Pirates of Canberra

Who was Captain Cook, and what did he discover? Prime Minister John Howard wants young Aussies to know this and much more, and is calling for a "root-and-branch renewal of the teaching of Australian history... and the way it is taught." Education Minister Julie Bishop tacks with him, complaining that history is currently presented in vague themes, and "squashed... together with other social and environmental studies." She, Howard, and their allies want history taught in a narrative style, without social and ideological brainwashing. But opposition leader Kim Beazley and Queensland Education Minister Rob Welford prefer the social studies soup. Says Welford, "I think we have learnt over the years that the regurgitation of facts and figures is not really ‘learning.'" Sound familiar? At least in Cook's day bad ideas didn't travel around the world quite so quickly. Prime Minister Howard: throw those pedagogical pirates overboard!

"Beazley against history revival," by Imre Salusinszky and Dan Box, The Australian, July 6, 2006

"History back in schools," by Imre Salusinszky, The Australian, July 5, 2006