A Principal Speaks

Treehorn Express

http://primaryschooling.net/?page_id=1924

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A Principal Speaks

Wouldn’t it be informative and so useful for parents, teachers and pupils if each Principal in Australia  was allowed to express his or her opinions about the influence of national blanket testing {aka GERM} on the classroom activities and the curriculum, on their school’s website? This principal has. He doesn’t like the national blanket tests conducted in New Zealand, called ‘national standards’; and says so. We call it NAPLAN…both degenerative schooling activities which threaten the economic and social future of the South Pacific.

http://leading-learning.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/bruce-i-have-never-felt-so-disgruntled.html

His statement is included in his letter to Bruce Hammonds of ‘LEADING and LEARNING’ on this URL.

He starts :-  “Our school is realigning its thinking about curriculum delivery and learning approaches. There currently seems to be a significant mismatch between the ecology of learning and pedagogy we espouse  and the reality of teaching and the demands placed upon New Zealand teachers.

New Zealand has adopted a scientific management approach to education. In terms of assessment and data gathering, is about teacher accountability, not about children experiencing a well-rounded education that excites them to be intrinsically motivated learners”…………. read on….click above…

I should like to congratulate the principal – warmly and seriously – for his thoughtful decision and the meaningful expression of his reasons.  He sounds like a real thinking teacher who knows what he is doing and loves kids and is concerned for their welfare  and wants to share his passion for learning. He is a real hero as is his compatriot Allan Alach who join those few [too few] Aussies who are also prepared to say what they think.

Please read the full URL.

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Australian principals are very easy to control. Their representatives endorse the spread of the scatomeme: “Fear based schooling improves learning”, so they do, with few exceptions, as they are told.  When, prior to this year’s blanket tests,  some principals in Victoria supported the parents of their schools in the withdrawal of pupils from the stressful testing, they were warned : “Parents do have the right to withdraw their children from the tests, but we emphasise that principals are not to actively encourage students not to participate. We would consider that quite inappropriate.”  said ACARA General Manager, Peter Adams, emphasising that state and federal government expected pupils to sit the tests. ( http://www.westernadvocate.com.au/news/local/news/general/principals-warned-off-test-boycott/2556844.aspx )  and/or( http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/news/national/general/teach-or-test/2556014.aspx )

However…..

On the Kimberley College [an Australian private school] website http://kimberleycollege.org/ , Paul Thomson an Aussie legend, states “ The wrong people are now in charge of the education future of our children. Politicians, in response to the demands of the Murdoch press, are implementing practices that are known to retard the growth of children. NAPLAN national testing is based on a fraudulent set of figures concocted by the New York school system and the national curriculum is a disaster. It’s time for teachers and principals to take back control.”

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Phil Cullen AM,FACE, FACEL

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

treehorn@bigpond.com

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Weekend Readings June 29.

The Treehorn Express

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

Theme song:  ‘Care for Kids’

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Weekend Readings

By Allan Alach

A consistent refrain is ‘improving teacher quality.’ On the surface, this is not rocket science. However, if we step back from this meme, we see that this is essentially meaningless unless defined. What is ‘teacher quality?’ What are the criteria for a ‘quality teacher?’  At this point we hit the wall, and find that the definition of quality depends on the agenda of whatever group of people are doing the defining. In today’s technocratic world teacher quality is raising test scores (or similar), whereas in more enlightened times the definition will be much different. This reinforces that we must not use meaningless terms like this, as this just buys into the prevailing ideology.

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allan.alach@ihug.co.nz.

This week’s homework!

The Hip-Hop Generation: Implications for Teacher Preparation

An interesting take on teacher preparation, overall, and especially for the urban environment.  Article discusses “Corporate vs Communal Teaching” – you can guess which one is which.

http://www.artofteachingscience.org/2012/06/20/hip-hop-generation/

Beyond the Politics of the Big Lie: The Education Deficit and the New Authoritarianism

Thanks to Mary MacKay from Amsterdam for this article. The title says it all. While written about the USA, readers will very easily make the connection with their own countries. The similarity of the agenda internationally is no coincidence. Diane Ravitch has commented, ‘Believe me, the attack on public education was well planned and well messaged. Careful rhetoric about choice, excellence.’  She’s talking about the USA, however her comments are extremely apt for other countries. This is an international battle for child centred education and we must support each other.

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/9865-beyond-the-politics-of-the-big-lie-the-education-deficit-and-the-new-authoritarianism

The Education System That Pulled China Up May Now Be Holding It Back

China wants inventors and entrepreneurs, but its schools, built around the notorious gaokao exam, are still designed to produce cookie-cutter engineers and accountants.”

So, hang on a tick, does this mean to say that ‘raising literacy and numeracy achievement’ is not the answer? Does this mean that standards/high stakes tests don’t ‘raise achievement’ and don’t produce well rounded, creative and innovative learners? What a surprise, who would have thought it.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/06/the-education-system-that-pulled-china-up-may-now-be-holding-it-back/258787/

Are We Wringing the Creativity Out of Kids?

Is any comment needed?

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/05/are-we-wringing-the-creativity-out-of-kids/

Better Childhoods Needed

“Poor children don’t need better schools. Poor children need better childhoods.”

What else needs to be said?

http://susanohanian.org/show_commentary.php?id=1027

Gerald Coles: Why Bother Educating the Poor?

In the same vein, here is a background explanation, that is unpalatable reading, yet, in my opinion, is accurate. Shades of the 19th century, the only difference being that back then, the ‘deserving’ were children of the aristocracy, while now, the ‘deserving’ are children of the risk. Want to know more?  Read A Measure of Failure: The Political Origins of Standardized Testing” By Mark J Garrison.

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/06/gerald_coles_why_bother_educat.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LivingInDialogue+%28Teacher+Magazine+Blog%3A+Living+in+Dialogue%29

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Recommended Links

www.literacyeducators.com.au 

http://unitedoptout.com 

http://saveourschools.com.au

http://www.marionbrady.com 

http://www.susanohanian.org 

http://www.joebower.org

http://leading-learning.blogspot.co.nz   

http://www.alfiekohn.org 

http://allthingslearning.wordpress.com

www.networkonnet.co.nz  

http://optoutofstandardizedtests.wikispaces.com

http://www.dianeravitch.com

https://treehornexpress.wordpress.com/bridging-the-ditch/  

http://www.essentialschools.org

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OtherTreehorns ? :   Check Recent Posts and Archives in the sidebar.

Maintained by outstanding NZ educator, Allan Alach

Phil Cullen AM,FACE, FACEL

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

Sing-a-long “Care For Kids”

Hello to :

True-blue teachers and principals who love kids and know how learning takes place in a classroom:  Click on the song and sing along. You’ll enjoy the minute or two.

If you [and/or your principal] have been ‘Milgramed’ and you just do as you are told:  Sing along as well, but you will shed a tear or two, half-way-through.

Mums and Dads: You’ll love it. Sing it with your kids.

Pro-NAPLAN testucators : This is not your song.

The Treehorn Express

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

Theme song:  ‘Care for Kids’

Care for kids

Find a minute to spare for kids

Such a lot you can share with kids

It’s important to care for kids

Care for kids

Try to always be there for kids

Won’t you let down your hair for kids

It’s important to care for kids

Oh kids

With the stars in their eyes there’s so much to be learning

KIDS

You can help them to rise and keep the new world turning

Though they’re small

We need them all

Care for kids

Find a minute to spare for kids

Such a lot you can share with kids

It’s important to care for kids

Care for kids

Try to always be there for kids

Won’t you let down your hair for kids

It’s important to care for kids

Care for kids

Find a minute to spare for kids

Such a lot you can share with kids

It’s important to care for kids

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‘Milgramed’ testucators who don’t care much for kids and blindly follow NAPLAN testing instructions should not watch : www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpccb7ZjuEU

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Recommended Links

www.literacyeducators.com.au 

http://unitedoptout.com 

http://saveourschools.com.au

http://www.marionbrady.com 

http://www.susanohanian.org 

http://www.joebower.org

http://leading-learning.blogspot.co.nz   

http://www.alfiekohn.org 

http://allthingslearning.wordpress.com

www.networkonnet.co.nz  

http://optoutofstandardizedtests.wikispaces.com

http://www.dianeravitch.com

https://treehornexpress.wordpress.com/bridging-the-ditch/  

http://www.essentialschools.org

o0o0o0o0o

OtherTreehorns ? :   Check Recent Posts and Archives in the sidebar.

Maintained by outstanding NZ educator, Allan Alach

Phil Cullen AM,FACE, FACEL

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

A Memetic Scenario

The Treehorn Express

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

No fair-dinkum teacher likes NAPLAN.

It breaches all ethical rules.

In a school of repute there is no fan;

There’s learning without measurement tools.

Theme song:  ‘Care for Kids’

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A Memetic Scenario

HOW A TOXIC MEME ARRIVED IN AUSTRALIA

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MEME A meme [Robert Dawkins, The Selfish Gene – Oxford Uni. Press, 1976] is an idea, behaviour or style that spreads between and within national cultures where it mutates to suit local circumstances. It can be beneficial or toxic, and tends to reproduce itself quickly. Fashion fads, innovative activities, avant-garde forms of the creative arts as well as beneficial educational memes do not require much assistance to be welcomed by various cultures.

The wearing of tattoos, long ‘shorts’, back-to-front baseball caps are memes. They happen and can be of benefit to sections of a particular industry [e.g. jeans]. They can be pleasant [e.g.  music genres] or destructive [hooning, bullying]. They just seem to happen and ‘take off’ around the world. Memes spread quickly in a bewildering way.

Education memes have shared the spotlight with fashion memes and ‘philosophical’ notions, and can be of benefit or can be really destructive because their outcomes last within our psyche forever. ‘Payment by results’ of the Matthew Arnold era in the U.K. and the Minimal Competency Movement in the U.S.A.  are still remembered as memes that made severe  adverse contributions to society’s welfare. Nothing moved or advanced. Within our times, special memes spread during the  moral crusading period, when the John Birch Society and Moral Majority and their clones tested the easy vulnerability of education systems following the spread of the ‘back to basics’ meme.  On the positive side, child-centred schooling, vis-a-vis subject-centred schooling, encouraged  the use of more effective teaching styles helping the development of personal learning styles with levels of creativity, technical know-how and positive thinking that brought changes to the world that were unimaginable a few decades ago.  One can imagine the difficulty of describing mobile phones, satellites, google, e-books, ipads,  400 kph trains, accepted parts of everyday living for us, to our parents and grandparents. 

Junk-memes, though, need support of various kinds to become accepted by an unprepared public. Deliberate political importation and manipulation have proved to be the most effective method of encouraging a destructive meme that would, under normal circumstances, have a short life. Once established, such memes insidiously destroy educational, cultural and financial progress of a country.  They [e.g.ethnic cleansing, master-racism] are spread easily by totalitarian regimes and domineering autocrats, maintained with heavy-handedness and red-necked support. The ultimate plight of such countries is never a pretty picture. Toxic memes can only be halted by the will of the people, once the toxicity exposes itself for what it is and does.

THE ORIGIN OF A PARTICULAR TOXIC SCATOMEME

{ The prefix ‘scato’ has been added because it fits. ]

There are sections of the public, zombified by the stultifying stimulus-response experiences during their own testucation, who like to maintain that other people’s children never learn enough, and are never taught properly. They don’t bother to enquire carefully enough into the nature of schooling. Some of their educational canons crystalize at odd times and promote calls for a move ‘back to basics’.  It’s the kind of meme that comes and goes and seldom lasts for longer than a few years, because of its shaky premises, its suspicious origin and scatological nature.  The present fear-based meme, appropriately called GERM [Global Education Reform Movement], made manifest in Australia through NAPLAN testing  is a mutant of the ‘back to basics’ mythology, but it plays dirtier. In a sociological and scatological sense, it is a very dirty meme.

Precisely stated this scatomeme proclaims….

Testing aspects of learning in an atmosphere of fear and punishment improves the levels of learning and the standards of teaching.

The origin of the previous ‘back to basics’ pandemic meme in the 1970s was a wanton Oxbridge statement called “The Black Papers”. The meme lasted a little while and faded as quickly as it came. This present one started in New York with a lawyer’s peculiar threat-ridden educational nostrum, backed by the  Gordon Gekko credo “Greed is good.” It has no other origin.  It is a sinister meme with sinister motives and damaging consequences for the future of whole populations. Its name is Kleinism.  .

MANIPULATION

Manipulators follow the first law of menticide by rallying their potential warriors and indoctrinating them on the purpose of the campaign. According to Joost Meerloo [ http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?Volume=107&page=594&journalID=13  ] menticide is “…an organised system of judicial perversion and psychological intervention, in which a powerful tyrant transfers his own thoughts into the minds and mouths of the victims he plans to destroy or use for his own propaganda.

Following a visit to the United States, Australia’s federal Minister for Education, already a fan of the US-based scatomeme, met a like-minded, sweet-taking lawyer who, out of place in any schooling system, had been appointed by the Mayor of NY to take a big stick to his schools. [The lawyer now runs a test publishing business for Rupert Murdoch on a salary of $4.5m p.a.] She lent the fellow-lawyer her ear. Back home, having persuaded friends in her politically-allied  banking fraternity that Joel Klein knew what he was talking about, the fraternity  paid his fare to visit our shores. This secured the control-tower enthusiasm for the scatomeme.  Firmly under the control of the most powerful and influential, our children and their teachers are stuck with Mr. Klein’s legacy. There was no committed, experienced schoolie in sight, during the scatomeme’s establishment.

The next move in the manipulation processes was the coercive persuasion of the front-line warriors – the principals of schools. The scatomeme virus had to be implanted into their mindware …asap. If they judged her intentions on ethical grounds, the scheme was finished. She had been warned by Joel Klein that this group, education academics and other educators were likely to oppose the idea on ethical grounds. She found them, though, to be easy meat. Professional ethics and basic care for kids are easy to suspend when an authority figure exerts muscle. This is no phenomenon. Milgram [Milgram, Stanley “Obedience to Authority; An Experimental View” Harper/Collins 1974] had shown in the post-Eichmann trial days that there is a willingness of participants to follow an authority figure to perform acts that conflict with their personal conscience. While just following superordinate orders violates their deep professional beliefs about the use of fear as integral to the teaching act, they are prepared to suspend the basic elements of their once-proud profession. They  obey instructions.

MAINTENANCE & CONTROL

The likelihood that the profession will renew its beliefs is always a risk to totalitarian regimes.  So, the need to maintain eichmannism is paramount. If some true-blue child-oriented crusaders from within  ‘professional’ organisations decide to test the basic meme that ‘fear is an essential element of the teaching/learning’ act, it could spell the end of GERM-style testing. They would, after all, be supported by many parents and teachers who still believe that evaluation of learning effort is part and parcel of the pupilling effort itself. If these good folk decide to exercise child-care spunk, the publisher-backed scheme is at risk.

Maintenance and control of schooling scatomemes have to be manifold.

  1. Since principals are the lynch-pins to ensure the link between government and schools for the scatomeme’s longevity, there is a likelihood that objections can come from within their ranks. Under normal circumstances there would be many, but circumstances have changed since 2008. In Australia, for instance,  primary school principals tend to look to the Australian Primary Principals Association for leadership and guidance. APPA claims to be the national voice for all Australian primary schools. Julia rounded them up early in the piece. They were ‘Milgramed’ and succumbed to the principles of schadenfruede. Then, after Kleinism was introduced in 2008, the Australian Government Primary Principals Association [AGPPA] with closer links to ACARA [the promoters of NAPLAN testing] than to APPA was established. It claims to represent 5,300 primary schools in Australia.  Established by someone-or-other, financially supported and maintained by the federal government and assuming most of the roles of APPA, it does the same sort of things and is running the same conference. So now, government control of worthy extra-curricular principal opinion is well in place. The dominant twin makes sure.
  2. Parents are also likely to wonder what the dickens are ‘they’ trying to do with their children. No one will tell them the whole truth. Principals are not allowed to express personal opinions in  schools’ web-sites and newsletters, nor are they allowed to tell parents that their children need not do the tests.  Various parents’ organisations, other than SOS, are unwilling to make comment. So …the longer parents are treated as mushrooms, the longer the damaging tests will exist. Hiding critical information is a useful ploy.
  3. Media are so vital to political aspirations. Not conscious of the elements of scatomemes, their origins or purpose, the media can maintain the momentum of the meme; and their setting of the daily conversational agenda means that they must be treated with kid gloves…so to speak. In many cases the non-mention of important incidents can be as influential as editorial comment.  Unethical arrangements, such as the printing of league tables, printing of ubiquitous and ambiguous ‘scores’, their likely association  of ‘good’ schools’ with high marks and ‘bad’ schools with low, with class scores as indicators of teaching ability, have to be maintained.  The Emperor would approve. It’s helps his bulging pocket.
  4. When a scatomeme, such as the one that has led to this political control of unnecessary and unreliable blanket testing, persists for more than a few years, educational fads and gimmicks can divert attention from the critical issue. Chief amongst the gimmickry, because it can be so expensive, is the creation of Charter Schools* [another NY non-school idea]. One gimmicky authority describes charter schools by the oxy-moron Independent Public Schools.  As a government initiative they provide a great opportunity to create dissension and ideological warfare.. Other fads have included the creation of a Prep Year, the transfer of Year 7 to secondary level, establishment of middle or muddle schools, gender-based schools; none of which have any significant impact on pupilling, nor even on improving test ‘results’. Another fad is the peculiar notion that ‘autonomy’ can be granted and then controlled.

In the face of easily transferred scatomemes there is an urgent need to come back to reality and provide fair-dinkum schooling with serious pupilling and high learning aims…. loaded with integrity and honour and honesty and ethics on everybody’s part. If our society forces children to attend school buildings, let’s play the game by them. A sensible starting age for compulsory attendance that respects the early development of children’s brain-power, with about seven years in primary school and five in secondary with the provision of ‘meaningful’ schooling for the last two years free from the tedium of over-examination. Concurrently, a very heavy concentration on teacher preparation, development and renewal will produce learning-literate school leavers ready to face the world properly prepared, not cloned, ‘one-size-fits-all’ robots for which the present schooling scatomemes aim.

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*Charter Schools : http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominan-post/comment/7148555/Education-wars-will-intensify-with-charter-schools

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Recommended Links

www.literacyeducators.com.au 

http://unitedoptout.com 

http://saveourschools.com.au

http://www.marionbrady.com 

http://www.susanohanian.org 

http://www.joebower.org

http://leading-learning.blogspot.co.nz   

http://www.alfiekohn.org 

http://allthingslearning.wordpress.com

www.networkonnet.co.nz  

http://optoutofstandardizedtests.wikispaces.com

http://www.dianeravitch.com

https://treehornexpress.wordpress.com/bridging-the-ditch/  

http://www.essentialschools.org

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OtherTreehorns ? :   Check Recent Posts and Archives in the sidebar.

Maintained by outstanding NZ educator, Allan Alach

Phil Cullen AM,FACE, FACEL

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

Weekend Readings

The Treehorn Express

__________________________________________________________

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

Theme song:  ‘Care for Kids’

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Weekend Readings

 By Allan Alach

Another week, nothing much has changed. The attack on kids continues unabated. As I read somewhere, ‘Why do adults hate kids?’
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allan.alach@ihug.co.nz.
Common Sense Vs. Common Core: How to Minimize the Damages of the Common Core
Here is another article by Yong Zhao. While this is written about the common core standards in USA, spot the similarities with national standards in New Zealand. Will a similar beast appear in Australia at some stage?
Are Compliant Teachers Exhibiting Stockholm Syndrome?
In the next article, Horace Mann suggests that both male and female teachers are subject to a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, eager to please their bosses and maintain personal safetyDoes he have a plausible argument? Or maybe they just ‘follow orders.’ Heard that before? Maybe the Milgram Experiment is the explanation?
What do you think?

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teacher_in_a_strange_land/2012/06/are_compliant_teachers_exhibiting_stockholm_syndrome.html

The Technocratization of Public Education: Subverting educational practices

This reading follows up on the Bill & Melinda Gates idea of fitting children with “galvanic skin response bracelets”  by examining the development of public education in the USA (with obvious links to similar education programmes in other countries). Of particular interest, note this quote by Frederick Taylor Gates (no relation to Bill Gates):

“We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning, or men of science. The task we set before ourselves is very simple, as well as a very beautiful one, to train these people as we find them to a perfectly ideal life just where they are. So we will organize our children and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way, in the homes, in the shops and on the farm.”

One could suggest that nothing has changed nearly a century later.

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31422

Disaster Capitalism, K-12 Education, and Corporate Takeovers of Progressive Organizations
The USA is much further down the road to destroy public education for the sake of corporate profit, however our ‘leaders’ in Australia and New Zealand are hot on the trail. This article provides a review of the template that is being following – how many ‘coincidences’ can you find?
In 2002, Business Week Revealed Why Common Core Disdains Fiction
We know that the Common Core Standards in the USA have a fair bit in common with New Zealand’s national standards. While NZ’s version of reading standards is not (yet) as restrictive as those in USA, we can’t take this for granted, nor can Australians relax thinking that this isn’t their problem. The USA reading standard is heavily slanted towards non-fiction, as ‘non-fiction is where students get information about the world and that’s why schools must stop teaching so much fiction.’ 
This article discusses the given rationale for this, which will not come as a surprise to you!
Creativity not standardisation. The best book on creativity ‘In The Early World’ by Elwyn Richardson (reprinted 2012 )shows the way
Feeling poisoned by the relentless attack on child centred education? Here’s an antidote for you – a blog article by New Zealand educator Bruce Hammonds, about the reprint of a seminal book on a New Zealand school in the 1950s. This has been called the best book about education ever written, and in the light of my limited readings, I would have to agree.
To add to this, here’s a documentary that was made about Elwyn’s school, where you can see his work in action.

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Have you ordered your bundles of “Say NO to NAPLAN’ stickers yet?  Order in bundles of ten.  $1 each plus postage. Quick delivery.
Contact l.m.wilson@bigpond.com while they are still available.
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News & Comment

The Treehorn Express

__________________________________________________________

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

Theme song:  ‘Care for Kids’

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RECENT  NEWS

The Australian June 9: Education Ministers have ordered an investigation into “excessive test preparation” by schools trying to boost their NAPLAN test scores. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority has also been told to check whether principals are encouraging low-performing students to withdraw from the national literacy and numeracy exams. ACARA will ask state and territory education departments to hand over data on practice tests and NAPLAN exemptions and withdrawals. Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett rebuked schools for coaching students in NAPLAN tests a year ahead of time after it was revealed that South Australian students in Years 2, 4 and 6 are made to sit NAPLAN-style tests at the same time that Year 3, 5 and 7 students sit the real exam. Mr. Garret said, “It is not beneficial for schools to use tests to prepare students for NAPLAN when they will not be sitting the test that year.”

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You didn’t know that this sort of activity was going to happen, Peter?  When you and your ministers use a stick as big as NAPLAN, can you blame teachers and children for trying to get away from the pain? Fair go, Peter.

Do states have measureable data on the names of the schools and to what extent?  You will have to explain how your agents in the states obtained the material, wont you?  One would hope that the method of collection will be more reliable than NAPLAN data. Do you ask schools to ‘fess’?  Did states have their thought-police patrolling the suburban and rural schools to obtain statistics?  Did schools dob other schools?  The extent of extra-effort that each school makes to cope with NAPLAN…the subjects that they suspended for test practice….extent of NAPLAN homework….the length of practice sessions  and how they were used….will need to be reported on their own MySchool website.  Right?

MySchool website should be worth reading this year….for the first time!

Great schooling system you’ve got there, Pete.

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The Australian June 11: The Australian National Audit Office reports on the Government’s $534 million literacy and numeracy partnership which concludes that it has failed to produce any improvements after three years. The report was unable to find statistical evidence of improvement in the 1,050 schools to have benefited from the funding.

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Okay. Now what do we do?  $534 million???  Please explain.

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NAPLAN – Great idea  ?!?!

Recommended Links

www.literacyeducators.com.au 

http://unitedoptout.com 

http://saveourschools.com.au

http://www.marionbrady.com 

http://www.susanohanian.org 

http://www.joebower.org

http://leading-learning.blogspot.co.nz   

http://www.alfiekohn.org 

http://allthingslearning.wordpress.com

www.networkonnet.co.nz  

http://optoutofstandardizedtests.wikispaces.com

http://www.dianeravitch.com

https://treehornexpress.wordpress.com/bridging-the-ditch/  

http://www.essentialschools.org

o0o0o0o0o

OtherTreehorns ? :   Check Recent Posts and Archives in the sidebar.

Maintained by outstanding NZ educator, Allan Alach

Phil Cullen AM,FACE, FACEL

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

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Chasing the Wind

The Treehorn Express

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

No fair-dinkum teacher likes NAPLAN.

It breaches all ethical rules.

In a school of repute there is no fan;

There’s learning without measurement tools.

Theme song:  ‘Care for Kids’

bannaplanbannaplanbannaplanbannaplanbannaplanbannaplanbannaplanbannaplan

Chasing the Wind

That’s what it feels like when one is chasing to see what has happened to the long held schooling values and learning beliefs that have blown away…..and when one keeps begging, pleading, praying for them to do a 180.  Ever tried to catch logic, professional ethics and common sense when they have disappeared into the atmosphere, blown away sadly with the help of first rate, gentle true-believers who, one would think, because of their professional ethics, should never have tolerated any kind of harm to school pupils in the first place; the sort of  harm that measurers and politicians encourage.  So many good folk just don’t seem to care any more. School leaders have turned from educators into testucators, been eichmannised and now passively maintain an organised silence.   Who created this sort of schooling climate? How did it happen? GERM, the product, seems to be confined to English-speaking countries. Strange. Politicians didn’t do it on their own, but they cannot escape blame. Publishers control them.

It is quite eerie, as if some evil force has captured the minds of caring primary school educators, who used to display the very highest of ethical and administrative standards. They don’t understand its source, nor does ‘this movement’ have an M.O. of identifiable educational benefit. It has always had a cruel, immoral, profit-base, so ‘educators’ now hide; and children suffer. Ethical behaviour that was once aligned with the U.N. Rights of the Child has been scrapped, replaced by political brown-nosing to the advantage of mega-rich publishers and private school corporations; and to the grave disadvantage of all school pupils. Our country’s future is at risk. It’s morally ill. That’s certainly apparent.  How did it happen?

There has to be a word for the spread of this pandemic malady. The term ‘schadenfreude’ is not adequate. That is what happens at the political level and is now being passed on to school level. You can feel and sense the pleasure that non-caring influential politicians and their ilk get when they indicate that things on the school front are going to get better – ‘better’, meaning that scores will rise in the little bits of the curriculum that are testable; that fear works. Such palpable excrement.  They know that any ‘improvement’ has been at heavy human cost to little people. Then they apply this sham improvement to the whole classroom setting, to boot. Many, many children are being scarred for life because of this relentless, ridiculous contest. That’s schadenfreude – pleasure from children’s stress and sickness.  Good schools shouldn’t  indulge in it.

The pandemic nature of the malady imitates that of the Standards Debate of earlier years started by school-ignorant ‘Black Papers’ academics in England. Supported by corporations and some educational bodies who did not understand and did not bother to check, the whinging for ‘better results’ spread around the globe and lasted for a few, very intense years. ‘Back to Basics’ was the cry. The media enjoyed the period. Their clientele increased enormously. A major publication [The Bulletin] spent two full issues on the topic with the title : “Australia’s Educational Scandal:  We’re turning out Millions of Dunces.”  ABC TV conducted a nation-wide debate on school standards, involving a number of academics from Perth to Townsville that was to last two hours, but the time was extended. It became very serious, with devastating consequences. This bash-schools-and-teachers meme laid a useful platform for further assaults on schools about the way that moral and sex education was handled, for instance, then something else, then something else. Politicians and the media found that schools were very soft targets indeed. The weakened work force was deprogrammed, silent and compliant, … so… the 1990 managerial parvenus were able to command gelatinous departmental heads, duplicitous ministers, battered teachers unions and compliant teachers groups to restructure Australian education systems on non-school models….on crazily shaped organisational paradigms that have persisted until the present day. Some of the most useful models of  quality control that public schooling ever had, were down-sized and outsourced. Highly experienced supervisory talent, for instance, was made redundant, replaced by medusan blooms that grossly weakened the previous attention given to conversations about teaching and learning. This seriously affected  professional renewal and improvement. Workable school-based curriculum development also got the chop; and consideration for humans as humans, with typical robotic responses expected by those who measure, sadly, prevailed.

There is a word for such a pandemic malady –MEME – the acceptance of an idea with accompanying symbols and practices that are transmitted from one to another. Memetics is a field of study, of recent origin, that explores the evolution of memes.

Little seems to have been done in a memetic sense to identify the ways in which educational memes, as units of cultural transmission, infect the airways. Social contagions such as beliefs that ‘standardised testing improves teaching and learning’ join fads like tattooing, wearing long ‘shorts’ or short skirts, nose piercing, which all spread like a virus through populations. They spread as all viruses do, and seem to be uncontrollable; and, usually,  we don’t seem to understand ‘why’ nor ‘how’. They just happen and we don’t care. We can be pretty sure, however, that this ‘fear-based, high-stakes testing’ meme won’t go away as earlier ones, which had no financial raison-detre, have done. The sources of this present day contagion are known and it’s also known that the MO has nothing to do with teaching and learning. Previous memes have contained educational concerns per se– both negative [e.g.‘Back to Basics’] and positive [e.g. ‘open schooling”]

This meme is different from previous educational ones in the sense that it is a profit based, deliberately-organised fad. The others just faded away as the population came to its senses. This one certainly did not    arise from any public concern. It couldn’t have, since there was no reliable empirical evidence nor academic punditry to sponsor any reason for  this strange meme [‘Tests improve standards’]. Those who think that it has anything to do with school improvement have been hoodwinked.

Memetic social movements, as distinguished from fashion fads, can be halted … but…only it seems when enough good people demand that the nonsense stop. We can bury our heads in the sand or stand up for what is right and just and pleasant; and, thereby, we can be an example for our children by resisting the forced acceptance of this profit-based, anti-social, schooling-destructive virus :  blanket testing.

saynotonaplansaynotonaplansaynotonaplansaynotonaplansaynotonaplan

Recommended Links

www.literacyeducators.com.au 

http://unitedoptout.com 

http://saveourschools.com.au

http://www.marionbrady.com 

http://www.susanohanian.org 

http://www.joebower.org

http://leading-learning.blogspot.co.nz   

http://www.alfiekohn.org 

http://allthingslearning.wordpress.com

www.networkonnet.co.nz  

http://optoutofstandardizedtests.wikispaces.com

http://www.dianeravitch.com

https://treehornexpress.wordpress.com/bridging-the-ditch/  

http://www.essentialschools.org

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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

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net