Indignez Vous

The Treehorn Express

Prepared and presented by Phil Cullen,

proud anti-NAPLAN geriactivist thinking of kids.

  __________Hi EsteemedPolitician : Quiet lot aren’t you?________


Treehorn story?

The Treehorn Express Theme song: ‘Care for Kids’

April 25



Indignez Vous

“Time for Outrage”

This week’s Time mentions a popular French pamphlet called Indignez Vous [Time for Outrage] which exhorts folk to recapture the spirit that had made their country great; to mount a “peaceful insurrection” against injustices and decries the electorate’s convenient and ”general amnesia”. The theme of the booklet reminded me so much of the injustices against the likes of little Treehorn and his school friends; and the need for an Australian “peaceful insurrection”.  The convenient memories of our school children’s parents, teachers, principals, political representatives and their numb-mind silence on an issue of such national importance is disgraceful….and… The lamestream press is too busy with the easily handled. Most, really, just do not give a stuff about the assaults on our children’s future perpetrated by NAPLAN and other GERM forms of blanket testing. As rude as it sounds, let me repeat…Most of us do not give a stuff about the future of Australian children. 

But.  Take heart, Treehorn. There are others. Anti-Germ educators are starting to say something here in Australia and in the U.S.A. There is small group of child-oriented, learning-knowledgeable, teaching-focussed, curriculum-concerned, family-friendly folk in Melbourne who want to ask the Australian population to “SAY NO TO NAPLAN”. Let’s join them.

If one is concerned about their own children and whether they should contest the test,

or if one does not know what to do in the face of pandemic mindlessness,

or if one wonders if the test has any relevance to learning and teaching;

or whether the test is a reliable measure of achievement that can be used to make statements about the academic worth of their children or the teaching prowess of their child’s teacher,

….they should check out what the group has to say.


If the population takes notice with an open mind, NAPLAN is finished… and Australia will start to progress in achievement terms, creative terms and cultural terms. There is no risk about this.  If the cessation of testing is accompanied by  some Finland-like planning, with an even  higher-level long-term vision, the world becomes an Aussie oyster. Make no mistake! We have made enough colossal blunders since 2008. Let’s think about positive blame-free progress.

On Tuesday next in Melbourne, teachers, parents and academics will foregather to launch “SAY NO TO NAPLAN”. A special small book is the focus of the launch containing articles that deal with :

* Inappropriate Use of NAPLAN tests.

*Teaching to the Test.

*Holistic Reading vs NAPLAN Reading

*The Problem with NAPLAN testing of Spelling

*Your Children and NAPLAN

*What NAPLAN ignores

*The Age of Absurdity

*Evidence-based Assessment

Each article is short and easy to read. It will be made available online for downloading and copy.  It can be easily spread amongst teachers, parents, university, high-school  and university students for their deliberation. The lead-article will be presented by Professor Margaret Wu. There has been a keen interest expressed by journalists from the  press. It will be a most important day in the history of Australian schooling, the first of peaceful insurrection and the beginning of the end of fear-based NAPLAN testing.

More details to come.



Meanwhile back in New York, the birthplace of fear-driven schooling and testing, conspicuous educators are also restless. The New York State Professors Against High Stakes Testing have released an on-line petition [see Treehorn 17-04-12], because “ undermines creative classrooms instruction and because it puts teachers and students under intolerable stress.”  You can join the people to help New York children and our own, by doing this…

1. Click  on

2. Make a comment.

3. Follow the suggestions to contact your Facebook friends who might be interested in schooling issues.

{I did this and was overjoyed to learn than every single one of my Facebook friends also joined the petition. It is a great feeling.}

The anti-GERM movement is growing and sharing. We are all starting to ‘care for kids’ while hopeless politicians will not. It’s the beginning of the end for GERM-based testing in many countries. Let’s hope that Australia gets the gold in the contest.


Stop! The News Gets Better.  On Tuesday [24 April] Valerie Strauss wrote in The Washington Post of the growth of anti-high-stakes aka anti-Germ aka anti-NAPLAN movements in America:

National resolution against high-stakes tests

Within the article make sure that you click on the reference ‘latest in series of recent initiatives taken’ and you will find : Education reform protests pick up steam.  Both are great articles.

PLEASE READ THEM AND EVERY REFERENCE WITHIN  – You can even frame the National Resolutions for your own encouragement. Share the articles around. They are so full of promise for our children’s learning freedom. 71 national organisations have signed the resolution mentioned in the article. See

Pam Grundy of Parents Across America says: “Parents are fed up with constant testing. We want our elected leaders to support real learning not constant testing.”

Robert Scott, Republican Commissioner for Education : “The mentality that standardized testing is the ‘end-all and be-all’ is a perversion of what quality education should be.” [Joe Brown, Governor of California said the same thing last year.]

A New York school official: “A Principal should not ever be in a situation where ultimately their judgment gets trumped by a mechanistic formula.”

The articles are enlightening. Is there a Valerie Strauss somewhere in Australia?


Trevor Cobbold of Save Our Schools asks 16 poignant questions in What is NAPLAN Doing to Your School?  They will intrigue you. For example

5. Does absenteeism increase on test days?  7. Are some subjects missing out from increased times spent on NAPLAN? Which subjects?  13. Has the public reporting of NAPLAN results affected the ability to attract and retain experienced teachers?  16. Do schools inform parents they can withdraw their children from NAPLAN?

No.16 is NOT a trick question. See


Allan Alach, the world’s most avid reader of books and articles about schooling, supplied  yesterday’s article by Valerie Strauss and almost every article that has appeared on Treehorn. We have begun to exchange casual letters, much in the way Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier exchange, but with a down-under, antipodean flavour and style. Allan, the guardian of, has listed the first one in the side-band and head-band of the website. It’s my letter to him that was intended to say thanks for his amazing efforts. The new column has been called Bridging the Ditch and it is appropriate that we first mention it on 25 April – Anzac Day. They’ll come in random order at any time. Join us if you wish.

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s