Home-schooling Seeks To Avoid The Cluttered National Curriculum

Written by:
10 May 2024
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Originally Appeared In

In this article Dr.Bella d’Arbrera contextualises and disseminates the findings of the IPA’s research into the national curriculum.

It has been republished on the IPA website with permission. The views expressed are those of the author alone.

All media posted onto the IPA website are directly related to the promotion and dissemination of IPA research.

The Queensland government has declared war on the ever-growing number of parents across the state who have decided to home-school their own children.

Recently in State Parliament, Education Minister Di Farmer introduced legislation to force parents to use the very thing they are trying to avoid, which is the National Curriculum.

Such is the depth of feeling that the parliamentary committee which is considering this bill has received 900 submissions, and 21,977 people have signed a petition objecting to the government’s proposed amendments.

In selling her policy, Minister Farmer says:

‘With the increase in the number of families choosing homeschooling, we need to make sure that the interests of the student are the priority – especially in regard to their wellbeing and safety.’

What the Minister fails to accept is this is the very reason parents are rejecting the National Curriculum being forced upon their children en masse; they believe their children’s wellbeing is threatened by a curriculum completely cluttered with political ideology, and which replaces facts with activism.

The primary objective of our education system must be to ensure students learn the core skills of reading, writing, and mathematics. But Australia’s curriculum is failing to meet this most basic goal. Too many students today are leaving school barely numerate or literate.

In the last two decades, the focus of education has shifted from a system based on knowledge and facts, to one of skills underpinned by an ideologically driven, thematically integrated curriculum that prioritises Indigenous issues, sustainability, and social justice to the detriment of everything else.

In Year 8 Mathematics for example, Queensland students attempting to learn how to calculate statistics are ‘exploring progress in reconciliation between First Nations Australians and non-Indigenous Australians, investigating and evaluating sampling techniques and methods to gather relevant data to measure progress’. They are told to refer to ‘secondary data from the Reconciliation Barometer to conduct and report on statistical investigations relating to First Nations Australians’. The Reconciliation Barometer was invented back in 2008 by Reconciliation Australia to measure, every two years, just how racist non-Aboriginal Australians really are.

In Year 9, students are busy ‘exploring potential cultural bias relating to First Nations Australians by critically analysing sampling techniques in statistical reports’, as well as observing ‘comparative data presented in reports by National Indigenous Australians Agency in regard to ‘Closing the Gap’.

This is nothing short of political activism thinly disguised as education, and we are now seeing the terrible effects this shift has had on our children.

The OECD’s recently released, Programme for International Student Assessment, revealed that in the last 24 years, the achievements of 15-year-old Australians in mathematics, reading and science have all fallen.

Today, our students are more than 16 months behind in mathematics, and in reading, a year behind where they were in the year 2000. In science they are ten months behind where they were in 2006, when testing began.

On top of this, last year’s NAPLAN test results revealed that one in three Australian students is not meeting the basic standards of numeracy and literacy. Worryingly, just 15 per cent of students are exceeding expectations. It gets worse; the majority of Australia’s Year 9 students use punctuation at a Year 3 level. No wonder Cresta Richardson, head of the Queensland Teachers’ Union, has called for NAPLAN tests to be banned.

Since 2019, there has been an almost 200 per cent increase in home-schooling in Queensland, with over 10,000 children registered today for home education.

You cannot blame parents for wanting to take their children out of an education system that is clearly failing them. It is hardly surprising that increasing numbers of parents do not want their children to end up as part of an ever-growing cohort achieving less than the students before them.

Most Australians believe they should be in control of their children’s education. In a poll commissioned by the Institute of Public Affairs, when respondents were asked who should have the greatest say over what is taught to schoolchildren, 56 per cent believed it should be parents, 10 per cent thought it should be bureaucrats, and just five per cent thought it should be politicians.

Di Farmer should remember that children are not the property of the state. It is parents who are responsible for the wellbeing and safety of their children, not the government. This is why many responsible parents are voting with their feet and taking their children out of school.

Home-schooling requires a huge sacrifice and family-wide commitment. Those parents who choose education over indoctrination should not be punished, they should be rewarded and encouraged. It is parents who should decide what is best for their children, not politicians.

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