The Treehorn Express
Treehorn story? http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/print.asp?article=11697
The Treehorn Express Theme song: ‘Care for Kids’
READINGS FOR BUSY PEOPLE
Articles have been pouring in from some wonderful people who care for kids. I can pass on only some of them. Thanks to Allan Alach in particular.
Only busy people find time to extend their professional reading, so this is for them. Some of us can catch as catch can. Others? Who cares? They shouldn’t be in the job, right?
The more one reads and views, though, the more difficult it becomes to understand why some many teachers, principals and others, who call themselves educators of some sort, can remain so silent, docile and inactive while their pupils and fellow teachers are treated so badly. Politicians must be so happy that so many schoolies remain medusan and docile, especially at election time. Wouldn’t there be a great spill if all teachers, their family and friends had something to say about NAPLAN and VAM at this time [the pre-test chaotic period] and they all refused to vote for any candidate who supported the ‘data-driven drivel’. One should live so long! In the meantime, I commend the following short articles and video clips.
[To think that VAM, the final insult to professional ethics was even considered by some dim-witted politicians! Is there no professional teaching bodies in Australia who can say ‘NO’?]
SCHOOL REFORM IS EDUCATIONAL REAGANOMICS
This thought-provoking article suggests : “People in business know better than anyone the types of jobs that will be around in the future. The fact that they are stressing bubble-in in exams, rote online learning programs and a docile work force is a glimpse…jobs that are low skilled, low paying and unimaginative, the types of jobs where workers are interchangeable and replaceable. It is their imperative that they deskill and devalue the teaching profession so that the workers of tomorrow do not have any role models with the ability or capacity to speak freely.”
THE PRINCIPAL’S ROLE IN TEACHER EVALUATION
Author principal Phil Weinberg says: “We principals are part of the problem. Not because we have promoted the use of hard-data, but because we have allowed our attention to stray from our chief job of promoting professional growth, training staff, creating community and defining what quality teaching and learning look like in our school.”
YES. I REALLY MEAN IT
Lisa Cooley suggests: “Kids’ natural desire to learn is their most powerful tool. The best way to shut it down is to make kids learn stuff that they don’t care about.”
WHY WOULD ANY SANE PERSON WANT TO TEACH?
A feature of the previous Treehorn, it’s worth repeating Steve Nelson’s question. It is so important. While Finland puts the teaching profession above that of medicine, law and other former high-status professions, Australia is deliberately downgrading and devaluing it….and with departmental and organisational support. An inevitable outcome of the political domination of this worthy and most important profession is lower order candidates in the future who cannot see the unworthiness of succumbing to the likes of NAPLAN and VAM, and of ignoring the value of children’s instinct to want to learn more.
‘THE GREATEST REVOLUTION TO HIT NSW IN 50 YEARS’
said the greatest Minister, Adrian Piccoli. NSW will judge teaching performance by numbers about those who can practise test papers better than others, while corralled in a small yard where they are autonomous as long as they don’t exert an professional candour. This meadow mayonnaise from the NSW Minister of Education is really mushy. How, though, could things have possibly got this far without the support of professional quislings?
VAMS: BUILDING A NEW SOCIAL ORDER
Tim Sleker presents a view of political control over social order. The domination of the teaching force is a key requisite. The author cites three political imperatives : 1. Controlling the curriculum; 2. Controlling the working conditions; 3. Controlling teacher behaviour.
PUBLIC EDUCATION, PRIVATIZATION & PROFESSIONALISM
Dr Diane Ravitch, who used to support blanket testing in schools [we’ve all made that mistake] when she was up there with the super-educrats, speaks to a Californian Teachers’ Association conference in the Bay Area of San Francisco in January. Just listen to her for a few minutes….
CHARTER SCHOOLS NOT A GOOD ADVERT FOR SCHOOL AUTONOMY
Trevor Cobbalt of the Australian Save Our Schools organisation provides compelling statistics and reasons for caution if your authority ever considers the establishment of charter schools.
STANDARDIZED TESTS WITH HIGH STAKES ARE BAD FOR LEARNING, STUDIES SHOW
Carolyn J. Heinrich, management researcher professor from the U. of Texas, provides some revealing evidence that our NAPLANs and other kinds of blanket testing are actually detrimental.
‘HIGH STAKES’ ASSESSMENTS FAIL TO DELIVER’
Our own Aussie Professor Margaret Wu joins with more evidence of high stakes uselessness.
‘BRIGHT STUDENTS CAN’T WRITE ESSAYS’ SAY CAMBRIDGE DONS
Some print-journalists, radio talk-back contributors and TV commentators on talk-shows support NAPLAN because they say it makes the schooling system transparent…as if they’d learn all about teaching and learning and achievement in a school by reading the MySchool results. True. I’ve heard some politicians say this and they are supposed to know better.
In a summary of power-point pieces from a Professor Margaret Wu presentation, Bruce Hammonds of http://leading-learning.blogspot.com.au/ lists Prof.Wu’s summary, reshaped….
1. Teachers and school accountability cannot be measured by student achievement results.
2, There is no validity in linking student results to teacher effectiveness.
Given – a lack of validity in student assessment data;
– a lack of reliability in students assessment data;
– common misinterpretation of data
…is the publication of student assessment data really transparent?
The publication of student assessment data is to mislead the public….and that is NOT transparency.
Professor Ken Robinson’s presentation returns, because it says things that we ought to be able to repeat to our school parents and groups. The world-wide reform movement [called GERM in many places] has two purposes, he says : economic and cultural; and he exposes some myths behind our efforts to improve both by ‘reforming’ them. He says that “…there are millions of kids who cannot see a purpose in going to school” and so he goes… It’s wonderful stuff, isn’t it?
There’s more reading to come because there seems to be a lot of healthy GERM control out there.
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.
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