Friday, April 21, 2006

Dumbing Down

Schools teaching rubbish, says PM

THE English syllabus taught in Australian schools is being dumbed down by "rubbish" post-modern texts, Prime Minister John Howard says.

Mr Howard said he questioned some of the decisions made by state education authorities about literacy promoted to students.

"I feel very, very strongly about the criticism that many people are making that we are dumbing down the English syllabus," Mr Howard said on ABC radio in Brisbane.

"I think there's evidence of that in different parts of the country ... when the, what I might call the traditional texts, are treated no differently from pop cultural commentary, as appears to be the case in some syllabus."

Mr Howard said authorities seemed too willing to succumb to political correctness at the expense of quality traditional literature.

"I share the views of many people about the so-called post modernism ... I just wish that independent education authority didn't succumb on occasions to the political correctness that it appears to succumb to," he said.

"We all understand that it's necessary to be able to be literate and coherent in the English language, we understand that it's necessary to be numerate and we also understand that there's high-quality literature and there's rubbish.

"We need a curriculum that encourages an understanding of the high-quality literature and not the rubbish."