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Credlin, Sky News, 24 April 2024

TopicsTeachers for Palestine protest, secondary school dropout rates, explicit teaching

Peta Credlin: Let’s go to another issue, this nonsense being pushed by a group of activist teachers when it comes to ANZAC Day. Now beyond the disrespect this Teachers for Palestine group is showing our diggers, there’s also the ignorance of our history, and yet horrifyingly, they are in charge of teaching our kids. Joining me now is Shadow Education Minister, at a federal level, Sarah Henderson. Well, Senator Henderson, welcome – this group claims they’ve got hundreds of members. They say they work with schools right across the country. They’ve actually produced material for the classroom, a 40-page document to push their warped view of military history. So, this isn’t a fringe outfit. How concerned are you?

Senator Henderson: Peta, good evening, and I’m very concerned. This is a warped view of history run by activists and we’ve seen so much activism by pro-Palestinian groups since the 7th of October last year. The classroom is for education, not indoctrination. And the way that this group has reflected on the legend of the ANZACS, of the sacrifice of those who served in all wars, including more than 100,000 Australians who made the ultimate sacrifice – it’s absolutely appalling, and the Education Minister Jason Clare must ensure that none of these materials get into any classroom.

Peta Credlin: Yeah, he’s been strangely silent. I mean, I listened to one of the activists yesterday on radio, they had this to say, that somehow, our history lessons on the ANZAC story are tied up with arms dealers – let’s have a listen:

Pippa Tandy, Teachers for PalestineIt’s not simply remembering sacrifice. A lot of people have contacted us we’re in connection with hundreds and hundreds of teachers and not just in Victoria but across Australia, who say `Please help us, we are sick of having to do this ideological work for arms companies and the government’.

Peta Credlin: I mean, connecting ANZAC Day with arms dealers, I mean, this is nutjob stuff, Sarah. So where is Jason Clare? This has been running for a number of days. We’ve got obviously the commemoration of ANZAC Day tomorrow. Labor has to get out from under the desk and draw a line under this and say they won’t support this nonsense.

Senator Henderson: Look, he has made a comment in The Australian today and I’m pleased to see that but frankly, they need to walk the walk on these issues. I have seen barely any action from Jason Clare on combating indoctrination in the classroom and the shocking activism by groups like this. And we’ve seen these activists try to drag students out of the classroom, participate in school strikes and fueling antisemitism. And of course, at our universities, it’s even worse. Frankly, it is time the Albanese government stood up to this. This is not about being pro-Palestinian. This is all about anti- Jewish and anti-Israeli hatred. This is what this is all about. And it is an absolute disgrace.

Peta Credlin: Sarah, just before you go – high school dropout figures, they’re out. Our rates are at the highest level of dropout since 2010. Nearly one in four students are not finishing year 12. I mean, these are the highest numbers in terms of lack of completion of year 12 in 13 years. I mean, are they taking up apprenticeships, that’s a good thing. We know we need trades out there. But what’s the rationale here?

Senator Henderson: Well Peta, this is very concerning. And I don’t think they are taking up apprenticeships because apprenticeships and trainee positions are actually falling under the Albanese government. I think what the core issue here, is the type of teaching. State and territory governments and of course the federal government have not been strong enough on the reforms we need to improve teacher training and of course, the way that kids are taught in the classroom. We need explicit teaching. We know that is the most effective way to keep children engaged. And if you can’t keep children engaged in the classroom, they won’t stay in school. That’s the bottom line. I do want to say New South Wales is moving towards explicit teaching which is great to see. There’s some work being done in WA and also in Tasmania. But frankly, the federal education minister Jason Clare has been missing in action on the critical need to mandate the best evidence-based teaching methods because one in three kids are failing NAPLAN. Our standards are going backwards. It’s costing our nation daily. And the average year 10 student is now one year behind in their learning compared to 20 years ago. So, we’ve got to arrest this decline and it is the evidence-based teaching methods that are going to do it and it is time that we saw Jason Clare and Labor get on with it. It’s just not good enough.

Peta Credlin: Sarah, I’m out of time but we’re going to get you back on to explain – I want people to understand explicit teaching – I know what it is. I think anybody over the age of 45 was taught that way but I want people to really understand that. We’ll do that another time. But thank you for your time.

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