Australia

Oct 1, 2012

The history curriculum debate: back to the Howard future?

John Howard has reignited the history wars with his intervention last week into school curriculum. It's the ages-old debate that just doesn't ever go away.

Dean Ashenden

Education consultant and commentator

It was back to the future with John Howard last week — history wars, culture wars, school curriculum wars, the lot.

9 comments

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9 thoughts on “The history curriculum debate: back to the Howard future?

  1. Holden Back

    Ever noticed that those who claim to be ‘defending Western values’ are those who seem to know least about them?

  2. John Bennetts

    “…the right-wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.”

    Think tank???

    Regurgitation and spin tank, more likely.

  3. John Bennetts

    Rising above my previous comment, I must support Dean Ashenden’s major point (as I see it) which is regarding the role and nature of ACARA.

    My thanks for this article, which addresses the nature and value of the current curriculum debate. I feel somewhat better informed.

  4. izatso?

    Abbotts ‘very clear cultural purposes’ ? This is an example of Ashenden inserting humour where it doesn’t exist, or is he deadly serious ? Far Queue and your Abbott style education, have you seen what is happening in the U.K. ffs ? Tory Co al ition style demonising terrorism.

  5. izatso?

    ….. and Far Queue too with your Liberal Democracy Codswallop, we’re on to that imposition, externalise/privatise wise ….. Hein, you fake stormtroopers ?

  6. Grant Kelly

    I saw Howard hold a press conference about this years ago. A journalist asked him what events he thought were important for Australian kids to learn about in class room.

    He replied “The Battle Of Hastings.”

  7. Holden Back

    @Grant Kelly, and I guess Howard wasn’t talking about the De-Sal plant protests in Victoria?

    Then again, the Battle of Hastings was one Norman warlord killing another warlord and imposing a foreign language and culture on the indigenous population while disposessing them of their lands. Do you think that’s how Howard sees it?

    Hmm, perhaps it does tell you a lot about the vision of Western culture these people have.

  8. izatso?

    …… to my No.4 post, make that “Tory Co al ition style demonisation and terrorism”. Ultimately the last person for the job is the Flogger jumping up and down crying “Pick Me!” It should go to the capable and competent type who knows the thankless task comes with a price, and who’s rationality makes them sidestep the position. The “Vote for Me” Joker, Jehova Swept, Never.

  9. Christopher Nagle

    It seems to me that the question of historical roots is one of layering as new waves of change keep suffusing our society. These are not and/or options. Different perceptions need to sit alongside each other, for each is its own story, with its own values and hierarchy of preferences.

    I think the attempt by self styled ‘progressives’ to take over the process of defining the present historical parameters is mistaken. They just do not have that kind of cultural authority; or even legitimacy. Progress is neither linear nor predictable, nor does anyone own a mortgage on it.

    I think that latterday historical revisionists have tried to impose an ex post facto version of history which was beautifully expostulated in the ‘Bringing them Home’ inquiry carried out by the HREOC. It had so much in commonn with a Stalinist show trial it was spooky. And as the later ‘Little Children Are Sacred’ Report showed, there is one thing worse than racist paternalism, and that is a world without boundaries, many of which our ‘progressive’ brothers and sisters helped remove.

    We are challenged to find an intellectual course that does not substitute a Zimbabwean Mugabe for a Rhodesian Smith. The right does not have a monopoly on ridiculous ‘stereotypes’ that take us from perfidious imperialism to a ‘New Order’ ethnic fascism.

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