IT’S OBVIOUS young and vulnerable students are being indoctrinated with cultural-left, woke ideology — proven by students wagging school last Friday to attend the School Strike 4 Climate rally and this week’s protest organised by School Students for Palestine.

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Students are terrified the world is about to end due to the climate apocalypse and convinced Israel is wrong to defend itself against the barbaric and evil invasion by the Islamic terrorist group Hamas based in Palestine.

Given the way students are being weaponised as cultural-left warriors it’s crucial civics and citizenship is taught in schools impartially and free of indoctrination and group think.

Students are the nation’s future citizens and what they learn about Australia’s political and legal institutions, their rights and responsibilities, as well as the origins of freedom of speech, universal franchise, popular sovereignty, separation of powers and the rule of law is especially important.

The NSW curriculum is currently under review. It’s crucial what is taught is academically rigorous, balanced and guaranteed to ensure students leave school knowledgeable and well informed.

Those responsible for the civics and citizenship curriculum argue, “The attainment of knowledge is a key goal of education” and the new approach “outlines the essential knowledge, understanding and skills students are expected to demonstrate”.

Such is not the case. Unlike the national curriculum that includes civics and citizenship as a separate subject, the NSW approach integrates civics and citizenship within the Human Society and Environment K-6 syllabus, the History 7-10 curriculum and the optional Commerce subject.

As a result, students will receive a patchy and superficial knowledge of what makes Australia’s political and legal institutions unique.  The situation is made worse because what should be compulsory, such as ancient Greece’s contribution to democracy and the evolution of the West’s legal system since ancient Rome and the rise of Christian Europe, are optional.

While it’s good the draft curriculum asks students to study “the role Christianity played in laying the political, social and cultural foundations of post-Roman European societies collectively known as Christendom”, there’s no guarantee it will be taught. 

Students can leave school after studying ancient China or ancient India without any substantial knowledge or appreciation of the origins of Western, liberal democracies like Australia that are underpinned by a Westminster inspired parliamentary and legal system and Judeo-Christianity.

As argued by the Rule of Law Education Centre’s submission to the draft curriculum, another problem is key concepts such as the rule of law, separation of powers and Magna Carta are either ignored, treated superficially or are voluntary.

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While significant political philosophies including liberalism, nationalism, imperialism, democracy, socialism, communism and revolution are included in the draft, the problem is teachers have only a mere 10 hours to cover all the content.

Add the fact teachers are also supposed to teach the rise of European nation states, the industrial revolution and the impact of colonisation, imperialism and patterns of global conflict 1918-1939, and its obvious the syllabus is overcrowded and impossible to teach.

While those responsible argue the NSW syllabuses cover less content than the national curriculum, the opposite is the case.  Teachers are still pressured to cover too much detail in too short a time.

Another criticism levelled by the Rule of Law Education Centre is the undue emphasis on Aboriginal history and culture to the exclusion of Australia’s mainstream political and legal institutions and history.

While students are made to describe “Aboriginal cultures, knowledge and histories for an understanding of Australia” and identify “key events in Aboriginal histories of Australia”, the same cannot be said of the nation’s debt to Western civilisation and its evolution as a Western, liberal democracy.

The Education Centre argues students, “will have an excellent understanding of the Aboriginal history, culture and experience, and almost no understanding of basis of the Australian system of government under which they live, and how that contributes to Australia being a free, democratic and egalitarian country”.

The American President Abraham Lincoln argued:

“The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.”

What students learn or don’t learn is a major influence on how they will act and think as citizens.

It’s vital those responsible for teaching the next generation of citizens, including teachers and school leaders plus subject associations and education minsters, ensure education is free of woke ideology.

The civics and citizenship curriculum must be academically rigorous and impartial, ensuring students leave school as critically aware, independent and rational thinkers.  The draft NSW K-6 and 7-10 syllabuses fail in this regard and make students more vulnerable to the cultural-left mind control and group think.

[This article was first published in today’s Daily Telegraph.]

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Dr Kevin Donnelly is a Senior Fellow at the ACU’s PM Glynn Institute and author of The Dictionary Of Woke. He is one of Australia’s leading conservative public intellectuals, and has been actively engaged in the culture war since 1992. Kevin is committed to a liberal view of education, one based on truth and wisdom, and on Christian morals and beliefs. With years of experience researching, publishing and speaking on education, culture and religion, he is a sought after commentator in Australian media and conferences.

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