Dear Mr Birmingham

Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, has recently come under criticism for his comments at the ADC Education for the Future Forum, likening calls for more school funding to “petulant toddlers” asking for more chocolate.

Nicholas Robert, a student at the ANU, has written the following open letter in response.

Mr. Birmingham,

I understand you have received some criticism over your speech to the ADC Education Summit. As someone who graduated from a secondary school last year, I would like to offer you my full support.

You are right, the primary role of our education system should be to prepare future generations for employability, however, I don’t think this is made clear enough. We wouldn’t want anybody latching on to false hope that these institutions might foster curiosity, critical thinking, and creative thought now would we? Therefore, I propose we relabel schools as “social conditioning centres for maximum job readiness”. Through this small, but effective change, we will start to remove the ambiguity surrounding the values and direction of Australia’s education system, and show the public what we are really trying to be achieve.

Yes, there might be some like Noam Chomsky who claim that schools should do more than just make a child job read, and that your approach is, in fact, indoctrination rather than education. But what do they know? Your MBA and zero experience teaching makes you more than qualified to lead the field of education, which is why I am standing behind you 100%. Forget that some of the greatest advancements in human history have come from challenging accepted beliefs. If you were around in Galileo’s time, I bet you could’ve stopped that silly theory about the earth moving around the sun. You would’ve made sure he was job ready, instead of wasting time on trivialities. #Jobsandgrowth are the core aspect of the human condition, we can’t ever let ourselves forget that.


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