Thursday, January 16, 2014

Time to re-heat the defensive stew one more time ...

(Above: there are currently only two reasons for visiting Fairfax, David Rowe and David Pope - you can find more Rowe here, and surely this summer snap of the poodle Pyne and his masters frolicking at the beach is a sufficient lure. The pond does its best to promote them both and give the Fairfaxians more hits, but is this a business strategy?)

So on the matter of Fairfax, Crikey has chimed in again, attempting to decipher the runes and read the tea leaves of the Fairfaxian decision to join in questioning climate science, as you can read, if you can get behind the paywall, in Cathy Alexander's Climate sceptics crow as Fairfax starts questioning the science.

So here's the result of Fairfax's brave foray into loonery, per Alexander:

Follow that first link in the screen cap, and you end up here:

And so on. According to the Crikey piece, it can either be construed as click bait, or a noble summer season attempt to continue the Gerard Henderson/Miranda the Devine tradition.

But Henderson was always discreet in his denialism - aware he didn't have the expertise to get into a science slugging match - and who on earth within the cardigan wearer contingent thinks Miranda the Devine is the way forward providing an alternative to the Murdochian elite that control much of Australia's print media?

The Fairfaxians are heading downhill fast, because they'll never match the Murdochian elite while at the same time, they're pushing their readership to head off to their digital rivals, such as The Graudian, to cop pieces like Alex White's Should Australian newspapers publish climate change denialist opinion pieces?

Meanwhile, the march towards group think continues, and the latest evidence is what the pond can only call a welter of Wiltshires.

Here's the deadly whirring, whirling digital splash of doom at the top of the lizard Oz:

Yes, Kenneth Wiltshire, aka """", is on a charm offensive, aware that he's hitched to Kevin Donnelly in a farcical duet up there with Laurel and Hardy, and someone has to play the Hardy role. If they were a threesome, you'd have to think Wiltshire would be eyeing off Moe's role in the Three Stooges.

Speaking of stooges, if you can be bothered to get around the paywall by googling Strong national curriculum ensures bright future, you'll be astonished by the bright-eyed cheery optimism being spread through the land:

This review has received no riding instructions from the minister or anyone in the government. The work of the reviewers will be guided by the key words in the terms of reference such as "independent", "robust" and "balanced".

Uh huh. Which makes it even more passing strange that we already know the results of the review, since Wiltshire has advised the world that the current national curriculum is a failure, and Donnelly has explained in Judaic Christian apocalyptic terminology exactly why this is so and what must be done about it...

In this context, while Wiltshire attempts to apply balm on the sunburnt skin and spread oil on the troubled waters, these words jangle:

Most important of all, the review is keen to discern what values, principles, and foundations have been adopted as a basis for the design of the current national curriculum and the determination of its content, especially to meet the key criteria of robustness and balance. The focus of analysis will also be on the extent to which the curriculum is accessible and understandable to all, and embraces the needs of the socially disadvantaged.

Uh huh, talk about a classic bit of educationist gobbledegook. But isn't all that pesky stuff about the blacks the real problem? There's the socially disadvantaged and then there's the outcasts ...

Perhaps it's dawning on Wiltshire that he's in a lose-lose situation and his conservatism has set him up as a patsy and a fall-guy, because already he's calling for a bowl of water and washing his paws in public:

Perhaps we should also recognise at the outset there will never be perfect agreement on the content and delivery of any school curriculum, but one that seeks to be based on shared values is the goal. It is important for critics to remember that this is a review, and not a rewrite of the curriculum. The reviewers have no implementation brief. 
Recommendations will go to the minister, who will no doubt consult widely on them, particularly with the states and territories. The debate on the recommendations will naturally wend its way into parliament and the media.

You see? Nothing to see here, move along folks, don't blame me, blame the Minister, and make sure you consult ... which is perhaps just as well because Wiltshire is just a pawn and already poodle Pyne is making new moves, at least if you can believe the reptiles and their latest brave EXCLUSIVE:

Now there's a wending way ...

Meanwhile over at the Fairfaxian "we're just two peas in a Murdochian pod" rag, the Gina Rineharts were running yet another welter of Wiltshires:

Perhaps the Fairfaxians were a little sensitive about it - naked apologetics wot wot, after their recent forays into denialism - because  at the time the pond visited,  the Wiltshire piece copped only a bare one line on the front page of the politics comment section, about as prominent as the coverage of the Greens calling for the scrapping of prayers in parliament.

If you can be bothered to click on Critics of school curriculum review too quick to perceive a threat instead of potential way forward, you'll discover Wiltshire serving up more defensive, re-heated stew.

Can a stew be defensive, you ask? 

Of course it can, just as it can be re-heated endlessly and never mind the presence of dangerous bacteria, including staphyloccocus repetitious and staphyloccocus defiantus defensivinuss:

There have been no instructions given to the reviewers for the way this latest exercise is to be conducted, just terms of reference that stress the need for an independent, balanced and robust curriculum. 
These key words will guide the review process itself. 
Critics of the planned review fail to realise that this is a review, not a rewrite of the curriculum. As a result, recommendations will go to the minister, who will then consult with key stakeholders, including particularly the states and territories. 
It is crucial to understand that this review is not about education funding or the myriad other education matters that seem to dominate the media these days. 
It may give some comfort to the critics to know that the methodology being developed will be comprehensive and objective. This will include a call for submissions from all citizens, consultations with all key stakeholders including state and territory curriculum authorities, independent and Catholic sectors, principals, teachers and parents. Results of key curriculum research will be garnered. Experts will be appointed for each subject area to evaluate those components of the curriculum. 
International comparisons will figure largely in the work, especially with member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation who have achieved high levels of education outcomes for their students. A similar curriculum review carried out in Britain recently will be examined for key lessons.

What, they're going to call on damned furriners and even worse the Brits, led by Michael Gove, an object of derision and misery to millions?

Can't they just read the intertubes and save eveyone's time and effort? You know, like Top UK headteacher: Michael Gove is 'pressing the rewind button' and Michael Gove's new GCSE exams leave pupils without a second chance.

Indeed The Graudian has a whole page dedicated to the follies of Michael Gove and you can click on it here. And don't forget to sample your bonus Steve Bell:

Never mind, back to the Wiltshire, which in its way is an exemplary example of yadda yadda blather about how things will only get better and better:

Many commentators have observed that these elements are not particularly transparent in the current documentation. 
Considerable criticism has also been made of the complex language that has been used, making it extremely difficult for parents and families to understand what is expected of students and teachers. 
In other words, this review will be a professional one that should be of benefit to students, teachers, principals and curriculum authorities themselves.

Which is a really kindly way, when you think about it for a nanosecond, of saying that the current national curriculum is just too complex and Nick Cater can't understand it, and so we just want to dumb it down and use simple words so the likes of Nick Cater can try to get a grip on it ...

Let's not have any talk of pedagogy, not when we can talk of book learnin' ...

Meanwhile, there's a  couple of elephants in the room which poor old hapless Wiltshire can't talk about - most obviously the naked political intent of poodle Pyne and the equally naked theological and ideological intent of his partner Kevin Donnelly.

So he spends his time rounding up sundry wagons of support and dismissing the critics and feigning surprise and hurt at the personal attacks:

The personal attacks on the reviewers appear to be based on superficial research that has missed the combined expertise - domestic and international - of the reviewers, in curriculum policy, design, analysis, evaluation, benchmarking and implementation. For example, the review of the Queensland curriculum that I chaired for the Goss Labor government was in many ways identical to the recently announced project for the federal government. 

Sssh, don't mention Kevin.

But the capper? Surely it has to be this one:

Too often, a review of government policy is seen as a threat rather than as a welcome source of independent feedback and encouragement.

Encouragement? Is it encouraging to discover that Kenneth Wiltshire doesn't seem to have read or heard of the kind of encouragement already on offer from his partner?

We already know exactly what his conclusions and findings are, thanks to Donnelly's piece for the Fairfaxians on Tuesday, Coalition's call to review school curriculum based on sound reasons.

It's all there - import rote learning from Singapore and Hong Kong, ditch the indigenous malarky, pump up the Western civilisation values, did we mention the Judaic-Christian heritage or have we done that to death over the years?, increase the automatic memorisation and rote learning, structure things so that schools can run like decent military academies, did we mention Judaic Christian values?, and if there's time, click our heels thrice and head back to Tamworth and the 1950s ...

And that is ultimately the point, and why there were sundry educators who dared to point to the flash ideological clothes that Donnelly is flaunting even now:

An open letter to the education minister, Christopher Pyne, signed by 176 educators, has noted that the two panellists were highly critical of the national curriculum and questioned whether they would “hold the requisite openness to diverse views and perspectives required to produce a balanced and fair review”.  (School curriculum review panellist Kevin Donnelly hits back at critics)

Wiltshire seems to have belatedly realised that the review is already heavily politicised, and Donnelly's past is dragging him into the wars (School review panellist Kevin Donnelly linked to tobacco giant).

Hence the bland assurances, the gobbledegook - speaking soothing, pacifying education speak to the educators and parents - and the charm offensive saying exactly the same thing in slightly different ways in the government's two main media outlets.

Sadly, it's too late for a few placatory words in those peas in a pod outlets, Fairfax, doing its best for Gina, and News, doing its best for Chairman Rupert ...

Let the new culture wars begin, and forget those hapless pawns, the teachers and the students ... may the ones with the sharpest wiltshire stainless steel blades win ...

And now to return to our opening theme, the pond has been on tiptoes these last few days, hushing and shushing people whining and moaning about the heat. Sssh, the pond says, whatever you do, don't mention climate change. It only gets people agitated and upset.

You can only mention climate events when they're funny, like people getting trapped in the ice in the Antarctic. You can never, ever make a joke about record heat waves, it's deemed to be outrageous and provocative.

Wouldn't you know it, David Pope refused to listen. Why it's likely he hasn't even heard that his home has turned into  an outlet for the denialists, which is why it's a relief that you can still cop more Popery here. Give him a click. It's not much of a business plan, but it seems it's the best one the Fairfaxians still have going ...

1 comment:

  1. "Any takers?", asked Maurice Newman of Richard Lindzen’s challenge to anyone "willing to take bets that the global average temperatures in 20 years will in fact be lower than they are now".

    Yes, there is one taker and Newman was notified in the Oz this morning from Brian Schmidt, professor, Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and astrophysicist at the Australian National University's Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics (Mount Stromlo Observatory),

    “So, Mr Newman, I am prepared to put $10,000 on the line that the Earth's average surface air temperature in a three-year average (2013-15 compared with 2033-35) will be warmer 20 years from now……….Ten thousand dollars is a lot of money to me, but since I am about 99 per cent sure that the Earth is warming due to anthropogenic causes, it seems a deal too good to pass up.”


    “And also, as Newman correctly points out, science is not about neutrality, it is about calling the science as you see it. Which is exactly what I am doing here today.

    One final request. Mr Newman, I also know that you are an expert in investment. As part of the bet, it only makes sense to put our money into an account where you can use your skills to maximise the return to the victor, decided on the basis of the data supplied by the Bureau of Meteorology in 2036.”

    Newman must be a betting man, surely. He should give Schmidt at least 100/1.


Comments older than two days are moderated and there will be a delay in publishing them.