To ask if Queensland schools are ‘working’, we have to be clear what our schools are for in the first place. Schools serve a wide range of needs in Queensland.
Some of the most important are:
- to provide students with skills they need to get jobs or get into uni
- to educate students about Australia and Australian culture, so that they can live successfully in this society
- to pass on knowledge for its own sake
- to teach tolerance, understanding and social skills
- to teach children how to learn, so that they can continue learning their whole lives
- to reproduce the values of Australian society (so that as children become adults they share the common values of the society)
- to provide a place where young people are safe while adults are working
- to teach young people how to interact in groups
- to provide social networks and support for young people
Historically, schools have served other purposes. This history still affects how schools operate today. To understand the schools that our young people are learning in now, in the 21st century, we have to understand their origins.