Monday, October 30, 2006

Australia considers a national curriculum

Like many nations currently struggling to improve their public education systems, Australia currently is toying with the idea of designing and implementing a national curriculum for all its public schools. So explains guest writer Jennifer Buckingham, a research fellow at The Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, writing for the US edublog Edspresso.

Buckingham describes the political -- and educational -- ramifications of such a bold move, and explores other options policy makers in Australia are bouncing around. According to Buckingham, the idea of one curriculum for all has proverbial legs:

"A recent poll revealed that 69 per cent of Australians are in favour of a national curriculum. University academics have also been confirming what parents and employers have long suspected – that there has been a significant decline in standards and therefore in the abilities of high school graduates. It is not just English and history that have been hijacked by agenda-driven curriculum development. Serious problems have been identified with maths, the sciences and even geography."

Australia's goals mirror those of any nation -- or school district -- interested in providing their children with a great education: maximize the quality and rigor of the academic curriculum and minimize the game-playing (and political bias) that often sabotages a thoughtful plan.


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