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Teaching Australian History in Schools

By Glimmertwins - 11 October 2007 90

News.com.au is reporting that students should not be forced to learn Prime Minister John Howard’s version of Australian history according to the the NSW and ACT governments.

Mr Howard will launch the federal government’s guide to Australian history at Moorebank High School in Sydney’s west today, which will make it mandatory for all year 9 and 10 students to study the subject.

Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop said the compulsory teaching of Australian history would be a condition of the federal-state schools 2009-2012 funding agreement.

“The states have already said, and they said it at the time of the Australian history summit, that they agreed with the Commonwealth Government’s position, they agreed with the Howard Government that the teaching of Australian history should be compulsory in Years nine and 10, and taught in a sequential way throughout primary school and secondary school,” she said.

But NSW and the ACT governments have accused the Federal Government of bullying and political interference.

ACT Education Minister Andrew Barr said the Federal Government’s move was similar to its threat to impose the HSC on the ACT.

He said history was already taught in ACT schools.

“It is this same old bullying approach, where if you don’t do exactly what we want, well, we will cut your funding,” he said on ABC radio.

“What we are effectively being asked to adopt here is … John Howard’s version of Australian history.

“To suggest that, as the Prime Minister has, that if the states and territories do not adopt the Prime Minister’s guide to the teaching of Australian history that funding will be cut … that’s a significant level of political interference into what’s being taught in our schools.”

NSW Education Minister John Della Bosca said Australian history had already been compulsory for all year nine and 10 students in the state since 1999.

“John Howard is at least eight years behind the times,” Mr Della Bosca said today.

“John Howard has lost any ability to work co-operatively.

“He makes these tired threats to cut funding, but he’s essentially copying the rigorous NSW curriculum and trying to impose it across the country.”

[Ed. I noticed that CT had a bit of coverage on this issue today as well. Its been a while since i did history but i seem to vaguely recall learning something about australian history during it.]

What’s Your opinion?


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90 Responses to
Teaching Australian History in Schools
gooterz 7:03 pm 11 Oct 07

Forcing everykid to do history is stupid. How many of those kids are just gonna waste the time and be worse off because they could have used the time to do another subject they like, which they are good at. By the end of their school they would be less qualified/and less intelligent to do job and position they will be taking up as a carreer. If you were going to be trying to push a particular course why history, why not anything else like First Aid or sports.. things that will make more difference.

Edumacated 5:31 pm 11 Oct 07

Good luck finding the staff to teach Australian History as a stand alone subject! We can barely find enough teachers to cover the rest of the curriculum as it is!

Thumper 4:37 pm 11 Oct 07

GnT,

you are correct. There is too much rubbish in the curriculum. Remove some and reinstate history.

And yes, it is a State responsibility. However, as has been shown the States simply can’t, or won’t, do it.

The disclaimer here is that I work for DEST and know how many millions we give to government schools. The amount is mind boggling.

State responsibility yes. But without massive funding from the Commonwealth these schools would be third world.

GnT 4:33 pm 11 Oct 07

The primary schools’ principals’ association is currently trying to draft a charter to state the “core business” of schools. So you make history compulsory, along with PE, literacy & numeracy, life skills, art, music, languages etc etc … My point is that the curiculum is already overcrowded. It is not up to the federal government to mandate what should be compulsory, especially when primary and secondary education is clearly a state (and territory) responsibility.

And I agree with Mr Magoo. Julie Bishop is the most under-qualified education minister we’ve ever had.

Mr Evil 4:31 pm 11 Oct 07

Thumper, I’m not so sure, as Rudd has been rather scathing about some of the States over their handling of health and other issues.

Thumper 4:26 pm 11 Oct 07

The States will always be ideaologically against pretty much anything Howard suggests.

If Rudd suggesteded it I bet they would all be falling over each other in the rush to congratulate him.

Mr Evil 4:22 pm 11 Oct 07

Well, the commonsense, trying-to-do-the-right-thing-for-the-country approach doesn’t seem to work with the States, e.g. trying to restore the Murray-Darling system – so maybe that’s why the Commonwealth has changed tactics?

MrMagoo 4:09 pm 11 Oct 07

What Julie Bishop knows about education you could fit on a postage stamp. Yes its a great idea and yes of course it has merit, but to again use the hangmans noose approach is so typical of LJH.

Mr Evil 3:59 pm 11 Oct 07

“Keep your eyes on the main game.”

The main game – AFL, NRL or ARU?

Thumper 3:52 pm 11 Oct 07

As opposed to no politics by the opposition?

Sorry, hard to call them an opposition when they simply give bipartison support to everything.

Wedge politics, my arse….

Mike Crowther 3:50 pm 11 Oct 07

Wedge politics by a desperate man. Keep your eyes on the main game.

Ralph 3:27 pm 11 Oct 07

Never mind the public may actually agree with Howard on this one.

Thumper 3:26 pm 11 Oct 07

Bloody good idea I reckon….

sepi 2:53 pm 11 Oct 07

Howard is just scraping the barrel for ideas to get himself in the news.

hingo_VRCalaisV6 2:37 pm 11 Oct 07

I think Mr Della Bosca’s quotes are ironic since NSW is behind on pretty much everything. Transport, Education and Health are all in a pathetic state due to poor spending on behalf of NSW government. Look at the cross city tunnel and their trains. Not to mention the fact that they have been pushing hard to try and stop the Centrelink trains to the country and replace them with bus services. Thats a great idea!

I just hope they aren’t teaching the same Aussie history as when I was at school. There is only so much guilt you can lay on a child for being an invading convict.

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