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Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

Purpose of school

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Sue McLeod’s letter (Echo 9/10) in response to Stephen McIllhatton’s (Echo 25/9) is a list of symptoms, the cause of which she doesn’t acknowledge, but which Stephen mentioned in part. That cause is the growth of human bodies and human-made things. Although few countries have population policies, I have not been able to find a government, whether state, national, or international which does not have growth as a part, often centrally so, of its economic policy. While I share Stephen’s uneasiness about the use of catastrophising rhetoric, my biggest concern is the failure to acknowledge, or even understand, the cause of the various issues Sue listed.

That notwithstanding, though Stephen implies that students should have been in school, rather than on strike, I share Sue’s support for their mobilisation around any important issue. While we can all give our personal opinions about what the purpose of school is, or should be, Australia has a policy describing it: the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. It describes two broad goals, the second of which is that all young people become active and informed citizens. Students will achieve this goal in part through their activism.

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