The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute has finalised and released its submission for ACARA’s consultation on their draft mathematics curriculum. For eccentric reasons, we haven’t properly read AMSI’s submission. (Seriously.) We understand that it is a good and strong statement. The second and key paragraph is
In early April, AMSI, together with some of its key partners, released a joint statement on the proposed new curriculum “Why maths must change”. AMSI initially endorsed the revised draft curriculum in our joint statement. However, there is now an opportunity to comment on the draft curriculum, and we have revised our position, following extensive consultation with representatives of our member organisations. Many members expressed concern, and indeed alarm, at numerous proposed changes. AMSI and its members believe that the new curriculum should be delayed, and we ask ACARA to halt the current review process.
Honestly, it wasn’t our intention to write three hundred posts on ACARA and their appalling draft mathematics curriculum. But, we did. Given that we did, it seems worthwhile having a pinned metapost, so that anybody who wants to can find their way through the jungle. (There’s probably a better way to do this, with a separate blog page or whatever, but we can’t be bothered figuring that out right now.)
So, here we are: the complete works, roughly in reverse chronological order, and laid out as clearly as we can think to do it. It includes older posts and articles, on the current mathematics curriculum (which also sucks) and NAPLAN (which also also sucks).
Jen Deyzel is a retired primary school teacher, a “septuagenarian” (now octogenarian) with decades of experience. She came up in conversation with a parent, whose children are tutored by Jen. In 2017, Jen wrote an essay on the decline of Australia’s educational standards. Jen has kindly permitted us to reproduce her essay, below (and in PDF form here).
The Great Decline:
Why Australia’s Education Standards are Plummeting Fast
I know it’s hard right now. The future is uncertain, and you’re doing it tough. You’re going it alone, and you’re not sure how it’s going. So, here’s a gentle word of advice from a Melburnian who’s been through it: go the fuck home and shut the fuck up.
Each Year’s content in the draft curriculum begins with a Level description, and each of the thirteen Level description begins with the exact same sentences:
The Australian Curriculum: Mathematics focuses on the development of a deep knowledge and conceptual understanding of mathematical structures and fluency with procedures. Students learn through the approaches for working mathematically, including modelling, investigation, experimentation and problem solving, all underpinned by the different forms of mathematical reasoning. [emphasis added]
OK, in a futile attempt to unPonzi our blogging scheme, we’re closing off our four competitions.* The winners are indicated below, and any winner who has not died of old age should email us to receive their prize, a signed copy of the best-selling** A Dingo Ate My Math Book.***
And, having tabloided you here, we confess we’re not gonna defend Craig Kelly. The man is a dangerous idiot. We will, however, defend the right of Kelly and his dangerously idiotic comrades to spout their dangerous idiocy. It pains us to write this, coming straight after anti-lockdown and anti-vax neanderthals flooded Australia’s, and the World’s, streets. Fuck these morons. But, the idea that censorship is an effective way to counter such group moronicity is insane.
We’ve whacked Essential Assessment on a previous occasion. Our daughter, who is in Year 4, did some of this nonsense on the week-end. (Our general policy is to let our daughter’s school do its thing, give or take a staged frown and raised eyebrow, and the occasional nudge of the well-meaning and intelligent Principal, but to forbid techno-junk at home. But, with home schooling, and our daughter’s understandable desire to please the beleaguered teacher, we let it go this time.)
[W]ho are the education academics in Australia who specialise in mathematics teaching and who advocate for explicit teaching, times tables etc.?
Ashman has a decently large following, but the replies to his question were tellingly non-existent. The only specific people suggested were the very non-Australian Jim Milgram, a hard core Stanford mathematician who took time off to wallop Jo Boaler, and Stephen Norton, a Griffith University education academic who appears solid and thoughtful, and barely visible. Anyone else?