Home Schooling on the Rise in Australia, Parents Concerned About Content Schools Teach Children

Homeschooling is rising in Australia after parents became increasingly aware of the content schools were teaching children during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Queensland’s Department of Education revealed in October that home school registrations rose 69 percent, from 5,008 to 8,461, between 2021 and 2022 (pdf).

“Home education has been growing in Australia steadily for a number of years now,” said Karen Chegwidden, president of the Home Education Association, Australia’s peak body for home educators.

“We’ve seen spikes in growth throughout the pandemic, but no one expected such a huge increase in Queensland this year.”

In Western Australia, the number has increased by 35 percent in the past year to around 6,000, reported the ABC.

New South Wales has yet to report homeschooling numbers for 2022 but has seen a nearly two-fold increase between 2017 and 2021 (pdf).

Kevin Donnelly, a senior fellow at the Australian Catholic University, told The Epoch Times that a combination of reasons has contributed to the rise in homeschooling, including concerns around curriculum issues and disruptive classrooms.

“A lot of parents really began to understand and realise what the curriculum was and what their children were being taught in schools,” he said.

“If you look at Queensland, northern Queensland in particular, there are a lot of Christians, a lot of parents who are very much concerned about the way in which education now is being used to teach children ideas and beliefs that they would find unacceptable.”

Donnelly noted the incident surrounding Citipointe Christian College in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, where the principal resigned after the school policy that students would be enrolled on the basis of “gender that corresponds to their biological sex” became a controversy. The school’s enrolment contract also described homosexuality as a sin.

“So part of the problem for parents, especially Christian parents, is that what is happening in schools in terms of radical gender theory is disturbing them. They’re very anxious about that,” he said.

He added that parents want to ground their children and give them a strong moral compass and a sense of being spiritual.

“Because a lot of what happens in education now, especially in government schools, it’s very secular. Some parents want a more balanced curriculum and more balanced education,” Donnelly said.

School Teaching ‘Woke’ History

The history that schools are teaching also have some parents concerned, such as describing the First Fleet as an invasion and European settlement as genocide.

“Parents don’t believe that children should be what many call indoctrinated with that black armband view,” Donnelly said.

Bella d’Abrera, who is the director of the Foundations of Western Civilisation Project at the conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, recently declared that history as a discipline in universities was dead, replaced by post-modernism.

“Modern Australia has its roots in Great Britain and the West, and so cannot be understood without an appreciation of that long arc of history,” she said. “However, with post-modernism, we are deliberately being pushed towards a society which has lost that collective memory.”

D’Abrera said by deliberately “choosing to forget” the past, graduates will be prone to repeating history’s mistakes.

“Our future leaders need to be able to recognise the signs of totalitarianism, threats to our freedoms, and threats to our personal sovereignty,” she said. “The only way of doing this is to cast our eyes backwards. We cannot afford to leave history in the past.”

Education Quality Falling

Parents also don’t think the curriculum is academically rigorous enough and believe their children will receive a better quality education at home.

Australia’s education outcomes have been trending downwards for decades, with the 2018 PISA results showing that students fell one school year behind in maths and almost a full year behind in reading and science compared to 2000.

“Data from the OECD shows that performance of Australian school students in reading and maths—both compared to other countries and to our own performance over time—is going backwards,” Danielle Wood, CEO of the Grattan Institute, told the Jobs Summit in September.

The 2022 NAPLAN results revealed that 13.5 percent of year nine boys failed to reach the national minimum reading standards.

Schools are also experiencing a teacher shortage crisis, particularly those in rural and regional areas and for STEM subjects.

“There’s also the issue—it’s like the elephant in the room, nobody wants to talk about it—Australian classrooms are among the most disruptive with badly behaved students, among the OECD countries,” Donnelly said.

“Whether it’s bullying or whether it’s the classroom being too noisy or disruptive, or because students are badly behaved. It’s, according to the OECD, a very serious problem in Australia.”

Rebecca Zhu

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Rebecca Zhu is based in Sydney. She focuses on Australian and New Zealand national affairs. Got a tip? Contact her at [email protected]

https://www.theepochtimes.com/home-schooling-on-the-rise-in-australia-parents-concerned-about-content-schools-teach-children_4894396.html