Academics and teachers have slammed an Opposition plan to teach Victorian students Australian values and the principles of Western enlightenment as ??????shallow and absurd''.
Monash University education expert David Zyngier said schools already taught students about the Australian values of fairness, respect and equality.
??????It is implicit in what we do,'' he said.
He also criticised the Coalition's plans to scrap Victoria's cross-curriculum priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia, and sustainability.
??????Cross-curriculum priorities are not a distraction, they are an enrichment and if we only focus on literacy and numeracy then childrens' lives will be impoverished and our kids will turn out to be literate and numerate morons,'' Dr Zyngier said.
On Wednesday the Coalition said that it would strip back the curriculum, ditch the Safe School program, unshackle principals from red tape and give schools more autonomy if it won November's state election.
It made these promises in a School Education Values Statement, which said students needed a ??????thorough grounding in Australian values''.
??????Concepts like the inherent dignity of the individual, religious tolerance, the principles of the Western enlightenment ??? such as freedom of speech, equality before the law and government by consent,'' the document said.
Oppositon leader Matthew Guy said Dr Jennifer Buckingham, a senior research fellow at conservative think tank the Centre for Independent Studies, would review the Victorian curriculum if the Coalition was elected.
Dr Kevin Donnelly, a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University who co-chaired the federal government's 2014 review of the Australian national curriculum, commended the plan.
???I think it's very comprehensive and timely,'' he said.
He said the Victorian curriculum was cluttered, crowded, superficial and politically correct, particularly when it came to the Safe Schools program and Respectful Relationships.
??????Less is good, let's focus on deep learning and essential learning,'' he said.
But University of Melbourne emeritus professor Richard Teese said the document's emphasis was ??????wrong''.
??????The focus should be on engaging students in their school work so they build their commitment to Australian society on the basis of their achievements at school and the quality of relationships they form at school,'' he said.
He said it was vital that students remained engaged, because their attachment to liberal democratic values weakened as their achievement levels fell.
??????It's pretty predictable stuff from the Coalition, there's nothing new in this, it's a series of themes they trot out regularly,'' he said.
??????Every years we graduate 50 to 60,000 year 12 students and the great majority have formed good relationships with schools and respect teachers and Australian institutions and have a realistic view of their prospects.
"When you put that up against the shallow, fear-mongering collapse of values that the Coalition is proposing it verges on the absurd.''
Education Minister James Merlino said the curriculum should be written by experts, not politicians.
??????The only thing Liberals do when it comes to education is rip money out of schools,'' he said.
The Independent Education Union described the proposal as a "divisive, backwards mess", while Australian Education Union Victorian branch president Meredith Peace said parents wanted a school funding plan from the Coalition instead of a ??????smokescreen''.
??????It is unfortunate that Matthew Guy thinks the only thing that can get him elected is to come up with some values war a week before students return to school,'' Ms Peace said.
Glenn Savage, a senior lecturer in education policy at University of Western Australia and a senior honorary fellow at the University of Melbourne's graduate school of education, said the document read ??????like a scare campaign''.
??????It is more of a ideological think piece than a policy document. It wants to fight ideology with ideology. It is a hark back to the culture wars,'' he said.
Teachers are sceptical about the curriculum being overhauled with every change of government, according to Victorian Association for the Teaching English president Emily Frawley.
??????It is important to remember that a curriculum is only as strong as the teacher who imparts it,'' she said.