There are two articles in The Australian this morning that are simply astonishing. Both involve the education portfolio.
First – a review into teachers.
The background story goes something like this: There is a widespread perception that education standards are falling and this is due to bad or poor teaching. The bad or poor teaching is due to the fact that the cohort of people becoming teachers isn’t as smart as in previous generations.
So what to do about this problem? Have a review!
EDUCATION Minister Christopher Pyne is planning to unveil next week an eight-member panel to review the training of teachers, expected to be chaired by Australian Catholic University vice-chancellor Greg Craven, whose education faculty has some of the lowest entry scores in the nation.
University of Melbourne dean of education Field Rickards — widely regarded as running one of the nation’s best teaching degrees — is also expected to be appointed along with other university academics, including specialists in the teaching of maths and science.
Really? Surely if you’re concerned about standards of teacher education why would you put those responsible for the training on the review panel? You’d put them in the dock to answer the questions and not have them asking the questions.
But it is the second story that makes you suspect that it isn’t (just) the teachers at fault:
CHILDREN in their first years of school learning basic arithmetic would be taught Aboriginal methods of adding and Korean counting games under suggested activities in the national maths curriculum.
The suggestions for Year 1 include looking at the chance of winning a game of “jan-ken-pon”, otherwise known as rock-paper-scissors, or playing the Korean counting game “sam-yuk-gu”, which is also known as “buzz” or “whiz”, where numbers are replaced in counting by clapping hands according to a number rule set at the beginning of the game.
In Year 3, when students are introduced to fractions, the elaborations suggest teaching students that while in English the order is numerator and denominator, it differs in other languages, with the Japanese using the order denominator then numerator.
For. the. love. of. God.
Now I suspect it is true that education standards are falling. It is also true that the cohort of individuals becoming teachers isn’t as good as it was in previous generations. Probably due to the fact that women have broader career options available to them now than in the past. I put it you, however, that a teacher-cohort effect isn’t as much to blame for declining education outcomes as is the education bureaucracy and utter lunacy of politically correct curricula dreamt up by pomo hippies.
Christopher Pyne is the minister responsible for all this. Surely he must realise that there is something very wrong going on here.