmental) scientists, and is related to the myth that nature is about balance/harmony, etc that prevail in environmentalism. It was, of course, replaced by chaos, perturbation and change at the 1990 meetings of the American Ecological Society, but lives on, zombie-like, among the environmental movement and (especially) among environmental education academics, who are very definitely in the business of inculcating the ‘correct’ values. (The luvvies don’t realise that it is institutions that are important and produce outcomes like environmental pollution — even when people have the ‘correct’ values).

    I was appalled to find Gaia presented in my daughter’s science texts. It is time to put an end to this nonsense.

    It all began as a social reaction to rapid social change, in Germany of course in the late eighteenth century. Longing for an imagined stable, sustainable past is not necessarily benign of course — Jeffrey Herf called it ‘reactionary modernism.’

    Readers here might be interested in my lecture to the Academy of Science Symposium in 2002 (here).

  100. srr

    100% Aussie 15 minutes ago

    I just heard DAVID MARR is on Drum. Hope he’s learnt humility over the break.

    100% Aussie 13 minutes ago

    He’s disgusting and argumentative, but there’s a terrific guy on the panel who’s sensible and telling David marr off.
    ….

    100% Aussie 11 minutes ago

    Nick Carter (sic) from the Australian. Marr should have his lips sewn together, but Nick Carter is a breath of fresh air.

  101. srr

    That snippet of conversation was from Pickering Post, under Larry’s, “Understanding the far Left”.

    http://pickeringpost.com/story/understanding-the-far-left/2605

  102. manalive

    ‘[the Industrial Revolution] led, we are told, to “longer working hours for low pay and the use of children as a cheap source of labour” and is best interpreted through reading the works of Charles Dickens.’

    Dickens’s main targets are middle class follies, do-goodism pomposity hypocrisy sanctimony corruption deceit intolerance etc. etc., personified in characters or caricatures which are easily recognisable today.
    His descriptions of the East End slums and the Midlands (in The Old Curiosity Shop) in the mid-1800s are probably exaggerated a bit for effect, but let’s face it only a bit.
    Conditions greatly improved by the early 1900s due to ‘trickle-down’. Mid-century Manchester as described by Engels looked a lot different by the early 1900s.
    He was not comfortable with the coming of the railways (Dombey and Son).
    Who cares? People love Dickens because of his wonderfully rich literary style, that’s why he should be read.
    Sadly I was forced to read Hardy at school instead of Dickens.

  103. blogstrop

    Hardy and Dickens are both well worth the reading. Differing perspectives, Hardy very much the rural one, but they were both keen observers of humanity. Both were able to describe and let the reader draw the conclusions.

  104. blogstrop

    I hope that “smite” means what I think it means! If so, thanks gracious Doomlord.

  105. nic

    Firstly, welcome Nick. Secondly, it is the concept of ‘enlightenment’ that is the problem. Years ago, facts surrounding events were in themselves, enlightening. As those ‘who know best’ are in control of curricula, led mainly, by our Universities, the term has changed to one of condescension. Our ‘social betters’ feel that we need to be ‘enlightened’ using a form of historical revisionism whereby modern concepts such as the role of minorities, women, the environment, Aborigines etc are juxtaposed in historical contexts where such concepts had little or no role. Worse still is that facts as a form of enlightenment themselves become distorted by modern precepts that in reality were mutually exclusive. For example, the role of women in traditional Aboriginal society. If our betters can’t find a link between historical events and modern concepts, that’s no problem, they invent one.

    I am reading a book about my Grandfather’s regiment, which had as a member, ‘Horrie the wog dog’. The modern story has been changed to ‘Horrie the war dog’ with an admonition of how racist people were in those days etc. Such revisionism is crazy in that events at that time cannot be judged in a modern context with a modern slant applied, nor does such revisionism explain ‘why’ people felt that way, only that they were ‘wrong’. The only solution is to treat facts as facts. Rid curricula of embellishment that serves to ‘enlighten’.

  106. Megan

    Thanks, O Gracious Doomlord. Best news of the day.

  107. boy on a bike

    Welcome Nick. Loved your book. Glad to see the Doomlord’s empire continues to attract the cream of the crop.

    Regarding Dickens – those that moaned about the conditions of the working class during the Industrial Revolution never visited the farms that the factory workers had left. Little thought was given to the idea that they had voluntarily left farming for a better life in the factories.

    Luvvies who want us to return to a rural idyll should think on that before promoting the wonders of non-mechanised farming. My back hurts just thinking about it.

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