Thursday, August 17, 2006

Education Going Right... to speak.

Australia has done something right, and something conservatives have wanted to see here in America for a long time: they are going to teach history in history classes, and give up on the weakly substitute known as social studies:

Students will be taught traditional Australian history, rather than postmodern subjects with titles such as Studies of Society and its Environment, after a summit of experts yesterday recommended the Howard Government override state and territory education authorities.

The history summit communique foreshadowed a massive shift in the teaching of history, as well as a new level of commonwealth interference in state and territory education systems.

Of course, one can be as PC teaching traditional history as when teaching social studies, but we'll look on the bright side and recognize that names and dates have at least returned to classroom. I was never so bitter at public school social studies as my first day in a real history class in a private high school. I knew that the civil war involved the North and the South, slaves and free states, blacks and whites, but at no point in that grand study of social movements and public issues did anyone see fit to explain when the damn war started, or how it was the South lost. That I had to figure out on my own.

For that and other reasons, I really want to pop this guy upside the head:
Queensland Education Minister Rod Welford said it would be "educational vandalism" for the federal Government to force on the states the separate study of history.

"To talk about history as a stand-alone subject, as a list of events, is an educational absurdity," Mr Welford said.

"It will do absolutely nothing to students' understanding or interpretation of their place in the world."

No, not correct, and the only educational absurdity I can see is Mr. Welford's employment. Having no sense of the procession of historical events is what prevents knowing one's place in the world. Muddy, vague discussions of social generalities only serves the modern liberal educator's goal of controlling the opinions of the young. A person who knows the whens and wheres of history can form intelligent opinions about how things come to pass and how evils might be avoided. A person subjected to social studies only knows what they are supposed to think.

To enforce the new provisions, Education Minister Julie Bishop is threatening to withhold up to 13 billion (Australian) dollars worth of funding to schools.

UPDATE: Mrs. Occidentality informs me that as a girl in Russia, she learned all the dates and places of the American Civil War. She also learned it was entirely a war over money, between the rich South and the nouveau rich North, and that slavery didn't have anything to do with it.

At least her teachers taught her when it started.

Technorati tags: | |

No comments: