Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Campaigners blast 'educational anarchy' as new British syllabus tells teachers to inform pupils about Islamic civilisation and Mayan culture but not important events in British history

History pupils must be taught about Islamic civilisation, Mayan culture or Benin in West Africa - but they need not study British kings and queens, education campaigners have claimed.

The teaching of landmark events such as the Battle of Waterloo is now 'non-statutory' under the new national curriculum for history, according to the Campaign for Real Education.

While teachers are not obliged to cover the World Wars, Winston Churchill or Elizabeth I, they must tell history students about some foreign cultures and civilisations, the group claims.

The organisation's chairman Chris McGovern described the situation as 'educational anarchy', the Sunday Express reports.

He wrote: 'No landmark event in British history has to be taught. Magna Carta, the two world wars and Winston Churchill, for example, are included in the curriculum as non-statutory examples of what teachers "could include". Previously teaching of the world wars was compulsory.

'Trafalgar, Waterloo, Nelson and Wellington are ignored. There is no requirement to teach about any specific British monarch, prime minister, act of parliament, battle or individual.

'In contrast, certain topics are placed on prescribed lists, for example either early Islamic or Mayan civilisation or Benin must be taught.'

The campaign group based its research on data from The Times Educational Supplement (TES) Resources website of model lessons for teachers, according to the Yorkshire Post.

Mr McGovern added: 'What we have is a Sex Pistols history, anything goes, including educational anarchy.'

A Department for Education spokesman told the Sunday Express: 'We’ve moved away from the old narrow and prescriptive curriculum to give teachers the freedom to deliver lessons that will excite and inspire their pupils.'


Free College Turns a Degree into an Expensive Participation Medal

This election cycle, young voters are enamored with the concept of “free college.” That’s right, “free.” I am assuming those same students aspiring to higher education took a basic science class along the way and learned that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. The same principle applies to tuition. What you are not paying for, someone else is.

A common talking point for those of the free college camp is mentioning countries like Finland and France that finance the tertiary schooling of their youth. But where is the money coming from to cover costs? And what is the quality of education being received? Most free college advocates cannot answer those questions.

In Germany, school funding comes entirely from the taxpayers. This social state also has the second highest income tax burden of the thirty-four countries in the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In 2011, the highest tax wedge in Germany was single workers without children, also known as recent college grads, paying 49.8 percent. In order to delay the government stealing half of their income from them, students prolong graduation; it’s not their own resources they’re wasting. This is such a prevalent problem that there is even a German word for it; “dauerstudenten” translates into “eternal students.”

The amount of higher education demanded increases when it is subsidized, and in turn, taxes have to increase to pay for it. We are already seeing this in the United States when we look at the divide of public and private colleges. Sixty percent of American students attend public colleges, which are generally less expensive thanks to government funding. Half of those students take longer than four years to graduate. Consider private school students paying much more for their education: 80 percent finish in four years. Paying for your own education is incentive to efficiently achieve a degree.

Furthermore, when a product is free it usually lacks quality. Those refrigerators with a “free” sign attached to them on the sidewalks of suburbia are free for a reason: they don’t work. Just as we are facing a shortage of physicians in the wake of ObamaCare bringing 30 million people into the healthcare market, we will see a shortage of professors if universal higher education is instituted. When that happens and students seek a better education they will end up paying significantly more for private colleges with superior academics on top of the major tax hike that made college “free” in the first place.

College should not be free simply because it cannot be free. Shifting the burden of tuition onto the taxpayers is not a solution. The United States cannot afford another free social program.


Stupid school bullying policy in Australia

Self-defence not allowed!

JAMIESON Reid is a quiet, nine-year-old who keeps to himself and loves to bury his head in books.

On Tuesday he was involved in a shocking and unexpected incident while he was waiting in the school pick-up queue at Musgrave Hills State School in Queensland.

"This week I saw my small-for-his-age, book-loving nine-year-old son attacked by a much larger child," Jamieson’s mother Jessie told Kidspot. "The attacker quickly progressed from jostling to grabbing my son around the throat and holding his bag, stopping him from leaving to get in the car."

"As my husband and I watched in horror from our Tarago in the school pickup line, I saw my son yell ‘Let me go!’ – striking the attacker in an attempt to get away."

"And then I watched in absolute terror as my tiny son was punched in the head three times before a staff member removed the much larger boy."

The next day Jessie got a call from the school to say that her son, along with the other child involved in the altercation, had been suspended for two days.

The distraught mother says her son was the victim and doesn’t deserve to be treated this way. She says it’s proof that the blanket bullying policy in schools is making matters worse for the victims.

"When this ‘zero tolerance’ approach is applied as a blanket policy it is no longer a useful deterrent or a tool against bullying," she says. "It has crossed the line in victim blaming. It’s gone too far and our children are suffering because of school policy," she says.

But a Department of Education and Training spokesperson says the matter was dealt with according to the policy which clearly sets out expectations of student behaviour, and the consequences for students when these expectations are not met.

"The Musgrave Hill State School principal thoroughly investigated this matter. Consequently, the students involved were suspended in line with the school’s Responsible Behaviour Plan for Students," the spokesperson said in a statement to Kidspot.

Oscar Yildiz, from Bully Zero Foundation Australia, also supports the policy stating that zero tolerance is the only way to go.  "If someone is hitting a child, they should move away immediately and get themselves out of danger," he tells Kidspot.

Jessie disagrees says ‘moving away’ wasn’t an option for her son. The older boy, she says, was holding him down. Blanket approaches like this, she says, "allows victims to be beaten if cornered."

The government’s very own Bullying No Way! website agrees with Jessie that a zero-tolerance approach to bullying is not necessarily effective.

One of many points stipulated under the heading "What we know doesn’t work" is – any form of zero tolerance and ‘get tough’ suspensions and exclusions.

Although Jamieson was told that he was not allowed to go to school for two days, his parents still decided to send him yesterday.

"The principal told us three times to pick him up but we said we wouldn’t pick him up because he wants to be at school," Jessie says.

"I shared my frustration and outright anger with my friends and discovered that this is a very common situation," Jessie says.

"One friend [whose child got in an altercation at school] said her son was told he shouldn’t have defended himself because his home life was more stable than his attackers," she says.

Jessie says that another friend pulled her children out of school and now teaches them at home because they were being reprimanded and punished when attacked by others.

She claims victim-blaming is rife at schools as she has gathered anecdotes from all over the country echoing similar experiences.

Jessie says the policy is teaching kids the wrong message.  "Teaching children that defending themselves when they have no other option is wrong and that doing so results in a severe punishment has far reaching implications," she says.

"We don’t teach sexual assault victims that defending themselves is wrong – in fact it is encouraged, why should victims of non-sexual assault be any different?

Jessie is calling on all parents to take a stand on behalf of their children about the blanket policy.

"Zero Tolerance needs re-examining. It doesn’t work in practice in our schools and our kids are suffering as a result. Is this happening at your school? Speak up," she implores.

"Tell the principal this is not OK. Tell the Education Department. Tell the Education Minister. Our kids are worth it."


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