Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Top College

The best academic school in Melbourne is Bialik College, a Jewish school which achieves results almost five times better than the state average. A Herald Sun report on the school has highlighted the fact that students spend an impressive 25% of class time studying Hebrew language and Jewish studies. Despite the time cost, the benefits to students seem clear.

Liberals like to regard ethnicity as being something restraining or limiting to individuals. But at Bialik College cultural immersion is associated with something very positive, namely outstanding achievement at school.

The pity is that Anglo students get almost the opposite treatment. Not only are they not immersed in their own culture in their school lessons, there are often negative messages presented to them about their ethnicity. For instance, in English lessons they might be asked to write a sonnet on racism, or to take a survey on whether they are racist, or to write essays on massacres of Aborigines. Always with the underlying assumption that to be Anglo means that they should feel defensive or guilty about their mistreatment of others.

This is one respect in which the school system serves Anglo students very poorly.

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