Last week, thousands of angry and emotional schoolchildren carrying an array of crudely-made placards bearing messages of varying degrees of originality took to the streets of Sydney to protest against the Morrison government’s ‘lack of action’ on climate change.
Meanwhile, in a Melbourne kindergarten, four-year-olds were recruited by their teacher to protest against refugee rights on Nauru.
These baby-faced campaigners were pictured holding up a selection of signs with catchy slogans such as ‘Locking Up Our Children is Never the Answer’, ‘No Child Should Live Like This’ and ‘Political Leaders Must End this Harm’.
However, the lack of Clag, along with the level of sophistication of both vocabulary and poster design, suggests that just maybe these preschoolers might not have made their own posters.
In the world of today’s educationalist which is dominated by Left-wing and out-of-touch ideologues, you’re never too young to protest.
Apparently if you’re able write your own name, albeit in a thick blue pencil, stand on one foot for more than nine seconds, or draw a person with a body, you’re old enough to be a political agitator.
What we are seeing is evidence of the degree to which Australian children, from preschool to Year 12, are being actively politicised in our classrooms by ideologically obsessed individuals masquerading as professional educators.
But the educator’s job is to educate children, not indoctrinate them.
The students participating in the #schoolstrike4climate were clearly encouraged by their teachers to dodge their lessons to engage in a political activism.
These men and women are brazenly and energetically enlisting their charges in a political struggle against the current government.
Many teachers are far more concerned with creating legions of mini-me social justice warriors than they are with ensuring that their students actually know how to read and write.
Falling standards in reading, science and mathematics across every economic quartile and in all schools is testament to the fact they believe education to be about developing a social identity rather than acquiring knowledge. Since 2015, Australia has performed abysmally in world rankings.
Reading literacy has seen us fall from fourth to sixteenth in the world, from seventh to twentyfifth in maths, and in science from fourth to fourteenth. Much of this is due to the fact that Australian children are being uneducated at a terrifying pace, thanks largely to our flawed National Curriculum.
The first major problem is the existence of three cross-curriculum priorities which refuse to go away.
They are ‘Sustainability’, ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures’, and ‘Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia’.
The curriculum has been deliberately designed so they are in every subject. You’ll find them in English, mathematics, science, humanities and social sciences, the arts, technologies, health and physical education, and languages.
For example, in English students will ‘develop the skills necessary to investigate, analyse and communicate ideas and information related to sustainability, and to advocate, generate and evaluate actions for sustainable futures’.
In maths, children are taught to ‘develop the proficiencies of problem-solving and reasoning essential for the exploration of sustainability issues and their solutions’.
In the meantime, five-year-olds in science class are being taught about how ‘Earth’s resources are used in a variety of ways’ while in Level 2 mathematics, algebra is taught by ‘using models such as linking blocks, sticks in bundles, place-value blocks and Aboriginal bead strings …’
The second major problem with the curriculum is with their so-called General Capabilities.
These would on face value seem to be an attempt to teach children useful values, which is of course a very good thing.
However, rather than instructing them about the values around individual rights, parliamentary democracy and equality before the law, it turns out that these capabilities are simply a regurgitation of the Left’s favourite tropes of identity politics, environment and social justice.
Take ‘Personal and Social Capability.’
In this capability, students will ‘gain an understanding of the role of advocacy in contemporary society and build their capacity to critique societal constructs and forms of discrimination, such as racism and sexism’.
In ‘Ethical Understanding’, they are told that ‘complex issues require responses that take account of ethical considerations such as human rights and responsibilities, animal rights, environmental issues and global justice’. This is not education. This is propaganda.
Next week, the University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education is hosting the 6th World Curriculum Studies Conference. Unsurprisingly, there is an entire session devoted to man-made climate change.
It’s also no wonder that according to the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development, 14 per cent of 15-year-old Australian students are functionally illiterate, and would not understand the instructions on a packet of headache tablets.
What’s more is that 20 per cent of Australian youth’s arithmetic skills are so bad that and they wouldn’t be able to work out how much petrol is left in a tank by looking at a gauge.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is spot-on when he says that there should be less activism and more learning in the classroom.
Let’s start by depoliticising education by getting rid of these dangerous, ideologically driven fads and Left-wing platitudes masquerading as values and return to the fundamentals of what education is all about.
This article originally appeared in the Daily Telegraph