xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' The Font of Noelage: Christopher Pyne. A disruptive nuisance in Australian education.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Christopher Pyne. A disruptive nuisance in Australian education.

Christopher Pyne, the Federal Minister for Education has called for a review of the National Curriculum. To say the least, this is a an unexpected move, as the Australian Curriculum is still in the process of being introduced into Australian schools after a lengthy period of review and development by The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

Christopher Pyne was Shadow Education Minister for three years up until the federal election in September, 2013. In that time he asked only three questions in the parliament. None of the three questions concerned education.

In opposition he was removed from the house a record number of times for being a disruptive nuisance.

A week before the 2013 election he stood, together with his Liberal Party leader, on national television and vowed that he would carry out the Gonski school funding reforms exactly as labor had intended. After the election he said Gonski was a huge mistake and he would fund schools very differently. Two days later he back flipped on his back flip and said Gonski was a good policy and he would implement it.

Now he has turned his attention towards the Australian Curriculum, which was produced by the respected and independent Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority which considered submissions from a very wide variety of teachers, academics, parent and other organisations. The new curriculum is in fact still under review by ACARA and will no doubt be modified and amended in due course.

Mr Pyne is of course entitled to his views on what should be in the Australian Curriculum but he should use the already established curriculum process and not attempt to override it with a carefully selected review panel. It is not Mr Pyne's Australian Curriculum. It is in the domain of seven Education  MiInisters at federal, state and territory level.

Pyne says the Australian Curriculum is biased and he has chosen two Liberal Party apparatchiks to review it so as to give it a different focus. These two gentlemen have no recent background in education but we do know that they do not like the Australian Curriculum. Both have been outspoken critics of it.

Teachers and principals, who have been busily engaged in recent years in informing themselves of the scope and sequence of the new curriculum, are now to be at the whim of political interference.
Educators, not party political ideologues, should be the ones who determine national curriculum guidelines.

Unless Pyne does another back flip, we can expect more and more changes in education as he is struck by other “bright ideas.” Unfortunately, unlike his days as Shadow Education Minister, he cannot be forcibly removed. We will have to wait for the next Federal election in 2016 to do that. It seems a very long way away.

Pyne is probably the worst thing that has ever happened to education in this country. I can envisage massive "No confidence" rallies by educators throughout Australia as this meddlesome man, like the Mad Hatter that he is, pursues his ideological paper chase. He seems intent on continuing to be the one thing he has proven himself to be very good at, a disruptive nuisance. He is creating nothing but malice in Blunderland.

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