Educational Readings August 31

 The Treehorn Express

Treehorn’s story Open attachment.

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]

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Educational Readings

By Allan Alach

Hard to beat this item on Diane Ravitch’s blog as a great introduction to this week’s readings:

There have been many times in history when the evidence and discoveries by researchers and scientists (such as Galileo and Darwin) was suppressed by those in power. This is one of those times.

The peer-reviewed unbiased research in biology, neuroscience, education, and social science corroborates a humanistic, child-centered, constructive approach to how we raise and educate our children.  It’s amazing how the biological research into the workings of the brain supports the research from education and social science.  Many of us know that there is already evidence that tells us to do the opposite of what the laws and policies require.

Someday people will look back and ask, “How could a society have done that to their children when they knew better?”

Diane Ravitch’s blog will be there, in archive, to tell the future how it happened. Thank you Diane.’

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!

Finding the Genius in Every Child

Self explanatory, except for politicians and other school ‘deformers.’

http://dianeravitch.net/2012/08/25/finding-the-genius-in-every-child/

Being a profession?

New Zealand educator, e-learning specialist, and blogger Derek Wenmoth offers valuable commentaries in his blog. Here’s an example, commenting on the seemingly endless discussions and policies on teacher professionalism.

‘This debate has been around for a long time and never seems to be fully resolved, and may never be as long as we have a situation where teachers and teaching is subject to so much direct political influence and interference. There is hardly a day goes by when we don’t see teachers and/or teaching represented in a negative light by the media who seldom waste an opportunity to position teachers as “a problem to be fixed.”’

http://blog.core-ed.org/derek/2012/08/being-a-profession.html

The Great Interactive Whiteboard Swindle…a 70s themed post!

Yes indeed, came to the same conclusion when I investigated IWB for a sabbatical project.

http://bit.ly/SD121b

New Forms of Assessment: measuring what you contribute rather than what you collect

Can’t see the deformers buying into this, therefore is must be good…..

http://halfanhour.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/new-forms-of-assessment-measuring-what.html

Seven Sins of Our System of Forced Education

This article dates back to 2009, but that doesn’t affect its relevance. Health warning to GERM laden deformers …. read at peril of having your prejudices challenged.

We can use all the euphemisms we want, but the literal truth is that schools, as they generally exist in the United States and other modern countries, are prisons.”

http://bit.ly/IIZAO

Want to Kill Student Curiosity in 12 Easy Steps?

Here’s how.

http://bit.ly/NvM91H

Why Scotland’s approach to publicly funded education works

Can we import some Scottish politicians?  Seems that they are immune from GERMs.

http://bit.ly/POgc0E

The People Holding Us Accountable Should Be Held Accountable Themselves.

Sounds like a reasonable proposition to me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0o2DJVYlj4Q

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LINKS                       

http://www.dianeravitch.net    www.literacyeducators.com.au

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

http://saveourschools.com.au http://primaryschooling.net

http://www.marionbrady.com   http://susanohanian.org

http://alfiekohn.org    http://www.essential.org

http://optoutofstandardizedtests.wikispaces

http://www.essential.schools.org     http://www.joebower.org

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

http://allthingslearning.wordpress.com

Phil Cullen AM, FACEL,FACE,FQIEL

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point 2486

Australia

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

NAPLAN control

 The Treehorn Express

Treehorn’s story : Open attachment.

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]

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NAPLAN CONTROL

A very important conference that could have an impact on the future for primary schooling in Australia and New Zealand will be held in Melbourne 18-21 September.  Its title is “OUR PRIMARY PURPOSE – LEADING LEARNING”.  Unquestionably, the title is apt because Primary Principals maintain the engines of the powerhouses called ‘schools’ that have been established to determine the future of our two countries. Society does that sort of thing to maintain itself. School principals, then, are each country’s real leaders of learning; and their clients  presently attending school will be in control of the country when they move on.

Our love for pupils at school and for our country are coupled with the sincere hope that they and our countries’ futures are in safe hands – in professionally ethical hands, who are widely-read students of professional-leadership literature and serious class-room oriented operatives. That’s what the average primary principal is. Primary school principals – proud people – important – very, very important people. Right? We adults and our schools’ principals want our children, their pupils, to be able to cope with the enormous, different,  unknown challenges that lay ahead of them. We trust principals to do the right thing.

For instance:- What sort of coping skills do the children need? What sort of attitudes to life-learning do they need? Do they really teach the kind of learnacy that holds the curriculum together, in all schools,  full time,  so that our loved ones will always be able to adjust to new circumstances? That’s certainly what they need, especially if the future itself is uncertain. Do we teach self-evaluation and shared-evaluation of effort, for instance, as part of the learning process? Are traditional subjects enough for their future to be happy and satisfying?

A primary school is about learnacy and pupilling, isn’t it?   AND   It’s the principal of the thing, that counts!

There are so many questions that practising, curriculum-based primary principals have to keep asking themselves over and over and over. There is so much for each of them to learn, because  one lifetime is hardly enough to keep up to speed, to read and negotiate trends, to develop a good understanding and worthy personal philosophy about pupilling.  Pupilling is the reason for the existence of schools, no matter what kind they are….public, private, religious, charter, alternative, distant, home.

CONGRATULATIONS TO APPA and NZPF.

There is a need for such a conference to discuss LEADING LEARNING….to reach some  resolutions about ethical leadership related to children’s learnacy. But…

This particular conference has a problem. Australian principals have been gagged since NAPLAN was introduced. There is an embargo on what they are permitted to say if it is seen to be counter-productive to government policy as far as testing is concerned. The measurers’ apprentices have their instructions. They, along with their teachers and their pupils’ parents, are not allowed to comment on government policy in regard to the administration of the NAPLAN tests and/or its outcomes.

Political controls presently in place, provoke an uneasy feeling amongst the professional work force. Decisions of the chalk-face kind, from which progressive government policies should emanate, are not expected to come from the conference. The professional uneasiness curbs open discussion….on ‘the floor of the house’ so to speak.  Back rooms, Melbourne restaurants, yes.  Why? ‘Big brother’ will be in attendance,  known to use heavy bricks on embargo-breakers.

The NAPLAN results from the May testing program will be made known at about the same time as the conference. There will be a vast improvement in test scores. The public will be called upon to praise their great leader’s efforts and to support the government’s robust control of principals, teachers and parents so that the little brats will do as they are told next May –  in “measurers’ heaven” , “testing paradise”. Practice for the May testing does lead towards mechanical, tropistic improvement just like kicking goals, swimming backstroke, playing darts,  whatever – no great learning involved. So the pro-government-policy principals aka the measurers apprentices, will be able to celebrate. That’s the way the Aussie system works.

The pro-kids, pro-leading learning, pro-professional principals at the conference had better behave.

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THIS TUESDAY’S FEATURE : http://primaryschooling.net/?page_id=105

Is primary schooling different? Can you think of eleven differences?

IMPORTANT READINGS : http://www.pasisahlberg.com/blog/

As a courtesy and welcome to Pasi Sahlberg, who is currently down-under and will be a keynote speaker at the two-nation conference, might I again recommend his short article : How Germ is Infecting Schools Around the World . He says, “The Global Educational Reform Movement”  is like an epidemic that spreads and infects education systems through a virus. It travels with pundits, media and politicians. Education systems borrow policies from others and get infected. As a consequence, schools get ill, teachers don’t feel well, and kids learn less.” 

http://finnishlessons.com

When you open this site, click “Read Introduction” on the left side-band. Print it out [only seven pages] and read with highlighter in hand. You’ll be pleased you did. You will be sure to highlight : “…teachers in Finland may exercise their professional knowledge and judgment both widely and freely. They control curriculum, student assessment, school improvement and community involvement. Much as teachers around the world enter the profession with a mission to build community and transmit culture, Finnish teachers in contrast to their peers in so many countries have the latitude and power to follow through.”

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“The  public school is the greatest invention made by man.” [Horace Mann]

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LINKS                       

http://www.dianeravitch.net    www.literacyeducators.com.au

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

http://saveourschools.com.au http://primaryschooling.net

http://www.marionbrady.com   http://susanohanian.org

http://alfiekohn.org    http://www.essential.org

http://optoutofstandardizedtests.wikispaces

http://www.essential.schools.org     http://www.joebower.org

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

http://allthingslearning.wordpress.com

Phil Cullen AM, FACEL,FACE,FQIEL

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point 2486

Australia

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

Primary Principals’ Principles

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn’s story : Open attachment.

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]

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 Primary Principals’ Principles

As a committed primary principal, there has been a personal bonus from this crusade to have NAPLAN banned. I have met, through the social/educational electronic media, some remarkable educators whose dedication to productive schooling is exceptional. They are the giants of this era of schooling. All of them want Literacy and Numeracy levels to be taken to the limits of each individual’s capacity and love the learning experiences. Some are Aussie primary school principals. [Certainly there are others I have known whose attitude to schooling has been extremely disappointing; some through apathy, some through thoughtless compliance to an over-bearing authority, some who just don’t understand what is going on.] The knowledge that there are such wonderful, wonderful educators prepared to be counted in this serious debate, [ that should never have been necessary in the first place]…well…what a privilege to have been in contact with them from time to time, to know that they are there for kids, to read their informative material, to share, to learn from them… It’s exciting and continues to be.

We are all of the one mind : All forms of national blanket testing programs MUST go.

The various forms of GERM tests in U.S.A., Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia have no place in such democratic societies. Each of them has a damaging impact on children’s love for Literacy and Numeracy pursuits. Like all germs, they need to be eradicated before any more damage is done.

My motivation has been a deeply entrenched desire to see all children start each day anxious to get to their school because of the learning atmosphere that exists there….the learning resources, the caring teachers, the friends-in-learning, the daily learning challenges and routines, the achievable learning goals, the play-way of learning, the fascinating curriculum, the varied curriculum, the fun, the joy, joy, joy of learning…all hang out there….free from fear of any kind. And….each child will know very well, no matter what their age, why they are going to school. That has been my dream since the 1960s. It’s slow work.

To have shared material and thoughts in this venture with the likes of Allan Alach, Terry Ball, Marion Brady, Peter Beatts, Brian Cambourne, Trevor Cobbalt, Tony Gurr, Bruce Hammonds, Doug Hammonds, Megan Hastie,  Derek Hedgcock, David Hornsby, Bruce Jones, Alfie Kohn, Mary E Mackay, Susan Ohanain, Diane Ravitch, Peggy Robinson, Kelvin Smythe, Valerie Strauss, Paulk Thomson, Lorraine Wilson….the list seems endless. There is no real order in such an honour role, so alphabetical is the fairest way to list them. They are just the first that spring to mind. I’m sorry for leaving others out. I hope they’ll understand.

Only hearts of granite can ignore the advices of such wonderful people. They care for kids. They care about kids.  Sincerity is their speciality. And… There have been so many others who have contributed to the ‘NO to NAPLAN’ cause who share the same page. Such a privilege to share the mission with them. There’s Dr. Ted Robinson, Joe Bower….

Because of this kind of sharing and believing, I find it hard to accept that any Australian Primary Principal supports or approves of NAPLAN or of any kind of national blanket testing. I have met too many worthy ones over the last fifty years, whose love for kids is so enormous, so many who have told me that ‘NAPLAN stinks’, so many who administer the tests because they are unwilling to ‘rock the boat’… YES…We all know that true-blue professional principals hate the thing. It is an evil monster.

The professional code of teaching and administrative ethics does not seem to have much sticking power in educational circles while this scato-meme [Fear makes children learn ] prevails. Many of us were nasty beasts ourselves during that heavy public examination period when we treated kids shamefully just to get them through the exams. Deeply shamed from the experience almost all of us …every single one that I know…have done a ‘Ravitch 180’. It seems inconceivable that we once frightened the living daylights out of our lovely kids so that they could get a ‘score’  and we ruined  their love for learning in the process.  The candidates ‘got a job’ or moved on. We didn’t really care. Our reputation was at stake when it was ‘exam time’.

We oldies, still driven by a passion for child learning, can now appease our conscience by helping the present generation of teachers and principals to think seriously about what they are doing.

Let’s improve Literacy and Numeracy instead of destroying Learnacy.

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THIS SUNDAY’S FEATURE : http://primaryschooling.net/?page_id=1896

                                                                     Standardised blanket testing – a moral issue for principals.

IMPORTANT READINGS : http://www.networkonnet.co.nz/index.php?section=latest&id=330

In this article, Kelvin Smythe refers to the use of ‘ropey’ evidence and the ritualised saucer-licking that damages the spirit of primary school education. He refers us to an article that is a MUST READ. It is a comment by researcher Martin Thrupp about RAINS [ Research, Analysis and Insight into National Standards ] that concerned itself with the enactment of policy regarding the impact of National Standards [= NAPLAN blanket-style testing] in NZ on school responses, and the effect of such assessment on narrowing of the curriculum, of teachers prioritising the teaching of some students over others and of the damaging effects on students conceptions of themselves as learners. Thrupp’s article is called : The Impending Release of Primary School Achievement Data: Disingenuous, Destructive and Deluded.

If you have any interest at all in NAPLAN or National Standards, you must read : http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/ED1208/S00132/release-of-primary-school-data-disingenuous-deluded.htm

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Peter Garrett, please try harder to GONSKIGuide Our Nation’s School Kids Intelligently.”

LINKS                       

http://www.dianeravitch.net    www.literacyeducators.com.au

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

http://saveourschools.com.au http://primaryschooling.net

http://www.marionbrady.com   http://susanohanian.org

http://alfiekohn.org    http://www.essential.org

http://optoutofstandardizedtests.wikispaces

http://www.essential.schools.org     http://www.joebower.org

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

http://allthingslearning.wordpress.com

Phil Cullen AM, FACEL,FACE,FQIEL

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point 2486

Australia

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

Educational Readings August 24th

The Treehorn  Express
[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]
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Educational Readings
By Allan Alach
A potpourri of articles this week, concluding with a couple of more positive ones on the way education should be developing. However as the first article shows, there is little immediate hope while governments play the corporate agenda. The biggest puzzle, to me, is why it is a supposedly more left leaning Labor Government in Australia who are in cahoots with the corporates. A secondary puzzle concerns the Australian Minister of Education Peter Garrett. For those who don’t recognise the name, remember the Australian rock band Midnight Oil, and their protest songs about Aboriginal land rights (Beds are Burning) and uranium mining (Blue Sky Mining) ? Garrett was the singer. Some inconsistencies here, Pete. For more, read Kelvin Smythe’s satirical posting.
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!
Joel Klein Comes Clean
Seems Common Core Standards is all about enabling businesses to profit from education. What a surprise.
Why Creative Geniuses Hated School
Three creative geniuses explain why they hated formal education. Never mind, we’re busy creating another generation who will also hate formal education.
15 Reasons Reformers Are Looking to Finland
Yet another article on Finland and its educational success. Those who want to deform schools in the opposite direction clearly failed their own schooling.
Standardization Will Destroy Our Education System, If It Hasn’t Already
Title says it all…
Release of Primary School Data Disingenuous & Deluded
Waikato University Professor of Education Martin Thrupp has released this opinion piece on the New Zealand government’s processes towards joining the international GERM movement. Shambolic. Deceitful.

http://bit.ly/Ocgu3s

How to Turn Your Classroom into an Idea Factory
Nothing to do with GERM….
“How can we prepare today’s students to become tomorrow’s innovators? It’s an urgent challenge, repeated by President Obama, corporate CEOs, and global education experts like Yong Zhao and Tony Wagner. Virtually every discussion of 21st-century learning puts innovation and its close cousin, creativity, atop the list of skills students must have for the future.”
This beautiful video about parabolas will 100% blow your mind
Robert T. Gonzalez
I know, I know. You’re probably wondering how exciting parabolas can actually be, right? Well, it turns out that, in the remarkably capable hands of mathematical rambler/artist/stream-of-conscious-doodle-wizard Vi Hart, the answer is: pretty damn interesting.’
Apart from blowing minds, it also demonstrates why standards based, tick the right box/supply the right answer approach doesn’t work. We’ll just have to overlook the fact that the producer of this works for Khan Academy!
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Recommended Links
www.literacyeducators.com.au                                                                              
http://saveourschools.com.au                                       
http://www.marionbrady.com                                                                               
http://leading-learning.blogspot.co.nz                                                                  
                                          
 Phil Cullen  AM,FACE,FACEL,FQIEL
[Gold Medal :ACEL]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
41 Cominan Avenue                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Banora Point 2486
07 5524 6443

http://primaryschooling.net

Performance

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn’s story : Open attachment.

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]

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Performance

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/a-hard-marker-20120818-24f99.html/

The organ-grinder has spoken. ‘Schools must promise good results for cash’ said Page 8 of The Sun Herald [19 Aug.2012]repeating the front page instruction headlined ‘A HARD MARKER’.

With the usual irrefragable command and authority of Gillardism [Australia’s special brand of totalitarianism] she has spoken : “ The fact is right now Australia risks slipping behind. Four of the top five performing school systems in the world are in our region and they are getting better and better. Australia should be on that list.”

Pure bullshit, Julia. Unadulterated meadow mayonnaise. Wash your mouth out. Fancy using such crudities to describe schooling activities!

Was it a horse-race?

Performing what?

What list?

Surely you don’t mean the PISA list that mentions  Finland [that ‘scores’ well on it because it does not do any blanket testing] , Singapore, China, South Korea, Taiwan [the cram factories] who score high numbers on a few miserable/measurable school topics [that the gullible believe to be the only reasons for schools to exist], on OECD’s grossly uninformative test given every now and then to some 15 year olds in some randomly selected countries. Fair go. That’s a silly game, Dearie….nothing to do with schooling.

or

Surely you don’t mean  those meaningless $540m NAPLAN tests that Australian schools sweat over for a few months each year and cram possible answers to the detriment of each school’s curriculum and of children’s fondness for learning. Surely!

  ————————————————-

Of course Australia will ‘risk slipping behind” while you play the blame-game and encourage rote learning, test-passing techniques and applaud the practice-practice-practice games during February, March, April of each year in preparation for the invalid stifling tests in mid-May.  You can wager our $540m on our going back to drastics….it’s downhill.  You caused it.

You know that the lobbying of the test publishing corporations has gotcha, hasn’t it? They have done a first-rate job on you.

You know that you are now advocating the use of after-school cram academies of countries within our region who score better on PISA than we do. [Kip McGrath. How’s business?]

For the sake of transparency , will you please provide the following

  1. The in-school-time hours spent by each school on  specific practice for the NAPLAN tests?  It’s easy to compile and you can provide the information to us on the MySchool sites.
  2. The parts of the general school curriculum that you require schools to suspend during the preparation months –March to May – Social Studies [that’s the easy one to take time from], Art, LOTE, Music, Physical Education, Sport, Religious Instruction or some other of your ‘useless’ non-PISA based occupations that schools organise. [Ask a teacher if you do not know what happens in schools.]

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THIS TUESDAY’S FEATURE : http://www.networkonnet.co.nz/index.php?section=latest

Kelvin Smythe satirizes Peter Garrett’s quest for ‘improvement’.

IMPORTANT READINGS : http://dianeravitch.net/2012/08/18/a-humanity-biased-educator-in-australia-blasts-pisa/  

This great U.S. educator has circulated the Treehorn Express recent article on ‘Scores. Scores. Scores.’ to her 35,000 readers.  Thank you, Diane Ravitch.

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And Peter Garrett, please try harder to GONSKI “ Guide Our Nation’s School Kids Intelligently.

   ————————————————————————————————–

LINKS                       

http://www.dianeravitch.net    www.literacyeducators.com.au

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

http://saveourschools.com.au http://primaryschooling.net

http://www.marionbrady.com   http://susanohanian.org

http://alfiekohn.org    http://www.essential.org

http://optoutofstandardizedtests.wikispaces

http://www.essential.schools.org     http://www.joebower.org

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

http://allthingslearning.wordpress.com

Phil Cullen AM, FACEL,FACE,FQIEL

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point 2486

Australia

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

Seig heil NAPLAN

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn’s story : Open attachment.

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]

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Seig Heil NAPLAN

Some time ago, the Cairns Post printed a half-page : Teachers Gagged on NAPLAN Tests. There was a large photo of some young children leaning intensely over some tests papers, headed: “Controversy: Some academics claim the national literacy and numeracy are a vast experiment with children’s minds but teachers are gagged from speaking out about the matter.”

The article itself went on to say inter alia : “The country has bought a pig in a poke peddled by politicians and statisticians. The animal is a freak shaped by naive political ideology, unanswered assumptions and ignorance of history.

‘This vast experiment with children’s minds and the country’s future was put in place, without in-depth research, without trial pilot programs and without answering questions posed again and again by those who know something about teaching – know about it because, unlike those making the policy, they’re actual teachers.’

Sound familiar? Why aren’t Queensland principals doing something about it?  They are forbidden to and would be breaking the code of conduct [aka control] for employees of Education Queensland if they spoke out.

They have been effectively gagged.”  [ Marion Brady and Peter Beatts were contributors to the article. ]

No one took any notice….an indication of effective mind-control…. part of Departmental bureaucratic [non-professional] control of principals; and principals’ gagging of teachers. Right? No teacher said anything in public. Principals, as quiet as mice. Managerialists all quiet and cosy.  Nobody else cares enough to consider the consequences.  Next target: Parents.

  ————————————————————

Last week, 14 August 2012, the Brisbane Courier Mail printed a Page 9 news article: Parent Gag Warning in P&C Mag: “Parents are being asked to sign up to the same code of conduct teachers and principals operate under when they join  state school P&Cs, potentially gagging them from speaking out to contentious government policy issues.

They face being excluded from the school premises and further engagement with the P&C if they break  the code.

In the latest Queensland Council of Patents and Citizens Association [QCPCA] magazine Parent Talk members are reminded they are ‘bound by’ and are required to follow, the Department of Education Training and Employment Code of Conduct.

QCPCA president Margaret Leary said expectations that P&C follow DETE policy and legislation were formalised under a change to the P&C Model Constitution last year.

Under the DETE Code of Conduct teachers and principals cannot speak to the media regarding anything to do with government policy without authorisation first.”

It’s true….as unbelievable as it seems. Check :  http://www.news.com.au/national/parent-gag-warning-in-parents-citizens-magazine/story-fndo4ckr-1226449610716  I find it impossible to believe that any parents’ organisation would be gullible enough to accept such a direction. I remember so many  wonderful QCPCA child-advocates.  I can’t believe it. But then I was shocked four years ago, by APPA’s decision to support NAPLAN and the unprofessional approval of Julia’s assault on school children. All they needed to do was to protect their kids from totalitarian-imposed classroom fear. It’s a very strange world….

SO? Totalitarianism’s  mind control structure is now well established in Australia; and Moloch, [strange resemblance to another person’s name] the patron saint of GERM, claims state school children as parent sacrifices.

Seig heil, NAPLAN . All hail. You have done your job.

__________________________________________________________

Now that management’s mind-control of all major stake-holders has been introduced into a state school system, the issue pleads to be discussed as widely as possible and with serious debate over attendant issues of the cult of measurement, coercive persuasion of major operatives, attempts at thought reform, apathetic mindlessness, behaviour modification, information control, systematic deception, all part of the deliberate totalitarian effort to control the population. [There are doctorates galore in each one of these topics.]

Totalitatianism “…is a political system where the state recognises no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible.” [Robert Conquest : Reflections of a Ravaged Century. P.94]

There are different forms of totalitarianism, of course, but it seems clear that the Australian version of coercive hegemony is here to stay, no matter which political ideology prevails. There has been no indication from any side of politics that school children are considered important as people. Every politician, every concerned parent, every child-centred teacher, every curriculum-wise principal. every school-focussed bureaucrat knows that NAPLAN is evil on all child-care counts.

It has required a totalitarian mode of politics to instil its insidiousness in schools, because corporate profiteers, especially those of the publishing kind, want it that way

As observed by Martin Niemoller ‘when they came for the Jews’, we can ignore such movements at our peril. The present generation of school children have already been contaminated by testing traumas leaving permanent scars. The above illustrations of the evil political tactics that can be forced on the innocent, with any old pedestrian so-called code of behaviour, do not auger well for their adult years.

A meek, government-compliant reader might suggest that such a  description is excessive. But this fear-based control of schooling in Australia is very real and has gone further than mere authoritarianism. The teleological belief that the ends [false and temporary high scores on a few weird tests] justify the means [child-fear accompanied by crash-bang-wallop teaching techniques] is fundamental to the principle of ‘provider capture’. This is raw totalitarian politics in action. Make no mistake. One of the most tragic outcomes of the scandalous introduction of national blanket testing into Australia has been the disappearance of professional ethics. Let’s pray that ethical concerns over the welfare of children will return and, one day, bring forth some super-strength from parents who worry about the way that they and their children are being treated.  Those who believe that children are precious people, will hate NAPLAN.  Australians also need a political advocate from any of our frozen political parties of the stature of N.Z’s  Catherine Delahunty http://www.greens.org.nz/speeches/catherine-delahuntys-speech-estimates-debate-vote-education

Since principals associations, teacher organisations and measurement focussed academics…and now, parents…. have almost totally succumbed to the control of the pagan god Moloch and the gimmickry [charter schools, muddle schools etc.], we may have to wait a while for a super-hero or heroes to emerge from the devastation….a politician, perhaps, who likes kids….a parent with a mission to care for kids….a state school principal who’s had enough.

Patience kids. It’s tough on your present generation of school children. Nobody seems to care; like Martin Niemuller, we are leaving things too late for next year’s occupants of Years 3,5,7,9 classrooms.  Sad. So very sad.

Seig Heil, NAPLAN. 

Welcome to the affray, Moloch.

Goodbye to a caring democracy.

Goodbye to a thoughtful, progressive, creative Australia.

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THIS SUNDAY’S FEATURE : http://www.jerseyjazzman.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/joel-klein-comes-clean.html?spref=tw

An issue that we have overlooked – LOBBYING. “They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying – lobbying to get what they want. Well we know what they want. They DON’T want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking.”

 IMPORTANT READINGS     http://www.dianeravitch.net/2012/08/17/what-our-friends-in-new-zealand-are-reading/

Allan Alach’s reading list hits the US scene.

LINKS                       

http://www.dianeravitch.net    www.literacyeducators.com.au

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

http://saveourschools.com.au http://primaryschooling.net

http://www.marionbrady.com   http://susanohanian.org

http://alfiekohn.org    http://www.essential.org

http://optoutofstandardizedtests.wikispaces

http://www.essential.schools.org     http://www.joebower.org

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

http://allthingslearning.wordpress.com

Phil Cullen AM, FACEL,FACE,FQIEL

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point 2486

Australia

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

Educational Readings August 17

The Treehorn  Express
[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]
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Weekend Readings

By Allan Alach

One common element of ‘deform’ across the world, is the use of PISA tests to justify the implementation of GERM.  As Phil Cullen observes in his latest Treehorn Express these tests are an offshoot of the OECD, an organisation of economists. Since when did economists have valid educational credentials? This begs the question- why do we take any notice of PISA? Anyone able to explain this to me?
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!
Charter Schools and Corporate Ed Reform
As other countries rush down the charter school road, evidence to the contrary keeps coming out of USA. Naturally our GERM minded politicians take no notice – powerful string pullers behind the scenes? Thanks to Barbara Nelson for this link.
“The following is an excerpt from Charter Schools and the Corporate Makeover of Public Education: What’s at Stake? co-authored by Michelle Fine and Michael Fabricant. The book traces the evolution of the charter school movement from its origins in community- and educator-based efforts to promote progressive change to their role today as instruments of privatization and radical disinvestment in public education.”
New school year: doubling down on failed ed policy
Or ‘how we need to learn from our mistakes”
“This was written by Lisa Guisbond, a policy analyst for the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, known as FairTest, a Boston-based organization that aims to improve standardized testing practices and evaluations of students, teachers and schools.”
10 Ways School Reformers Get It Wrong
“When it comes to education reform, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel anymore; instead, we’re building square ones.” Nothing else needs to be added. Thanks to Phil Cullen for this link.
Secret Teacher has had it with WALTS, WILFS and other education jargon.
The Guardian newspaper, UK, runs a regular feature where a different secret teacher each time writes about issues of concern. This one is written by an Academy School (aka charter school) teacher, and provides a warning of what is to come.
Yong Zhao on PISA
For the last 18 months or so, I’ve been raising questions about this PISA test programme that is being used by ‘deformers’ all over to justify their educational agenda. Why is a test developed by an economic organisation being used in this way? Why do we give it any credit at all?  Think about it – the PISA tests to determine any country’s educational achievement have exactly the same drawbacks as using tests to determine a child’s achievement. This blog by Diane Ravitch, referencing comments by Yong Zhao, covers this more authoritatively. Getting rid of PISA would be a major step forward.

Technocratic Expansion of Education Data Systems Stirs Privacy Concerns

This is an extremely important article by Anthony Cody.  The online student database system he describes here is also being developed in New Zealand, ready for implementation in 2014. Are similar systems being developed in Australia, UK and elsewhere? This is big brother, people. No exaggeration.  The only thing Orwell got wrong was that he anticipated a far left state, not a right wing corporate based state with fascist overtones. Just to back this up, there’s also another link from a homeschooling website.
Eight problems with Common Core Standards
Another great article by Marion Brady. New Zealand readers might ‘enjoy’ reading this, substituting ‘national’ for ‘common core.’ Aren’t coincidences wonderful?
Thank God for standardized test scores
With the coming publication of ‘achievement data’ for New Zealand schools, as the government rushes in a ‘me too’ fashion’ to join the bandwagon, this satirical article by Joe Bower is timely.
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Recommended Links
www.literacyeducators.com.au                                                                              
http://saveourschools.com.au                                       
http://www.marionbrady.com                                                                               
http://leading-learning.blogspot.co.nz                                                                  
https://treehornexpress.wordpress.com/bridging-the-ditch/                                              
 
Phil Cullen  AM,FACE,FACEL,FQIEL
[Gold Medal :ACEL]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
41 Cominan Avenue                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Banora Point 2486
07 5524 6443

http://primaryschooling.net

Scores, Scores, Scores

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn’s story : Open attachment.

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]

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Scores, Scores, Scores

The delusional, paranoiac obsession with scores and numbers in educational dialogue, and their use by educators who should know better, constantly diverts attention from the real issues. We have all been guilty of using statements like:- “Finland has the best system in the world, because it topped the PISA tests in 2009.” “USA has a poor system of schooling. It ran 27th on the PISA tests.”  “Australia and New Zealand are in the top ten of the best school systems in the world.” “Asia’s cram schools are raising the stakes.”  What is this system of ranking that has led us to the use of such inanities?

PISA is a Programme for International Student Assessment, operating under the auspices of OECD. It tests only 15 year-olds [considered to be school leavers] in a number of countries to see how well-equipped they might be to face the world at large. Although the PISA is only able to test the testables in reading, mathematics and problem solving, it has no link to any school curriculum and provides great fun for the measurement nerds at OECD, Paris. It is claimed to be “…a powerful tool to shape government’s policy making.”   Heaven knows why. Thus far, it has created chaos and panic amongst those in countries who don’t understand what it is.  It tested reading in 2000; mathematics in 2003; science in 2006; reading again in 2009. For 2012 some 15 year-olds are being randomly selected from about 30 countries to test mathematics and try an optional computer-based assessment of mathematics and reading. PISA carries more punch than it deserves. For curriculum use and for comparative standards, its punch would not explode a paper bag.

It is influential, however. Countries, states and authorities around the world have gone numbers-mad to copy its impetuous ardour:- giving tests invented by local non-school measurers, assigning numbers as scores to each participant, averaging the numbers to declare some ridiculously impossible assessments of teachers, principals, schools and systems; publishing results as if they carried some sort of evaluation of what was going on in regard to teacher competencies, school performance, principals’ curriculum leadership and systems’ organisation.

In Australia, these unreliable, comparative number-scores are used as the basis for serious but totally inaccurate descriptions of pupils, schools, of teachers, of principals; have given rise to an amazing array of gimmickry; enhanced the coffers of private schooling; and enriched the coffers of publishers. Nothing much else. They have been used to describe ‘best’ schools and ‘worst’ schools, ‘good’ teachers and ‘bad’ teachers. Some newspapers have been cruel, with commentators pontificating on standards of schooling. the needs for this and that, They have even been used to describe countries as providing outstanding educational services because of success in this test, that is unfamiliar to most commentators and has yet to be extensively examined as a reliable device for what it says it does.  The Australian Gratten Institute, founded in the same year as NAPLAN, established to advise governments on policy matters, contributes to the heresy by its reliance on numbers to make judgements. It’s report: “Catching Up: Learning from the Best School Systems in East Asia” where after-school tutoring to raise test scores is rife, bases it’s contents on numbers scored. [ http://www.saveourschools.com.au ] “The report is seriously deficient and one-sided.” says Trevor Cobbald.   One hopes that policy-makers will consult with humanity-biased commentators and the education community before any serious decisions are taken as a consequence of this report.

And all this malarchy costs over $540million with more to come to prop-up the [officially] failed NAPLAN testing scheme!

The reliance and over-use of Arabic numerals for educational purposes is catastrophic. Measurers are people who dwell on the outskirts of educational activities and who  greatly exaggerate the power of number scores. They should get back in their box with their childish toys.  Number is number. When its hieroglyphics are used for descriptive purposes, scores and marks and numbers are inappropriate. Used for serious evaluation of education’s human effort as they are during the present testing pandemic, the use is satanic.

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THIS TUESDAY’S FEATURE : http://www.networkonnet.co.nz/index.php?section=latest&id=325

[Kelvin Smythe’s criticism of a NZ Shadow Minister’s statement contains some brilliant summaries of the effects of ‘national standards. The Minister then responds.]

IMPORTANT READING:     http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/eight-problems-with-common-core-standards/2012/08/12/821b300a-e4e7-11e1-8f62-58260e3940_blog.html#pagebreak

[Marion Brady comments: “Future historians…are going to shake their heads in disbelief. They’ll wonder how, in a single generation…democracy has dismantled its engine.”]

LINKS                           http://www.dianeravitch.net    www.literacyeducators.com.au

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

http://saveourschools.com.au http://primaryschooling.net

http://www.marionbrady.com   http://susanohanian.org

http://alfiekohn.org    http://www.essential.org

http://optoutofstandardizedtests.wikispaces

http://www.essential.schools.org     http://www.joebower.org

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

 http://allthingslearning.wordpress.com

Phil Cullen AM, FACEL,FACE,FQIEL

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point 2486

Australia

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

When is a Scandal a Scandal

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn’s story : Open attachment.

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]

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When is a Scandal a Scandal?

NAPLAN – $540 Million Blunder – Part 2

The silence is under control

 On June 14, the Fairfax newspapers reported that “…A $540million government scheme to lift numeracy and literacy rates made no discernable difference to the results of the schools taking part,an audit of the program has found.”

This government scheme [accurate terminology] is called NAPLAN.

“The Australian National Audit Office said the effectiveness of the program, which has so far delivered $322 million to the states and territories in facilitation, reward and research payments, had been ‘mixed’.”

Under normal circumstances this sort of news would be headlined in every major newspaper, be the subject of intense investigation by the  “Four Corners” program, be featured on ‘Q & A’; and phones would run hot to every major radio talk-back program around the country for a week at least.      $540million!

What happened to this bomb-shell? Nobody interested? Nobody cares?

Other than the Fairfax newspaper group, didn’t other sections of the media know about it?

Controlled silence?

Education Minister Peter Garret responded mildly:  “Overall, there have been positive signs that the LNNP [Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership] is making a difference.” and disputes the audit.

Julia Gillard, who, as Minister encouraged by her P.M. at the time, introduced this New York way of doing things,  said that low achieving pupils had benefited [i.e. they now get higher scores on faulty tests],which “…was always the aim of this

program.” i.e.practising to get better scores, that is. No real learning involved.

Yes Peter and Julia, if you believe that an increase in scores on invalid, unreliable and fear-inducing tests represents ‘positive signs’ and ‘achieving aims’ and the cost of over $0.5billion is worth it, you can pat yourselves on the back. However, it’s our money. It’s our children you are ‘using’. It’s Australia’s future. One day, Australia will have to atone for your bloodymindedness.  NAPLAN is a great big hoax, a scandal hiding other agenda. You just don’t care.

You know very well why the ‘scheme’ was introduced. It had nothing to do with schooling. It had a lot to do with politics. It had a helluva lot to do with corporate greed.  Might I suggest that you had to control the silence from the word ‘GO’; and that your New York friend Joel told you how to manage it……round up the corporate giants, managerialists, test-bugs and ‘standard’ freaks to get them on your side; and make sure that their lieutenants [teacher organisations, public and private school principals, the power press, the totalitarian side of politics] control all child-centred ‘Care for Kids’ people who stick up for children [at school in particular]. It’s working for you . You’re good at it. That enchanted evening [27 June 2008] when you met your inspiration at that Carnegie Corporation function in Washington was your great night…but….it was our Aussie teachers and kids’ ‘waterloo’. Now,all of Australia is paying – big-time.

Angelo Gavrielatos of the Australian Education Union said that there were positive aspects to the LNNP when the class sizes were smaller, specialist literacy and numeracy teachers were employed and early intervention programs used. We’ve known that for endless decades, Angelo.  Do we really need $540m worth of NAPLAN just to remind us?

Christopher Pyne, shadow education minister “…said the audit report showed the program had been ineffective.”  You’ve known this all along as well, haven’t you, Chris.? Bless you for saying it. [When you become Minister, please stay away from Washington or New York cocktail parties. Try Helsinki; anywhere but….]

“We find it has failed to meet its objective of improving literacy and numeracy, it lacks accountability, it lacks transparency.” Chris said in a statement.

The God who cares for children will thank you for being prepared to say something, Chris.  Please say it twice as loud in your party room. Recruit some party colleagues who like school children…or need some extra votes next year. If we parents and grandparents and child-centred schoolies have anything to do with it, the banning of NAPLAN will be the main electoral issue next year. Watch this space.

I’m voting for the party that says it will ban NAPLAN. I hope that a few million parents and grandparents and future-parents will do the same thing.

Chris, Angelo, Julia and Peter, you know very well of national blanket testing’s devastating effects on an holistic curriculum, of the rigid controls of classroom learning that it imposes, of the restrictions to children’s love for learning, of the emphasis on the use of didactic modes of teaching and, especially,  of the stress caused to pupils, teachers, parents and principals for the first three months of each year.  You know that Australia  imported this failed system from the US which is way behind us in almost all schooling matters – even in PISA tests – but, at the time,  you all supported the crazed notion that children learn best when you frighten them. You’re now entitled to see things differently; to change your minds, you know. The US Klein model was certainly no model to adopt.  Australia’s copy of it, NAPLAN, has no place on any learning-based schooling landscape. It’s an invidious, cruel system…..and that’s quite apart from the cash spent on its control. $540m in money terms, so far.

This failed NAPLAN-based ‘government scheme’ is heading in one direction – one direction only – using Aussie tax-payers money that most taxpayers do not seem to care about:- into the deep pockets of the publishers.  The controlled silence, following this $540 million scandal,  makes the task easier. Spend the money. Nobody cares. Proven. Where will the next big hit on the public’s pockets go? Here’s a certainty:- billions, for sure, will be spent on the import of technical equipment and pre-prepared school computer programs. Rupert estimates over $500billion for this sort of enterprise in the U.S. alone; and his manager Joel Klein already has a foot in Australia. It’s using his schooling model.

You have mandated that Australian teachers, once esteemed around the world for their teaching competencies, will not need to exercise those ‘pupilling’ talents that they have learned and developed with the warmth and respect and love exchanged with their pupils… any more. You are telling them, bluntly, that they can forget about that mutuality of learning through pupilling: “I teach. You learn. I will teach you how to learn.Ours is a teaching-learning friendship.”  Pupilling. Yes. Pupils intuitively want to learn how to become self-propelled students, but that notion is no longer respected in Australian schools. It’s part of their birth-right that you are denying them. Back to the drastics.

In Australia, the great scato-meme “FEAR-BASED TEACHING FORCES LEARNING “ has to be followed by government fiat…no matter what the financial cost. There are tests to be done…and faults to be found…and test publishers to support…and computer programs with testing and reporting to employ.  More assignment-based teaching to come with plenty of practice for tests. Practice. Practice.  Spend. Spend. Spend.  Little learning.

                                    Sad.                       

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THIS TUESDAY’S FEATURE : http://bit.ly/AkPGTN

[Naom Chomski discusses the purposes of education. Timely]

IMPORTANT READINGS     http://primaryschooling.net/?page_id=74

[What is meant by ‘teaching strategies’?]

LINKS                           http://www.dianeravitch.net    www.literacyeducators.com.au    http://leading-learning.blogspot.co.nz    www.networkonnet.co.nz   http://saveourschools.com.au

http://primaryschooling.net     http://www.marionbrady.com   http://susanohanian.org    http://alfiekohn.org    http://www.essential.org   http://optoutofstandardizedtests.wikispaces

http://www.essential.schools.org     http://www.joebower.org      https://treehornexpress.wordpress.com/bridging-the-ditch/   http://allthingslearning.wordpress.com

Phil Cullen AM, FACEL,FACE,FQIEL

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point 2486

Australia

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

 

Educational Readings August 10

The Treehorn  Express
[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]
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Weekend Readings

By Allan Alach

 
The strange world where politicians and associated deformers pursue their agendas in seeming ignorance of the ever increasing objections of educators and parents continues all over. The same complaints “Why don’t they listen?’ can be heard in many countries. The fact that this happens, and is ignored, tells its own story. As far as New Zealand is concerned, the government have pushed on with their plan to make each school’s national standards data available to all and sundry via a website. The existing scheme of allowing schools to submit ‘data’ in a wide range of formats has made it impossible to collate the ‘data’ and this has spoiled the plan to produce league tables this year. As I expected, the system is being tightened up next year, requiring schools to enter ‘achievement data’ online, and further, also as I predicted, the following year (2014) will see the introduction of a online assessment tool that will rank children against national standards. Given the internationality of GERM, it is not drawing too long a bow to suggest that this approach is being trialled here, before being introduced elsewhere. The USA, with their Common Core Standards, is not too many light years away from being ready to go. Beware. This is another step to demote teacher professionalism and judgement – the other end of the ‘computer as teacher’ approach.
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 remarkable successes of the student strikers in Quebec
Lessons for us all from this? We can overcome neo-liberalism!
Privatizing Public Schools: Big Firms Eyeing Profits From U.S. K-12 Market
A couple of quotes from this article, which is applicable to other countries as well:
“Think about the upcoming rollout of new national academic standards for public schools, he urged the crowd. If they’re as rigorous as advertised, a huge number of schools will suddenly look really bad, their students testing way behind in reading and math. They’ll want help, quick. And private, for-profit vendors selling lesson plans, educational software and student assessments will be right there to provide it.” 
And
“Autism in particular, he said, is a growth market, with school districts seeking better, cheaper ways to serve the growing number of students struggling with that disorder.”
Lovely.
Open the Flood Gates
Thoughtful posting by Walter McKenzie of ASCD. Makes a very good case for the need to discard standardisation.
Noam Chomsky – The Purpose of Education
Noam Chomsky discusses the purpose of education, impact of technology, whether education should be perceived as a cost or an investment and the value of standardised assessment. An antidote to the madness spreading around the world.
Education funnels and webs of learning
Steve Wheeler, from University of Plymouth, UK, writes a very good blog “Learning with e’s” While predominantly commenting on digital technologies in education, he also casts his eye over the wider educational scene, and the purposes of education. In this article he references visionaries such as Illich and Freire.
Let’s read them a story! Helping your children succeed in school
OECD article that highlights the importance of parents reading to children at home.
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Recommended Links
Phil Cullen  AM,FACE,FACEL,FQIEL
[Gold Medal :ACEL]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
41 Cominan Avenue                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Banora Point 2486
07 5524 6443

http://primaryschooling.net