You Guys led the Way

Until blanket testing is ‘dead, buried and cremated’…

The Treehorn Express

I suspect that Treehorn’s sad condition of adult-neglect is now being noticed by some adults. Things are looking up. Treehorn, the hero of Florence Patty Heidi’s The Shrinking of Treehorn, and his friends have had a bad time of it at school since the brown-nosed Easy-beat Educators came out in support of their political idols who had demanded allegiance to insane testing, a few years ago . Now…there is a big change in the air. Treehorn!  Keep the faith.  The measurement moguls in all English-speaking countries are being asked by teachers and parents if they realise the extent of the damage that they have done; and the questioning has never been very strident. There are very big movements in the cradle of hubris and haughtiness….our U.S. of A.  More later.  I doubt if the Dudley Do-rights would do it  now, if they were asked [or required] to give public unquestioning allegiance to Julia’s Naplan in Australia; or any support to National Standards in NZ. I reckon that they would not. Determined ethical leadership is on the way.Yes, Treehorn, keep the faith and forgive them their trespasses when national blanket testing is shelved. They are really nice people… just gone a little berserk for a few years.


‘You Guys Led the Way’

On Monday, I had occasion to write to a nation-wide organisation in the U.S. called “Opt Out of The State Test: The National Movement” [Google it], I mentioned in passing to a co-director that Australia had adopted Kleinism [fear-based schooling] in 2009 and seemed stuck with it. I received an almost-immediate reply: –  “Your message is just heartbreaking – I had no idea that Australia had adopted the Klein model. It makes me sick because Australia was the country WE looked to for a good model – you guys led the way! Thank you for your post and we will keep you in our thoughts and hopefully all of us can win this fight.”   P.R.

So, in this Age of Stupid, what does Australia do ? It copies the one of the worst examples of schooling in the USA. You really let him foolya, Julia.

At about the same time that I received my message, Allan Alach, New Zealand Primary Principal, who links through Facebook with the same group, received a message from another director. “How sorry to hear that the country that has been a model for curriculum that is constructivist and which supported teachers to negotiate curriculum with their students since at least the 1930s is being influenced by the U.S.. And your model produces better results #[international tests] than most other countries…. Please resist the imposition of high stakes tests. New Zealanders have all kinds of ways to evaluate/assess their students in their classrooms. Their pedagogy has been influential in establishing holistic teaching experiences for students in the U.S.!   Y.M.G.

Watch this space.

#Test scores and world rankings –Yuk- from the 2009 PISA tests :- Math; New Zealand [519 – 7th place]; Australia[514 – 9th] U.S.[487 – 29th[   Science; N.Z.[532 – 4th] Aust.[527 – 7th] U.S.[502-17th]  Reading N.Z. 4th Aust. 6th  U.S.14th

Summary :- N.Z & Australia were described as being  significantly higher than the U.S. on all three counts …..and then we Aussies copied the way that the U.S. runs things!!!  Australia’s Age of Stupid… indeed .

[‘Yuk’ means that I hate talking about such wonderful learnings in silly numbers.]


A Conspiracy That Too Few Called

When Kleinism was first introduced to Australia by Julia Gillard following heavy chest-thumping by her friend and managerial theorist Kevin [The “They can walk to another school”, outsourcing bloke] Rudd, who, in turn, followed Brendan Nelson of similar ideology, experienced schoolies said that this had nothing to do with learning. “Why did she do it” they asked?  There had to be a reason because there was nothing wrong with Aussie schools. Even on the PISA  tests[# above], Australia ranked amongst the world’s best, so why the hard knuckle? Something screwy somewhere. Was it a deliberate attempt to bring public schools into disrepute, to ensure their decline in reputation; and support the private school sector? Some thought so, but most of us wouldn’t dare suggest it. What was going on?  A conspiracy theory arose. We don’t normally like conspiracy theories, but the theory has gained momentum…with heavy emphasis.  Diane Ravitch* has written strongly on the topic, as you know.

It is undeniable in the US ; denigration of public schooling is part of the whole greed network.  Australia?  Worth thinking about seriously . First thought: Who paid for Joel Klein’s trip to Australia when Julia raved about his schooling system in New York?  Bankers. Well now. Where do their kids go to school? Enough, Philip!!!

Jim Arnold the Superintendent of a U.S. school district has produced a hard hitting article that, with Diane Ravitch, illustrates his conviction that the idea is to divert money to the establishment of more charter [private] school. This out-spoken school chief said,”I struggled with the rest of you as to why NCLB would go to such great lengths to make public education appear to be such a failure, to set up a system that would guarantee failure for practically every public school …on top of that, I failed to recognise why our nation’s legislators so nimbly avoided even the discussion of reauthorization to change what everyone knew was a failed policy. One day it finally hit me.

They didn’t want to change the policy because the policy was designed in theory and in fact not to aid education, but to create an image of a failed public school system in order to further the implementation of vouchers and the diversion of public education funds to private schools.  Click on ‘No Child Left Behind: A Conspiracy etc.’ on the right    OR….try

It’s a good, short, about 2 pages, article and concludes…

“It will take years to undo the damage done to science, social studies, fine arts and other academic electives. Generations will not  be enough to rid ourselves and our students of the testing mania neurosis created by our attempts to quantify the unquantifiable.

I hope the generation of teachers and administrators that follows this one has learned something from the failure of our generation to ward off those determined to destroy public education. We didn’t stand up to be counted, we didn’t stand at the schoolhouse door and tell them that they couldn’t do that to our kids, and we didn’t educate the public about what a gigantic failure another one-size-fits-all education policy would be. In the words of that great educator and philosopher Jimmy Buffet: “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa”.


Stephen Goldstein calls the whole notion a scam:’stop_the_spread_of_charter_schools_they_are_a_scam


Journalist Maureen Downey wrote a lead into the Jim Arnold article. If one substitutes the American notables mentioned in this foreword with the procreators of Kleinism in Australia, her introduction would read. “The pupils, parents, teachers and mid-level administrators are coming after you, Kevin, Julia, Brendan, Peter G. [and you Peter A., if you don’t declare yourself soon]; and the self-serving fools, charlatans, delusionists, racists and edu-pirates of Wall St. There will be no spider hole you can hide in, from the judgement of history.”

*Diane Ravitch : See some further telling commentary on her Saturday Evening Post article [3 million readers], please click on


Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

Please help our kids. Help to stop further blanket testing.

Ask your political candidates for a commitment.

It’s very, very serious.


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