America Marches on the White House for the Sake of Children at School

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn, the hero of Florence Patty’s The Shrinking of Treehorn, kept shrinking. Adults, as they do, ignored his torment. Australian adults, in particular, take no notice of the effects of Naplan testing on the lives of young children. They treat all Aussie children as little Treehorn was treated. They think that it doesn’t matter much what happens to little kids while they are at school.


However, things are changing up-over.

America Marches on the White House for the Sake of Children at School

Parents and Teachers  from all parts of the USA are heading for Washington for 4 days: 28-31 July this week. After speeches, movies and discussion,  thousands will march on the White House at 1.30 pm, where they will present their demands.

What are the demands?

*  Equitable funding for all public school communities;

*  Cessation of high stakes testing of students, teachers and schools;

*  Curriculum development for and by local communities;

*  Teacher and community leadership in forming public education policies.


“ This is a grassroots movement dedicated to restoring educator, parent, student, and community influence over education policy and practice. We are a varied group of people with different perspectives, experiences, and views on education. But we agree that those who know the most about education, our schools, and our communities – the educators, students, families and communities in and around them – should be the ones to have the most influence over education policy and practice. Our goal is to put public school stakeholders back at the center of all education policy conversation, and to refocus national, state and local efforts on providing the resources and support schools need in order to provide a high-quality education for each and every student.”

Who’s behind this?

“Short answer: a diverse and growing group of people and organisations who are committed to preserving and improving America’s public schools by putting educators, students, families, and communities at the center of the decision-making and policy-making process. This movement is the natural result of increasing dissatisfaction with failed and failing policies like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top [=Australia’s Naplan], which have substituted high-states testing, rewards and punishments for genuine investment and support for public schools. “

Many notables will be present. Matt Doman, on location in Vancouver, will fly all the way over just for the march. Richard Dreyfuss, another actor, will be there. Diana Ravitch will be one of the early speakers. She says, “We’re as mad as hell and we are not going to take it any more….Teachers across the country are demoralized.”

Should be quite a day.

True-blue Aussie schoolies wish them well.


If you get to see the movie “Bad Teacher” you will not be impressed by the style of teaching nor her creative way of beating the state test and winning the money prize for ‘teaching’. Yuk. By the way: Have you ever seen a Hollywood movie that portrays a teaching style other than the 1850-1950 chalk-talk strategy…desks in serried rows facing a chalk-board where a yap-yap-yapper maintains a demilitarized zone between a desk and the pupils? Is this the public impression of what teaching and learning is about?

“To Sir With Love”; “Lean on Me” ; “Kotter”, “The Principal”, “Goodbye Mr. Chips”; “Dead Poets’ Society”; “Stand & Deliver”; “Teacher”; “Dangerous Minds”; “Mr Holland’s Opus” all portray this form of didactic pedantry, right? Good movies…but.

Please send this to as many folk as possible, especially politicians and schoolies ….and help our schools regain the FREEDOM TO LEARN for our pupils.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443


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