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Aurukun Review: Children learned more about the US than indigenous culture

The Guardian (via AAP, 5.7.16) reported on the outcomes of the review of schooling at Aurukun in far north Queensland:

‘Children in the troubled north Queensland community of Aurukun learn more about US holidays such as Thanksgiving than they do about Australia and their own Indigenous culture, a review has found.

‘The state government on Tuesday announced it would adopt all 27 recommendations from a review into the US-based direct instruction model taught at Aurukun’s Cape York Aboriginal Academy after violent attacks and threats against teachers prompted them to evacuate the community.

‘The state education department will take  the lead in the delivery of education services in Aurukun, while the current stand-alone direct instruction model will be taught alongside the national curriculum. The review found the rigid direct instruction curriculum, which heavily focused on numeracy and literacy, did not emphasise culture or students’ first language, Wik.’

Contentious US education program partly to blame for school problems

Joshua Robertson writes in The Guardian (27.5.16) about the US-fashioned ‘direct instruction’ curriculum taught at Aurukun’s Cape York Academy.

‘A senior educator who oversaw the troubled Aurukun school has spoken out about what he says is the failure of an expensive and contentious education program backed by Noel Pearson.

‘John Bray was executive principal at Pearson’s Cape York Academy for six months last year before quitting, in part over his disillusion with the effect of the multimillion-dollar “direct instruction” syllabus wholly imported from the US.

‘Bray said the rigidly-scripted curriculum had compounded student disengagement in Aurukun, along with the “complete distrust” of the school by parents amid the punitive approach of welfare reforms. Both were contributing factors to events leading to the town’s schooling crisis.’

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