Save Our Schools White House March

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn was a little primary school boy, who, like most primary school children these days, was troubled but nobody cared. Adults do that. His story is told by Florence Patty in The Shrinking of Treehorn.  He’ll be pleased to hear that some adults in the USA are going to try to help him this week-end with support from folk who care.

In Australia, however, our ‘educators’ are getting together to talk about ways of adjusting the effects of Naplan….as if health professionals get together to discuss better ways of injecting accident victims with influenza virus or chicken-pox or mumps so that their well-being and  recuperation can be slowed down. Naplan does that. It is evil.



White House Talks to Marchers

This week-end, thousands of teachers and parents march on the White House to persuade their politicians that they need:-

*Equitable funding for all public school communities;

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

*Curriculum development for and by local communities;

*Teacher and community leadership in forming public education policies.

{The third demand might make Australians wonder in view of the applause, mild though it be, for a national curriculum. Remember, we are only a little authority by comparison with Uncle Sam.]

At the eleventh hour,yesterday,  representatives of the organisers have been asked to talk with White House officials. Click here for yesterday’s article from The Washington Post:-

Alfie Kohn, widely respected author and educational commentator was asked why he is marching on Saturday. Part of his response is…

We are living through what future historians will surely describe as one of the darkest in American education [It’s darker down here, Alfie!] – a time when teachers, as well as the very idea of democratic public education, came under attack; when carrots and sticks tied to results on terrible tests were sold to the public as bold “reform”; when politicians who understand nothing about learning relied uncritically on corporate models and metaphors to set education policy; when the goal of schooling was as misconceived as the methods, framed not in terms of what children need but in terms of “global competitiveness” – so that US corporations can triumph.

There will come a time when people will look back on this era and ask “How the hell have they let this happen?” By participation in this march, by speaking out in any community, we’re saying that we need to act before we lose and extra generation to this insanity. The corporate-style school reformers don’t have the research on their side. All they have is the power to impose their ignorance with the force of law. We must make sure that the conversation about the how’s and why’s of education are driven by real educators.

In short, we [schoolies] have to take back our schools.

Media Coverage  

Did you notice how much attention our patron saint of schooling and testing received in the local press, last week?  Our founder, Joel Klein, despite his conspicuous presence in the Murdoch phone scandal,as it is called, just didn’t get a jersey. I wonder how or why that happened ???  I s’pose he and his adoring fan, Julia, will not be too disappointed.

One of the most important events for school children of this generation….the White House March…. will have trouble getting any press in Australia, I should think. The march in Washington is at 1.30 p.m. Saturday which is  3.30 a.m. Sunday in Sydney. Ah well, some keen school-oriented journo might care to check it out. Fingers crossed, Treehorn.

John Young, critical of the media’s emphasis on numbers and scores, says “Just the numbers, Ma’me. Rather than making their citizens fully informed about schools, a system relying on a single test score once each year unwittingly creates a model of accountability for a public that has neither the time nor the patience to really understand the inner workings of their neighbourhood school.” But, Angela Engel says, “We are not here to teach standards and raise test scores. We are her to teach children and raise the human race.”


Finally, Treehorn agrees with Chief Sonne Reyna “ “Children are enchanted [with learning]until disenchanted adults change them.”

Please help to get rid of Naplan. Send this to as many folk as possible, especially politicians and schoolies.  Help our children to come out of this ‘dark age’ and regain the freedom to learn.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443


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