Sunday, October 22, 2006


She's black, you see, so just touching her would be a huge crime

A girl aged 5 has been permanently excluded from her school for attacking a teacher and a classmate. Tamara Howard's mother has been told that her daughter cannot return to the 300-pupil Old Moat School, in Withington, Manchester, because her presence is too disruptive.

The decision to expel the child was taken after she was excluded for 15 days for an alleged attack on a teacher and classmate on September 20. The school said that she hit the teacher on the arm, leaving cuts and bruises, after she was asked to clear away some toy bricks. On an earlier occasion she was said to have assaulted six members of staff.

The education authority said that it had offered intensive help to the pupil, who joined the infants from the school's nursery in January. Angela Howard, 41, a single mother who has two grown-up children, is hoping that the decision will be reversed. She said that the school had not given her enough time to address her child's behaviour and that she was excluded before there was a chance to get any help.


The long march back to honesty in Australia's schools

No ideological agenda? Just who are the education unions kidding

[Federal] Education Minister Julie Bishop's call for a national curriculum and her criticism of ideologues in the education bureaucracies met a predictable wave of outrage. "How dare she", cried the teachers unions and their friends. Concerns about curriculum being politically correct, the argument goes, are simply a ploy used by conservative governments to maintain power. Pat Byrne, the head of the Australian Education Union, reflected this view when she argued last year: "The challenge for us is to frame our position in a way that can successfully counter the culture war that is currently being fought ... This is not a good time to be progressive in Australia; or for that matter anywhere else in the world!"

Never mind students being made to deconstruct the classics in terms of "theory". Never mind Australian history being taught from a black-armband view. And never mind geography being redefined in terms of deep environmentalism and multiculturalism. The late 1960s and early '70s was not only about Woodstock and moratoriums. That period was also about the Left's decision, drawing on the works of Marxists Antonio Gramsci and Pierre Bourdieu, to take control of society by taking "the long march through the institutions".

Bourdieu argues that education is a powerful tool used by those more privileged in society to consolidate their position. Based on the concept of cultural capital, the argument is that there is nothing inherently worthwhile about academic studies or the Western tradition. The Left's belief that the education system is simply a tool used by the capitalist class to reproduce itself explains much of what has happened since the early '70s. The much-criticised Victorian Certificate of Education developed during the '80s was based on premier Joan Kirner's belief that schools must be transformed as "part of the socialist struggle for equality, participation and social change, rather than an instrument of the capitalist system".

Meanwhile, teacher education became controlled by activists such as Doug White, Bill Hannan, Bob Connell, Dean Ashenden, Simon Marginson and Allan Luke. In a textbook widely set for education courses entitled Making the Difference, the argument is put: "In the most basic sense, the process of education and the process of liberation are the same. At the beginning of the 1980s it is plain that the forces opposed to that growth (have) become increasingly militant. In such circumstances, education becomes a risky enterprise. Teachers, too, have to decide whose side they are on."

Many of those students radicalised during the '60s and '70s went on to become teachers and bureaucrats and they identify education as a key instrument in overturning the status quo. For many, such as the AEU, the Australian Association for the Teaching of English and the Australian Curriculum Studies Association, education was, and continues to be, a key instrument to change society. In 1998, ACSA published Going Public: Education Policy and Public Education in Australia, described by Alan Reid as a manifesto outlining the "political strategies that might be employed to protect and enhance the social democratic values that lie at the heart of progressive aspirations about public education".

The impact of the cultural Left on education has been profound. Competition and failure are banned. Feminists attack traditional texts such as Romeo and Juliet as enforcing gender stereotypes. In history teaching, instead of focusing on significant historical events and figures and celebrating past milestones, the focus is on victim groups, such as women, migrants and Aborigines. Over the past 30 or so years schools have been pressured to adopt a leftist stance on issues as diverse as multiculturalism, the environment, the class war, peace studies, feminism and gender studies. Worse, the idea that education can be disinterested and that teachers should be impartial has given way to the argument that everything is ideological. Meanwhile, the teachers unions deny any agenda.


Suddenly, vocational training back in vogue : Christian Science Monitor "Six years ago, as his 11th-grade classmates struggled with the college-application ritual, Toby Hughes tried to envision his future. A Georgia honors student with a 1350 SAT score, he knew he wanted to go into computer science, so he went to local computer companies and asked what they wanted in an employee. 'They told me I would be more marketable if I had practical technical training as opposed to theoretical academic training,' says Mr. Hughes. He began taking specialized computer-networking classes while still in high school, landed a $52,000 job after graduating, and now, at 24, makes well past that. Similar scenarios are repeating so often that the world of career technical training -- once known somewhat disparagingly as 'vocational training' -- is experiencing a renaissance in America. Enrollment in technical education soared by 57 percent -- from 9.6 million students in 1999 to 15.1 million in 2004, the US Department of Education reported to Congress."

Strange new love for "The Blob" : "In the eighties, Republicans talked of abolishing the federal Department of Education. In the nineties, they blocked President Clinton's quest for national education standards. Former Reagan education secretary William Bennett even dubbed America's bloated school monopolies 'the Blob.' But with the election of George W. Bush and the passage of his No Child Left Behind law in 2002, the 'party of limited government' apparently decided to stop worrying and love the Blob. And its appetite for federal control over the classroom continues to grow. A chorus of Republicans -- including Bennett himself, in a recent Washington Post op/ed -- is now calling for a national system of education standards and testing."


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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