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February 27, 2014 by Tunya

Teach for Amereica is a successful program that prepares university grads for teaching — in six intensive weeks.

After six weeks of training at the University of Melbourne, TFA (Australia) program graduates teachers for two years teaching in disadvantaged schools that serve students from low socio-economic backgrounds. About half teach in the high demand STEM subjects, as many are recent graduates themselves with specialist degrees.

Here is today’s news, Jan 15, 2014: On a fast-track to a career in education

The TFA program will no doubt be an item in the Review just started by the new government of Tony Abbott.  Part of the reason his Liberal/National Coalition won the last Australian election over the governing Labor regime was public disaffection with a new National Curriculum — six years in the making — with a worldview that was considered “leftist”, “New Age” and full of “gobbledygook”.  [I guess that’s Australian for our “edu-babble”.]

Australia, like Canada, has also been sliding in international education scores, so the Review will look at curriculum as well as teaching capacities.  Parents will have a say in the Review process.  Nick Cater, a respected culture critic, says the curriculum is “beyond saving”.  He disapproves of the “sustainability” agenda being “integrated” into all subjects — English, geography, history, mathematics, science — for example. 

Cater says: “If the Education Minister is to be criticised, it is for imagining this irredeemable document can be tidied up and put back on the shelf when the only realistic course of action is to tear the damn thing up.”

Australia is a rather bi-polarized nation, thus it will be a lively time as the Review Duo is to report back in six months time.

I will be watching for these issues to be deliberated — Why a “national” curriculum at all when states are responsible for education? —  Should public funding be freed-up for a wider diversity of alternatives? — Will teacher training be critiqued for its role in mindsets and standards? — Should one worldview predominate or would a pluralist nation benefit from a live-and-let-live broadmindedness?

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