Learn lessons of past
The PMs promise to keep more water for irrigators in the Murray Darling Basin rather than flush it out to the sea as ‘environmental flows’ is overdue and good news. Now let’s review at the whole basin plan.
Even with a review that says Labor’s policies are toxic, Anthony Albanese is still keeping them all, at least for the moment. How long will this bloke last?
The idea that our young people could grow up as experts in so-called climate change armageddon but ignorant of the state-sponsored genocide of six million Jews in the Holocaust should cause every voter in this country to demand a rethink of our educational priorities.
But that’s where we are headed unless some sanity is written back into our school curriculum.
As Italy this week crowed about putting compulsory climate change subjects into schools, I wondered how long it would be before Victoria’s Daniel Andrews followed the Italian lead.
Not that he really needs to. His good friend Julia Gillard did it all by stealth when she altered the national curriculum a few years back to require all subjects address issues of sustainability (code for climate change), indigenous issues and Asia — be it English, maths, chemistry or woodwork.
The Jesuits, teachers for centuries, have a saying, “give me the boy until he’s seven and I will show you the man”. And they’re right, what we teach our young people matters and, in the end, will determine what sort of Australia they build and lead in the future.
Here, the curriculum is key — how well-rounded they are, how well-skilled they are for the careers of the future, and how well they understand humanity’s mistakes of the past. Granted, I studied history through to Year 12 and into university, but the subject matter of the Holocaust was something I encountered multiple times (and I read, I didn’t “swipe” or scroll for pleasure). Not so today.
Indeed, the only time the genocide of millions of Jews (and others) now appears in the National Curriculum is Year 10 and, even then, how much is actually taught is hit and miss, and it’s certainly not mandatory. NSW is the sole state that says teaching of the Holocaust is compulsory but recent research, out of the University of Sydney, into how compulsory it really is in practice showed that an alarming 15 per cent of schools flout the requirement.
Sadly, I didn’t need university research to know we’re missing the mark with the alarming increase in anti-Semitism in our schools the real bellwether of ignorance, in this post-history, post-religious world.
In NSW, the Jewish Board of Deputies noted that anti-Semitic cases in Sydney schools have almost doubled in the past 12 months.
Recently, in a Melbourne state government primary school, a fiveyear-old boy was taunted about being circumcised, so much so that he wet his pants rather than use the communal toilet and face cries of “Jewish cockroach”.
At a state high school, also in Victoria, another student was forced to lick the shoes of a Muslim student or be beaten.
I’m not saying that just teaching the Holocaust will cure these students of behaviour that all of us should find repugnant. Clearly, parents, siblings and friends are hugely influential.
But in a world where values appear to be a thing of the past, where religion is mocked and often scorned, where Britain has a Labour candidate for PM that’s an outspoken anti-Semite for goodness sake, learning history is the final fallback we have to avoid the mistakes of the past.
Or it is, if only we teach it.
A 12-year-old Jewish boy was allegedly forced to kiss the feet of a young Muslim boy.