Public Criticism of Queensland Education
'Smart State 'dumbs down' by Daryl Passmore The Sunday Mail, 29/8/2004

QUEENSLAND'S claim to be the Smart State is a misnomer, a leading education commentator says. Analyst and author Kevin Donnelly says Queensland has led Australia in dumbing down the curriculum for state schools.

And he says students are being indoctrinated with left-wing ideology.

"Queensland wrote the Study of Society and the Environment national curriculum and it was re-written at national level because people could not believe the new-age loony stuff in it," Dr Donnelly said. "Unfortunately, it's still used in Queensland"

Dr Donnelly — now chief-of-staff to Federal Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Kevin Andrews — was an education consultant. His book Why Our Schools Are Failing sold out this year. He will be a guest speaker at next weekend's Australian Family Association state conference in Brisbane. Dr Donnelly said:

"I felt that Australia's approach to the curriculum, particularly in Queensland, was fundamentally flawed and obsolete and the result is that students have been put at risk because the curriculum has been dumbed down."

Dr Donnelly said Queensland used an "outcomes-based" approach involving developmental learning, with teachers as facilitators.

He advocates a "standards-based" approach involving regular testing of students and learning by rote. Queensland's approach to the curriculum was "very politically correct", he said,

"The SOSE curriculum promotes a left-wing view of things like multiculturalism. . . and peace studies. It's all about indoctrination."

State Education Minister Anna Bligh rejected the criticism.

"Queensland doesn't need the tired rhetoric of a Howard Government staffer politicising our schools," she said. "Our Government is determined to prepare young people for the 21st century, not the 19th century. I encourage parents to apply a reality check about what they see in the classrooms of their own child's school."