Some Weekend Reading

The Treehorn Express

Prepared and presented by Phil Cullen,

proud anti-NAPLAN geriactivist thinking of kids.

  __________Hi EsteemedPolitician : Do you know what GERM is?________


Treehorn story?

The Treehorn Express Theme song: ‘Care for Kids’

April 20



Weekend Readings

Professor Mark Naison of Fordham Uni. says on Facebook : [Google]

“What is going on in public education in the U.S. is total and complete bull…t. It is straight out of ‘1984’ or some science fiction novel portraying a dystopia of mind-control and double-speak. The life is being squeezed out of teachers and children by relentless testing and evaluation, while everything that makes learning joyous is being marginalised and suppressed. If there is no revolt against this regime of obedience-training and rote learning. I fear for the future of this nation.”


Schools Matter – Professors Against High Stakes Testing

“Numerous studies document that the over-reliance on high-stakes testing bears adverse impact on student achievement….”

All That Testing is perverting public education

 “Standardized Testing in Houston’s public schools is…. [a] draining away much-needed resources;  [b] driving curriculum; [c] occupying about one-third of your child’s time in class; or [d] all of the above…..”213 school districts in Texas have signed a resolution declaring ‘standardized, high-stakes testing is strangling our public schools and undermining any chance that educators have to transform a traditional system of schooling into an educational opportunity that prepares our students to be competitive on the global stage.”

The Testing Games: How Our Youth are being put at Risk 

“Hunger Games and Testing Games dehumanize youth and use them to punish or reward states, schools and teachers. The Testing Games need to go. They need to be banned. Above all else, we need to take our children and youth out of harm’s way and stop this testing mania.

The Bully Politics of Education Reform

“To mask the bully culture of the U.S., bullying is confronted as a school-based problem among children…yet, the exact ruling class who denounces bullying among children are themselves bullies.”

Survey: Teachers Place Little Value on Standardized Tests. 

“Only 45 per cent of teachers think their students take standardized tests seriously or perform to the best of their ability on them.”

Too Many Tests Give Education System a Fail Mark 

“Saturation testing [in Australia] is seriously undermining the quality of primary school education and should be stopped immediately, parents and educators claimed yesterday.”

Quality Teaching : We’re Looking in the Wrong Places.

  “Many claim that the educational system is broken. But who is at fault here?…..Measuring doesn’t make the kid smarter, nor the cow fatter. and A teacher asks, “Tell me how you can examine my skills and talents and attribute worth to them without knowing me, my class, or my curriculum requirements.”

Is Real Educational Reform Possible? If so, How? 

“Children learn wonderfully without anyone systematically or deliberately teaching them, but yet, we adults do have or should have the responsibility of providing the conditions that allow children to take charge of their own learning. Real educational reform, in my view, is reform that provides those conditions.  The most important condition is freedom .”

Testing : How to Stop the Reign

 “Teachers. You are too good to revolt against the Caesars who rule education’s holy empire through fear….too patient….too battered….far too decent. You need to take control.

What Standardized Tests Should Assess

“No more multimillion dollar checks for tests, that no one but manufacturers are allowed to see. No more of the pass-fail tests, the scores of which can be raised and lowered to make political points. No more kids labelled and discarded,  every one with a brain wired to do all sorts of amazing things. If storing trivia in short-term memory doesn’t happen to be one of those things, that shouldn’t put them out of school and on the street.”

Shameful and Degrading Evaluation of Teachers by Politicians.–of-teachers-by-politicians 

“The proposals are full of shibboleths of current reform such as high quality standards, common standards, data systems, teacher evaluation and student test scores. When you read the proposal, you wonder if any of these people have a clue about effective learning and teaching.” [On the Australian scene, one wonders if teacher unions as well as principals’ and elite ‘education’ associations know enough about effective learning and teaching to support GERM as they do.]

Why we need to bring Creativity and Technology back across the Curriculum 

“This enforced separation of technical and creative teaching and learning is something I see a lot in schools. I make my living as a  den-maker – helping teachers morph dull classrooms into thrilling learning environments. Technology is essential to what I do, as important as the fabric, boxes, plastic hoops and giant envelopes I use……It’s this combination of low and high-tech resources that enables immersive learning to take place…..The key is integrating  technology and creativity.”

Better Ideas from Finland.

“Diane Ravitch gives three good reasons…First, Finland has one of the highest performing school systems in the world, as measured by PISA…. Second, from an American perspective, Finland is an alternative universe. It rejects all of the “reforms” currently popular n the US, such as testing, charter schools, vouchers, merit pay, competition, and evaluating teachers in  relation to the test scores of their student……Third, Finnish schools come closest to achieving equality of educational opportunity – An American ideal…… It’s way over time we got rid of the GERMs; we’re forty years behind already.”  Enjoy the trip, Tony and Chris.

Where are their Children?

 “For almost a decade teachers and many caring administrators have raised concerns over the negative effects high stakes testing is having on children; specifically given the perverse incentives that encourages practices that are in direct contrast to what we know  and what young people need, to thrive and engage in learning activities.”

Out-of-School Learning.

Home schooling is growing in popularity thanks, in part, to NAPLAN. This is a 2-minute teaser tailer for a forthcoming film :”Class Dismissed: A Film About Learning Outside the Classroom.” It points out that Home Schooling does not mean being stuck at home all the time, and acting as if it was a classroom. As John Settledge said, “The classroom  is out there. Get into it!”

Bryan Gould [N.Z.]: Free Market Economy Wrong:

   “…the most startling example of the Government’s keenness to use private business to pursue its objectives in every aspect of our national life is the decision to contract private firms to build, own and run publicly funded schools for our children….. The ‘charter’ school is. like a privately run prison, an example of a public/private partnership or PPP.”


Hang in there. There is more to come. You’ll breeze through them all easily. Each is short. Each is convincing [for most readers; anathema for the disinterested].  Thanks to Allan of Palmerston North for most of them, for Louise [Canberra], Mary [Brisbane]  and Mary E [Amsterdam] for the rest. Mary E claims that she is ‘not your average possibilitarian jedi’.    ??? Love it.


Louise tells me that Lorraine Wilson of Literacy Inquiry says that she has just bought a fabulous, fabulous book.

Au, Wayne & Temple B[eds] 2012 Pencils Down, a Rethinking Schools Publication, Milwaukee. {cost via Amazon, $26.81 plus postage}

It is all about the impact of standardised testing. All articles are short and easily read. Authors include classroom teachers, university staff, test scorers and more.

Tom McKenna: “Where is the standardised test that can measure passion for learning, respect for others, and human empathy?”  P.31

Wayne AU : “Standardized testing has a stranglehold on education” P73

We all hope that the state and federal parliamentary libraries obtain multiple copies  for all to read before NAPLAN DAY. (May 17 Kiddies! Less than 20 school days to go!)


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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