Wednesday, October 11, 2006
The Culture Wars - the importance of evidence
Photo: Clare Belshaw, Paris, December 2004
I had not intended to post again today. Then I had to take Helen to work. When I came back, the cleaners were here and Clare and I had to go outside. She had her HSC (NSW Higher Certificate) school books with her and spent the next hour or so explaining her plans and reactions to individual books.
Growing up in an all male household, I now have three rather wonderful women (wife, two daughters) around me. It's not always easy for me as a mere male to survive, but I manage.
The point? When I sounded off to Clare about aspects of the NSW school curriculum she brought me back to earth by asking me questions about my own knowledge of ancient history. I got her on a few (she did not know who the Gracchi were), but I also realised how much I had forgotten.
This morning she actually brought out the NSW ancient history curriculum and read it out, asking me my opinion. This is unfair. Why should I not be able to simply comment?
Now let me tell you my response. With the exception of a small number of value laden words, I would handle this by getting rid of the words leaving the topics untouched, I found it rigorous and unexceptionable from a professional perspective.
This brings me to my first tentative entry into the detail of the culture wars. I am not interested in the broad sweep. What I really want to know is what the evidence tells me. If Julie tells me that there are problems with English, someone else that everything is fine, I take neither as gospel. I want to know the actual evidence so that I can make a personal judgement.