A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Curriculum: A Farce in Two Acts

(With apologies to Stephen Sondheim and Zero Mostel. Wise readers will skip to the content.)

Nothing familiar,
Something peculiar,
Nothing for anyone:
A curriculum tonight!

Something that’s galling,
Something appalling,
Nothing for anyone:
A curriculum tonight!

Continue reading “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Curriculum: A Farce in Two Acts”

Maths Pathway Advised on the Draft Mathematics Curriculum

And the Australian Mathematical Society did not. That’s where we are.

At some point we hope to write in detail about Maths Pathway and why we loathe it. Briefly, in the very early days of MP we were contacted by one of MP’s founders and, because he came with a trusted recommendation, we gave MP a lot of and way too much consideration. It soon became clear that the MP guy was either uninterested in and/or incapable of comprehending our very strong criticisms; he was simply trying to sell us on their Revolutionary Product. We didn’t buy it. We don’t buy it. It is difficult to imagine how any kid could learn properly based upon MP and we have never met one who did. Continue reading “Maths Pathway Advised on the Draft Mathematics Curriculum”

Adam Carey Inquired, But What Did He Learn?

Well, at least he didn’t use the expression “maths experts“, but there’s not much else to recommend Adam Carey’s piece in today’s Age. Carey is The Age‘s Education Editor, and his report is titled,

Maths Curriculum’s most pressing conundrum: “inquiry-based learning”

Yep, it’s a conundrum. Like whether or not to stick your hand in a blender.

Continue reading “Adam Carey Inquired, But What Did He Learn?”

RatS 17: Taibbi – Loudoun County: A Culture War in Four Acts

This one is a bit old now, and it’s more an American thing. It’s such a crazy story, however, it is still compelling reading. Aspects of this nonsense also appear to be taking hold in Australia, so one should not be too quick to dismiss it as one-of-those-crazy-American-things.

Last November, the Democrats screwed up, throwing away the Governorship of Virginia. In ways this was just a typical Democratic screw-up, just like their screw-ups over many decades. In other ways, however, the screw-up demonstrated how things are getting way, way screwier. The political battle was largely played on the fields of education and race, and in both respects the Democrats were the Bad Guys. (Well, the Worse Guys.) That takes some heavy-duty doing. Continue reading “RatS 17: Taibbi – Loudoun County: A Culture War in Four Acts”

The Other Canada

A month or so ago we gave Ontario a whack, for deciding that testing whether their teachers could do arithmetic was racist. That was not the first time we had run into Canadian nitwittery. Last year, Greg Ashman went to battle with some pretty obtuse Canadians, over Alberta’s new mathematics curriculum. And, ACARA somehow landed upon British Columbia’s pretty flaky curriculum for one of their international benchmark thingos. One could be forgiven for concluding that Canada is a Federation of weirdnesses.

But, maybe not totally.

Continue reading “The Other Canada”

Minister Robert’s Letter to ACARA

This one fell off the back of a bus.

Embedded below is a letter from Stuart Robert, the Acting Minister for Education and Youth, to Derek Scott, the new Chair of the ACARA Board. The letter (which we have been assured is a public document) reinforces the resolutions of this month’s Education Ministers meeting, in regard to ACARA’s invisible redraft of their draft Australian curriculum. It seems that the letter was tabled by a representative from Minister Robert’s office during last week’s Senate Estimates. Continue reading “Minister Robert’s Letter to ACARA”

Education Reporters, and Their Struggle with “Maths Experts”

Dear Jordan and Lisa and, now, Donna, it’s really not that hard: a “maths expert” is an expert in maths.

Sure, there are line balls and judgement calls. Unfortunately, education reporters demonstrably have no sense of where the lines are, nor how to make the necessary judgements. Greg Ashman is not a maths expert. Eddie “Too Much” Woo is not a maths expert. Peter “The Not So Great” Sullivan is definitely not a maths expert. Yes, these people might – or might not – be smart. These people might – or might not – be reasonable people to quote on a maths ed issue. But they are not remotely maths experts. And, it matters.

Continue reading “Education Reporters, and Their Struggle with “Maths Experts””

ACARA, and the Compliant Foolishness of Education Reporters

Where’s Rebecca Urban when we need her?

Last Friday, Australia’s Education Ministers met to discuss and potentially to approve, the redraft of the Australian Curriculum. That’s nine months after the launching of the original draft curriculum, in April last year. Nine months of those busy little ACARA beavers secretly working to allay public contempt for the original draft, all without a single hint of further public inspection, much less public consultation. Not to worry, though. Jordan Baker, the Sydney Morning Herald’s intrepid Education Editor, had the reassuring scoop. Continue reading “ACARA, and the Compliant Foolishness of Education Reporters”