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InsiderOnline Blog: August 2011

One Curriculum to Rule Them All

Australia’s new national curriculum contains some lessons for Western Civilization—but you have to read between the lines. John Roskam, executive-director of the Institute of Public Affairs, thinks Australia is a part of Western Civilization. In a March letter to the Education Minister, Roskam points out the numerous ways the curriculum seems more aimed at cultivating an environmentally conscious world view than in teaching basic facts about democracy and the rule of law. Roskam quotes the curriculum writers:

[H]istory provides content that supports the development of students’ world views, particularly in relation to actions that require judgment about past social systems and access to and use of the Earth’s resources.

He continues:

The National Curriculum goes on to explain how the History curriculum “provides opportunities for students to develop an historical perspective on sustainability by understanding, for example … the overuse of natural resources, the rise of environmental movements and the global energy crisis …”

He also notes the curriculum writers claim education should be

futures-oriented, focusing on protecting environments and creating a more ecologically and socially just world through action that recognises the relevance and interdependence of environmental, social, cultural and economic considerations.

Roskam goes on to note that this curriculum completely ignores the English Civil War and the Magna Carta.

One can find examples of schools with wacky curriculum priorities here in the United States, too. But the danger of ideological teaching is minimized because the United States doesn’t have a national curriculum—yet. The Obama administration might change that, however, with its proposal to ease some federal mandates on the condition that states sign up for the Common Core standards. It’s a way of imposing national standards without Congress passing a law.

See Lindsey Burke’s “Waive State Education Authority Goodbye” at The Foundry for a discussion of why this move isn’t going to improve education.

Posted on 08/11/11 04:16 PM by Alex Adrianson

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