When is a Scandal a Scandal

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn’s story : Open attachment.

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]


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.




[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


41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point 2486


07 5524 6443




Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s