Pyne has to go

David Edmunds writes: Re. “Rundle: the education puppet show, with Labor scared in the wings” (Friday). Guy Rundle is too kind to Christopher Pyne. He has to go.

He was the shadow education minister from 2008, and as such responsible for the development of Coalition education policy. It is a mess. It is a mixture of banal motherhood statements, internal contradictions and shallow critiques of Labor.  For example, it defers to the states as responsible for schools, and then proposes a range of measures whereby the federal government deals directly with schools. There are other policies, for example, on the teaching of foreign languages that show a complete lack of understanding of the education environment.

Since becoming a government minister Mr Pyne has made a series of quite stunning errors. Firstly on Gonski. Not only was there the broken promise, but after all of this time he simply fails to understand what it is about. He talks about accountability, but provided Gonski money to states without any such accountability and boasted about the deal. Now we have the curriculum review committee, to which he appointed people who will guarantee that the review will be dismissed.  If he wanted a result, he could at least have appointed people who might have had some credibility.

On the 7.30 he connected student achievement with an ideological correction to the curriculum. Apparently he believes that reverence for Sir Robert Menzies will improve mathematics. The review is prompted by the coalition policy document that laments bias on the grounds that the national curriculum has two references to trade unions and Ben Chifley is the only prime minister referenced directly.

It is rare to see a senior minister so stunningly unprepared and lacking knowledge in the area for which he is responsible.  His grating and pompous style combined with his demonstrable incompetence make him a liability to the coalition government and entirely unsuitable for his job.

Pyne treading on schools’ toes

David Hardie writes: Re: “Pyne’s cultural warriors: curriculum reviewers ‘lack credibility’” (Friday). The irony of yesterday’s announcement from Christopher Pyne regarding the school curriculum is that is contradicts his advocacy of school and principal autonomy. Schools are in the business of education (in case anyone was unclear on that point), and to then externally impose what is taught in the classroom will impact every decision made at the school level. If a school does not have autonomy when it comes to curriculum then it does not have autonomy.

Scilla Rosenberg writes: Re. “It’s a wrap.” (Friday). The picture reminded me of the limerick:

There was a young lass from Pall Mall
Wore a newspaper dress to a ball.
The dress caught on fire
And burnt her entire
Front page, sporting section and all.