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 some ‘pro-Julia education’ ethics-free associations 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.


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.




 Brendan Nelson [Lib] – GP

Kevin Rudd [ALP] – Public Servant

Julia Gillard [ALP] – Lawyer

Peter Garrett [ALP] – Singer

  Christopher Pyne [Lib] – Lawyer


Brendan thought that the idea of national testing would appeal to the top end of town and promised school ‘reform’. Kevin liked the idea and threatened the electorate with it as soon as he made the big-time, telling them to “…walk with their feet” if they didn’t like their school.  http://greenleft.org.au/node/40238   The totalitarian mode of delivery also appealed to his soul-mate, Julia the Minister and, in a ‘ruddy blush’ so to speak, happily  met a sweet talking American lawyer who used fascist-like fear tactics for a New York school district [since failed] using high stakes threats ; so she copied his ideas holus-bolus.

Peter follows dutifully and likes the job. These icons [not sure of Christopher Pyne – will he scrap NAPLAN? is he alert to its evil?] whom pro-naplanners follow without question or suggestion, believe that children learn best when they are afraid. Almost every school in Australia obeys these heroes. Yet – believe it –these political leaders, with scant classroom knowledge, prefer to allocate negative critical judgement to as many school tasks as possible, especially public schools. They like school buildings, but don’t seem to like children.

Bereft of any ethical child-care idealism, they force schools to be run by symbols and numbers. They have enormous power. Their followers, dispossessed of a professional conscience, are unwilling to provide any counter-weight for NAPLAN’s political-measurement excesses. Why? It seems, as Orwell says, “By lack of understanding they remain sane. They simply swallow everything and what they swallow does them no harm, because it leaves no residual behind, just as a grain of corn will pass through the body of a bird.” They are frightened witless.

All pro-naplanners and their heroes must, together, be looking forward to the near-future technology-packed classrooms, where love, personal engagement and encouragement, shared evaluation and pride in each achievement won’t exist; or will be minimalised. The stage is being set. It will be a relief for pro-naplanners. They wont have to think much about teaching and learning.


There are thousands of these true-blue educators – expert, child-centred, spunky commentators. Of course, they include every classroom teacher who tries to help children, with love and care, to learn how-to-learn despite the harassment + Allan Alach,  Robin Alexander, G.W.Bassett, Benjamin Bloom, Marion Brady, Sir Alec Clegg, Albert Cullum, John Dewey,Paolo Friere, John Goodlad, Bruce Hammonds, John Holt, Alfie Kohn, Maria Montessori, Jean Piaget, Postman & Weingartner, Diane Ravitch, Sir Ken Robinson, Kelvin Smythe…and thousands of other commentators who understand how children learn in classroom settings; and are prepared to profess it. Their views are readily available as a google consultation.  They are the true-blue heroes of children; there is no doubt.

The schooling world is changing and its sad future can be easily predicted. Mega-bucks rule. It would be really naive to think that the Murdoch-Klein combination, now spending billions on test preparation and digital instruction will not take over Australian schooling completely. Our schooling system now operates on the Klein philosophy as he and Julia G. publically confirm. It’s preparation time for almost 100% Murdoch-Klein tech-ed. Compliant suckers, victims of political bullying, have acquiesced and will follow them.

One can confidently expect that our classrooms will feature less human interaction and more computer interaction. Teacher training will not be required, except the study of how to select and direct digitised programs.  Rupert and Joel, however, will do most of this for them. Digitogy will replace pedagogy. Tests will be run more regularly, with direct connection to the Big Brothers of the world based in city offices.

There will be little need for teachers to possess a range of different teaching-learning techniques nor a repertoire of shared evaluation devices. Teacher training [for school authorities that subscribe to fear-based schooling] will not be necessary. Teaching-learning-based Principals are being made redundant in the UK  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-16050321  as of now. No need for the development of a wide range of teaching strategies as we have known them. Measurement Darleks will control the mechanics of the new order.

At the same time school authorities, such as Finland, that respect teaching expertise and share the pride in pupil achievement, have extended teacher preparation time [4-year Masters Degree] to include personal adjustment to the use of all teaching strategies from Maieutic to Didactic.   Such authorities believe that children achieve better as they enjoy duress-free learning throughout the school year under the pupilling of well-trained teachers; the opposite of Klein-based scare-ridden mid-year annual blanket testing. Finland and other advanced, thoughtful countries have proved that it works better.

Australia ignores any dialogue about such a system and its near alternatives, even though open discussion is critical. It is forbidden. We seem to be stuck with Klein-based schooling. We don’t seem to want to share achievements with parents and pupils at the point of learning.


It’s getting very late for the guardians of our children’s schooling to stand up as a coordinated group to the bullies. Principals need to be judged by the public on their willingness to stand up for Principal’s principles. Allowing for fear to become the engine for pupil achievements is dastardly. It is outragious,  unethical behaviour. It is likely that, by allowing political/measurement miscreants to interfere with a child’s rights to freedom and dignity in the school context, they are party to a breach of the “Declaration of the Rights of the Child” by allowing such non-school manipulators to interfere with a child ‘to develop physically, mentally. morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity.”

See DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD    http://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/humanrights/resources/child.asp

As one Primary Principal asks on his school-site : “Where are we heading and what have we lost to get there?’ There is little doubt that individual Principals need to state their feelings, principles and beliefs to their clients – the parents and their children – clearly and forthrightly. The vehicle for doing this is their school’s website. Their views need to be stated in large font and with passion if they believe in the dignity of their pupils. If they care little about their pupils, they will follow the child- lynching mob and use instruments of child torture such as high stakes blanket testing.

Why do some need to be so toady and  tell people that they are not allowed to do this? In a democratic society such statements cannot apply. Why not borrow a leaf from some true-blue  child focussed, curriculum concerned Principals who share their views with the world.  Check, for instance http://www.networkonnet.co.nz/index.php?section=latest&id=369 or http://www.stpatsprincipal.blogspot.com

Paul Thomson of the highly regarded learning-charged Kimberley College http://kimberley.org says it with clear conviction.

“The wrong people are now in charge of the education future of our children. Politicians, in response to the demands of the Murdoch press, are implementing practices that are known to retard the growth of children. ‘Naplan’ national testing is based on a fraudulent set of figures concocted by the New York school system and the national system is a disaster. Its time for teachers and principals to take back control.”

Telling the Truth 101


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

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443



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