Rebecca Urban has a report in The Australian today (Murdoch, paywalled):
Education Minister Alan Tudge says the board of the country’s schooling authority must substantially rewrite its draft national curriculum, warning he will not endorse the proposed document amid concern student outcomes would be harmed. …
In the letter, seen by The Australian, Mr Tudge urged the [ACARA] board to seriously consider recent feedback from education experts, who have flagged concerns that the proposed changes amounted to a weakening of learning standards.
The call is for the rewrite of all the subject curricula. Urban’s article reflects Tudge’s culture wars concerns,* but there is also specific and good coverage of AMSI’s opposition to the mathematics draft.
So, what now? We were called up by a Mr. Big today, who felt pretty positive about things, and it’s obviously good news. But the fat lady isn’t even on stage yet, much less singing.
The ACARA Board has the next move, and they’re in a tough spot, of their own making. The Board
are (members are) not innocents here, in particular by having signed off on a poisonously stupid Terms of Reference. The Board’s natural inclination is probably to continue Pontius Pilating through the farce, but Tudge has made that very difficult.
Whether the Board listens to Tudge or tries to tough it out there are reasonable conjectures of how this will go. There are tons of unknowns, however, and we won’t be conjecturing here. We also won’t be posting on ACARA or the draft curriculum until at least some of the dust settles.
The next few days will be very interesting.
Lisa Visentin now has a similar report in the Sydney Morning Herald, based around critical quotes from the NSW Government’s submission to ACARA. Visentin also quotes ACARA’s CEO, David de Carvalho, responding to Tudge’s call for withdrawal:
Responding to Mr Tudge’s criticism on Thursday, ACARA chief executive David de Carvalho gave his strongest indication yet that the draft curriculum would be further revised following the consultation period,
De Carvalho has given the “strongest indication” of absolutely nothing. Of course the curriculum will be further revised. The question is, will the revisions will be sufficient to repair the draft, and is this even possible?** Nonetheless, De Carvalho indicates
… the concerns were “very much on the board’s radar”.
Yes, it’s on ACARA’s radar because a number of very accurate missiles have been fired at ACARA and its draft. That doesn’t prove that ACARA has any intention of taking these missiles as any sign that they should make substantial revisions. Indeed, in regard to the mathematics curriculum, there is evidence that suggests otherwise. We had intended to post on that evidence, this week, and we still look forward to doing so once the dust settles.
“These are also issues, it’s fair to say, that have come through the general consultation feedback. … The board will be considering all that feedback at a meeting this week.”
And, again, it comes back to the Board.
*) We have taken a brief look at the other draft curricula. They appear to be just as bad as mathematics, if not worse.
**) The answers are “no” and “no”.