Orwell

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn story?  http://primaryschooling.net?page_id=1924

Theme Song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQj-6F7yPM8

The Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australia.  Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which uses the blanket-testing NAPLAN to destroy the  reputation of teachers and schools. This weapon was forced on schools in Australia in 2009. It separates ‘haves’ from ‘have nots’ and opens the door for mega-bank-rolling by known curriculum vandals for control of school-based learning. It disrespects all school pupils [but especially public school], devalues teachers’ professionalism, threatens Australia’s developmental future and is just no good.  Politely described, it stinks.

Although ‘pro-Julia education’ groups support it, ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, unprofessional, politically driven, unrequested by the profession, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, wasteful and divisive.

A serious invitation is warmly extended to any pro-NAPLANer to dispute any one of these adjectives.

NAPLAN has a background of malicious intent. 

IT WILL REMAIN UNTIL ENOUGH GOOD PEOPLE SAY “STOP IT”.

For official information, click on http://www.nap.edu.au/information/FAQs/index.html  Get it ?

___________________________________________________________________________________________

No fair-dinkum teacher likes NAPLAN,

It breeches all ethical rules.

In a school of repute there is no fan;

There’s learning without measurement tools.

Thank you, Kev.

“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

ORWELL IS HERE

The year of Orwell and  the introduction of Orwellism has been delayed. In the 1950s when we first read about a future manipulated, dysfunctional society, 1984 seemed to be so far away. ‘1984’ didn’t happen when it should have. Society was fairly comfortable in 1984, except for Queensland. The leader there had been appointed by divine authority, he had suggested; and made some curious judgements about schooling on moral grounds.

None could even imagine, then, a future where the country was run by a focussed control-pedant , who preferred to rule by fear-based, heavy-handed distrust and make decisions about  schooling just to illustrate his/her authoritative control. 

By the 1960s, the western world was on the cusp of creating a school culture of learning that would have had no equal in history. These years produced the greatest thinkers and writers of the 20th century; and teachers of the time, straining to shatter the shackles of colonial styles of teaching-learning were about to break loose. They read and they observed and they talked and they listened and they shared. The mood of the late sixties and seventies with its Deweys, Goodlads, Bassetts, Parrys, Postmann & Weingartners, Holts, Plowdens, Cleggs…such a long list of child-oriented scholars and writers…was one of hope. 

Every state Australian state bureaucracy appointed visionaries to important positions [e.g. Guymer in Q’ld, Swan in NSW, Jones in S.A., Shears in Vic., Beare in ACT] irrespective of the local political power base. Schooling was on the up and up – despite one or two attacks [e.g Back to Basics, M:ACOS] that the press enjoyed featuring.

The dystopic political arrangements for an Orwell-1984-style-Australia were put on hold for a quarter-of-a-century. It was destined to happen as soon as despotic managerialists and measurers introduced euphemisms as articles of faith [e.g. ‘outsource’ = don’t trust your own; ‘down-size’= sack those you fear] circa 1990. The public learned to tolerate this inconsistent square-peg  ruddism [in Q‘ld. in particular] without dissent; and ‘orewellism’ entered the language as a suitable descriptor for what eventually happened in 2009. Big Brother showed himself.

Turn back to the real 1984. The year itself, might have been considered a fizzer for those who had trusted  George Orwell’s predictions, but child-oriented schooling itself was well under way and schools were happily optimistic at that time. Big Brothers were not necessary. Teachers believed in themselves. They felt proud of what they were doing.

I could open a Principals Conference in 1984 by saying “There is no task so demanding, no occupation [apart from that of religious minister or priest] so ethically professional than that of a primary or secondary teacher. Its impact on the welfare of the world, the care for people as people, the influence that it has on the achievements of each person and subsequently of each nation places the profession as something apart from all other occupations. It is concerned about a nation’s most precious commodity and its richest resource – children. It is a self-monitoring, self-improving profession …and it is in this context that we have foregathered. We hope to make a determined and realistic commitment to enlivening classroom practices because they are the base-line of what we are all on about.”

The conference was about ‘Excellence in Teaching’. Attenders talked about teaching and learning and on how to improve both.  They could say that and do that in 1984 and believe in solid, immovable professional ethics. No jumped-up politician, lawyer or sciolist would dare to tell teachers what to do and how to do it. The force felt solidly professional from top to bottom and remained so until 1990 or thereabouts. We can’t make those sort of statements that I made, anymore. The political Darleks, ‘utterly without pity, compassion or remorse with every emotion removed except hate’ have moved in. Professional schooling principles have backed off. Ask Treehorn.

A 2011 national conference for principals [that I ‘attended’ on-line] was about improving scores on national blanket tests. Schooling by numbers. Pupil welfare and progress did not get much of a mention. Ethics had travelled a long way .

It was another sign that Orwellism was well entrenched. It had twenty-five years to arrive and it had infected all parts quickly.

What is orwellism?  Described as oligarchical dictatorship,  based on a nonsensical, peculiar thought process that manipulates social structures on behalf of the most powerful,  participants can indulge in double-thinking by holding two contradictory beliefs and believing in both. Teachers can believe in freedom to learn and use fear-driven practice techniques to prepare for Big Brother’s NAPLAN tests.

Thus, by embracing inconsistent concepts, school principals can acquiesce to the decadent political view that low test scores indicate poor teaching and shabbily-run schools; and their professional conscience won’t worry them. Professionally neutered, they are unable to dissent from or offer ethical advice to political masters. The work-force generally is on the same wave-length. The school-tardy, both pupils and teachers,  must be punished; and all adults generally subscribe to this notion.  With ethical principles in suspension through political mandate, this further entrenches the style of Orwellian oligarchical dictatorship that decries individuality and teaching ethics.

Teachers are told what to do and what to think. School leaders acquiesce as it is easier to do do so. Double-think prevails. True-blue professional codes are trashed with organizational approval. The sycophants feel even more secure and comfortable; and the ultimate victims are not taken into account at any stage. Meet Treehorn.

Whereas politicians kept out of –perhaps avoided –  serious curriculum considerations in the real 1984, there has been a change of social climate since then. As George O himself said in the other ‘1984’, “ In our age, there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics’ ; and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasion, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”  So its welcome to that sort of world for all 2011 school personnel and clients.  Teachers probably sense the outrageously camouflaged intentions of our fat controllers, but cannot do anything about it. If the playing field was level, their organizations would be able to say to Her Overbearance, “We won’t give your tests to our pupils.  We love them and want them to learn. It is unworthy of you to ask us to do so and a serious breach of schooling ethics.”

The field is very steep. The ball gets away from you if you don’t try to stop it. Orwellism is in full swing in dystopic Australia.

“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

 Other Treehorns ? :   Check Recent Posts and Archives in the sidebar.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

Grammar & Ray Kelley

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn story?  http://primaryschooling.net?page_id=1924

Theme Song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQj-6F7yPM8

The Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australia.  Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which uses the blanket-testing NAPLAN [its only learning-motivational weapon] to destroy the  reputation of teachers and schools. This weapon was forced on schools in Australia in 2009. It separates ‘haves’ from ‘have nots’ and opens the door for mega-bank-rolling by known curriculum vandals for control of school-based learning. It disrespects school pupils, devalues teachers’ professionalism, threatens Australia’s developmental future and is just no good.  Politely described, it stinks.

Although some ‘education’ groups support it, ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, unprofessional, politically driven, unrequested by the profession, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, wasteful and divisive. It has a background of malicious intent. 

IT WILL REMAIN UNTIL ENOUGH GOOD PEOPLE SAY “STOP IT”

  For official information, click on http://www.nap.edu.au/information/FAQs/index.html  Get it ?

____________________________________________________A Light Diversion

There was such an interesting reaction to the previous Treehorn Express …phone calls and a comment on the blog https://treehornexpress.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/what-we-wrinklies-did/  especially with reference to the teaching of grammar and the techniques of testing, that I share the comments of poet Ray Kelley with you.

The first one appears in his book “Flight to the Chookhouse Roof” [Page 36]

COMPLEX ANALYSIS

Number, Connection, Clause, Kind & Relation –

These were the columns we were taught to rule

Preparing for that State Examination

Kids sat for at the end of primary school.

Picture us at age thirteen as we dip

Steel nibs in time-crazed inkwells to write down

The clauses that will prove our Scholarship

Principal, Adjectival, knotty Noun

(Is it the Subject or in Apposition?)

And maybe three Adverbials in the mix,

Sorted with tags like Reason, Time, Condition

To take the Number column down to 6.

Behold the strands unravelled, one by one,

And the long sentence with hard labour done.

When Principals foregathered to celebrate the end of term in various localities around the country, some Queensland centres were lucky enough to have Ray in their midst. He made up parodies like this…

GRRRRRRR-AMMAR

[Tune: Lily the Pink]

WE’LL DRINK-A-DRINK-A-DRINK

TO ALL OF THE INK, THE INK, THE INK

THAT GRAMMAR COSTS THE HUMAN RA-A-ACE,

PREPOSITIONS, ADVERBIAL CLAUSES,

SUBJECTIVE MOOD AND OBJECTIVE.

Harry Hopper

Couldn’t talk proper –

Said “I done it”. silly co-o-ow,

So I taught him

Traditional grammar –

He can say “You done it” now!

WE’LL DRINK….

Here’s the lowdown

On personal pronouns –

They are easy if you try-y-y

Firsta person

Asingular number

Me O my, I-I-I-I

WE’LL DRINK….

Rules of syntax

Get down to tintacks;

Verb and subjects must agree-ee-ee;

If one’s plural

The other is too, ral-

We was taught repeatedly!

WE’LL DRINK…

Is it the function

Of a conjunction

To provide a kind of li-i-nk?

Gin AND bitters

AND whisky AND soda

Tempt a man AND make him drink!

YES, DRINK…

This appeared in a website that Ray and I put together http://kelleyandcullen.net  It’s a jovial history of things in Queensland schools that will interest the more nostalgic.  This particular parody is missing, but you should enjoy Ray’s brilliance in others.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Other Treehorns ? :   Check Recent Posts and Archives in Sidebar.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

What We Wrinklies Did

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn story?  http://primaryschooling.net?page_id=1924

Theme Song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQj-6F7yPM8

The Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australia.  Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which uses the blanket-testing NAPLAN [its only learning-motivational weapon] to destroy the  reputation of teachers and schools. This weapon was forced on schools in Australia in 2009. It separates ‘haves’ from ‘have nots’ and opens the door for mega-bank-rolling by known curriculum vandals for control of school-based learning. It disrespects school pupils, devalues teachers’ professionalism, threatens Australia’s developmental future and is just no good.  Politely described, it stinks.

Although some ‘education’ groups support it, ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, unprofessional, politically driven, unrequested by the profession, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, wasteful and divisive. It has a background of malicious intent. 

IT WILL REMAIN UNTIL ENOUGH GOOD PEOPLE SAY “STOP IT”

  For official information, click on http://www.nap.edu.au/information/FAQs/index.html  Get it ?__________

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Recently, I wrote an outline of this article for the Queensland Retired Teachers Association. It was meant to refer to what went on in schooling when we wrinklies held the chalk… the late forties to eighties. It got out of hand. I present it to you in its revised form.

What We Wrinklies Did

“Twenty-four grams one pennyweight, twenty pennyweights one ounce, ten ounces one pound” we used to chant at school and later taught others to chant. It was difficult to see the relevance of the chant when we were actually weighing things in another peculiar arrangement of numerals and weights, called ounces, pounds, stone, hundredweight and tons; and only jewellers had a use for Troy Weight.

While it did not make sense, we did as we were bid. We trusted our superiors, thinking that they knew what they were doing. When I asked a school inspector why we taught Troy Weight, he responded that our curriculum gurus believed that it should be learned because of Australia’s historical attachment to the discovery of gold. I suppose that the heritage-oriented curriculators of the day thought that it represented giant support for the integration of subjects.

This occurred about the time that Social Studies became a curriculum imperative. We’d taught Civics, but this was a new one. Professor Schonell described this innovative integration as ‘…the hybrid result of an unhappy marriage between Geography and History.’  It did seem to be a peculiar way to deal with social activity, especially since, at this time [1962], Robert Dottrens had written his world-wide popular UNESCO treatise The Primary School Curriculum, which highlighted the teaching of social behaviour, especially getalongability with one’s school complement, in the playground, in one’s street, in one’s town and through to neighbourliness amongst nations. Fighting each other in the playground, street or on a battlefield would cease to exist, if we encouraged our young to believe in social harmony.

There was a problem.  It wasn’t examinable, so the idea was dropped. We went along with integrated Geography and History without question. ‘They’ said that it had to be done, so we did it. ‘They’ set examinations.  Given the fifty years since then, do you think that such a study of social activity has worked, socially that is; and how much did examination of it contribute?  Worth a thought, right? How do the present-day high levels of hate and fear and militarism [including our invasion of northern hemisphere countries] receive so much support? Strange.

Remember the slog on parsing and analysis. If you taught a scholarship class, you will recall the endless hours you spent on them to make sure that these high-marked examination questions were answered effectively. Our mentors believed that our pupils would read better and write quality error-free material if they rigidly studied such aspects of English grammar.  Now, our grandchildren write higher quality stories than we did at their age, read at a much higher level and can discuss more intelligently what they have read or written  –  and they have never done any parsing  or analysis.

I wonder what response we would get if we asked present day pupils to provide an example of a copulative verb. Remember?  “The verb ‘to be’ and other copulative verbs take the same case after them as before them.”  We made our pupils learn crude rules such as this, imagining that pupils would remember them, while at the same time their home and street language approved of : ”He done it. I seen him. Eh.”  That’s the way that Mum and Dad and friends spoke. As well, language exemplars like broadcasters said “Australia are winning by 54 runs.” and editors wrote “We promise to promptly correct errors.” Never mind. We kept at parroting rules because it was expected of us. Rules are rules. Pupils would remember them when the time came; so we spent more time on parsing and analysis and rules of syntax than on any other aspect of literacy.

We even spent one hour each week on handwriting in copy books. What a waste. Wouldn’t young Barack Obama have ended up with sore knuckles if he tried that round-the-corner grip in our day?

There was not meant to be any joy in English and Mathematics, was there? They were examinable. We became slaves to examination and the horror and shame of failure. Indeed, there were those who believed that learning works best under strict conditions and was not intended to be positive and joyful. [This notion is popular again!] We even arranged the classroom in order of success. The front row and the back row knew where they belonged in society. The dull or slow had to be shamed and denied schooling past leaving-age.  Of the 33 pupils in my Grade 6, only 3 survived to complete Senior.

The Scholarship and Junior exams sorted us out according to crass scores and saw the rest seeking early employment. Things in Queensland took a new focus with the abolition of the Scholarship examination [1962] and a rethink of assessment procedures for secondary classes [1970]. Freed to learn, the world advanced at a remarkable pace when professional child-based teaching found a place.

The world shared ideas, ideals and made the most of child differences, of school and cultural differences; and teachers learned more about the nature of learning than anyone had done in history. It looked as if schooling itself could help to create higher achievements than ever before;  that innovation and inventiveness would sooth and enhance our lifestyle like never before; and that we would learn to love each other regardless of origin, colour, religion or general beliefs.  We saw schools as places where children would burst a blood vessel to get to each day, to learn something. We would teach them the value of learning and sharing and doing and achieving.  Then, about 1990… BANG.

The management structuralists and measurers took control, with Orwellism as a natural partner. Gullible politicians fell for this new brand of child-bash totalitarianism and legislated for its introduction. The good-guys’ dreams and visions of a top-level learning base for schooling were shattered. A contempt for childhood emerged. It remains; and is being encased in cement.

SO… you see…..our teaching generation, you and me, has no monopoly on the absurdities and stupidities. Imagine what our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will think of what is happening now.  They will surely notice that some of oddest and most ridiculous operations have been maintained or resurrected from our past; and an astonishing negative attitude to schooling has  been added [2008+].

Blanket testing is a prime example. It exists on the premise that we cannot trust children to try harder at learning and achieving without its fear-based tones; and that learning and achieving are not meant to be joyful.

Fear is the best and only motivator. Making children frightened while learning has enormous political all-party support. Some even want to pay teachers who get better pupil scores than others. It’s a score-at-all-cost notion. The term ‘screwball’ applied to it seems so inadequate.

Present-day teachers cannot be trusted, so they are denied the chance to teach their pupils HOW to learn; and are not allowed the time to share each individual’s progress with them and show them how to share their progress with their parents now how to take pride in personal achievement.  Their superiors only encourage the measuring of the measureable by imposing mandated tests concocted by someone else; and, months later, superordinates make public, unhealthy, inane comments on the results and make absurd assumptions about schooling. We actually support these purely political, bovine oddities by our silence.

God. It is so sad to see all this happening.  it hurts. Truly.

Yes. Our descendants will remind us that we approved of measurement too much, and by ignoring the teaching of learnacy [learning how to learn and to love it], we neglected the development of a truly pleasant and productive life-style for them.

Since our paranoiac measurement controllers cannot test the love for poetry, the appreciation for music and art, the attitude to natural wonders, our getalongability, environmental sustainability, the exhilaration of following a selected pursuit, they have  frozen interest in them.

These are unimportant aspects of living, according to the fat controllers.

Our school-teaching generation and those between then and now, with all its age-sage, over-looked and ignored the carriage of fair-dinkum schooling into this new millennium. We let crude and school-ignorant political power neglect  our present generation children’s development without a whimper. Shame on us.

“We were robbed”, our descendants will surely observe. They will ask, “No ethical, child-oriented generation should approve of national blanket testing and its fear driven basis”

______________________________________________________________

 Why do the British hate their children?

[The Week, 18 November 2011 Page 12]

Britain’s treats its kids like pests, says Jenny McCartney of The Daily Telegraph, London. We see them as frequently annoying and sometimes frightening. A recent survey found that half of respondents agreed that children today were “feral” and “like animals”. We’ve all seen the small child trying to ask their mother a question only to be told to “shut up”and then dragged roughly down the street. Uncharitable attitudes are hardly limited to the working class.

Middle-class parents commonly refer to their children as a chore to be managed, the “hours spent with them dutifully ticked off in a mental box” and labelled “quality time”. It’s no wonder our kids grow into resentful, even threatening, teenagers with no respect for authority. Handle them dismissively enough and they will certainly “take on the mannerisms of the nuisances they are already assumed to be”. In Spain and Italy, the climate is different. The child’s basic nature is assumed to be benign. Through frequent immersion in family gatherings, the children are socialised. British society, on the other hand, has demonstrated an “essential contempt for childhood”. No wonder We Need To Talk About Kevin was such a hit. But it’s not Kevin we need to talk about – “It’s us”.

“Please do” says Treehorn.

_____________________________________________________________

   Other Treehorns ? :   Check Recent Posts and Archives in Sidebar.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

NZ Elections & Paulo Friere

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn story?  http://primaryschooling.net?page_id=1924

Theme Song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQj-6F7yPM8

The Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australia.  Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which uses the blanket-testing NAPLAN [its only learning-motivational weapon] to destroy the  reputation of teachers and schools. This weapon was forced on schools in Australia in 2009. It separates ‘haves’ from ‘have nots’ and opens the door for mega-bank-rolling by known curriculum vandals for control of school-based learning. It disrespects school pupils, devalues teachers’ professionalism, threatens Australia’s developmental future and is just no good.  Politely described, it stinks.

Although some ‘education’ groups support it, ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, unprofessional, politically driven, unrequested by the profession, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, wasteful and divisive. It has a background of malicious intent. 

IT WILL REMAIN UNTIL ENOUGH GOOD PEOPLE SAY “STOP IT”

  For official information, click on http://www.nap.edu.au/information/FAQs/index.html  Get it ?

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Elections & Paulo Friere

“Pedagogy of the Oppressed”

Allan Alach

[It’s a privilege to include this article in Treehorn Express. It first appeared in the outstanding educational journal Education Today produced in New Zealand by Doug Hislop. The magazine includes election comments by candidates on schooling issues.}

On November 25th New Zealanders will be heading off to polling booths to cast their votes to decide the makeup of the next New Zealand government. This particular election is probably, from an education viewpoint, the most significant in New Zealand’s history. There is a branching intersection on the educational road, with vastly different destinations. The alternatives will hopefully have been well detailed by now, one focussing on the New Zealand Curriculum and its vision, principles and values, while the other will lead much further down the standardisation of education path. There is already considerable evidence suggesting that a national testing regime of some sort is already in development, ready for implementation in 2014.

Of the two alternative destinations, the arguments for the ‘whole child’ approach of the New Zealand Curriculum have been very well made in previous editions of Education Today and in many other forums, and these are also well  supported by extensive international and national research and evidence. There is little more that needs to be added to this branch of the road. While there are powerful advocates for the standards and achievement branch, very few of these are recognised educational experts, and there is a distinct lack of international evidence and research to support this. It is far easier to find evidence that this approach essentially does not work, which raises a very pertinent question in itself. Why?

This is a situation that requires some examination to unpick possible reasons. We need to first look at schooling, or more precisely, planned education for children. At the base level, planned education for children is a process of ‘programming’ their brains to function in the world. That is not as negative as it sounds and the education process is hopefully based on positive values, attributes and skills to enable all children to reach their full potential. Obviously though, different educational plans may result in different formal programmes in children’s brains. Vicarious learning, of course, will take place regardless of the best or worst intentions of formal education.

It is the underpinning belief about the purpose of education that is the issue. Crudely speaking, this can be split into two options: a broad, generalist education to enable children to reach their full potentials, wherever these may lie, or a narrower, goal oriented education, for example, to enable children to participate in the work force.  In this context, all educational policies have an underlying political agenda, and so we can then examine them from this perspective.  Given the current emphasis on the narrower standards based educational environment in New Zealand, and similar countries such as Australia, England, Canada and the USA, it is appropriate that this be objectively examined.

One of the great educationalists of the 20th century was Brazilian Paulo Friere (1921 – 1997). Friere spent many years working with poor and dispossessed people in isolated areas of Brazil, and his great book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” (first published in 1970, latest edition published by Penguin Books, 1996) was developed from his experiences.  His definition of oppressed is vastly different from the pressures faced by those who feel under threat from the current political, economic, education and social policies that are in vogue in many countries, including New Zealand.

However much of his writing can be used to interpret the ideology behind the standardisation of New Zealand education and like countries, and help to explain the oft repeated question “Why don’t they listen?”

In his foreword to the 1996 Penguin edition of this book, Robert Shaull writes,

“There is no such thing as a neutral education process. Education either functions as an instrument that is used to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality, and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”

This essay could possibly conclude at this stage, because there, in Shaull’s words “bring about conformity,” is the answer to the minimisation of education through a narrow focus on achievement in literacy and numeracy, to the exclusion of everything else.  Friere has much to add to this, however, and immediately defines his purpose with a quote that was written by Francisco Weffort in a preface to one of his earlier books. This provides the counterpoint for the narrowing of the curriculum.

“The awakening of critical consciousness leads the way to expressions of social discontents precisely because these discontents are real components of an oppressive situation.”

The theme that the ‘oppressors’ do not want the ‘oppressed’ to learn to think and question the basis of their situation is elaborated many times throughout the book. The base situation, according to Friere, is that the oppressed have been, and will need to be, conditioned to accept the status quo.  In the early stages of the development of awareness of their lot, the oppressed struggle to differentiate their awareness from the influences of the oppressor, in order to gain an objective view of the situation, due to their “submersion in the reality of oppression.”

This can be used to explain why so many principals and teachers failed to see the true implications behind the introduction of national standards, under the guise of ‘raising achievement’ until it was too late.

Indeed, it would be plausible to argue that there are still many principals and teachers, let alone parents and the wider community, who have not yet been able achieve this differentiation of awareness that Friere describes.

Taking this further, he observes that people, lacking this consciousness, can also themselves unknowingly contribute to the oppression. Examples of this in the New Zealand education sector are not hard to find, whether in the Ministry of Education, the tertiary sector or in schools. Taking this one step further, it can also be contended that many well meaning Members of Parliament would fit this description.

Extending from this, there are the people who are knowingly contributing to the oppression, having set aside previously held beliefs and values, including those who are seeking personal gain. Again we can find examples of this in the Ministry of Education, universities and other agencies. One could question the integrity and morality of this group.

Friere then examines the relationship between the oppressors and the oppressed;

 “One of the basic elements of the relationship between oppressor and oppressed is prescription. Every prescription represents the imposition of one individual’s choice upon another, transforming the consciousness of the person prescribed to, into one that conforms with the prescriber’s consciousness. Thus the behaviour of the oppressed is a prescribed behaviour, following as it does the guidelines of the oppressor.”

This concept of ‘prescription’ leads directly to mandated standards of achievement. Friere’s pedagogy was developed as a way to enable the oppressed to break free of the influences of their oppressors, through the fostering of questioning and inquiry, to enable them to perceive, for themselves, their own realities and understanding of their oppression. The oppressors, of course, are very aware of the threats that enlightened people would pose to their power base, and therefore it is very much in their interests to maintain and even tighten the prescriptions. This then becomes a battle for the oppressed to “pursue the right to be human,” through the development of every aspect of their potential.

Paradoxically, and again rather appropriately considering the Wall St and other ‘occupations’, Friere also observes that the ‘liberation’ of the oppressed may then leave the former oppressors feeling as though their quality of life has suffered.  “Conditioned by the experience of oppressing others, any situation other than their former seems to them to be like oppression. Formerly they could eat, dress, wear shoes, be educated, travel, and hear Beethoven….”

Any restrictions on these, due to the ‘liberation’ of the oppressed, will seem as a violation of their rights. This does provide a cogent interpretation of the situation in many so-called developed countries, particularly the ones dominated by the three influential plutonomies of USA, Canada and the UK, with Australia and New Zealand ‘tagging along.’ It is an easy matter to use this to interpret the increasing need by the more conservative governments in today’s world, and the power groups behind them, to increase their control over the people, in order to maintain their hegemony and way of life through “a policy of indoctrination of the young” (Noam Chomsky)

Friere contends that oppressors believe that they have the right to live in peace in their world, as the dominant class. This is regardless of the needs of the oppressed, and also “because the existence of the oppressed is necessary to their own existence.” 

This is based on a high degree of possessiveness, leading to everything being viewed as objects at their disposal, and of having a materialistic value.

“Money is the measure of all things and profit the primary goal. For the oppressors, what is worthwhile is to have more – always more – even at the cost of the oppressed having less or nothing.”

Having more is seen by the oppressors as a right, gained through their own efforts. Friere takes this one step further.

“If others do not have, it is because they are incompetent and lazy, and worst of all, is their unjustifiable ingratitude towards the ‘generous gestures’ of the dominant class. Precisely because they are ‘ungrateful’ and ‘envious’ the oppressed are regarded as potential enemies who must be watched.”  

Also;

“..the more the oppressors control the oppressed, the more they change them into apparently inanimate ‘things’.”

Pass this through an educational filter, and it leads to the classification of children’s learning as numbers or rankings against standards, in a dehumanising process that is an inevitable result of this world view. No other outcome is possible.  How is this done? Friere address this in the following quote which explains the reduction of ‘education’ to basic literacy and numeracy and the seeming disregard for the humanities.

“As the oppressor consciousness, in order to dominate, tries to deter the drive to search, the restlessness and the creative power which characterise life, it kills life. More and more, the oppressors are using science and technology as unquestionably powerful instruments for their purpose: the maintenance of the repressive order through manipulation and representation.”

Friere wrote this 40 years ago. One wonders how he would have interpreted the technologies of today’s world. Having established this, Friere lays the foundation for his pedagogy to enable the oppressed to reclaim their humanity through the fight for;

…freedom to create and construct, to wonder and to venture. Such freedom requires that the individual be active and responsible, not a slave or well fed cog in the machine…”

He commences by reflecting on the use of education as a means of control, which is probably as old as humanity itself. This is best achieved through a formal teacher-student relationship.

Friere labels this the ‘banking concept of education’ where teachers deposit knowledge in students’ mental ‘bank accounts.’ The more ‘banking’ a teacher does, the better she is determined to be. Students are graded by their abilities in processing, filing and then retrieving ‘deposits’ on demand.  The more able a student is in doing this, the higher her ‘achievement’ is deemed to be.  This concept views knowledge as a gift bestowed by the ‘knowing’ on the ‘unknowing,’ with ‘knowledge’ defined and controlled by those in power, the oppressors.

Friere outlines ten attitudes and practices associated with the ‘banking’ process, and this encapsulates the ideology, and accompanying view of education, that underpins the standardisation of education.

a)  the teacher teaches and the students are taught;

b)  the teacher know everything and the students know nothing;

c)  the teacher thinks and the students are thought about;

d)  the teacher talks and the students listen – meekly;

e)  the teacher disciplines and the students are disciplined;

f)    the teacher chooses and enforces his choice, and the students comply;

g)  the teacher acts and the students have the illusion of acting through the actions of the teacher;

h)  the teacher chooses the programme content, and the students (who were not consulted) adapt to it;

i)    the teacher confuses the authority of knowledge, with her own professional authority, which she sets in opposition to the freedom of the students;

j)    the teacher is the subject of the learning process, while the pupils are mere objects.

Friere explores this in considerable detail, before developing the case for his alternative ‘pedagogy of the oppressed’. This pedagogy is the antithesis of the ‘banking concept,’ focussing on developing awareness through inquiry, so that “people become masters of their own thinking” and are “able to achieve critical consciousness” in order to achieve their human potential.

While the pedagogy is outlined extensively in the book, for the purposes of this essay it is sufficient to state that there are substantial similarities between Friere’s pedagogy, and the child centred, inquiry based, problem solving principles and values of the New Zealand Curriculum.

The purpose of Friere’s pedagogy is to raise consciousness and awareness through inquiry learning, investigations and dialogue to enable the oppressed to claim/reclaim their humanity as individuals and to break free of the constrictions imposed by the oppressors.

The open ended vision of the New Zealand Curriculum “Young people who will be confident, connected, actively involved, life long learners” targets a similar fostering of human potential, enabled by the values, key competencies and inclusion of all curriculum areas. This sits in stark comparison to the narrowing down of the curriculum that has resulted overseas as standards are deemed to take precedence.

The overall intention of the oppressors, as described by Friere, is to control the consciousness of the oppressed, to ensure that they accept the world as it is, to prevent them becoming aware of an alternative reality and therefore to minimise challenges to the dominance of the oppressors. This is the underlying purpose of the ‘banking’ model of education, which accompanies the standardisation of education in so many countries. A reason for disregarding of all the research to the contrary now becomes very clear, as this evidence challenges the very purpose and power base of the oppressors.

Interpreting this very significant book, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” in the New Zealand context, along with the other agendas that also accompany the standards based ideologies, leads to the only possible conclusion about the whole standards/testing movement.

 As has been written and said many times, standards (and all that are associated with these) are for political and financial purposes and have nothing to do with education.

As Friere wrote, “To glorify democracy and silence the people is a farce.”

 0oo0o0o0o0o0o0o0

Acknowledgement:  Thanks to Nancy Letts, US Educational Consultant (http://www.nancyletts.com/) for invaluable support and guidance.

_____________________________________________________________

   Other Treehorns ? : Check Recent Posts and Archives in the sidebar.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

Dear Julia & Peter

 The Treehorn Express 

Treehorn story? http://primaryschooling.net?page_id=1924

Theme Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQj-6F7yPM8

The Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australia.  Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which uses the blanket-testing ‘wmd’ called NAPLAN [its only learning-motivational weapon] to destroy the  reputation of teachers and schools. This weapon was forced on schools in Australia in 2009. It separates ‘haves’ from ‘have nots’ and opens the door for mega-bank-rolling by known curriculum vandals for control of school-based learning. It disrespects school pupils, devalues teachers’ professionalism, threatens Australia’s developmental future and is just no good.  Politely described, it stinks.

Although some ‘education’ groups support it, ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, unprofessional, politically driven, unrequested by the profession, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, wasteful and divisive. It has a background of malicious intent. 

IT WILL REMAIN UNTIL ENOUGH GOOD PEOPLE SAY “STOP IT”

For further information, click on the official description http://www.nap.edu.au/information/FAQs/index.html  Get it?
___________________________________________________________________________________________
Dear Julia and Peter,

“I’m sure you’re familiar with the work of the late Douglas McGregor, but a reminder may help. His 1960 book The Human Side of Management is considered one of the most influential books on management principles ever written.  In it, he describes two very different assumptions about human nature, labels them “Theory X” and “Theory Y”, and discusses their implications and ramifications for productivity.

Theory X managers, he said, assume that most people dislike work, avoid it if possible, tend to be irresponsible, and need tight controls in the form of penalties and rewards to keep them from deviating from organizational goals.

Theory Y managers assume that work is natural, satisfying, and rewarding, and that if organizational goals are clear and acceptable, most people, given sufficient authority, will take the initiative, seek responsibility, and bring imagination, creativity, and ingenuity to their work.

Read two two paragraphs again, please, substituting the word ‘learning’ for ‘work’.

McGregor says that people who are managed in accordance with either theory tend to develop behaviour that matches the theory. You know a lot about feedback loops. Give some serious thought to that one, and its implications for, say, performance gaps and school discipline problems.

The educators I think that you want and surely need on your side are those who know from years of firsthand classroom experience the costs and limitations of Theory X and the productive potential of Theory Y. But instead of enlisting them, the reform efforts you’ve been promoting and the promotional strategies you’ve used, drive them up the wall.

*Corporate and banker control, NAPLAN, teacher control, punishments and rewards, standardised pupil expectations, emphasis on scores instead of content, bribery of state ministers and departments, public naming and shaming, emphasis on scores in tests, sweet-talking control of teacher groups and principals. These are your contributions to Australian schooling.

Every single one of these is straight, undiluted Theory X

Theory X has brought public schooling to crisis. Theory X will eventually destroy it.”

“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””’
No. I  didn’t compose this letter nor send it, but I altered the para marked with the asterisk for Australian conditions.
It was extracted from a letter that Marion Brady sent to Bill Gates, through Valerie Strauss’s column in the Washington Post. I hope Marion doesn’t mind. It’s a great article:-
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/how-bill-gates-can-be-an-education-hero/2011/11/16/gIQAYWGrSN_blog.html#pagebreak

Do you think that the number of true believers in Theory X is growing?  Some Principals’ groups do, Mr. Klein does, some hard-line schoolies do, the military does, some parents.  Maybe more? Do you? Please think about it.
___________________________________________________________________________________________
The Courier Mail, Friday Nov. 18 featured [Page 2] a Queensland State School where some parents are objecting to having to pay $24.95 for Excel Year 7 NAPLAN Style Tests. They don’t seem to realise the importance that the school places on raising the test scores next May and that plenty of practice is required. Content. Content. Content.
This raises some interesting issues. If a parent objects to her child doing the NAPLAN tests and informs the Principal that she does not want her child to participate, is she still obliged to purchase the book and allow her child to spend school time doing the practice tests? Can she insist on the full curriculum being taught during March-April-May, including the days that the NAPLAN tests are contested? Who will teach them during practice time and test time?
___________________________________________________________________________________________
Other Treehorns ? : Check Recent Posts and Archives in Sidebar.  

Phil Cullen
41 Cominan Avenue
Banora Point
Australia 2486
07 5524 6443
cphilcullen@bigpond.com
http://primaryschooling.net

Kelvin Smythe & National Standards

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn story?  http://primaryschooling.net?page_id=1924  

Theme Song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQj-6F7yPM8

The Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australia.  Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which uses the blanket-testing ‘wmd’ called NAPLAN [its only learning-motivational weapon] to destroy the  reputation of teachers and schools. This weapon was forced on schools in Australia in 2009. It separates ‘haves’ from ‘have nots’ and opens the door for mega-bank-rolling by known curriculum vandals for control of school-based learning. It disrespects school pupils, devalues teachers’ professionalism, threatens Australia’s developmental future and is just no good.  Politely described, it stinks.

Although some ‘education’ groups support it, ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, unprofessional, politically driven, unrequested by the profession, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, wasteful and divisive. It has a background of malicious intent. 

IT WILL REMAIN UNTIL ENOUGH GOOD PEOPLE SAY “STOP IT”.

For further information, click on the official description http://www.nap.edu.au/information/FAQs/index.html

Get it?

______________________________________________________________________________

Kelvin Smythe & National ‘Standards’

‘National Standards’ is the New Zealand term for the politically controlled, fear-driven schooling that [see above] disrespects school pupils, threatens the country’s developmental future, and has no good reason for existence. Its counterparts are NAPLAN [Australia], NCLB and RTTT [USA], National Testing [UK]

 

Kelvin Smythe  http://www.networkonnet.co.nz  is a former primary school teacher, principal, university lecturer and senior school inspector.

Without a doubt, he is the most respected school educator in New Zealand. Unimpressed, ‘…and frustrated by the paucity of attention given by teaching groups to the ideological underpinnings of educational issues’, he has recently detailed scholarly objections to political interference with child development in NZ.

Government manoeuvring forecasts official monthly intrusions into each school’s evaluation and parent-sharing processes using technological devices controlled by a private firm [ORBIT] and using what is euphemistically called e-asTTle [Assessment Tool for Teaching and Learning].

It is supposed to help teachers design their own monthly 40-minute paper and pencil tests and report back to Big Brother. [“We are here to help!”]

Rupert Murdoch will be so pleased, once it is in place, ready for his take-over. Kelvin Smythe won’t be. He exposes it and the intrigue used to introduce it. He tells it as it is. Read:   http://www.networkonnet.co.nz/index.php?section=latest&id=363 

Here are some extracts [in italics]…quotable quotes, many of them. Apply them to NAPLAN. They fit.

“Any politically attuned teacher knows how deeply into Orwellian times we are.”

Once the monthly testing is in place, NZ will later be accompanied by expansion into other curriculum areas. [Australia? ]

“What can one say? The barbarians are within the walls and wrecking havoc.” says Kelvin Smythe. Yep. No resistance, Aussie schoolies?  Are we all down-under pussy cats together?

“Any schools that consistently vary from ORBIT will be shown up and brought back into line. [Fancy that.] (Even if ORBIT was set the work to levels, the process has the effect of re-levelling the curriculum, which makes the levels grades.  This in turn, has the effect of handing over the curriculum to a non-educationist in a private firm and an ideologically focussed academic.)  Yep, Kelvin. Know what you mean. Really sad.

“ORBIT is national testing, but national testing done monthly.  Just where are those teaching groups who don’t bother to question these things?  “

Be on this !

“The cover story that the Ministry [ACARA here] will use to gull the media and public …says.”The general aim was to explore how schools could make better use of assessment data to contribute to the learning process.’” I guess that they have never heard of shared on-the-spot evaluation, Kelvin.

When the Ministry says. “More specifically we aimed to combine a Levels approach with the need for transparency by focusing on the individual student’s progress.”, Kelvin asks, “What on earth could the word ‘transparency’ be referring to?”

Some [apparently non-schooled or sciolist] academics help ORBIT to develop the packages. Kelvin Smythe asks, “How on earth can we have an honest debate when academics are so sneaky. Why can’t they be straightforward, I know they are trying to put something past teachers, but don’t they realise they are pummelling children?

The burden [of moderation] would be passed to children with their monthly tests, and to teachers and children in the way that unrelenting testing will disrupt their relationship.

Much is made of the sharing of information with parents and setting goals for children. This is fantasy land. Anyone who truly understands the dynamics of classrooms wouldn’t allow themselves to wallow in such absurdity. I keep challenging these people to take me to a school that claims to do this and let me see it in action. I have been going into classrooms in an official capacity for 44 years, and still am, and never seen anything like this. Nor is it even desirable.

These academics would know that there are many studies which conclude that concentration on criteria from rubrics and the structure of learning leads to more superficial thinking, less interest in whatever one is doing, less perseverance in the face of failure, and the tendency to attribute outcome to innate ability and other factors thought to be beyond one’s control.

Children become in such circumstances more focussed on being correct than on thinking deeply and honestly. But then again, these academics rarely go outside they own hermetic wonderland.”

Ministry papers allege that having monthly assessment will result in a focus on individual progress and low-stakes assessment.

“Having monthly tests, it seems, becomes so routine, so natural, so smooth (yes, they use that expression] the children hardly know they are doing them. In that case, it would seem likely that, when all the curriculum areas are brought under the aegis of ORBIT, the children will be entirely unconscious of testing at all, walking on air. They will be asking us to believe in Santa Claus next.

Apologies for the interruption. [This is Phil.] I can’t help thinking of Rupert’s preparation for Digigogy [see earlier Treehorn]. If he plans to spend or make $500 billion in the USA alone, he’d be able to purchase ORBIT from the petty cash, if he doesn’t already control it. Well????   Goodbye Learnacy. Really, really sad.

“The issue of the imposition of national standards [and NAPLAN] is a philosophical question much wider than education. Public service is anathema to many in today’s society. It challenges the prevailing idea of human motivation being driven by self interest and material gains. As a result, teachers’ opposition to national standards is portrayed as self-serving; as designed to avoid accountability; as needing to be imposed because teachers can’t be trusted to do the right thing….

What a spot we are in. Social democracy is a more fragile thing than we might suppose. The Orwellian characteristics of the current control over schools are ominous. There is the rushed legislation, the lying, the scapegoating, the puppet advisory groups, the bent reporting of the review office, the bullying over charters and statutory interventions, the bent behaviour of the ministry, the stifling of universities, the lack of variety in the professional development, the industrialisation and narrowing of the curriculum, and to finish it off, a compliant, facile media.”

“Would someone remind me what the initial education problem was?”

______________________________________________________________________________

Thank you, Kelvin Smythe. You are, truly, an inspiration.  Please read the whole article. 

It’s election time in New Zealand, isn’t it? Will any opposition party carry on like this if one of them takes over!?  [We’ll be asking this same question in Australia in a little while.]

______________________________________________________________________________

   Other Treehorns ? :   Check Recent Posts and Archives in the sidebar.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

A parent answers: Are Parents Allies or Not?

 The Treehorn Express 

Treehorn story?  http://primaryschooling.net?page_id=1924

Theme Song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQj-6F7yPM8

The Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australia.  Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which uses the blanket-testing ‘wmd’ called NAPLAN [its only learning-motivational weapon] to destroy the  reputation of teachers and schools. This weapon was forced on schools in Australia in 2009. It separates ‘haves’ from ‘have nots’ and opens the door for mega-bank-rolling by known curriculum vandals for control of school-based learning. It disrespects school pupils, devalues teachers’ professionalism, threatens Australia’s developmental future and is just no good.  Politely described, it stinks. Although some ‘education’ groups support it, ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, unprofessional, politically driven, unrequested by the profession, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, wasteful and divisive. It has a background of malicious intent.

IT WILL REMAIN UNTIL ENOUGH GOOD PEOPLE SAY “STOP IT”.

For further information, click on the official description http://www.nap.edu.au/information/FAQs/index.html  Get it?

______________________________________________________________________________

 A PARENT ANSWERS –

ARE THEY ALLIES OR NOT?

This response from Ken Woolford from Toowoomba is a powerful statement.  It is such a pity that  the The Treehorn Express has such a limited clientele [about 150 includling participating hubs]. This is a message from a parent for all to take notice. If this message does not hit home….there’s little hope for kids and their learning.

 Ken Woolford Responds:

I read Les Treichel’s contribution in your last Treehorn and was most impressed by his awareness of the need for parental involvement in any efforts to diminish the negative impact of Naplan type testing. It is gratifying that educators are appreciative of the need for parents to spearhead any resistance. The questions raised by Les do, however, require some comment regarding parents and their current standing within the education culture as it exists in Queensland.

To appreciate where parents might be positioned  in relation to resisting the idea of Naplan type testing it seems reasonable to review how parents are perceived within the structure of the education hierarchy of Queensland.  My own research in the nineties indicated that both parents and teachers preferred that parents’ involvement in schools be focused on meaningful activities in the classrooms. When I discussed my findings with groups of teachers some were angry that any parents would be allowed in the classroom. How many teachers would welcome parents into the classroom as educational partners? How many teachers take seriously professional literature on the why and how of involving parents in the education of their children?  How many teachers would prefer that parents be ‘kept in their proper place’?

In 2006 Dr Kym Macfarlane published her PhD thesis “An Analysis of Parental Engagement in Contemporary Queensland Schooling”(QUT). I would recommend this as essential reading for anyone wanting a non-educator’s perspective of the depowering of Queensland parents by the Queensland Education Department.  Her insightful research and commentary paints a bleak picture of the long standing and ongoing policies employed by Education Queensland to ensure that parents’ input into the direction and content of their children’s  schooling be minimal while being represented as meaningful- that parents be ‘kept in their place”, but nicely so.

Naplan is an example of how Education Queensland has treated professional educators like dogs and parents like donkeys.  No parents were told that the tests were optional because no educators knew they were. I have spoken to scores of senior educators, principals and teachers over the last ten years – not one of whom knew the tests were optional. I found this incredible. Dishonesty permeated the whole department. The so called ‘leaders’ were put on a leash and taught to bark at anyone who questioned policy. The parents were convinced that questioning of policies would only show how ignorant they were. Condescension oozed through the system to the parent body.

That educators would now call for parents to take the lead in opposing any government educational policies (let alone Naplan) could be seen as rather hypocritical when it would seem that the professional educational body as a whole has (a) damaged its credibility through its acceptance of unprofessional policies and (b) cooperated in the isolation and depowering of parents over the recent decades. This last point is an important one, and again I urge educators to read Dr Macfarlane’s thesis before assuming they know what and how parents feel regarding their allotted portion of educational involvement. It has been shown that Queensland parents in the 80’s were misread by principals who assumed that because parents were not complaining  they were therefore completely supportive of their schools. As history taught us – this was not the case.(Please read “Back to Drastics”).

Parents today are more likely to be better educated, better read and wanting to be better appreciated. More often today, both parents see their involvement as crucial in the successful raising of a family. The nature of parenting has changed and is continuing to do so.

The homeschooling parents I have known and worked with have long questioned the purpose of schools. They realised the flaws within the concept of Naplan – and within many other school ‘traditions’- a long time ago. Indeed, they realised it back when ‘professionals’ were first saying that Naplan was not only important but compulsory. So they read the relevant educational literature and they asked questions until they reached the conclusion that the ‘professionals’ did not know what they were talking about. Then, because school staff would not listen to them (remember, officially parents are donkeys) they voted with their feet.

The teaching profession risks losing respect and credibility. It has  given in to government pressure (as did the unions) even though its professional compass tells it that Naplan – and other  educational ‘imperatives’ – have no sound educational bases to them.

Understandably, not many teachers feel they can vote with their feet. But some have. More will need to stand up and speak out if they are to win back the respect of many parents, let alone respect for themselves.

State and Federal governments have been depowering educators for decades. Parents have been ‘put in their place’ whenever they have tried to engage more meaningfully in the education of their children, or have questioned the professional benefit of some policies (one example being the internationally researched and proven pointlessness of homework, research which has made little  impression on schools).  If professional educators feel intimidated in the current climate , how much more so will most parents?

Now we have teachers as docile as puppies and school principals as nothing but government mouthpieces .

(“Increasingly in the UK, it seems, head teachers are being appointed on the basis of their willingness to simply obey orders and comply with meeting government targets and regardless of their lack of interpersonal skills or educational ability.” – from Bully onLine, website of the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line ).

Unions are compliant, and parents are isolated at the end of decades of deliberately fostered exclusion. And educators wonder why Naplan gets legs. Where are the parents? Right where the educational establishment has put them. Somewhere where they can’t be heard, let alone taken seriously. (Again -read Dr Macfarlane’s thesis).

Parents have been left to chose what all of Nature has had to chose for millions of years when environments turn hostile  – to move, adapt or die (MAD). Teachers have already decided to adapt (sadly most of the highly experienced classroom teachers I know have stayed on but ‘died’ professionally).

And so, to those educators who wonder what the parents can do – well just hope they are about to do what few have been brave enough to do so far. Hope that they are about to MOVE. To move away from the schools staffed by professional educators who have felt unable to lead them out of the culture of mindless bullying which has paralysed the educational community for the past decade and more.

And then, when and if the schools have emptied, perhaps professional educators will be brave enough to stick out their tongues at their ‘superiors’ and say “Told you so!” Perhaps they will even give the parents a little pat on the back.

____________________________________________________ Join:  http://www.unitedoptout.com

Click on: ‘A PARENT’S GUIDE TO STAKES TESTING IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS’

http://www.unitedoptout.com/?page_id=491

{Note 3 sections 1….destroys childhood; 2….destroys public schooling; 3….destroys children’s constitutional rights.}

THE FORCE –  ‘Let’s improve the scores’ – is coming to a school near you – soon.

For information on how to withdraw your child from high-stakes blanket testing, contact your Principal,

or just write,

“I don’t want my child to have anything to do with the NAPLAN stuff”.

That’s all.

____________________________________________________

Other Treehorns ?   Check Recent Posts and Archives in Sidebar.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net