Ask most Australians about the dilemmas they are facing with regards to their children’s education and you will probably get their position on private vs. state schooling. Ask our Prime Minister the same question and you’ll probably get lots of hot air revolving around some mystical education revolution, words with less substance than a bone that was just treated by a pack of hounds.
It is exactly because of this limited public discussion on our education system that I am worried. I am worried because I recall my own days in school: the more great books I read, the more I despise the boring unreadable stuff we were forced to study at school; the more exposure I have to the works of great scientists the more stomach pain I get at memories of dreadful math and incoherent physics lessons. I recall the dread I felt before every test; I remember the lengths I went to in order to ensure I pass them. Grades, NAPLAN tests, VCEs: When I look back at my school days what I see is a manufacturing line producing subordination and conformism, in the process taking away all the natural curiosity and sense of wonder I came equipped with as a child. It took me years to reacquire some of that lost magical touch.
If you were to ask me what the dilemmas I am facing with regards to the education of my child are, my answer to you is that I am very hesitant to expose him to our schooling system, period. What crime did he commit that I should strive to have any sense of independent spirit smashed out of him with sledgehammer like subtlety? Why should he be inflicted to the same suffering I had to endure?
The Julia Gillard of this world, elected and paid by us to serve us, should take notes when designing their “education revolution”. Start with this video as an example for what education should really be about: