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If you click on the “Education” category in my blog index you’ll see my own post on this as well as another from American Thinker earlier this week, highlighting the same problems in the US. Suffice to say it is no accident. The reference to Antonio Gramsci in the first letter below, is the stepping off point. From there on everything falls into place

I agree with Geoff Masters (“Arresting the slide in school standards needs to go beyond politics”, 12/5), except for the headline. The Left has increasingly controlled Antonio Gramsci’s neo-Marxist “commanding height” of education since Gough Whitlam.

Teachers, academics and administrators have combined to dumb down the curriculum, often in standard comprehensives, to achieve social engineering goals. The appalling state of public education in Australia is because of Labor’s policies. Now Bill Shorten wants to throw more billions at the disaster his party created.

As one who has visited schools in China, watched lessons, and talked to the teachers and students, I could see that even 40 years ago, Chinese children were going to outstrip ours. Hard work, striving for excellence, respect for teachers and a rigorous academic curriculum are at the core of their education. Of course, they don’t have as many fancy school halls and Safe Schools programs.

Jim Wilson, Beaumont, SA

News that Chinese and South Korean students are trouncing their Australian counterparts but cost half as much to educate, rather destroys the arguments for more schools funding (“China’s kids excel — at half the cost”, 12/5). The OECD data shows that the US spends the most per child and has the worst results. Australia is the next worst. It seems the more you spend, the lower the standards achieved.

It’s lazy to think that the way to solve a problem is to spend more money on it. Quality thinking focuses on how to get the best result from existing resources. Australian schools have generous resources.

To improve the education standards of our children, I suggest we first have a look at the quality of teachers. Then let’s look at what is being taught. The focus should be on literary skills rather than subjects such as cross-dressing and gay issues.

Colin Toll, Bywong, NSW

It is hardly surprising that in education Chinese children excel because they don’t have inflicted on them distractions such as “progressive” sex education nor the latest traumatising Safe Schools program that requires children to imagine they have no genitals or that they belong to the opposite gender.

Chinese students are also no doubt inspired by patriotism which is morale-building, while our students are too frequently taught to despise the best of Western traditions.

Babette Francis, Toorak, Vic