ACT has previously warned that the new ‘Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories’ curriculum presents a flawed and divisive view of our history.

It divides history into villains and victims, contains significant gaps, and entrenches a narrow understanding of New Zealand's history.

Now a new ERO report raises the alarm that teachers are delivering this curriculum without a focus on teaching children to think critically and therefore independently about what they are being taught in schools.

There's a good reason why historically there has been a focus on international events supplemented by local history. When content is supported by a plethora of critical literature, students learn the art of thinking critically to understand how history is shaped through a range of viewpoints and biases.

ERO also suggests the focus on local histories has detracted from national and global issues, and other social sciences. This is concerning. ACT has always said that if we want kids to show up to school and be engaged, ready to learn, then we need to offer subjects that interest them. While for some this might be local history, others may be more inspired by global issues, or economics, or geography.

As a parent of primary aged children, it is alarming to read that teachers are overwhelmed by the new curriculum with the report stating that many are still developing their knowledge to teach ANZ histories and don't have the time to do so effectively. A quarter of teachers surveyed do not confidently understand the ANZ Curriculum.

Perhaps most concerning is the finding that most parents haven’t been told about the changes by schools. ACT believes parents have a right to know what their kids are learning at school.

ACT’s coalition agreement secured a government commitment to restore balance to the history curriculum, and we’re glad to see the Education Minister acknowledge this in her response to today’s report.

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