Education

Australians All Let Us Deplore…

What! I wouldn’t believe it, except I have the print-out sitting in my hand. Australian schoolkids in their thousands in the classrooms are being coached to disrespect the national anthem by sitting down through it. The coaching is via the green/Left crowd Cool Australia, founded by Jason Kimberley of the Just Jeans multi-millionaire family.[1] By rich, know that last November Christine and Roger Kimberley sold their Sorrento mansion for $25 million.

Cool Australia is aware its anti-Australian claptrap might make some kids uneasy or upset. I’d put more than half kids in that category – i.e. kids coming from conservative homes, so Cool warns teachers (my emphasis):

“It is important that teachers subtly monitor the welfare and wellbeing of students during this lesson [specifically, on “Invasion Day/Survival Day”] and for a couple of weeks afterward to make sure they are feeling safe and able to cope with the content raised in this lesson.” (Paywalled and for teachers only. [2]

First I’ll give some background on Cool, then I’ll quote its Teacher Guide to getting kids to sit down during the national anthem.

Cool boasts that its overall goal is “active empowered young people”, or for short, kid activists, and certainly not activist for conservative causes like free speech and small government. Here’s more (my emphases):

“Our resources embed environmental, social and economic issues into core subject areas. Cool resources address inequality and the precarious state of our natural world. [The planet and humanity has never been in better shape, absent COVID-19]. Our lessons cover climate change, social justice issues, creativity in STEM…and much more. Our action-based pedagogical approach means that kids are enabled to take action on issues that are important to them.”

Education departments, abetted by Labor and the Greens’ militant teachers’ unions, in effect have contracted out a good slice of primary and secondary education to the leftist curriculum experts at Cool. These experts create free, ready-to-go lessons with all the trimmings, neatly collated and referenced to state and federal curricula. Teachers love to download and use the lessons, since this is a damn sight easier than concocting them themselves about topics they know little/nothing about. (Cool says that 76 per cent of teachers find their workload unmanageable, and 45 per cent teach outside their expertise).[3]

The usage of Cool’s lessons is staggering –a word I was trained not to use lightly. At least 8400 of Australia’s total 9000 schools use their lessons, as do 52 per cent of all teachers. Cool says it reached 3.6 million students last year, with lesson downloads more than trebling since 2015. CA claims 9 million hours of teacher prep time saved, and $252 million worth of teacher time saved since inception in 2008. To give the devil his due, 90 per cent of Cool’s material seems positive and valuable. This makes its 10% of propaganda material much more effective.

Cool’s material is pushing against an open classroom door. The annual costs of distributing its material nationwide to schools is a piddling $1.65 million including staff ($0.9 million), IT, offices and overheads.[4] It must be running the most cost-effective mass political campaign in Australian history.

Possibly in homage to last year’s Black Lives Matter riots and looting, Cool has swung its resources into racist indoctrination, by which I mean teaching kids of pink skin to acknowledge and jettison their unwitting “white privilege” and defer socially, culturally and especially politically to the Aboriginal industry. Cool’s previous obsession with asylum seekers as a stick to beat conservative politicians appears to have lost traction these days.

Cool’s race weapon of choice is the propaganda documentary The Final Quarter by Ian Darling, about the alleged race-inspired booing and alleged persecution of Sydney Swans’ Aboriginal star Adam Goodes. The 52 lessons stretch from school years 5 to 12. As if that were not enough, the ABC’s unaccountable education TV service (currently slobbering over fauxboriginal scam artist Bruce Pascoe) offers a comparable array of lessons involving Stan Grant’s lookalike documentary on Goodes, Australian Dream.

In my previous research into Cool and Adam Goodes, I didn’t notice them bringing the term “White Privilege” into play. But now in a single edition of Cool’s “Teacher Preparation” notes (paywalled) I count more than 50 uses of the term “Privilege”. The national anthem is supposedly a manifestation of white privilege. This sit-down lesson starts

Learning intentions: Students…

♦… understand that privilege can hide within recognised institutions as well as individuals.

♦… understand the impact that symbols can have on those who don’t experience privilege

♦… develop the capacity to analyse symbols of oppression and privilege in the world around them

♦… consider opportunities for challenging privilege at the systemic/symbolic level.


Success criteria:
Students can…

♦… identify how symbols, texts or events include and exclude different voices/perspectives.

♦… explain the impact of symbols, texts or events on audiences .

♦… collaborate to problem-solve and consider alternatives to the status quo.

This document of 3600 words coaches teachers to coach kids to “deconstruct” three of Australia’s most important symbols – the Australian flag, Australia Day and the National Anthem. In each case, Coolprovides a loaded case, with a token nod to conservative values for the “pro” case. Cool’s “anti” case packs an emotional wallop and there is no way that kids get, or could properly examine, the conservative position. (Of course, one might wonder why the flag etc need reconstructing in the first place, any more than motherhood, the Enlightenment, or the rule of law).

Anyway, I’ll skip to page 10 of Cool’s 12-page teachers’ guide, dubbed Part C: Evaluating Alternatives.

Step 1. How can people challenge symbols of white privilege? …

Step 2. Show students this clip as an example of a response and complete the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis below as a class on this response:

The clip is worth the click. It shows the Queensland nine-year-old girl who refused to stand for the National Anthem at her school and was sent home/suspended. The kid declaims all the woke mantras down pat and good luck to her – I was pretty obnoxious myself at age 9 (and thereafter). Her parents must be delighted to see their little darling on the front line of the culture wars.

CA then pretends to run SWOT analyses (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) on the 9-year-old’s sit-down strike/protest, which is just another excuse to indoctrinate. Cool’s printed table for teachers is headed, “Response 1: Seated protest of (sic) national anthem”.

    1. Strengths:

♦ Anyone who witnesses the national anthem can do it.

♦ Easy – doesn’t cost money or require organisation

♦ Non-violent [that’s a relief!]

Weaknesses:

♦ May (sic) not get a chance to share reasons for sitting down [what a woke tragedy that would be!].

♦ Doesn’t necessarily change any other people’s (sic) behaviour

Opportunities (ways you could build upon the response

♦ Post about it on social media to gain media attention [thus putting kids in the firing line of being trolled and abused on-line, nice work Cool Australia!]

♦ Get other students to partake (sic – do these sub-standard writers mean ‘participate’?).

Threats (ways the response may be impacted)

♦ Students could receive penalties for partaking (sic)

♦ Backlash against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and community members may (sic) occur.

Thatlast point is preposterous. If a kid sits during the National Anthem, why would anyone set about attacking Aborigines?

Alongside this Soviet-style miseducation, Cool offers blank SWOT boxes for the kids to fill in. Teachers are referred back to “Step 1 – How can people [kids] challenge symbols of white privilege?” The elaboration of “Step 1” involves kids absorbing the whole panoply of leftist attacks on Australian nationhood as embodied in the 3600-word teachers’ guide. They lay out their favorite attacks on white privilege and the teacher writes these memes on the blackboard. Then, as “Step 3”, kids select any of these blackboard memes for a SWOT exercise. My suggested example: “The national flag is racist and should be taken down from the school flagpole and ceremonially burnt outside the principal’s office”.

Cool Australia isn’t done yet. We move on to “Step 4: Ask students to discuss on (sic) their tables”

♦ How might the race of the person challenging white privilege affect their actions?

♦ How might the race of the person challenging white privilege affect the reactions they experience from others?

♦ Which options resonated with you? Why/why not?

♦ Would you consider pursuing any of these options? Why/why not?

And there’s more. The Teachers’ Guide finishes the section with “Reflection”. Cool tells teachers to show their kids yet another propaganda documentary clip for the Aboriginal industry, namely the Indigenous rapper Adam Briggs on the ABC’s left-drenched Q&A whining about “Indigenous Disadvantage and Racism on Social Media”.

Cool’s point is that some kids have doubtless become uncomfortable during the previous indoctrination session. I judge that the new clip teaches them that their discomfort is their own problem rather than an imposition from the teacher or Cool Australia.

Ask students to reflect on this statement, using the following prompts:

♦ When did you feel comfortable or uncomfortable in today’s class? Why?

♦ What types of experiences make people uncomfortable?

What are some positive outcomes of discomfort?

Do you think there is value in leaning into discomfort?

 These SWOT examples only scratch the surface of the Cool onslaught on conservative values. To deal fully with their “Teachers’ Guides” would be like wading through a rancid soup of the Left’s causes du jour,  so I’ll just pick out a few highlights.

♦ Cool’s offered photo of an Australian who is proud of the flag depicts a redneck swigging a beer and covered with union jacks and stars.

 ♦ Cool wants kids to study a girl’s “heartfelt” scrawled letter in felt tip about Australia Day. It starts, “Dear govmint”. This kid wants the January 26 celebration scrapped because “it’s the day we stole Australia from the Aboriginal people … It’s like celebrating because we killed lots and lots of Aboriginal people.”

♦ In pushing the “racism” angle on booing of Adam Goodes, the material makes no mention of Goodes verbally attacking a 13-year-old country girl who in an excess of Collingwood-supporting zeal called him an “ape”. The girl said she just shouted the insult as a joke, and was unaware of its racist possibility. Goodes said of the identified 13yo “Racism had a face last night”. She was separated by police from her grandparent and interrogated solo for two hours, and forced to apologise.[5] Even teenage murderers are not publicly identified, brow-beaten and shamed in such fashion. This, plus Goodes’ ersatz war-dance at Carlton supporters, was responsible for much of the booing (a Daily Mail poll showed 60 per cent rejecting any racist motive). Cool however says the booing “revealed an undercurrent of racism that still exists in Australia today.”

♦  “White privilege is structural and as such may not be recognised by those who hold it.”

♦ “Talking about white privilege can be uncomfortable because it is unfamiliar to many Australians. This is because, as Dr Tim Soutphommasane, the former Race Discrimination Commissioner, argues, ‘…conversations about discrimination tend to focus on those who are disadvantaged by prejudice. It isn’t always the case that we consider the other side of the coin: what it says about those who do not experience discrimination.’ For a comprehensive description of white privilege and how the concept came to be articulated, read his speech in full.”

♦ Cool even raises the ogre of heterosexual privilege – “White privilege does not discount other disadvantages that people may have experienced, for example, they may not hold socioeconomic privilege, religious privilege, heterosexual privilege.”

 ♦ On the national flag – “Suggested answers – Union Jack is a symbol of the colonisers…Celebrates colonisation and erases the colonisers’ violent history towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples… may offend/upset those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who see the Union Jack as a constant reminder of the genocide and oppression of their people by the colonisers.”

♦“Conclusion: Whose experiences, views and contributions do Australian symbols reflect, celebrate or include?” [a typically loaded question].

I haven’t included other-than-race Cool propaganda here, but there’s plenty of it.[6]

Somehow in recent decades, education bureaucrats and their enabling politicians have swapped the purpose of education from teaching kids about the world to turning them into horrid little know-nothing woke activists. That goal is now coded into Australian education’s DNA.

I’ll head off now to wash my hands after touching Cool Australia’s anthem sit-down coaching for teachers and their pupils.

Tony Thomas’s just-published “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from author at tthomas061@gmail.com or publisher Connor Court.

 

[1] For previous essays on Cool, see here and here and here

[2] “The Final Quarter – Symbols of Privilege – English – Year 10.

[3] “There is so much that’s demanded of teachers now, and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. The Cool resources are planned with every aspect of the curriculum in mind, so we can rest easy and teach with confidence that we are meeting the needs of students and the curriculum.” Renee Chen, Secondary Teacher QLD. Primary teacher Shannon Ruskin (NSW) says that when students act upon the lessons, they “contribute to making our world a better place.” According to Shannon, anyway.

[4] The bulk of funding is from “grants”, particularly left-wing charitable foundations. I didn’t pick up on how much of Cool’s work is funded by local, State and federal governments.

[5] Goodes conceded it was the first racial abuse he’d heard as a footballer for the previous eight years.

[6] For example, Cool’s lead writer, Krista Nisi, has written a letter to kids of 2030 that is overall OK but includes nonsense like her pious hope that “the Poles [in 2030] are still icy” – poor thing doesn’t know the Antarctic hasn’t warmed in 70 years and Antarctic sea ice has long been on a small rising trend. The Arctic ice levels are cyclical long-term and have been rising for the past decade. Krista needs to get out more, rather than chant her woke memes to kids.

22 comments
  • Peter OBrien

    Thanks again, Tony, for the great work you do in this space.

    I was watching ABC TV News this morning and there was one segment on the effect lockdowns are having on kids. At one point they showed a young girl at her computer doing home schooling. You won’t be surprised to learn that her computer screen was dominated by an aboriginal flag.

    I wonder if she can use apostrophes?

  • Stephen Due

    It’s so interesting that the people globally who are teaching their children to hate the privileged are those who are themselves the most privileged. But I notice the children are not taught to give up any of this privilege: the school itself, which by world standards is luxurious; the wardrobe full of costly clothing; the pet puppy; the gas-guzzling SUV that takes them school and social events; the latest phone; the state-of-the-art laptop. Not to mention the much-nurtured spoiled-brat syndrome.
    More basic privileges they might like to consider renouncing on behalf of others include things like running water, sewerage, and public transport. And what about a fully-functional medical system, rule of law, democratic government and (until recently) freedom of movement, speech and assembly?
    The burden of all this privilege must be a great weight on the conscience of the average child.
    It is truly astonishing to me, as one new to the scholarly world of Privilege Studies, that all of these privileges, and many more, can be acquired simply by oppressing others! The history of Australia is evidently much simpler than I had imagined.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Peter, surely you meant “apostrophe’s”.

  • Citizen Kane

    I might start encouraging my kids to sing the national anthem during ‘welcome to country’ as a means of ‘educating’ them in activism.

  • IainC

    Ironically, multi-millionaire footballers like Adam Goodes, and many other Aboriginal-descent players who never got booed, with long playing careers, multi-year contracts from their clubs, respect from the commentariat and widely known from numerous media appearances, were supposedly oppressed, and I, who had none of this, was privileged. Go figure.
    What’s alarming about the extracts Tony has reproduced is how infantile the propaganda is, how basic the logic, how childish the complexity of the chosen themes. I have often joked in comments how the leftist mind never seems to progress in depth beyond that of a 6 year old’s perception of the world. I thought I might be being a little facetious, but maybe it’s all true.

  • Doubting Thomas

    IainC, I’m sure it’s true. I think from my observation over 80+ years the leftist mind is best defined by what it lacks, regardless of how it may be replete with academic achievements. Almost universally, they lack senses of proportion, propriety, responsibility, and common sense. And half the population votes for these clowns.

  • Daffy

    I’ll bet the Victoria police wouldn’t dare unlawfully question a minor without a major present if the kid was a rich kid. Imagine the fleet of barristers who’d descend upon them. But a working-income (I eschew the word ‘class’) kid. Fair Game?

    Now to privilege. I’ve got a case of privilege in my street. On my north side is a discreet unit of public housing (a cottage, not a ‘unit’ unit) occupied by a single working mother and child. Her power bills have hiked, as have everyone’s. She no longer can afford her week’s caravan park holiday at the beach.
    On my south side we have the local millionaire with two Rolls in the garage. His roof is covered with solar collectors. And there we have modern Australia. Those on low incomes funding the energy fantasies of the rich and powerful to the detriment of their already straitened life-style That’s privilege at work for you. Oh, and the single mother’s complexion? Looks Euro-celtic to me.

  • STD

    Are not, teachers supposed to be teaching.
    “INDOCTRINATION, the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically”. The exercise of power over the intellect and free will.
    “I would never subject children to religious indoctrination”.
    But it is ok under the remit of left wing Marxist doctrine to indoctrinate children to believe in the falsehood of climate change hysteria ect.
    Doctrine is a set of beliefs or belief in the laws and methods used in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology.
    Religious doctrine could be considered civilising or the doctrine of civil behaviours- the 10 commandments- these are what the left calls universal human values that find their origin in Judaeo Christian belief ,not the doctrine of plagiarised sincerity(acting)called left wing socialist marching society toward communism and the barbarity of power that remains hidden from view. The progressive nature of this doctrine are the foundation stones of Abortion and Euthanasia – the power to exterminate life to achieve utopia( happiness).

  • STD

    DT, you left out humour.

  • Doubting Thomas

    And I also forgot the off-switch.

  • gary@erko

    So pleased to read that nine year olds, and I hope others, will be respected for their independant thoughts when they refuse to acknowledge the gratuitous welcome to country that opens many events. Diversity rooools, but only while it’s all the same.

  • lbloveday

    TT wrote: “Doesn’t necessarily change any other people’s (sic) behaviour”.
    .
    That’s not how I’d write it (I’d use “Doesn’t necessarily change others’ behaviours”), but I’d not suggest it grammatically wrong either:
    .
    From “The Grammar Exchange” (it’s not definitive of course; what is wrt English grammar?)
    .
    RM Rachel, Moderator
    .
    quote: If you’re speaking about a large group of people, and you want to reference something they own, which do you use?
    .
    “I correct other (people’s/peoples’) grammar errors.”
    .
    If you are speaking about a group of people, large or small, you put the apostrophe after “people.” You put the apostrophe after the possessor, which in this case is “people.”
    .
    So the sentence is: I correct other people’s grammar mistakes.
    .
    However, if you are talking about a nationality of people or of a race of people, “people” here can have a plural possessor: peoples.
    .
    You might say: Of all the native peoples in the new world, the Mayans are believed by many to have had the most advanced culture.
    .
    Who were the gods of these peoples? Who were the gods of the other native peoples? Were these peoples’ gods one and the same, or did they vary from tribe to tribe?

  • lbloveday

    but I’d not suggest it IS grammatically wrong either:

  • lenton1

    SD, all has been prophesied by the Oracle of Python ….
    “But wot have the Romans ever done for us?”

    https://youtu.be/Qc7HmhrgTuQ

  • lbloveday

    “…and 45 per cent teach outside their expertise”.
    .
    The smaller the class sizes, the more teachers there are teaching outside of their expertise.
    .
    Halving class sizes, for example, requires twice as many teachers, and presuming they are selected on a basis reasonably related to ability, their average ability and knowledge must be diluted. Similar consequences arise from a greater percentage of students in higher school years and tertiary institutions. Then we have the lesser appeal to men of becoming a teacher – as a friend who clocked up over 40 years of teaching before retiring said “I could no longer recommend teaching to any male”, which reduces the pool from which teachers are drawn and dilutes their average ability and knowledge.

  • STD

    Tony, I vaguely remember Dr TB Lynch making an acerbic comment in regard to this climate of teenage rebellion- ZOMBIES.
    I guess it feels better to talk about how you feel and find an excuse not to be proficient – the left know kids will gravitate to the portal of least resistance.

  • STD

    @ Lenton1, shear madness, both brilliant and funny- what is completely right is now seen as so very wrong.

  • STD

    PS ,At least John Cleese is a good clown.

  • Andrew Campbell

    G’day Tony,
    Thank you for wading into the swamp for us, again. If I did I would get too upset to be able to write rationally. Your witty articles grace Quadrant and add to my reason for being a subscriber.

  • rod.stuart

    I’m curious to know whether this Cool Australia stuff is in public schools in Tasmania.

    I recall explaining the issue to Peter Gutwein (or his wife Mandy) and some time later I seem to recall that it had been disallowed in Tasmania when Will Hodgman was Premier.

  • Tony Thomas

    Rod, in my long acquaintance with Cool I’ve never heard of any rejection by Tasmania. No-one (except me) seemed to be grinding any axe about Cool. Its penetration of 8400 out of 9000 Aussie schools is impressive. FWIW there are about 225 government primary and secondary schools in Tassie

  • Blair

    “Celebrates colonisation and erases the colonisers’ violent history towards … Torres Strait Islander peoples… may offend/upset those … Torres Strait Islander people who see the Union Jack as a constant reminder of the genocide and oppression of their people by the colonisers.”
    “Torres Strait Islanders celebrate 1st July as The Coming of the Light, a yearly holiday in the Torres Strait.
    One Saturday evening, 1st July 1871, the Reverend Samuel MacFarlane of the London Missionary Society anchored at Erub (Darnley Island). The Society had been active in the Southwest Pacific since the 1840’s converting people to Christianity.
    Dabad, a Warrior Clan Elder on Erub, “defied his Tribal Law” and openly welcomed the London Missionary Society clergymen and South Sea Islander evangelists and teachers. Torres Strait Islanders'” acknowledgment of the missionaries was the acceptance of a change that would profoundly affect every aspect of life in the Torres Strait from that time onwards.”
    Queensland Museum

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.