February 28th 2004

  Buy Issue 2676

Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Don't torch the sugar industry!

CANBERRA OBSERVED: New tactics needed to handle Latham challenge

TRADE: Where does new free trade pact leave us?

NCC holds successful 2004 National Conference

DRUGS: Sweden turns off teenage drug tap

STRAWS IN THE WIND : Alabama's got the bomb / Swords into ploughshares / Closed minds

Free trade and sugar (letter)

Rethink US-Australia FTA (letter)

A Cuban's view of Fidel Castro (letter)

Political correctness in schools (letter)

Superannuation a tax on families (letter)

FAMILY: Marriage under attack

TAIWAN: Cliffhanger election will affect China relations

MEDIA: Confronting sloppy journalism

HISTORY: The continuing legacy of the 1960s

COMMENT: Getting history wrong - Ross Fitzgerald's 'The Pope's Battalions'

BOOKS: The Electronic Whorehouse, by Paul Sheehan

Books promotion page

Political correctness in schools (letter)

by John Kelly

News Weekly, February 28, 2004

To my mind, given the ascendancy of Labor governments and their education programs in each state, the question is not so much: "Are schools politically correct?" as: "How is Labor-style political correctness delivered?"

Political correctness determines not simply what works are to be read, but also how they are to be read; it manipulates the process of interpretation for preconceived political ends.

In English and the Humanities, the first stage in this enterprise, insisting on "deconstruction" effectively denies objective intention and inherent meaning in the "text", displacing the writer's authority. The reader's perceptions are paramount in "making meaning" (constructivism), the text being regarded merely as an occasion for the reader's self-expression ("empowerment").

The second stage consists in applying ideologically-conditioned questions to the text, mainly from Marxian and feminist perspectives. The outcome is a politicised interpretation of the work under consideration.

Moral and aesthetic elements are virtually ignored; and the resultant "reading" of the text is assessed according to the reader's ability in forcing the work studied to yield answers according to the ideological presuppositions brought to and superimposed on it.

Add to the above, as some teacher-training and schools are doing, courses in "Systemic Functional Grammar" (also constructed on a Marxian basis) and the question poses itself: "Is this really education"?

John Kelly,
Tranmere, SA

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