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DR MICHAEL JOHNSTON: THE MINISTRY OF IGNORANCE STRIKES AGAIN

The following partial opinion piece was published in full as premium content in the New Zealand Herald. The balance of the piece can also be read at The New Zealand Initiative.


New Zealand has produced some impressive scientists during its short history. Ernest Rutherford, dubbed ‘the father of nuclear physics’, must surely be foremost among them. But there are many others – Alan MacDiarmid, William Pickering and Ingrid Visser, to name a few.


Writing in the New Zealand Herald last week, Dr Andrew Rogers, Head of Chemistry at St Peter’s College, argued that “science education in New Zealand is in decline.” He’s right to be concerned. As Dr Rogers pointed out, New Zealand has fallen substantially in PISA science since testing began in 2006.


The Ministry of Education has recently produced a draft of the ‘refreshed’ curriculum for school science. But calling this document a science curriculum is far too generous. It is a blueprint for accelerating the decline of science in New Zealand.


Central concepts in physics are absent. There is no mention of gravity, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, mass or motion. Chemistry is likewise missing in action. There is nothing about atomic structure, the periodic table of the elements, compounds or molecular bonding.


These are key concepts for any student wanting to study the physical sciences or engineering at university. The universities will have to prepare themselves to teach science from scratch. If the Ministry gets its way, our schools will no longer be doing it.


What, you might be wondering, does the draft curriculum cover?




Dr Michael Johnston, Senior Fellow at The New Zealand Initiative, has held academic positions at Victoria University of Wellington for the past ten years. This includes being the Associate Dean (Academic) of the University’s School of Education for the last 3 years.


Prior to his time at Victoria, Dr Johnston was the Senior Statistician at the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, a position he held for 6 years. Before that, he held positions at Melbourne and Latrobe universities.


Dr Johnston holds a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Melbourne.

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124 Comments


ian gemmill
ian gemmill
Jul 06, 2023

Maori often complained that slicing and dicing knowledge into subjects was a shock to them. They claimed that they analysed places such as rivers and mountains and considered things such as flora, fauna and the physical environment in relation to these features.

Added to that, the likes of Teaching Council in their teachers' code of ethics, stress that teachers need to consider the (hypothetical?) Maori learner, a goal of MoE.

I suspect that this is part of a broader narrative to kowtow to Maori culture. Oh, and don't forget to worship the stars during Matariki.

We are going back 2000 or more years.

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Steve Hall
Steve Hall
Jul 02, 2023

This is beyond shameful. I am outraged that our taxes are paying for ideologues to pervert our children's education. The authors of this curriculum need to be sacked. This is worse than incompetence - this is the wilful undermining of the foundations of human development.

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Robyn Hutchison
Robyn Hutchison
Jul 03, 2023
Replying to

I agree. So perhaps it's time to stop paying tax. In doing so, we are only enabling ideological psycopaths to continue their evil plans.

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Next, the curriculum tells us, students will “develop place-based knowledge of the natural world and experience of the local area in which they live.” Of course science should be restricted to knowledge and experience of the local area. With 15 min cities why would anyone want to know anything more.

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doug.longmire
doug.longmire
Jul 02, 2023

That is absolutely appalling !!!

One of the great wonders that I experienced as a primary (and secondary !) pupil was reading, devouring, actually lots of science fiction. Also in the mix was the wonder of the science itself.

It is despicable that this Marxist rewrite of the curriculum is depriving our young folk of the wonder of the universe in all it's diversity. This is simply cruel !!

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Make Ripples
Make Ripples
Jul 02, 2023

It is alarming to learn that science is being deliberately disrupted by ideology, and that “other ways of knowing” of indigenous people is simply the mechanism being used by activists to disrupt and then transform modern science. In light of this, we can now understand why the “refresh” of our science curriculum in New Zealand has been so perplexing. We are now alerted to the harmful forces at work at the Ministry of Education.


To learn more go to:

https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2023/07/01/another-paper-touts-the-advantages-of-other-ways-of-knowing/


Many of you are already familiar with Jerry A. Coyne, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago.

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