Save Us All. Save Australia

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 12


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Save Our Schools. Save Us All. Save  Australia.

Save Our Schools publishes an occasional document, usually written by Trevor Cobbold the National Convenor. His latest production Students Face NAPLAN Test Barrage was so revealing. I’m not usually shocked by the stories of what NAPLAN is doing to learning habits in our schools; but I truly did not anticipate the extent of the cheat-practice tactics that schools in Australia are presently undertaking. I was truly amazed at the volume and, as a geriactive dedicated primary schoolie, scandalized. “We don’t do those sorts of things to our children. Do we? Parents trust us to teach them properly.”  Surely.

Did you click and read all of the highlights in the SOS document available on ?

Please do so, now….again.  You will be amazed, surprised and disappointed….. but I hasten to add that I fully understand why. Totalitarian governments do this to people; and their storm troopers in positions of power and control are relentless; and our elected representatives feign innocence and naivety and concern. What notice needs to be taken of schools, parents and teachers when they are so easily controlled?

Teachers who are proud of their caring, pupilling role are blameless. While one waits for them to say something, one appreciates that the pressure on them to obey is heavier than any other elite professional has ever had to tolerate. Can one imagine a collectivity of lawyers, doctors, academics tolerating the political/managerial bullying that is part of NAPLAN?  Teaching is, or was and should be a very proud profession. However, in Australia, the superordinate protectors of professional ethics seem to have lost the plot; and classroom teachers are left confused, helpless and lonely. The general claim to professionalism is dwindling while its ethics are so maltreated.

I was quoted in the SOS article from what I had said in an OLO article. I’d like to repeat it and repeat it and highlight it and highlight it..

Practising is not teaching. It is big-time cheating, because the fundamental

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.

It should not be compromised. Each hour at school needs to be well  spent. There are never enough hours to do what has to be done. A well-balanced school time-table is so important.

If a government wants test scores to improve, then they will encourage schools to spend as much time as possible on practice testing to the detriment of each school’s curriculum time-table….aka cheating. The government, in effect, takes over the teaching program almost entirely.   If it believed in pure, transparent and accurate evaluation of pupil efforts that is directed towards high achievement and wanted teachers to make pupilling decisions that will improve such achievement, it would help teachers and pupils to incorporate evaluation into the parent/teacher/pupil – teaching/learning act. Beyond its ken?

The Australian government, as an adherent of the GERM culture,  shows its contempt for its teachers, school programs and school children by ignoring productive evaluation techniques and doing what it does….organising and controlling each school’s  teaching program from its measurement centre [in Canberra or Melbourne or wherever it is]. Such totalitarian actions are politically and publically immoral. That’s clear.

Do you know any Australian politician who cares enough about school children to take an interest in the effects of NAPLAN ?  What is her/his name?  I’d really like to mention and applaud the person in Treehorn.

If I don’t receive a name, can I conclude that there is no politician, known to about 130 Australian educators [who receive Treehorn], who takes an active interest in NAPLAN?  None on my list of politicians who were asked the direct question “Would you vote to have NAPLAN banned?” has responded. Okay. Elections are about 18 months away. Teachers have good memories.


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

Thanks to daughter, Michele, for the cartoon and the term ‘geriactivist’.


One thought on “Save Us All. Save Australia

  1. I reget the fact that Australian teachers seem to be ‘blissfully’ unaware of what is happening to them. Don’t we have a national union of teachers who would mount a campaign to defend education, or have they sold out to the Labor Government as well?
    I can remember when teaching was ‘just a job’ to me. It was a
    transition that happened almost unnoticed between the time when I entered the profession in the early 70s excited by the prospect of participating in a real ‘education revolution’ (even the term seems tainted now). I recall the enthusiasm with which we Queensland Secondary School teachers approached our new status as independant professional educators charged with developing and delivering our own curriculum, including the creation of an ongoing developmental testing regime tailored to the students in our classes – two years to measure learning progress and outcomes instead of a summative test set by people who’d never met my students, or who had no knowledge or interest in what we had actually learned throughout the course.
    As time went by, review after review of our radical school based assessment program saw it drift into senescence. We could have done more, but I recall being discouraged from trying to raise standards of accountability and comparability because there was ‘no money in the budget’ to pay for proper monitoring. Instead of inspiring the ‘big’ states, NSW and Victoria to move in a similar direction, we saw our independence eroded by the imposition of ASAT and QCS blanket testing regimes.
    Meanwhile in Finland, a determined and independant professional development program saw their mediocre school system achieve stellar results in the PISA tests of literacy numeracy and science for 15 year olds. Incredibly, the tale of the Finnish Education revolution reads like the early part of my own experience in Queensland, but instead of reaping the benefits of a strong professional and equitable state education system, Queensland has fallen into step with the lowest common denominator, and is now racing to the bottom.
    I recall that somewhere the cynical attitude of my masters in Ed Queensland began to become reflected in my approach to my work. If I was to be repremanded for ‘trying too hard’ to achieve quality control, I would just become a clock watcher. So began a steady decline into cynical indifference, inspired by the model provided by my employer. I particularly recall the announcement that Ed Qld ‘valued innovation and experimentation in teaching practices in the classroom, but if your experiment went wrong, you were on your own’. The department would disown you.
    It was only when I was given charge of the ‘unteachable’ students, kept on the rolls only for the purpose of keeping up the numbers, that I learned to love learning again and more importantly the learners themselves.
    Let us hope the present generation of teachers finds some backbone before it is too late.

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