Why Parents Should Say No.

The Treehorn Express

Prepared and presented by Phil Cullen,

proud anti-NAPLAN geriactivist thinking of kids.


Treehorn story? http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/print.asp?article=11697

The Treehorn Express Theme song: ‘Care for Kids’

Politicians :

Do your voters know that it is NAPLAN Week next week ?

Have you told them where you stand?

Kids or tormentors?



The Treehorn Express goes to quite a numbers of educators…mostly like-minded school-oriented educators, disgusted by fear-driven Australian Klein-style schooling. Australia deserves better.   Treehorn has shared quite a number of items of interest over the past few years;  and some comment is here offered for those who care about kids at school. One would have thought that the kind of advice offered below would be the kind that is offered by all true-blue professional, hard-working principals to parents in their regular newsletters on their websites.  This does not happen .

There is a reason. When Julia Gillard introduced the Klein system of schooling, her cunning political putsch forbade all reasonable discussion and debate; she then corralled all principals into her own “Association”, called it a “Principals’ Association”  and shattered the raison d’etre of their own associations, which used to lay claim to high levels of  professional ethics. These groups have now lost their meaning and, principals, now controlled by fear, do as they are told.

Politically, it was a splendid move. Kids now suffer; teachers remain mum. Without a doubt, totalitarianism is operating.

How about parents?

They must “Say NO to NAPLAN” for any one of the following reasons….

  1. All known high-stakes testing aimed at raising achievement in Maths & Language Arts has a track record of failure.
  2. The system creates a false image that private schools can ‘save’ the pupils.
  3. Scoring of evaluation measures of any kind  creates hostile school environments, undermines teacher-pupil relationships and inflicts the greatest harm on those pupils who need personal help.
  4. NAPLAN focuses on educational goals and energies of school staff on only two learning outcomes, at enormous tax-payer expense.
  5. NAPLAN demonizes teachers, reduces the status of the profession, and discourages quality candidates from entering the profession.
  6. NAPLAN undermines the intellectual, social, aesthetic and emotional development of all pupils.
  7. Naplan certainly threatens the entrepreneurial vitality and economic future of Australia. Ironically, the biggest losers, corporate Australia, presently encourages only this style of quality-control.
  8. Australia’s democratic way of life is threatened  by totalitarian operators and the reduction of pupil’s capacity to make informed decisions.

[Source : Joe Onasko]

Measurers, politicians, politically-controlled organisations and educrats believe the following. Concerned parents know that each of the following is unadulterated bunkum. Naplan is based on the following beliefs:…

  1. Punishments and rewards effectively motivate children’s learning;
  2. Learning is hard, unpleasant work;
  3. What young people need to know is some agreed-upon, measureable, standard body of knowledge;
  4. Doing things more rigorously using domineering, practice-saturated  classroom techniques will raise scores;
  5. Teacher talk, extra homework and textbook text can teach complex ideas better that any other teaching strategy.

[Source : Marion Brady]

Here are 25 reason ‘for the termination of national blanket testing’ each known for the damage that NAPLAN does…

  1. focuses on narrow aspects of language and maths that the young start learning to hate;
  2. measures only the ‘low level’ thinking processes;
  3. puts the wrong people – the measurers and test manufacturers – in charge of  Australia’s  schooling;
  4. allows pass-fail rates to be manipulated;
  5. simplifies test items and trivializes learning;
  6. provides minimal-to-no useful  feedback,  months too late;
  7. keyed to old deeply-flawed curriculum issues;
  8. lead to neglect of physical development, music, art and many non-verbal ways of learning;
  9. provides unfair advantage to those who can afford test preparation;
  10. hides problems created by margin-of-error computations in scoring;
  11. penalises young children who think in non-standard ways;
  12. radically limit the ability of teachers to adapt to learners differences;
  13. encourages the use of threats, bribes, and other extrinsic motivators;
  14.  assumes that adults know what our children need to know;
  15. emphasises minimum achievement [one size fits all] to the neglect of maximum performance;
  16. creates unreasonable pressures;
  17. reduces teacher creativity and lessens the appeal of teaching as a profession;
  18. is culturally damaging;
  19. has no predictive power whatsoever;
  20. leads to the neglect of the best and worst pupils, as emphasis is given to marginal pupils for ‘cut lines’;
  21. open to massive scoring errors  with life-changing consequences;
  22. is at odds with deep-seated values about individual differences and the worth of each;
  23. undermines the fundamental principle that those closest to the child, know about the child;
  24. dumps millions of dollars in the coffers of the rich exploiters instead of the classroom;
  25. does serious psychological damage to those who are not yet able to cope.

[Source: Marion Brady,]


A parent expresses himself after reading Dr. Kym Macfarlane’s thesis: “An Analysis of Parental Engagement in Contemporary Q’ld Schooling.”

“Parents and Teachers prefer to focus on meaningful activities from the classroom”

“Why encourage teachers and principals to keep parents at arm’s length…as NAPLAN does?”

“NAPLAN supporters tend to treat professional educators with experience, like dogs; and parents like donkeys.”

“ Dishonesty permeates official behaviour through erroneous statements about test compulsion and in the ‘advice’ from senior officers.”

“NAPLAN supporters assume that parents are not well read and cannot see the flaws in blanket testing.”

“The teaching profession is losing its respect and credibility. Teachers have ‘given in’.

“Teachers have been depowered; parents put in their place.”

[Source : Ken Woolford  in The Treehorn Express” 17 November, 2011]

Belief in what the USA believes can be absurd. The most absurd elements are largely ideological, based on beliefs such as…

  • market based business methods as the best for school administration
  • standardisation of performance and narrowing of the curriculum
  • fostering of choice and competition between schools
  •  making judgements based on test data
  • merit pay and other incentives
  • faith that technologically mediated instruction will reduce costs
  • overwhelming top-down approach which tells everyone what to do
  • holds everybody accountable.

[Source : Joe Bower, Canada]

Please don’t just look at these and feel as if you will suffer from ‘information overload’ if you read this. Each item above needs to be considered carefully.  NAPLAN tests are being conducted next week . Parents should say ‘NO’. The above is provided to support their parent-love feeling about the threats to your child’s well-being.


Please tell as many parents as you can to “Say NO to NAPLAN”

The screws are being applied to kids next week and you can withdraw your child right up to the test day itself…even during the tests,  if you feel that your child is too distressed.

Do it now. Don’t dilly-dally.

Think of your kids.


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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