Putting fads ahead of foun­da­tion knowl­edge is to be­tray our chil­dren

The Australian - - COMMENTARY -

The qual­i­ties of cre­ativ­ity, re­silience and grat­i­tude are all im­por­tant in the 21st cen­tury (“Shift to ‘rad­i­cal’ cur­ricu­lum”, 15/9), but they were just as im­por­tant in the 11th cen­tury. Putting them ahead of the foun­da­tional knowl­edge that schools were cre­ated to in­cul­cate is to be­tray our chil­dren. Medicine, engi­neer­ing and agri­cul­ture do not sub­ject them­selves to poorly con­cep­tu­alised, ab­stract fads.

Hav­ing com­pre­hen­sively wrecked the pos­si­bil­ity of a fair fund­ing model for gov­ern­ment and low-fee non-gov­ern­ment schools, the Coali­tion is now sub­ject­ing stu­dents to the sloppy, ev­i­dence-free thought bub­bles of the trendy left.

The Twit­ter out­rage and easy re­sort to name-call­ing in this age of iden­tity pol­i­tics are con­se­quences of an ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem that gave up in­sist­ing on per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity and the teach­ing of clear think­ing two school gen­er­a­tions ago. The for­mer was re­placed with blam­ing teach­ers for not meet­ing the “needs” of stu­dents, while the lat­ter was re­placed with post­mod­ern lan­guage anal­y­sis.

This is more than a su­per­fi­cial change in name. It is a pro­found marker of the in­tel­lec­tual state of so­ci­ety. Clear think­ing as­sumes that ar­gu­ments are valid or not. Lan­guage anal­y­sis as­sumes that ev­ery­thing is sub­jec­tive and there­fore looks at the sur­face fea­tures of ar­gu­ment. Chris Cur­tis, Hurst­bridge, Vic

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