My, my, my…

18 Aug

Looks as though I will have to go in later and add a note to Literacy — Why I reject Kevin Donnelly’s educational analysis. Not that all the currently prevailing voices on schooling and education have suddenly found enlightenment, but it does seem there could be a degree of hope. This past week, for example, the ABC’s right-wing Phillip Adams, Michael Duffy, had a useful interview with Jane Caro & Chris Bonner, authors of The Stupid Country: How Australia is dismantling public education. And today in The Australian we have “FORMER Liberal Party adviser and outspoken critic of the school curriculum Kevin Donnelly…” But (yes, Virginia, you may start a sentence with “but” from time to time) when he praises Labor Party education policy and slams Julie Bishop there may be cause for concern; I do hope the Big D does not get the ear of too many on the Labor side of politics where it is not after all unprecedented to find education reactionaries. Perhaps Dr D has been reading his tea-leaves about a possible electoral outcome in, they now say, October, and jobs that may open up therewith…

See Labor ‘winning’ the education debate.

Dr Donnelly said ALP education spokesman Stephen Smith had succeeded in enunciating a “clear and powerful view” of the goals of education and had seized the ground on school curriculum reform previously occupied by the Coalition. By contrast, Education Minister Julie Bishop had a piecemeal approach to education reform that resulted in shallow policy and failed to provide clear goals…

But Ms Bishop was no “cultural warrior” and lacked the conviction to reform the dominant education culture, characterised by a lack of academic rigour, political correctness and a focus on outcomes at the expense of standards. “As a result, the ALP has taken some of the territory from the conservative agenda,” he said. Dr Donnelly is a former chief of staff for now Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews, has worked as a consultant to the federal Government and Liberal Party and has stood for Liberal preselection in Victoria.

Government sources said last night Dr Donnelly was a disgruntled former consultant to the previous education minister, Brendan Nelson, who is now Defence Minister, and had since unsuccessfully applied for advisory positions in Ms Bishop’s office…

Conservative commentator Christopher Pearson, a former adviser to Mr Howard and former editor of The Adelaide Review newspaper, echoed Dr Donnelly’s comments, saying Ms Bishop was not “a conspicuously good minister but she hasn’t in a policy sense made any spectacularly stupid decisions, except when posturing about curriculum, when she seems to have left her brain at the door”…

Dr Donnelly said Mr Smith and federal Labor leader Kevin Rudd in party education policy documents had laid the building blocks and had started to deliver a good narrative on education. “There’s an underlying concept of where they want to go,” he said. “Whereas Ms Bishop’s policies are crisis management, episodic, and she often contradicts herself.”

But Dr Donnelly expressed concern that the ALP intended to use the Curriculum Corporation and the Australian Council for Educational Research in developing a national curriculum, saying they were both agents for the status quo…

Yes, both agencies are very experienced and well qualified, even if the average raving Stalinist Pinko Pol-Correct Demonic Trendy Pomo Feminist Lesbian Bleeding Heart Educator — the kind that haunts Dr D’s fevered brain — would find them more than a touch conservative… Not that Dr D himself is any kind of extremist, of course. 😉 Mind you, I can’t help agreeing that Ms Bishop has now and again left her brain at home when making public statements on her portfolio.


Dr D read this at 4.39 pm. I thought I recognised his Mac over there in Sitemeter so I logged back on and there was his comment…

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4 responses to “My, my, my…

  1. Kevin Donnelly

    August 18, 2007 at 4:43 pm


    Dr D here – maybe, just possibly, I believe that Ms Bishop has failed to perform and that the ALP education policy, at least at the level of rhetoric, is superior. Both Rudd and Smith argue for accountability, high standards and the central place of the academic disciplines. Something, I have been banging on about for some years.

    Best wishes.
    Dr D

  2. ninglun

    August 18, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Well I agree with you, Dr D, about Julie Bishop, and as for the rest I also believe in those motherhood statements, though much depends on what you mean by them. On that I think we often disagree, a conversation I recall us having before on this blog. Thanks for dropping in though. You are certainly quick to spot references to yourself.

  3. Kevin Donnelly

    August 18, 2007 at 5:31 pm


    Even old farts like me know how to set up a google search to automatically notify of postings on the web – ain’t technology great!

  4. ninglun

    August 18, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    …and I, of course, am an even older fart who remembers when Australia really did have a King George…

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