Dear Julia & Peter

 The Treehorn Express 

Treehorn story?

Theme Song:

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. 


For further information, click on the official description  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:-

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

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