History textbooks in crosshairs of Australia's curriculum wars

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In the annals of European military history, the battle for Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsular, which began April 25, 1915, is only a footnote. But for generations of Australians it forged a national identity of endurance, bravery, and mateship – a uniquely Australian brand of solidarity. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers died in Gallipoli, making it the country’s worst military defeat. 

 The date is marked in Australia and New Zealand as ANZAC Day, a national holiday, and both countries are gearing up for a major celebration of next year’s centenary. Now the teaching of Gallipoli in Australian schools has become one of the central skirmishes in so-called “curriculum wars” that pit a conservative government against educators and their textbooks in a young, multi-ethnic country with a complex and contested history.

 Some blame Australia’s middling scores in international science and math tests on a requirement to incorporate cross-curriculum themes, such as environmentalism.
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