Some revision of public schooling history is necessary to challenge the dominant mythology that public schools were established on the grounds of values-neutrality. In fact, those responsible for the foundations of public education in Australia were sufficiently pragmatic to know that its success relied on its charter being in accord with public sentiment. Part of the pragmatism was in convincing those whose main experience of education had been through some form of church-based education that state-based education was capable of meeting the same ends. Hence, the documents of the 1870s and 1880s that contained the charters of the various state and territory systems witness to a breadth of vision about the scope of education. Beyond the standard goals of literacy and numeracy, education was said to be capable of assuring personal morality for each individual and a suitable citizenry for the soon-to-be new nation. As an instance, the NSW Public Instr- tion Act of 1880 (cf. NSW, 1912), under the rubric of “religious teaching”, stressed the need for students to be inculcated into the values of their society, including understanding the role that religious values had played in forming that society’s legal codes and social ethics. The notion, therefore, that public education is part of a deep and ancient heritage around values neutrality is mistaken and in need of se- ous revision. The evidence suggests that public education’s initial conception was of being the complete educator, not only of young people’s minds but of their inner character as well.
Springer Netherlands; April 2009
- ISBN: 9781402099625
- Read online, or download in secure PDF format
- Title: Values Education and Quality Teaching
- Author: Terence Lovat (ed.); Ron Toomey (ed.)
About The Author
Terry Lovat is Professor of Education and Pro Vice-Chancellor at The University of Newcastle. He is chief investigator on the Australian Government Partnerships Project in Values Education with the Australian Council of Deans of Education, and is a consultant on several other Values Education projects funded by the Australian Government.
Ron Toomey is an Adjunct Professor in the Centre for Lifelong Learning at Australian Catholic University. He manages the Australian Council of Deans of Education Values Education Project as well as the research aspects of the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project for Curriculum Corporation Australia.