Natacha Carabelas

Many readers would be familiar with the stories – the kids who came home from school talking about ‘gender theory’ or the epidemic of vaping in schools or even just the amount of money that is poured into the school system, with ever diminishing returns: unruly children that can’t read or write.

Two parents put their heads together and from a parking lot discussion one evening, 4theKids was born. It aims to instil change and create a culture of moral and academic excellence to uplift and flourish every Australian child.

On the 4th of October, several hundred parents, educators, grandparents, leaders and other community members gathered for the inaugural 4theKids Education Forum. Featuring noted experts in the field of education, Dr Kevin Donnelly and Dr Bella D’Abrera. The event sought to outline the challenges facing the Australian education system today: violence in schools, poor results, lack of discipline in schools and teacher attrition.

A constant theme of the event, highlighted by MC and co-founder Lana Gelonese, that “parents are the primary educators of their children”, a message warmly received by the audience with applause. This concern weaved itself throughout the evening, with parents clearly feeling their authority is being usurped as parental rights are being eroded. 

Dr Donnelly spoke about the current state of education and observed its continued decline since he co-chaired a review of the Australian National Curriculum in 2014. He highlighted that in reviews and comparisons of curricula around the world, the strongest performing education systems are characterised by high quality teachers employing explicit teaching methods, teaching to a rigorous curriculum, in disciplined classrooms with high expectations, and finally, parental collaboration.

This was followed by a mother ‘Belinda’ who expressed her concerns about the rise of the ‘third party sector’ (independent groups teaching topics such as sex education and ideology) in schools, citing expensive and opaque programmes which distract from the core curriculum. She advised that these incursions should be treated the same way schools treat excursions: police checks, qualifications, connection to the curriculum and rationalisation of such programmes.

Dr Bella D’Abrera underscored this with research that she has undertaken into education, including a review of teacher training. She proposes that reforms of education should begin at university, where up to a third of teacher training is devoted to critical theory, instead of the basics of how to teach literacy and numeracy.

Guest Monica Doumit, Director of Public Affairs and Engagement, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydneydiscussed current and proposed law reforms and the implications it has for schools and how it relates to parental choice.

The event also included a panel facilitated by Leah Blyth, which included teacher Matthew Crisanti, mother Angela Rojas, Dr Bella d’Abrera, Dr Kevin Donnelly and Monica Doumit. The panel discussed themes that parents raised, including: the decline of educational standards, sexualised books in schools and libraries, the rise of ‘wellbeing’, the role of discipline and personal responsibility, concerns about the history curriculum, and the emergence of AI.

The overwhelming message of the evening was that despite the problems in our education system, parents are children’s primary teachers and by taking an interest in our children’s education, there are opportunities to shape and guide it.

Please stay in touch by emailing us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and stay tuned for a video replay of the evening and updates of future events.