The Treehorn Express

Prepared and presented by Phil Cullen,

proud anti-NAPLAN geriactivist thinking of kids.


Treehorn story?

The Treehorn Express Theme song: ‘Care for Kids’

Politicians :  Tried a NAPLAN test yet?


 GERM Testing is plain crazy

NAPLAN is a fear-based application of GERM

GERM [Global Education Reform Movement] is a totalitarian based threat to children’s welfare in some English-speaking countries.

Its application in Australia is called NAPLAN [National Assessment Program of Literacy and Numeracy]

Parents and teachers are put through many nonsense, unnecessary routines attached to NAPLAN tests that are conducted under pressure once every two years. It’s a recent phenomenon and needs to cease.

Parents send their children to a school to learn.

They are usually keen to have their children learn the foundations of their future everyday activities by becoming very competent at basic standards….and they want to know how well their child is doing as they build on each learning experience. Teachers are keen to do just this …to teach children to achieve the utmost in accordance with their abilities; and to share the child’s progress with the child’s parents. Teachers see the evaluation of progress as part of the teaching and learning act. Indeed, it is an essential part. They appreciate the differences between children and treat each as if there is no limit to their learning capacity.

The atmosphere is warm and encouraging – as illustrated – as children are treated as pupils,  not done in a barren, unpleasant place for a set time over  three days once every two years where frightened children fill in bubbles, which are whisked away before the teacher of the child can see them, scored by some distant non-teaching scorers and the scores published, as erroneous and unreliable as they are, for all to see. Bureaucratic threats and intimidation become common-place, controlling the exercise of professional ethics. Nobody really cares about the kids. Then, crucial educational decisions as to curriculum and funding are made!

That’s GERM-based NAPLAN blanket testing. It just doesn’t work. It is a waste of money [$100 million annually]. It’s contemptuous of children and teachers.

If we believe that learning at school is an individual act encouraged by skilled teachers and supported by parents, how in the name of caring for kids, did we ever let NAPLAN start in this country? It’s cruel, unnecessary and meaningless. It forces teachers to breach basic professional ethics, using devices and techniques that destroy a child’s natural passion for learning. How did the nightmare ever start?

Have you told as many parents as you know that they should write to their school now and say ‘NO to NAPLAN.’  It’s important that you do. Think of the kids.

saynotonaplan saynotonaplan saynotonaplan saynotonaplan saynotonaplan saynonaplan 

Totalitarian Control 

The extent of the totalitarian measures of control

over the unprofessional activities of NAPLAN users is scary.

A Brisbane writer to the Courier Mail writes, “If, as is claimed, the tests provide useful diagnostic information about student learning, teachers would now be using that information in their planning. Unfortunately, the results will not be available until September.  Who would wait that long for a routine diagnosis from their doctor or car mechanic?” [Gerry Collins]

A Melbourne teacher writes : “As a teacher I cannot believe the ridiculous lengths gone to in this year’s NAPLAN writing assessment.

I was not even able to read through my students writing piece after the test because they had to be locked up immediately after completion [a new regulation this year].

In previous years we were able to read them and observe their structure in order to inform future teaching and to actually help our students improve their writing.

Now I don’t even know how they actually went. What is the point?”

Test Security

With totalitarian control comes strict security. Test administrators must follow orders precisely and teachers cannot be trusted.  For this particular teacher’s orders, see Page 28/33 of National Protocols for Test Administration, a document that officers of corrective institutions would be proud to claim :

Tests have to be ‘…kept in highly secure locked locations…may include safes and secure rooms….not filing cabinets’.  No one should be trusted. Mein Gott.

What would happen if a teacher found that some of the 2010 writing tests that he handed to his superior officer were not the same as those that were returned in the following September; and what does he do if he doesn’t discover this until some months later? If, then, his superior officer sent the evidence to headquarters and the scores were changed….. much, much later than the effort was performed…and decisions had been made on the original evidence… what would you think of the integrity of the testing results?  {This is a hypothetical story, of course.}

100 Academics  would have much more intellectual fire-power than most groups. They don’t like NAPLAN testing because…..

the Commonwealth Government  introduced high stakes testing despite international evidence that such approaches do not improve learning outcomes;

  •  too little informed debate about its use as a measure;
  • focus on assessment of  learning rather than assessment for learning;
  • pressure on teachers and children to perform;
  • narrowing of curriculum and erosion of teaching/learning time;
  • only a snapshot of progress at one point in time;
  • estimated $100 million annual cost should be spent more appropriately.

Diane Ravitch this week. This week’s conversational piece, amongst those committed to child education, is the interview of Prof. Diane Ravitch by Charlie Rose :  or google ‘Charlie Rose Diane Ravitch’  In summary she mentioned four specific items that America needs to make progress:

  1. Re-commit effort to public education [There has been a shift of USA’s funding towards private/charter schooling].
  2. Re-establish the prestige and respect that teachers deserve.
  3. Return schools to the teaching of the full curriculum, especially the arts.
  4. Get rid of high-stakes testing.

Great stuff. I’d have been tempted to add something about shared-evaluation and treating school children as pupils…just for good measure. May I, Diane?

Week-end Readings  Hasn’t Allan Alach done a super job in providing these? I realise that there are some who might only be able to handle the information , but most if not all of these articles are engrossing, right? Since NAPLAN has an American origin, we do need to know how its form of GERM is working…. amongst other matters…computerisation of schooling, charter schools, legalities, publishing well out masters, Klein, Murdoch, Pearson, Gates are going….

‘NO to NAPLAN” Car Stickers will not effect the appearance of your car one little bit. Quite tasteful.  As I wait at traffic lights or move along the highway, in fact, I feel pretty proud that I am doing this for kids. There is no other reason. It’s a great feeling, believe me…and…..if if only one in every 100 who spots the sticker, does something about it, it’s progress.  See how to order below or I can send you one.

Garn. Do something for kids. It’s not too much.


Have you ordered your bundles of “Say NO to NAPLAN’ stickers yet?  Order in bundles of ten.  $1 each plus postage. Quick delivery. {I’ve had mine on my car since the first day of NAPLAN.}

Contact while they are still available. One far-north-Q’ld school has ordered 100. More such orders are expected.

Postage for 10 : $1.20

Postage for more than 30 : $2.40

Bank: ANZ       Branch : Carlton North

    BSB:  013-374               A/c Number : 5697-99435         

Account  Name :  WILSON,  LORRAINE

[If you should want just one or two for your car – free – be quick – limited number – contact me and I shall post asap]


Parents !

It’s ‘Say NO to NAPLAN’ time.

Any time is good. Even in the middle of NAPLAN or at the end.

Just say “NO! Not to my child”


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Maintained by outstanding NZ educator, Allan Alach

Phil Cullen AM,FACE, FACEL

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

One thought on “NAPLAN – A Crazy GERM

    (Written with my tongue firmly in my cheek…
    Until my jaw dropped)
    A teacher comments on the lack of access to her students’ work following the NAPLAN test:

    “I was not even able to read through my students writing piece after the test because they had to be locked up immediately after completion [a new regulation this year].
    In previous years we were able to read them and observe their structure in order to inform future teaching and to actually help our students improve their writing.
    Now I don’t even know how they actually went. What is the point?”

    The point, of course, is that the testing authorities don’t want their test result purity sullied by interference from teachers. The transparent falsehood in this teacher’s assertion that she only wanted access to ‘inform future teaching’ hasn’t fooled us for one moment. We at GERM HQ know that teachers have responded to these accountability tests by altering answers in order to cover up their own incompetence. We know that poor teachers quite rightly feel threatened by the new standards of accountability that can be provided by ‘teacher–free’ testing, and they are resisting change like the union toadies that they are.
    Teachers have proved to be unreliable and non-professional. They will soon become classroom monitors in status and pay scales as well as in practice. They will only be required to ensure that the computer work stations are switched on and fully functional before the children arrive and sign-in with their ‘instructor’. They will act as ‘attendants’ who will provide physical security for the students and their ‘instructional environment’. Emotional interactions will be provided by computer ‘simulations’ of warm and appropriate supportive responses. Teacher training will consist of two months of basic computer security and maintenance, then a week on appropriate means of child restraint before the student behavioural adjustment officers arrive, followed by one day on ‘how to avoid interfering with student interaction with the computer instructor’.
    Once the NBN provides us with the capacity to link each individual student with their own tailored ‘instructor’ avatar, interactions and feedback will be instant, complete and precisely tuned to the student’s needs, intellectual development and personality. National standards testing will be fully integrated into the curriculum and instantly accessible to the Minister for Education and business clients seeking particular skills in their recruitment programs. Indeed, curricula can be tailored to meet emerging employment needs as they arise.
    Each student will have access to the best available ‘teacher’ in every subject and at every level of study. There will be no need for gifted students to be held back or slower learners to feel left behind. The vexatious issue of ‘personality clashes’ with a teacher that can set a child back many months in a single year will become a thing of the past. There will be no need to employ a veritable army of sub-standard substitutes to replace teachers when they take ‘sick’ leave, look after their own children, or go on ‘study leave’. Our teachers will always be on top of their game, always alert to every student’s needs.
    Through this efficient application of technology, all students will receive equal access to the highest and most consistent standard of pedagogically effective instruction available. There will be no more back-sliding, clock-watching indifference to rob our children of their access to a high quality educational experience, no matter where they attend, or how many students there are in the classroom. We will have eliminated the weak link in the modern education system.

    I’m sure this wonderful human proof version of an ‘education revolution’ would appeal to a Prime Minister near you.

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