News Ltd. does it.

  The Treehorn Express 

Treehorn story?

The Treehorn Express Theme song: ‘Care for Kids’

The Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN blanket testing in Australia.  Our recently introduced Australian schooling system is based on one introduced to a New York school district by a lawyer, Joel Klein. in 2002 and copied by Australia’s Ms. Gillard in 2009, without consultation or examination. Now, the key-stone for Australian schooling is the administration of blanket testing of some measureable items for each child every second year, in May. Upon the results, teacher, principals and schools are judged and rated.

Mr Klein, the founder, now heads the Murdoch test-publishing company worth billions!  Australian test-freaks are amongst his disciples.

Why have it? Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which separates ‘haves’ from ‘have nots’ and opens the door for mega-bank-rolling by known curriculum vandals for control of school-based learning. That’s why it exists.

It disrespects school pupils, devalues teachers’ professionalism, forces States to prescribe school texts and teaching strategies, threatens Australia’s future and rivals the Perth Mint as a money source for the top end of town. 

Why does Australia support it? Why? Money. 

____Little Treehorn and his cobbers reckon that “Adults just don’t care about school kids.”  You don’t?___ 


Rupert Murdoch will be pleased. One of his colonial possessions has taken the initiative and is about to expose the dreadful state of schools in the the state of Queensland, Australia. It makes his own task so much easier. While school authorities in the USA are pleading: ”Release our schools from the control of  Rupert Murdoch.”, the Courier Mail [Friday, 27 Jan.] headlines “Good and bad of our education revealed”.

Go Rupert and Joel. Your troops are loyal.

The article forewarns: “Individual school-by-school marks will be revealed after a six-month battle by this paper for the results” in tomorrow’s issue. It says that the State Government has carried out ‘audits benchmarking all of its schools’ and supplied the material to the newspaper. That should earn the government’s  candidates thousands of more votes from the teaching/parent fraternity at the coming elections!

“Revealing school marks” will be about as useful as revealing how many school children carry a hanky… but some people will make judgements about the worth of schools and praise the Naplan blanket testing system for revealing such profound information. Families will be packing to head for Wonga Beach [as Kevin Rudd advised parents to ‘walk to another school’], north of Cairns because the marks reveal that it was “one of three to achieve an outstanding rating for the ‘effective teaching categories’ practices category. The four-page lift-out in tomorrow’s C.M will cause a massive increase in daily circulation….and migration.

Comments from child-protecting agencies such as the Q’ld Council of P&Cs, the Q’ld Assocation of State School Principals, the Queensland Teachers Union, and all Independent School organisations will proffer their professional opinions  in subsequent papers; and they will be measured by the metre. Treehorn will be thrilled. He is being noticed.



Learning is different from such gathering of marks of a few school items. Their relationship is fragile.  Learning is an individual and personal matter. It is immoral for anyone beyond my child’s learning experiences to make judgements about the outcomes of his exchanges with me or his teacher. The evaluation of his efforts at school and at home is his business. I am very interested and so is his teacher, with whom I share his progress. IT IS NO ONE ELSE’S BUSINESS. I did not give permission to any group or politicians or measurers to mention my child’s effort within his class or school context. Leave him out of the numerals that are used to judge the learning experiences of his collectivity.  So there.


At the same time…

In the independent US press, Marion Brady, a frequent contributor to the Washington Post [not owned by Rupert] authored an article on Thursday, 26 January, the opening and closing paragraphs of which are repeated below. The full article is available on

It’s certainly worth reading.

“Education Reform: An Order-of-Magnitude Improvement.

Imagine the present corporately promoted education reform effort as a truck, its tyres flat from the weight of the many unexamined assumptions it carries.

On board: An assumption that…

  • punishment and rewards effectively motivate;
  • learning is hard, unpleasant work;
  • what the young need to know is some agreed-upon, standard body of knowledge;
  • doing more rigorously what we’ve always done will raise test scores;
  • teacher talk and textbook text can teach complex ideas;

Well you get the idea.

Misdiagnosing the Main Problem

Right now, the biggest, heaviest assumption on the reform truck has it that, when Common Core State Standards Initiative is complete – when someone has decided exactly what every kid is supposed to know in every school subject at every grade level – the education reform truck will take off like gangbusters.

It won’t. If all the reformers’ flawed assumptions are corrected, but the traditional math-science-language-arts-social-studies “core curriculum” remains the main organiser of knowledge, the truck may creep forward a few inches, but it won’t take the young where they need to go if they care about societal survival. The mess from this generation’s political paralysis and refusal to address looming problems can’t be cleaned up using the same education that helped create it.

What’s wrong with “the core”?

For its content to be processed, stored in memory, retrieved and combined in novel ways to create new knowledge, it would have to be well organised and integrated, It isn’t. It’s a confusing, random. overwhelming, intellectually unmanageable assortment of facts, specialised vocabularies, disconnected conceptual frameworks, and abstractions – the whole too far removed from life as the young live it for them to care about it.

So they don’t. They’re being blasted with information at fire-hose velocity. The diligent and the fearful store as much as they can in short-term memory, and when testing is over, their brains delete what’s considered clutter because it’s not immediately useful. The non-diligent and the cynical guess and/or cheat the answer sheets. The rest [and their numbers, understandingly, are steadily increasing] opt out of the trivia game, or are opted out by thought, caring parents.

CONCLUSION : On the Other Hand

When the CEOs and the politicians they’ve bought finish the simplistic “reform” they’ve started, when the claim that an order-of-magnitude improvement in learner intellectual performance has been dismissed as hyperbole, when all states have been pressured to adopt the Common Core Standards [aka National Curriculum] locking the knowledge-fragmenting subject-matter tests that can’t measure the quantities and quality of thought have been nationalised, and when the Standards and Testing Police are fully deployed and looking over every teacher’s shoulder, it’ll all be over. America and the nations that follow its lead in education [That’s us ] will face a dynamic world equipped with a static curriculum.

Catastrophe will be inevitable.”


  Come on folks. Get off the fence. Say something to somebody who might be able to help our kids.

Parents can stop the malignant practice by telling their school that they don’t want their children to contest NAPLAN.

Politicians can stop it if a few fair-dinkum Aussie ones stand up for Aussie kids in their Parliamentary Party Room.

Principals can stop it by refusing to have their professional ethics battered any more.

Teachers can stop it by saying ‘enough is enough’. We like our kids.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     OtherTreehorns ? :   Check Recent Posts and Archives in the sidebar.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443


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