Towards Digigogy

 The Treehorn Express

Treehorn?     Theme song:


Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australian.   Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which  uses the blanket testing ‘wmd’ called NAPLAN to destroy the reputation of  public schooling.      This weapon was introduced to schools in Australia in 2009. It disrespects children, devalues teachers’ professionalism and threatens the developmental future of Australia.     Ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, politically driven, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, unprofessional, interruptive and very divisive. It is clearly aimed in a malicious manner  at public schooling and its teachers.  It also strives for mandated, standardised mediocre achievements in only a very few aspects of a full school curriculum in all schools.  It will survive until enough good people say, “Stop it.”

Click on the Naplan site for more details :



Our young Treehorns need you. Why are you neglecting their plight?



This is a posting on Bruce Hammonds’ leading-learning site by Allan Alach, a New Zealand primary school principal who reads in his sleep. He must; he reads so much. Actually, he has been blessed with quick-reading and high-absorption skills and shares his readings and knowledge generously.  Dedicated readers of The Treehorn Express are all professionally richer for having access to his advice and readings.

In this article he raises an issue that professional, teacher-industrial and subject associations everywhere need to regard very, very seriously. How do school leaders handle top-down cunning and secrecy? Allan indicates that New Zealand’s digitised politico-bureaucrats are preparing to institute computer programs that will enable tests and examinations to be delivered online, with results recorded and scores assigned without ‘interference’ from a teacher. This classroom intrusion is likely to be introduced in  other formerly-democratic countries….especially not-much-interested-in-schooling-Australia. It is a first step for the flood of other technologies.

Such technologies set the stage for Rupert Murdoch’s grand design and the development of digigogy [Rick Ogston].


This is an article that deals with the issue of responsibility, that needs vast and intense discussion…the responsibility of caring for our children’s learning development…trained school teachers or corporations’ machines.

“The debate…is really about fundamental ideological differences over how traditionally-public institutions ought to be run and who ought to be responsible for nurturing the nation students: publically run schools accountable to voters and their communities or private companies accountable to their shareholders. says author Julianne Hing.

Few adults want to acknowledge that, pre-May each year, Australian schools are forced to operate under a fear-driven, concentration-camp style of schooling.  Adults prefer to take no notice. If they are schoolies, they favour waiting for the evil to go away and, in the meantime, just do as they are told.

That’s why Rupert has spent $500 billion on the development of digital schooling. He is no fool  and understands the market place.  He will have his way, world-wide for sure. He will make the most of our timidity and tell the politicians what he wants.

As his mate Gordon Gekko said,

“ I own. We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick the rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it. Now you’re not naive enough to think that we live in a democracy, are you buddy? And you’re part of it. Stick around pal. I’ve still got a lot to teach you.”

A perspicacious sixteen-year old high-schooler reacts to ‘who does what to whom”’, on with

“The education system really sucks. We continue to toil in a 19th century factory-based model of education, stressing conformity and standardization. This is all true even though globalization has transformed the world we live in, flipping the status quo of the labor market upside down. The education  system has miserably failed in creating students that have the dexterity to think creatively and critically, work collaboratively, and communicate their thoughts.

Over the past decade, when government has tried to muddle its way through education, it has gotten fairly ugly. President Bush passed No Child Left Behind and President Obama passed Race to the Top, infatuating our schools with a culture of fill-in-the-bubble tests and drill-and-kill teaching methods. Schools were transformed into test-preparation factories and the process of memorization and regurgitation hijacked classroom learning.”

This lad is writing a book on schooling. It should be interesting.

This student’s crowd-rallying counterparts in his and other countries are concerned about the future, especially the privatisation of schooling. Under existing circumstances, private schooling can be a very profitable and privileged enterprise.

If you read Trevor Cobbald’s  Government Largesse of $6 million for Geelong Grammar on you will see that the annual fees for Geelong Grammar, which“…serves some of the wealthiest families in Australia have risen to $30,000 for 2012” while neighbouring schools that serve severely disadvantaged families struggle to survive.

This government enlargement of the gap between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ has led to wild re-action in other places. If you bother to read make sure that you view the video clip towards the end. The high-schoolers are serious.

They’re asking big questions about their futures at school, these young folk. Private? Public? Privileged? Learning-based? Test-based? Laissez faire? Narrow curriculum? Diverse learning choices? Face-to-face? Face-to-laptop? Measureable subjects? Learning attitude? Learning-to-learn?  Learning facts? Creativity? Social attitudes?

We are muddling through the greatest schooling revolution in world history – no doubt – and we can’t even handle the basics; like helping teachers to teach better, without threat or stress. We can’t sort out the proper years of compulsory school, the best age to start formal schooling, whether to have a rigid or advisory curriculum, who supplies the curriculum…so many basics. Adults, especially teachers and parents, don’t really worry too much about these things.

All of the pain and heartache related to testing could have been prevented in Australia if our schools and/or their representatives had just told the great Julia to jump in the lake when she sought their support for fear-based schooling. They were conned, and it will take a decade or two to tidy up the mess, which will be compounded, big time, by this onslaught of digitized schooling. We don’t even know what we want for our schools now; and we are on the threshold of a new era!

As Alfie Kohn says on “What troubles me is the rarity of discussion, the absence of questioning, the tendency to offer instructions about how to teach to the standardised tests, before we have ever asked whether doing so is a sound idea.”

Amen, Alfie. Onya.


No apologies for the time that it will take to read through this and associated articles.

The issues  need dedicated thought…..NOW.


Another Fantasy 

In the previous issue of Treehorn I fantasied about the progress that Australia would have made if a boffin was appointed [as is our wont] to control Australian schooling; one who had an intense background in the study of classroom interaction instead of in testing.

This time I should like to share another fantasy.  Supposing that Andrew Wilkie, MHR decided that he wanted Parliament to get rid of the immoral, destructive NAPLAN blanket testing. Wouldn’t he save years of enormous personal distress to pupils, parents and teachers and open up for discourse, on which way we want our country to go….before the next elections.  Schooling and Testing would make Page1.


Re-form  Compulsory  Schooling.

Start at the classroom.


 Like to check the recent ‘Treehorns’ ?    Click on Recent Posts and Archives.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443


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