Learn lessons of past

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - PETA CREDLIN -

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.

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