Friday, April 21, 2006

'Rubbish', ay?

Dearest Johnny,

I heard what you had to say about educational stuff yesterday. And don't you worry, I didn't believe a word those nasty people said about you knocking teachers just to get the media off your back about the AWB. I believe you, mate, I know that if you said you didn't read those diplomatic cables then you didn't read them. You're a busy man, after all. And I know you'd rather spend your time reading the classics, like that chap Shakespeare's book, Julius Caesar. Or Macbeth. Or King Lear, perhaps.

Schools these days, ay? You send ya kid along to one of these places for a bit of schoolin’, and they come home spoutin’ that Communist bloke and tellin’ their own flesh and blood that they don’t need to mow the lawn no more because they’ve given away the back yard to the aborigines as a ‘reconciliatory gesture’. And, I don’t want to alarm you or nothing Johnny me ol’ mate, but they’re spreading all kinds of porky pies about you. All this stuff about kids falling off boats, workers getting sacked for coming to work, and something unmentionable about you and Indonesia’s behind.

I just thought I’d better warn you, Johnny, because the stuff schools are teachin’ these days is pretty outrageous, especially the public ones. And they’re getting organised. Yep, kids are tapping away on them new fangled mobile phones all over this sunburnt country in a secret code (most likely akin to something the Enemy used during the war, I reckon) that no one else understands. ‘Txting’, they call it. Technology and such has got a lot to answer for, if you want my opinion.

Face it, Johnny, you’ve got to get yourself prepared. Head down into that underground bunker that I know you’ve got hiding beneath Canberra somewhere and watch your back. Take your mates Pete and Nelson with you, ‘cause those crazy kids have got marks on their backs too, from what my sources tell me. Believe me, mate, they’re heading your way in droves. Rows and rows of ‘em, marching, chanting, “Marx, Marx, Marx!”. Sends shivers down my back, it does.

And you know where they’ve learnt all this ‘rubbish’, don’t you Johnny? Yep, you betcha Union Jack you do. After all, you saw it coming, didn’t you? You knew that the day those schools started thumbing their noses at ‘real’ Shakespeare and switched to studying ‘rubbish’ that it was all going to end this way. Ah, the good old days. They should have listened to you, not those ‘trendy’ postmodern professors. ‘Critical literacy’ my ass. Kids should be taught to know their place, and not run around questioning everything. They should be taught the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Yep, you’ve hit the nail on the head, Johnny, I reckon. Those so called ‘independent’ education authorities better listen to you, if they know what’s good for ‘em. Say, maybe you oughta cut some more of their funding, just to keep them in line, you know? That’ll teach ‘em. Or, try ‘negotiating’ with them like you did with that flag thing a while back. Cut them out of the good stuff unless they hang a picture of you in every classroom. That’ll remind ‘em what real Australian values are. None of this ‘multicultural’ crap.

Yeah, you’re right Johnny, education sucks in this country. The states suck, the teachers suck, the new fangled ‘texts’ (what’s wrong with ‘books’ anyhow?) suck. Fancy those educators wanting to develop our young people into alert, interested and compassionate citizens who can place themselves in someone else’s shoes and understand that there is always more than one side to any story. What sort of country would want a citizenry like that? Yep, you’ve got the answer, Johnny. Drones all the way, I say.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Go team

I am going to school to help out with the athletics carnival tomorrow- It's giving me flashbacks of my own school days... I'm fifteen again...

The annual compulsory athletics carnival on the oval that nothing short of a death certificate would save you from. I remember them well. Sitting behind ropes watching people run by was not my idea of fun and all my friends were in other houses wearing respectable colours like 'red' and 'blue' not 'white' which, by the way, is not actually a colour, but try telling that to teachers, and what can you do with 'white' anyway, I mean besides wrapping your body in rolls of toilet paper which many students did in my house- the kids with the sparkly red tinsel in their hair on the other side of the flimsy rope that you couldn't cross because if you did you would be hauled back to the patch of grass where all the crazy toilet paper people were must have been laughing at us, but what else was there to do but throw toilet paper around, because if you tried to do something like, oh I don't know, READ A BOOK the school 'protocol officer' would be sure to loom above you without warning and take it from you because that wasn't showing team spirit, even if you argued that you were reading a biography of Mary MacKillop, the woman your house was named for and what could be more team spirited than that it wouldn't fly because he could read the cover and know you were actually reading Jane Eyre. And didn't anyone bother to tell the protocol officer (ex-Navy, I kid you not) that fascism is frowned on in most parts of the world these days, and what does it say about the school's philosophy if they actually think it's a good idea to hire someone for the position of 'protocol officer' (especially some guy with a buzz cut and military training) in the first place? But that's beside the point because the point is that kids whose only attempts to do a triple jump where when they accidentally tripped down the stairs had to sit there all day watching other kids run round and round and not even be allowed to reach into their backpacks to grab their discmans (it was the 90's)to add a soundtrack to the festivities or even resort to doing their homework which was also not allowed on aths day even though it was at school, and I hated it and I could actually run and even won a few ribbons (my best friend and I were fabulous at the 3 legged race, but they took the fun out of that when they cancelled novelty events from the program when I was in year 90), so if I hated it and I quite liked running, what was it like for the kids who hated athletics of any form with a passion, and besides, like I said so often back then, it's not like attending the school musical was compulsory, it's not like there was a school 'debating day' which everyone attended, or an 'art show' that everyone had to come along to, NOooo, the only compulsory activities were for the sports lovers which says quite a lot about a school's priorities if you ask me and fringe dwellers be gone, so there.

Note to reader: I am not really quite as bitter as I sound, just can't resist striving for comedic effect.