I’d like to take a moment from the usual Editorial introduction to contemplate the Federal election outcome and its implications for English teachers.That's right. This guy believes he needs to take time out from talking about teaching English to discuss the all-important topic of political indoctrination in our schools. It seems their efforts, so far, haven't worked so well (because we didn't all vote for the right party), and he's cross!
Clearly, given the agenda of Brendan Nelson, much is in the wind for education. Despite the assurances of Howard that it will be ‘softly, softly’, Ministers like Abbott and Nelson have had a sniff of what Senate domination means and nothing is going to stop them.Get that, people? 'Sen-ate dom-in-ation'! Kind of like 'World dom-in-ation', isn't it? Good God, Howard will be retaking the Ruhr Valley and invading Poland before we know where we are (or the Journal's Editor can sing 'The Internationale')!
In the form of these two comes that most dangerous of creatures, the politician who thinks they have a bright idea.Oh no - well, we simply cannot have that! A bright idea? A bright conservative idea? Preserve us!
Nelson’s agenda, of course, is the holy grail of Federal Ministers, the national curriculum, along with national testing – to which his particular spin is to add national control of teacher education.Oh dear - you mean there might be a national standard, one you can be tested against and by which your performance can be assessed? God forbid!
Okay, so I guess there are a few English teaching professionals who aren't really all that bright (as evidenced by the next statement):
Given that this is a government that doesn’t believe in governments, the degree of desired control over all levels of education is, like Thatcher’s, ironically Stalinist.Stalinist? Well, they'd certainly be the ones to know. Then again, the desired level of control may, of course, be a teeny weeny function of the dissatisfaction at large due to the profession's failure to deliver literacy to a sufficient standard, but we won't go there. . .
But now we get to the crux of it. It seems Generaloberst Editor wants to do a little 'controlling' of his own:
But my main concern is with what the election tells us about us as a profession. English for the last ten years - not least in the pages of this journal - has trumpeted the cause of critical literacy. Critical literacy holds as its central premise the education of the student to be able to ‘suss’ out how they are being worked over - by advertisers, by politicians, by the media. . .And perhaps dickhead leftist teachers? Or maybe the kids he's talking about are not critically thinking enough because none of them can actually read all that well?
By all means, let's take a look:
We’re told that the government was re-elected by the young.Actually, I'd argue it was re-elected by people who had had an utter gutful of mindless left-wing activists who have been boring us senseless for far too long.
If so, a fair proportion of that group by now must have graduated from a ‘critical’ education.Sure did - and it seems they pretty critically spotted a bunch of complete tossers almost immediately (if Hauptmann Editor's previous comment was anything to go by).
What does it mean for us and our ability to create a questioning, critical generation.Oh dear - you're absolutely right! They weren't supposed to question you, were they!
Three years before, Howard had headlined the non-existent children overboard, he had put race firmly on the agenda as an election issue and cynically manipulated the desperation and poverty of our Pacific neighbours. What does it mean for us and our ability to create a questioning, critical, ethical citizenry that that kind of deception is rewarded?The citizenry most certainly punished 'deception', Oberleutnant Editor. They well and truly rejected the deceptions pedalled by people like you.
Howard declared public education had no values and in the same sentence declared that institution too ‘politically correct'.Well, I think we only have to read that editorial to recognise that he might be onto something.
We went to war in Iraq after the weapons inspectors told us there were no WMDs. . .Hmmm - now he really needs to take a dose of his own 'critical' pill, I think. I guess I might have missed something, but I was pretty sure they were shrieking for more time; that they didn't know (apart from inspectors such as Richard Butler, who were certain they were there)? Or has that already been put through the now Patented 'Lefthistorymanglermatic' (along with Stalin et. al., who've finally popped out as right wingers)?
We knew the truth about Iraq before the election. Did our former students just not care?Nope - they just didn't swallow your incessant caterwauling.
We knew before the election that ‘children overboard’ was a crock, but, as it was yesterday’s news, did they not care about that either?Nope - they just spotted the fact that it was your crock.
Do they care about the detention centres. . .What, you mean the ones that Gerry Hand and a Labor government first set up (remember)?
. . .or the sheer greed that drives our relations with East Timor and fits the recurring pattern of, ‘if we can screw somebody, then we should screw them’?To which Gareth Evans (Labor) could well attest when he first signed the deals with the Indonesians to screw the Timorese completely.
Are we getting the drift here, Obersturmfuhrer Editor? Maybe it's just as simple as them being able to recognise a bunch of breathtaking hypocrites when they see them?
So what's the solution? Here we go. . .
If education is to mean anything, it has to manifest its success somehow. Is it doing so in our national culture at the moment? We are the only area of the curriculum that has all the students. We should be making a difference in the face of an apparent lack of any sense that there could even be such a thing as social good. Does a critical literacy need to become more direct and deliberate in its ethics and its critical stance? . . . Does this mean becoming smarter in representing ourselves? Does it mean having to have a deliberate and conscious ethical and critical agenda? Does critical literacy need to turn from concern with nineteenth century artefacts and the class/gendered nature of fairytales to become more overt about the texts of the here and now? Will we see a day when the potential values enacted through the study of English are made manifest?Read that again, if you didn't get the underlying premise, which, of course, is all code for: 'Something has gone balls-up with our leftist indoctrination.' And the entire, underlying thread of what he is saying? Why, getting rid of the 'critical thinking' part altogether, of course!
That all said, maybe I'm being a little too harsh on these guys. I mean, if these kids have been able to see through this trash - this forest of hypocrisy, this torrent of relentless propaganda - quite so effectively, then maybe these characters haven't done such a bad job after all?
It sure looks like they have every intention of fixing that!
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