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Racist scuffle on Anti-OBE Teachers’ forum

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A Western Australian teachers’ website has come under fire by the Education and Training minister for publishing racist comments.Education and Training Minister, Ljiljanna Ravlich, today expressed concern about racist, abusive and offensive comments appearing on the anti-outcomes based education website PLATO.

Minister Ravlich said she was disgusted by some of the highly offensive comments made by members belonging to the group, People Lobbying Against Teaching Outcomes.

‘Some of the comments are obscene and, quite frankly, I worry that these people might be teaching our children,’ she said.

PLATO has since confirmed a teacher who is employed in the non-government education sector in Western Australia made the abusive comments.

The PLATO website was established to express dissent about the controversial Outcome Based Education system after Minister Ravlich insisted it continue to be used despite claims it was ineffective.

Last month the ongoing controversy even prompted a response from Prime Minister Howard who criticized the OBE method of teaching school children used in WA, describing it as ‘gobbledegook‘ and that it could be ‘dumbing down’ the high school English syllabus.

One member from the school teachers’ forum named, ‘Fed up teacher,’ launched a vicious and racist verbal attack on a member who posted a comment supporting the OBE system.

When the member objected to being labelled a ‘nazi‘ and the use of the term because her parents had suffered under the nazi regime, her response drew a further personal attack.

The posting by Fed up teacher said, ‘the nazis had the right idea, it is a pity they didn’t get to your parents before you were conceived, you really are a pathetic piece of trash that somehow escaped the final solution.’

Minister Ravlich condemned the attacks as disgusting and said it was just one of many offensive postings appearing on the website.

‘The website is littered with insults, foul language and abusive and racist comments,’ said Ms Ravlich.

The minister said PLATO has only about sixty members and as such was not broadly representative of the ‘thousands of dedicated and professional teachers in Western Australian schools.

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