I cannot bite my tongue anymore about the egregious disrespect Senator Hollie Hughes is displaying to the Australian teaching profession.
Previously Senator Hughes remarkably claimed the Coalition lost the Federal Election because of the lessons being taught to school children by ‘Marxist teachers.’ Senator Hughes then doubled down today claiming the ‘Marxist teachers’ had been teaching school children the economic theory of John Maynard Keynes, and by virtue of the erroneous Marxist labelling of teachers the senator was also by way of a strong inference also labelling Keynes as a Marxist. There are a number of issues arising out of this unwarranted disrespect, and ignorance, of Senator Hughes embracing culture wars which I wish to personally call-out.
Let me first address the inference of linking Keynes to Marxism, as that is the height of economic and political ignorance I have not heard a politician express before, and I can easily dispose of the slur against Keynes (my apologies to Marxists, but I do not accept Marxism as a viable economic theory). Keynes did not study Marx, and he did not feel the need for doing so because he identified Marx’s theories with those of the classicists, therefore rejecting both Marxism and classicists. Notwithstanding any criticisms either Keynes or Marx raised about laissez-faire capitalist ideology, Marx focused on the failure within production whereas Keynes focused on investment. Keynesian and Marxist theories are as different as chalk and cheese.
Now I wish to discuss the slur Senator Hughes is making against the profession of schoolteachers. It is both an objective and personal matter I wish to discuss:
1 At the objective level I was educated at both the primary and secondary level by both the private and public sectors of the teaching profession (the secondary level was because I repeated Year 12 after my first occasion was a misguided ‘gap’ year, if I may describe my recalcitrance in that manner). What I can objectively say is schoolteachers in either sector of education work very hard, including a lot of afterhours unpaid work. In either system of education I wasn’t taught to be a Marxist, but the theory was taught to me in economic history classes in both sectors of secondary education.
My private school education occurred at a school in which the majority of students’ parents voted for the Liberal Party, a fact I was personally able to assess as I drew the ire of my fellow students whenever I extolled the virtues of my allegiance to the Labor Party. However, in Year 12 Modern History lessons at that private school we had First Nations representatives come in to speak to us about the racism and other terrible acts they had, and still were (and still are), subjected to. Ponder over that fact for a moment Senator Hughes.
2 On the personal level both my late mum and my stepdad were schoolteachers in the public system of education. I witnessed firsthand how hard they both worked to deliver quality secondary education services in two of the most impoverished suburbs in Brisbane during the 1970’s and 1980’s. It was an extremely difficult time for teachers in the public sector of education, but notwithstanding the challenges both my late mum and stepdad assiduously worked away to deliver a quality service of education for those school students. My late mum and stepdad weren’t/ aren’t Marxists, and they certainly weren’t teaching their students to be Marxists.
I now watch my daughter being educated in the public sector of primary education, and the commitment of her teachers to deliver quality education is simply superb. Today during the school holidays I continued my desire to teach Shakespeare to my daughter (what a fun dad I am). I turned to the sonnets section of my ‘Works of Shakespeare’ book, and as I started to teach my daughter what a sonnet is, she stopped me in my tracks to tell me she had already been taught iambic pentameter in Year 2. My daughter is certainly not being taught by ‘Marxist’ teachers.
Senator Hughes’ disgraceful attacks on the teaching profession in this country by labelling them Marxist is divisive and insulting to teachers. Her ignorance about Keynes and Marx is very concerning. Senator Hughes’ behaviour is the worst level of American style cultural war to try to agitate in this country. Senator Hughes should be reprimanded by her leader Peter Dutton, but I suspect there is a greater chance Shakespeare himself will be teaching next term at my daughter’s school than Ms Hughes being pulled into line.
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