Sunday, March 11, 2007

The national curriculum is a certainty

In a previous post, I reviewed the debate about the proposal for a national curriculum. Now it looks like it is a certainty. Kevin Rudd, the leader of the Labor opposition, would introduce a Prep - Year 12 national curriculum in Maths, English, the Sciences and Australian history. John Howard, the leader of the ruling Coalition (Liberal + National parties), wants a national curriculum in these subjects, but only at high school level.

As I noted earlier, I do not mind the idea at all. Any difference in the needs of students is unlikely to be a function of the state in which they live. However, the debate seems more political than educational and we may end up with a politically compromised system. How this will compare to what we currently have can only be determined once we see the new syllabi.

It is interesting that Victoria has rejected the Liberals' proposal for a national curriculum, saying that "one size will not fit all". When federal Labor surprised everyone by proposing essentially the same thing, Victoria welcomed it!

We will have a few years to bed down the Victorian Essential Learning Standards. Let's not get too comfortable. Watch for the early retirements in 2010!

1 comments:

Anonymous

said...

Schools that get into the national core curriculum swing now and use the opportunities for PD and drafting work programs will be ahead of the game and so will their students.
Hoeever, with the amount of work teachers are now required to do, the average high school teacher puts in more than 60 hours a week for the ten weeks of each term. He also attends PD and conferences in standdown and holiday periods. It is also common to mark assignments and examinations in standdown periods.

Since most teachers have families and need to sleep and eat...no wonder they are frazzled and unwilling to do more. So, when do they get time to be preparing for these dramatic and important changes to curriculum?

Well, the government is providing them with 2 weeks OPD (if they can get in to it) and guess when it is? It's in the Christmas vacation period.

Teachers are harassed, vulnerable, disrespected, underpaid and overworked people whose influence in the lives of their students is grossly undervalued. No wonder fewer and fewer quality students want to be teachers.

You can make far more money elsewhere without the stresses of parent and student abuse, being required to teach students everything from road safety to manner to sex and drug education to driving education. No wonder the so-called core subjects suffer! If you doubt that, look at the university entrance scores you need to get a qualification to be a teacher! The triple teacher-pay salaried professors with their far better conditions whose so valuable opinions are printed in the papers cannot even use correct grammar! Yet teachers are expected to teach it to students.

Wake up Australia. Get real about your teachers. And get real about parenting. Rude, uncontrollable, foul mouthed kids are not cute, even preschoolers and it is not teachers' jobs to change their behaviour.

Parents need to teach their children some things and teachers need to terach them the core and other school (not life) curriculum. Let's focus on quality teachers, quality professional development, quality curriculum, and responsible parents bringing up children with manners, who value something other than money and parties.

Why are so many kids from 15 making part time work their priority, skipping classes at employers' calls, so they can indulge in irresponsible behaviour including underage illegal drinking?

Governments encouraged kids to stay at school to Year 12. Why? They are skipping classes to go to work. They are enrolled in TAFE courses, apprenticeships and traineeships, anything goes to seem to keep them off the streets and off the unemployment figures. It is not working in any sense of the word. And kids who want to learn and being hampered by the comings and goings of those who "have the right" to education and use "their right" to refuse it at the right time and then demand teachers' time to "catch up" so they can scrape through and get credit for subjects at the cost of those who deserve to do better.

Have a look at the reasons why parents are voting by putting their kids in private schools.

National Curriculum? Yes, good idea. But it won;t cure anything unless you get on to the other problems in Australian schools today.