Random Readings for the Busy

 The Treehorn Express

Treehorn story? http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/print.asp?article=11697

The Treehorn Express Theme song: ‘Care for Kids’

Random Readings

If one was ever asked to recommend two of  the most  important statements about schooling for these troubled times, I should like to recommend…

  1.  The Cambridge Primary Review Routledge 2009 {Robin Alexander} – CHILDREN. THEIR WORLD, THEIR EDUCATION:  The most comprehensive report into English Primary Education for 40 years.
  2. The Experience of Education The Whitlam Institute 2012 {Prof. John Polesi, Ms Nicky Dulfer, Dr. Malcolm Turnbull} – THE EXPERIENCE OF EDUCATION: The impacts of high stakes testing on school students and their families.

If Julia and her cronies bothered to read [them], there would be no NAPLAN blanket testing in Australia. We’d all be too scared stiff to introduce it; and, worse, to maintain it.

If you have access to your school’s professional library, ask the Principal if you can read them. If you care for kids, you will not be sorry.

Articles by child-oriented academics and journalists as well as those who are seriously concerned for school children are increasing at a fast rate. The end of NAPLAN is in sight. There are so many sent to The Treehorn Express that they are difficult to handle. Apologies for those who have sent along some references that I have not used. I’ve done a selection for those who care for kids, like yourself. The Julian ‘cruel to kids’ mob; those  silent, politically supportive dyslexics, will not be interested, I guess. Maybe, they’ll change! There’s hope. Diane Ravitch turned a 180; so did I. I used to love heaps of tests. [I’ve been there, done that.] I now despise blanket testing with a passion. It’s so cruel and dysfunctional.


Jonathan Ross [USC] : Frederick Taylor in the Classroom This six-page article indicates that the forms of Taylorism [introduced to Australia about 1990 by the influential managerial theorists; devoid of any understanding of human behaviour, but claiming that they knew it all] has reshaped the structure of American education. The abstract says. “By requiring the use of multiple-choice, standardized testing for assessment purposes, the federal and state governments are intruding upon the prerogative of teachers to teach what they want in the manner they see fit. These requirements echo the attempts of Frederick Taylor and other practitioners of what Taylor called ‘scientific management’ to control industrial workers around the turn of the Twentieth Century. Forcing teachers to address content that can be measured in standardized tests and to avoid more analytical material hinders learning. Doing so also devalues the profession of teaching in the same way that scientific management devalued the role of skilled craft workers in American factories.”


ABC Lateline – 28-02-2012. Transcript: Highly Educated Teachers the Key to Success. This interview with Pasi Sahlberg, Director-General of the world’s leading education system [Finland] includes some penetrating questions from Emma Alberica. For example “You’ve spent some time in Australia now. What do you think are the most striking differences?”

Answer: “Well, I think you have a very different approach to using …collecting data and using data and reporting the school’s success. In the Finnish system we are relying much more on teachers and the schools’ ability to report to parents and authorities how the schools are doing. I think the other thing is that we, in Finland, probably have much more confidence and trust in teachers’ and principals’ work, whereas here  I realise that you have probably much more…kind of a doubtful situation where, politicians and media and public is not so sure that the schools and teachers can do what they are supposed to do, and this is something that is a big difference between the two countries.”

E.A.: “You used the acronym GERM. What is this virus you refer to?”

Answer: “Well, this Global Educational Reform Movement is a way of thinking about reforming education that is based on ideas of competition, choice, accountability, testing . In other words, all these market-based ideas of running the education system. I’m using this term GERM, because I have    found that the Finnish way of building good education system is not only different from GERM, but it is almost the opposing way of building education policies and reforms.”


The Assailed Teacher 24-02-2012 The Next Teacher Strike The author really calls for a Movement: “teachers, administrators, parents and students ….an eruption of all the people that Bloomberg [New York Mayor = J.G., Australian PM]tried to suppress…must hit back and hit hard .”

Testing looms over the heads of students and teachers as a weapon used by people who know absolutely nothing about education to destroy schools.

There’s chaos. Every student does not have the same needs. We need diversity in educational options and standardized tests is not part of that. Our students aren’t standard. They are varied.”


Going Public 22-02-2012 Get Up, Stand Up, Be The Change You Want to See  This article opens with the foreboding statement of Pastor Martin Niemuller, “First they came for the…” of Gestapo times. It’s a short article that tenders good advice on what we can do to stand up to the children’s tyrants.  “The tests drive the curriculum. If children take the same tests, then all  they need to have is the same curriculum. Teachers, you know better! You know the danger that lurks behind those dictates. You know that children learn at different rates, that they have different interests, come with different skills…”  The article finishes with four worthy pieces of advice, the first few words of each read:

1. Encourage every teacher you know to get onto Facebook.

   2. Read blogs.

   3. Be the change you want to see.

   4. Show up.”     



Treehorn Readers’ Comments

Bruce J to his local member: “I have great concern for the children who are enduring the eternal need to test and practise and test and practise the tests and to test again for NAPLAN. I have ten 

grand-children and see the waste of resources and time the regime has imposed on them, robbing them of more meaningful and constructive learning opportunities. When Anna gave the green light for test practising she certainly opened the floodgates and should have realised that it’s just another name for cheating, and boredom and waste of valuable learning time for enquiring minds. Do any teachers or principals ever express their concern for the regime NAPLAN has imposed on learning?”

John S-S in https://treehornexpress.wordpress.com comments: “Reading this sad account of the degradation of public education by conservative politicians, especially in the US, you might imagine that it couldn’t get much worse. Well brace yourselves, the New York Public Education System has reached a new low: If any of its professional victims – the teachers trying to educate children under its hellish regime – fail to achieve acceptable test scores for their classes, they will now be named and shamed in newspapers!…..

You’d think our Prime Minister and former Education Minister, Julia Gillard, would have picked a better performing country to follow than the US, which is already behind our standard, and by every indication seems determined to fall even further behind. Oh, that’s right, she’s a lawyer by training. Sadly, just changing to a Liberal Government led by Tony Abbott will not result in a reversal of this lunatic trend in Australia. If anything, it is likely to get worse.”

Ken W : “ A primary teacher friend showed me the weekly teaching format now being imposed on her and her colleagues by Edn Qld. It’s as if she was a new graduate.

Also, I met another colleague who had been told by the union organiser that NAPLAN was definitely compulsory.   [!!!!]

I also watched a State School principal tremble as he talked on Ed Qld and the testing regime being imposed. He told his teachers that NAPLAN results were to be regarded as of higher value than their personal assessments of children.

So misinformation is rife.

It’s up to parents etc to start annoying local members’ wives.


If you have 4 minutes 17 seconds to spare from your busy schedule, click on the theme song “Care for Kids” above, relax and ‘take in’ the words. Meditate on the plight of today’s generation of Aussie kids.

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

Maintained by outstanding NZ educator, Allan Alach

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443




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