Listening to Others

The Treehorn Express

 Proudly prepared and presented by Phil Cullen anti-NAPLAN geriactivist thinking of kids.

Treehorn story?

The Treehorn Express Theme song: ‘Care for Kids’


April 11



Listening to Others

To whom do we listen ?

Julia listened only to Joel. Now we have his/her army of drill-and-kill adherents working in Australian schools, supported by the Great Silence, removing all the joy that kids used to believe is part of learning. The kids in Years 3,5,7,9 have to wait until May 18 for some respite. It should feel like a public holiday for them then. Learning will resume soon after.

We are a Yank-happy lot. Next gimmick on the agenda to copy is sure to be Charter Schools. America, home of the free and the brave has been proud to have an almost pure public school system for 136 years, until now. Some states [e.g. California] would now like to copy the Brits who have ‘proper’ schools for rich kids. New Zealand, also strong on the provision of pubic education, historically, has led the world in a variety of schooling enterprises and achievements; and is now copy-catting Yank ideas for no good reason. Charter schools now, VAM next. Suicidal. NZ was a beacon to the world in so many ways.  It’s just so sad.

Australia has become chock-full of gimmickry. Instead of having a system of compulsory schooling that starts in Year 1 and finishes in Year 12; with seven years of primary schooling and five years of secondary schooling, and concentrating on helping our future citizens to develop their abilities to the utmost within that structure, we fiddle. We fiddle with the start of school and the middle as if we have never known what we are doing to children, as if we have never been to school and as if we have never had anything to do with helping children to learn. Our politicians think that people will vote for them because our leaders appear to know what they are doing……and really have no idea.  Australian schooling is reaching the upper limits of craziness.

We antipodean colonialists don’t seem to know what to do, so we copy anything…anything. We need to be told what to do, it seems,  We’ll copy anything that is packaged in the U.S.A. and controlled by the mega-rich who can make more money from what kids do at school than they have ever done. That’s the new big feature of schooling in the U.S.A. and its satellites. It generates mega-bucks. There’s little concern for kids in the test-based equation.


G.E.R.M [Global Education Reform Movement]

“The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry. to down dissent and originality. That is the aim of the United States [AND AUSTRALIA] whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else…Their purpose, in brief, is to make docile and patriotic citizens, to pile up majorities and to make John Doe and Richard Doe as nearly alike as possible.”

Australia is now a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool GERM country [See The Treehorn Express 19 Dec.2010], one that believes in


Testing core subjects only


Pre-test school panic

Ranting a variety of gimmicks

Adopting educational reform ideas from the corporate world

Hiring non-school experts as leaders

It is almost the opposite of what was envisaged round about 1979 when Australia was singing ‘Care for Kids’ during the International Year of the Child. Click above. If Australian teachers and parents had had, then, the political support to encourage broad and creative learning, to build on the vision of what a good education system looked like, using educational leaders who had been there, done that we would now be far ahead of most other countries, including Finland.



Shouldn’t our Australian Teachers’ Unions and Professional Associations establish a fund to send Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne to Finland for a week or two?  How soon?


Readings :

1. The practising epidemic is much wider than I had thought. Trevor Cobbalt [10 April 2012] :-  Open  Then ‘Students Face NAPLAN Test Barrage’  . {I’m quoted as saying:”Practising is not teaching. It is big-time cheating when the original schooling concept of teaching a full curriculum to all, using pedagogically useful syllabuses and time allocations based on society’s view of their importance, is fiddled with for nefarious reasons…publishers’ profits and political bloody-mindedness. A balanced time table, related to child growth and development, is a critical schooling issue. } I repeat.

2. Marion Brady [a Treehorn Express reader] reported a story in the Washington Post of a person with a bachelor and two masters degrees who failed Year 10 Maths & Reading Tests. The story spread, and Mackenzie Ryan of Florida Today writes:

3. Tony and Christopher might like to read this before they head for Finland. ‘How Finnish Schools Shine’  is a report in the UK’s Guardian


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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