21 May 2013 President’s comment

Let’s not run this idea up the flagpole…..

This morning’s coverage in The Courier-Mail (21 May, 2013) that the “Premier wants kids to study state plan”, while misquoting John Battams as the “Queensland Teachers’ Union secretary” rather than as the President of the Queensland Council of Unions, raises some interesting points about the place of politics in the classroom.

The story referred to the Queensland Government’s Queensland Plan, and reported that Premier Campbell Newman had written to MPs asking them “to promote the initiative at schools in their electorates and facilitate a primary school competition”. Further, the story said EQ was developing a module for classrooms.

Politics can have a place in the classroom – it’s something students need to learn about to become engaged and informed citizens. Studying the Queensland Plan may be appropriate in civics education, or as part of modern history, in the same way it may be appropriate to study the legislative changes brought in by various state governments, including the current one.

Politicians, however, have no place in deciding what should be taught in classrooms. That is clearly the domain of curriculum leaders and teachers, who have the professional expertise and responsibility to deliver the curriculum in a way that suits, supports and extends their students.

We do not want to see a return to the days of the previous Coalition Federal Government, where education funding was tied to flagpoles.

Kevin Bates