Holding Ken Wiltshire to the flame of his own promises

This week Ken Wiltshire, one of the two reviewers of the National Curriculum,  responded to the widespread concern about the quality and impartiality of the recently announced National Curriculum Review   Critics of school curriculum review too quick to perceive a threat instead of potential way forward.

In this article he promises a review that is professional, independent, balanced and robust based on a methodology that will be methodology comprehensive and objective.  This will include the appointment of experts  for each subject area to evaluate those components of the curriculum.

What is not to like about this?

Well there are a few problems still Mr Wiltshire.

The first most glaring problem is the other person with whom you will have to work.  Kevin Donnelly is one of the least professional, balanced or independent educational commentators I can think of in Australia today.  There is no evidence that he can or is capable of changing his spots.  But enough has already been said about this.

The second problem I have is about professionalism and respect. You tell us this will be a professional process.  Now I do assume that being professional includes being respectful.  But your use of the adjective ‘disgruntled’ to describe a letter of concern from over 150 professional educators does make we wonder.  Can you commit to respectful too perhaps?

There is one final thing Mr Wiltshire.  Would you be willing to add the word ‘open’ to your list of promises?  You encourage us all to contribute to the process but do not assure us our contributions will be made public.  Openness and transparency are features of all outstanding reviews in my book.  The Bradley Review of Higher Education and the Gonski Review are great examples of this.

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One thought on “Holding Ken Wiltshire to the flame of his own promises

  1. Dear Margaret, I sent your reminder to Ken Wiltshire to members of the Australian Federation of Graduate Women. AFGW unanimously endorsed the Gonski Report. My fear is that these men will, to satisfy their partisan Federal Minister of Education, do everything they can to undermine the interdisciplinary aspects of the Australian National Curriculum. Richard Feynman made the statement that human qualities always affect the way people approach whatever they are studying or doing. His concern, of course, was science. Nobel Prize winning Laureate Professor Roald Hoffmann of New York was aware how often chemists – his area is quantum chemistry and he’s a poet and playwright – can be bought. Here, in Australia, when a Coalition government approves a T-shirt of Australia Est. – as if all began in 1788 – we are faced with myth-making of the worst possible kind by politicians with no interest in the consideration of the societies and cultures of ‘the great south land’. I am so glad that so many people using social media forced the supermarkets, intending to sell them, to withdraw them. By their obvious partisan choices in a number of positions we know that this Coalition government is making a clear statement by choosing the people it does to do the reviews.

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