Sunday, January 30, 2005

Liberal Education Bias?

It's symptomatic of the ineffectiveness of the National Party's big waffle on welfare, that four days later the 'hot issue' for National is the wording and clip art used in a high-school History examination. The question in question?
It is 1980. You are a researcher who has been investigating Mäori land issues during the 1960s and 1970s.
Choose TWO people from the list below. For each person, write what they would have said for each of the questions that follow. Make the replies to the questions as convincing as you can.

PERSON 1: A National Party Member of Parliament not sympathetic to Mäori concerns
PERSON 2: Whina Cooper, a Mäori leader from Northland
PERSON 3: Eva Rickard, a Mäori leader from Waikato

QUESTION ONE
What is your opinion about government policies towards Mäori land during the 1960s and 1970s?
QUESTION TWO
What is ONE particular action you took in relation to a Mäori land issue during the 1960s and 1970s?
QUESTION THREE
Why did you take this particular action? (Write 50–80 words for each person in this question.)
Says National:
“This is not only blatant politicking but quite incorrect. The assumption that National is not concerned with Maori issues is totally wrong"
I think they have a fair point, after all wasn't this the regime that used the army to help remove Ngati Whatua from Bastion Point? Surely 'disdainful', 'contemptuous' or 'scornful' are more appropriate adjectives for that Government.
The other complaint National have concerns the clip art used to depict the 'National MP' -
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What appears to be a stereotypical National MP - a Balding Middle Aged 'Suit' - is according to National, Don Brash - himself a stereotypical tory in a suit although obviously after a rhinoplasty. Despite the fact Don Brash was emphatically not an MP in 1980, (losing to Social Credit in East Coast Bays in that year), this is clearly evidence of a Labour conspiracy to 'brainwash' our children. How dare they teach them to see things from different historical perspectives! Because as all good right-thinking people know, anything that differs from your personal world view is 'bias' and not worthy of consideration.

What I found most amusing though is the previous question in the same exam, specifically the picture of this 'big fella' - apparently
"A politician who supported the policy of privatising (selling) state-owned forests"
So, is it Mike Moore? or Gerry Brownlee?

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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Manu, I am 100% sure that under a National Government there would be no mention of writing "from the perspective of an irresponsible Labour PM who allowed her crown vehicle to speed through a town, and let everyone take the wrap but her own popular and competent self".

It doesn't help that in an NCEA economics exam last year there was a question that said "Given that the free-market model for education has failed...etc". I know that if National allowed "Given that a state-owned bank is the worst idea ever....etc" into an exam there would 1000's of pinkoes lined up crying for blood. Though people such as myself believe that Kiwibank is the most reckless use of taxpayer funds in a long time, I would never condone such use of this fact to educate our young. 

Posted by Ben W

Anonymous said...

Why is that Ben? Under a National government would there be direct political interference in question setting to ensure such questions aren't asked?

A question about employer relations that included the option " A Labour MP sympathetic to compulsory unionism" wouldn't surprise me at all, and is a damn sight more realistic than your example that clearly refers to a specific MP.

in 1980 a significant number of National MPs were very unsympathetic to Maori concerns. Are you suggesting history should be revised to sanitise that fact? 

Posted by TomV

Anonymous said...

i think it looks more like a young rodney hide (pre-bellamys) except perhaps too tall 

Posted by span(ner in the works)

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's obviously Rodney Hide. 

Posted by llew

Anonymous said...

I found their response to this fascinating. Benson Pope has it right: paranoia is looming. 

Posted by Jordan

Anonymous said...

TomV: I think you and I both know I did not mean for there to be direct political interference. Ultimately though, if something seen as objectionable by a portion of the electorate occurs in an area such as a high school exam the Minister of Education is where the buck stops.

I am sure that even with your apparent political viewpoint, you could not honestly say every Labour MP was sympathetic to Maori at that time (or at this time for that matter). Would it not have been as easy for the individual in charge of creating the questions to simply say "MP" without attributing any political affiliation? 

Posted by Ben W

Anonymous said...

but i imagine that the political affiliation does make a difference, because the parties would have had different official positions, and thus a unsympathetic National MP might have faced a different situation to a similarly unsympathetic Labour one and thus have responded differently. 

Posted by span(ner in the works)