Swan song of failed educationalists? (letter)by John KellyNews Weekly
, August 19, 2006
Max Teichmann, in his article "Keeping the lid on our schools" (Straws in the Wind, News Weekly
, July 22, 2006), exposes diversionary measures of the Australian Education Union and those who have overseen the erosion of educational standards as the same cadre that has a vested interest in propping up the status quo
it has engineered in all states: a generation mostly indulged by lowered assessment and tertiary entrance requirements, largely insulated from criticism of its own indoctrination, and able only to reproduce the concoction of postmodernism and neo-Marxism it thinks is education.
This is arguably also the first generation ever formally and systemically encouraged to regard its own interpretation of sources that constitute the Western tradition as ipso facto
more informed and relevant than primary texts themselves.
Until now, "deconstructionism" - that contemporary sophistry - has supplied camouflage for a lack of scope and intellectual seriousness.
Recently, however, proponents are no longer able to sustain a cogent defence of relativism and are no longer permitted, as their legacy becomes evident, to evade public debate.
So now, at the theoretical level, they are making a protean shift to "constructivism" (never mind the subjectivist epistemology on which it is based) because, as one apologist earnestly put it, "it sounds positive".
Are we hearing the swan song of educrats desperate to avoid the idea that education should primarily be concerned with a disinterested pursuit of truth and objective, assessable standards?
I would like to think so, but am likely to remain unconvinced until a new generation, like the one undertaking liberal arts at Campion College, Toongabbie, New South Wales - where the curriculum ensures all students encounter, first-hand, texts effectively ignored in universities captive to "Theory" - makes its mark in schools, tertiary institutions and public life.John Kelly,