Educational Readings August 17

The Treehorn  Express
[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]

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
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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