Schools should do more to teach children and young people about [insert hot topic here]…

This morning in our major Sydney daily newspaper, an op-ed piece Another brick in the wall of Gen Y culture decline states,

Schools need to do more about bringing a little elitism back into the awareness of culture. High culture: fine art, opera, serious drama and music that requires patience and understanding needs to be embedded into the curriculum

Whenever I read the line Schools need to do more… I recall the number of times I have read this in the past, but it leads me to ask:

What responsibility falls to families and the broader community?
Should schools be the portal for all civic and cultural education?

After all it takes a village to raise a child.

I can remember similar claims after a crisis or event that the school curriculum should include:

  • pet care and responsibility

  • drug and alcohol use

  • hygiene matters

  • playground equipment safety

  • road safety

  • cyber safety

  • stranger danger

  • ???

Insert any other community or cultural issue that apparently can be disseminated when all our nation’s young people are compulsorily and conveniently lumped together, as a collective empty vessel waiting to be filled.

Is this a simplistic approach to a greater problem?

What is the purpose of school education and the curriculum?

These topics listed are very important and are rightly included in the life of many responsible schools. However, I do wonder if we could adopt a more comprehensive community-wide approach to tackling them, other than crowding the curriculum even further.

This would enable our professional educators to spend more time on what they do best. If the school day/week/term/year only has a finite amount of time available needs to be something eliminated in order to accommodate each new hot topic into the curriculum.

How do we empower parents and build community?

How do we recreate the village?

Sadly the soulless shopping mall has become the quasi-village over the last few decades, without responsibility for the village-community, other than getting them there to buy more stuff.

In many places schools, faith and local communities are becoming the village hubs. Wouldn’t it be great if pre-emptive grants could be made available to educate parents and their children as a community about these broader community-related matters.

So the next time there is a hot-topic impacting our young people we will all take responsibility for finding solutions.


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