Friday, May 06, 2016

Australia: Calls for Victorian curriculum to say Australia was invaded, not settled

This is just Leftists stirring up hatred.  When the English arrived in Australia, they didn't come waving swords and muskets.  They didn't need to.  There were no spear-wielding bands of warriors to confront.   From behind cover, the Aborigines mostly just stood and stared in amazement and fear. As time went by there were isolated violent clashes but settlement was nothing like an invasion, as we normally conceive it

The picture I have just drawn is a traditional one but in the second half of the 20th century, Leftist historians set to work to demonize white settlement.  And they told monstrous lies in the process.  Zero Aboriginal deaths in some incidents became 10,000 deaths, for instance.  Keith Windschuttle has however caught them out

Education Minister James Merlino has reignited debate about whether the curriculum should refer to Australia being invaded rather than settled. It follows the Minister recently declaring that in the eyes of Aboriginal people, Australia was invaded rather than settled.

Aboriginal leaders and advocates are calling for change, and say it is inaccurate to tell students that Australia was settled by Europeans.

Victorian Aboriginal Education Association general manager Lionel Bamblett said that he would prefer to see the term invasion in the curriculum.

"Settlement is inaccurate," he said. "From an Aboriginal viewpoint we believe there was an invasion. We also know that sometimes that causes a fair degree of concern in the general population, and at one stage we tended to settle on the use of the word colonisation."

In March, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that Australia was invaded and schools had been lying to students for too long.

Mr Merlino made his comments in a speech about trust and the media that he delivered last month at RMIT. "Look at the Daily Telegraph's page one assault on universities for having the temerity to state the obvious — that European settlement in Australia was, for Indigenous Australians, an invasion," Mr Merlino said.

But he told The Age that he was not considering changes to the curriculum, despite its references to settlers and settlement.  "Victorian students are already taught about Australian history from a number of perspectives," he said.  "It is important for students to understand the different historical interpretations and debates surrounding our nation's history."

The curriculum states that year 9 students should consider "the effects (unintended and intended) of contact" between "European settlers" and Indigenous peoples. This includes massacres of Aboriginal people, "their killing of sheep" and the Stolen Generation. It predominantly refers to European "settlement" of Australia, and sometimes uses the term "colonisation". It never refers to invasion in an Australian context.

University of Melbourne masters student Elizabeth Muldoon – who is also a history teacher at a state school– said the Australian curriculum was misleading.

"The little Indigenous history included in it is telling a really one-sided story. It emphasises the struggles that Aboriginal people have fought for civil rights as opposed to land rights and the right to self determination."

She tells her students that for Aboriginal people, Australia was invaded rather than settled. "For Aboriginal people, colonisation was a violent process so invasion is more appropriate. Settlement obscures the violence, and implies that it was peaceful and the land was vacant," she said.

Reconciliation Australia co-chair Tom Calma said the term "settlement" was too passive. "Wherever a settlement took place there was conflict, it was fairly bloody. They didn't peacefully negotiate anything, they just killed people. "You get some ultra conservatives who want to mask what happened versus reality."

The new Victorian curriculum incorporates and reflects most of the Australian curriculum, and is being rolled out across the state.


GMU President Defends Renaming Law School After Scalia, Cites Diversity

George Mason University President Angel Cabrera is defending the decision to rename George Mason's law school after the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in the spirit of “diversity of thought,” despite protests that the name change represents an endorsement of alleged “racism, sexism, and homophobia.”

In an open letter that has garnered hundreds of signatures, Assistant Cultural Studies Professor Craig Willse wrote GMU’s decision to rename the law school after Scalia is an “affront to those in our community who have been the targets of Scalia’s racism, sexism, and homophobia.”

Willse particularly took issue with Scalia’s positions on affirmative action and abortion.

In a public statement addressing the controversy surrounding the name change, Cabrera wrote the law school was not changing its name to honor Scalia because of any ideology agreement with his views.

Cabrera wrote, “We are not endorsing his opinions on any specific issue. We are recognizing a man who served our country at the highest level of government for 30 years and who many experts of diverse ideological persuasions—from faculty colleagues in our law school, to his peers on the Supreme Court, to the president of the United States—consider to have been a great jurist who had a profound impact in the legal field.”

“My position then was clear and has not changed: we must ensure that George Mason University remains an example of diversity of thought, a place where multiple perspectives can be dissected, confronted, and debated for the benefit and progress of society at large,” Cabrera continued.  “Rejecting a major naming gift in honor of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice on the basis that some of us disagree with some of his opinions would be inconsistent with our values of diversity and freedom of thought.”

Cabera also addressed concerns that the $30 million gift to the university includes $10 million from the libertarian Charles Koch Foundation to fund new scholarships. The Koch donation raised suspicions that the Koch brothers will exercise ideological control over the school.

Cabrera pointed out that the Charles Koch Foundation has given approximately $50 million to GMU over the past decade.

“To put things in perspective, that would amount to about 0.6 percent of our average annual budget over this period.  The suggestion that gifts of this magnitude can shape the ideology of the largest public research university in Virginia is farfetched to say the least.”

“I take it as one of my most important responsibilities to protect the integrity of our academic enterprise. Our donors understand that, no matter how generous they may be, they will have no authority whatsoever in our faculty selection and promotion processes, our student admissions, or our curricular choices. If that’s not acceptable to them, we simply decline the gifts,” Cabrera said.


Teacher protest shuts most Detroit public schools

Nearly all of Detroit’s public schools were closed Monday and more than 45,000 students missed classes after about half the district’s teachers called in sick to protest the possibility that some of them won’t get paid over the summer if the struggling district runs out of cash.

The latest in a series of sick-outs closed 94 of 97 schools for the day as 1,562 teachers heeded their union’s call to stay home.

The move by the Detroit Federation of Teachers came after Detroit Public Schools’ transition manager said the district would have no money to continue paying teachers this summer without further funding from the state.

The state had approved $47.8 million in emergency money in March to keep the 46,000-student school system operating, but that amount pays the district’s bills only through June 30. Detroit Schools also would be unable to fund summer school or special education programs after June 30.

The state Legislature is considering a $720 million restructuring plan that would pay off the district’s enormous debt.

Under their contract, Detroit teachers can opt to receive their pay over the course of the school year or spread over a full 12 months. It wasn’t immediately clear how many of the district’s approximately 3,000 educators have chosen to have their biweekly paychecks spread out over 26 weeks.

Some say they live paycheck to paycheck and need the money to get through July and August, before the next school year starts.

‘‘We have already put the work in,’’ said Kimberly Morrison, 54, a reading and recovery specialist and 20-year district employee. ‘‘If I don’t get my pay, then somebody else — who I owe — won’t get their pay.’’

Kindergarten teacher Famata Legemah, 54, says it is difficult for her to save enough during the school year to make do over the summer because ‘‘there’s not a whole lot left over.’’

Morrison and Legemah were among a few hundred teachers who picketed Monday morning outside the district’s administrative offices.

‘‘There’s a basic agreement in America: When you put in a day’s work, you’ll receive a day’s pay,’’ said Ivy Bailey, interim president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers. ‘‘DPS is breaking that deal. Teachers want to be in the classroom giving children a chance to learn and reach their potential.

‘‘Unfortunately, by refusing to guarantee that we will be paid for our work, DPS is effectively locking our members out of the classrooms.’’

Teacher strikes are illegal under Michigan law. Sick-outs earlier this year caused tens of thousands of students to miss class.

Dejuan Parkman, who has four children in the district, joined the protest. Parkman, 42, was able to get his mother to watch the kids Monday, but said he might have to take time off from his catering business if more sick-outs are held.

‘‘It’s real scary,’’ he said. ‘‘What are we going to do if the teachers shut down the schools? I’m not mad at the teachers. You can’t pay the teachers their money? That’s not right. They have to pay their utilities, pay their mortgages and car notes.’’

Steven Rhodes, the district’s state-appointed transition manager and a former bankruptcy judge, also said the teachers ‘‘have to be paid for the work that they do,’’ but without more help from the state that might not be possible. He said he understood the frustration and would like to do something about it.

‘‘No one can guarantee what the Legislature will do,’’ Rhodes said. ‘‘The alternative is so unimaginable.’’

Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, said Monday that he hopes to see action this month and ‘‘clearly before the middle of June’’ by lawmakers.

‘‘We need to get something done here,’’ Snyder told reporters in Flint. ‘‘A legislative solution is the best solution compared to the alternatives of ending up in court in some fashion.’’

Monday’s sick-out was not constructive, especially with the Legislature considering the restructuring plan, he added.

The restructuring proposal is pending in the House, where majority Republicans want to tie aid to restrictions on teacher work stoppages and some collective bargaining rights.

Lawmakers could consider passing another emergency stopgap measure, like the earlier emergency measure that is keeping the district operating through June 30.

Snyder has said the school district’s debt will reach about $515 million by this summer. Much of the blame for the money troubles can be traced to plummeting student enrollment.

The Detroit Public Schools had 150,415 students in 2003-2004. Now, about 46,000 students attend the district’s 97 schools. Detroit receives about $7,400 for each student. Many Detroit parents seeking out better educational opportunities for their children have turned to charter schools and close-by suburban districts.

The teachers union has scheduled a membership meeting Tuesday to discuss its options.


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