Blah blah blah... that john howard is upset that state schools are not beating his favorite "values" into children these days, and that therefore he thinks we should give the entire education budget over to those private schools who are willing to do so, but only to those children whose parents can afford it. we can only surmise that the ones whose parents can't afford it don't deserve any "values" in the pm's opinion. what exactly those 'values' were, he wouldn't say - but going on some of the generally observed differences between private and public schools perhaps he is talking about heated swimming pools, crisply ironed uniforms, eating disorders and a nice big dose of homophobia.
Just when the Prime Minister was being particularly vague about his very favorite "values", in came Kevin O'Donnelly
with a little dirge in the Australian to explain a bit more.
Kevin O'Donnelly is worried that since we let those unionists take over the state school system there has been some serious tinkering going on. He howls that current state education system has lost sight of "the purpose of education" as "celebrating positive things".
Oh dear, Kevin seems to have got the wrong end of the stick altogether. He thinks that the purpose of education is "celebrating positive things". No Kevin, you're confusing "education" with "having a party". If you want to celebrate a positive thing, such as your birthday, or your new house, or getting a raise, then you should have a party. Please don't gather a bunch of small children together, make them sit in rows, give a long and boring lesson on the positive thing you wish to celebrate and call it pedagogy! If you love something so much that you want people to celebrate with you, then you'll just have to offer some food and drink, turn on the music and "have a party" like the rest of us. Same goes for australia day - if all you want is to leap around shouting "hurrah for colonization! weren't my white anglo-celtic ancestors clever for invading someone else's country!" then buy a lot of red cordial and party pies and make sure you don't invite any children who don't agree with you (or who don't have clever white anglo-celtic ancestors) and kick out the ones who want to ask questions.
But REALLY!, even though you are chief of staff to the Employment minister, you should know that this wouldn't really cut it as "education". Why, education is supposed to be about the learning, not the telling. And funnily enough, when children are learning, they tend to ask lots of questions, no matter how many times you shout at them "oh shut up and celebrate the greatness of our nation!" The other thing about Australian children (and you should know this if you met some, Kevin) is that they're not all anglo-celtic and of the Western tradition. Much as they'd like to celebrate away "the benefits of Australia's Anglo-Celtic, Western tradition" to your heart's content (on the proviso of adequate party pies and red cordigal), they would probably also like to ask a few nosy questions about what everyone else who wasn't Anglo-Celtic was doing at the time. Whatever "values" Kevin O'Donnelly wants to bludgeon children with, he's keen to make sure that they are not taught that "all cultures should be equally valued". No no no, if that happens, then he'll be taking away all the red cordial and party pies no questions asked.