Philip O'Carroll's Letters to The Editor

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National Curriculum

The Australian        Thursday, May 21, 2009

I totally support the position of Tom Alegounarias, president of the NSW Board of Studies, who wants explicit school syllabuses “setting out mandatory knowledge in a systematic course of study” (Australian, 20 May 2009).

There are lobbyists who cry that a concrete curriculum kills the joy of learning and somehow prevents the untestable aspects of inspirational teaching from occurring. This is nonsense, and merely maintains the groaning unaccountability of large sectors of the school industry.

We at Fitzroy Community School have always regarded it as our solemn duty to deliver a good standard of literacy and numeracy – second in importance only to learning how to treat other people properly. We welcome objective testing of essential skills for all Australian children.

We find that there is plenty of time left for a variety of studies and out-of-the-classroom adventures. We have a richer curriculum than most schools ten times our size. (And don’t think this letter is just advertising for our school: we can’t take any more.)

It will be a leap forward in educational opportunity for Australia if a concrete and externally-assessed curriculum is applied to all schools.

Philip O'Carroll