Students literacy standards slipping: Donnelly

One of the figures appointed to review the education curriculum has questioned the way children are taught to read, warning that students are falling behind in international literacy benchmarks.

Former teacher and Liberal party staffer Kevin Donnelly has claimed too much of what is taught to children is developed from an "indigenous and environmental" perspective, while less attention is paid to Australia's "Judeo-Christian heritage".

Teachers unions and education professionals have strongly criticised the Abbott Government after it announced details of its promised review of the education curriculum, warning that the Government risked politicising classrooms.

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne announced that Dr Donnelly and academic Ken Wiltshire would lead the review of all school curriculums, from foundation to Year 12.

Mr Pyne, who has previously complained of leftist bias in curriculums, said he wanted Australian teachings to be "robust" and to "celebrate Australia".

"There are two aspects to Australia's history that are paramount," he said.

"The first, of course, is our indigenous history, because for thousands of years indigenous Australians have lived on this continent.

"The second aspect of our history is our beginnings as a colony and, therefore, our Western civilisation."

The WA Government gave broad backing to the review.

But State School Teachers Union president Pat Byrne questioned whether the Government was looking for a distraction from its recent broken promise over school funding. History Teachers Association of Australia president Louise Secker questioned how Dr Donnelly's appointment would bring balance to the curriculum.

The West Australian

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