What they CLAIM; what we KNOW.

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn’s story : Open attachment.

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]


“Creeping Eichmannism : A sort of spiritless, mechanical, abstract, functioning that relies on unquestioning orders from above and implementation of policy without questioning or dialogue.”

[Postman & Weingartner]



STOP PRESS  Queensland’s NAPLAN results were announced today [15/09/12] by the Courier Mail in a two-page spread that started with “Queensland has come third-last nationally on  the 2012 national literacy and numeracy tests.”  OMG. The rest of the article has to be read to the tune of “The William Tell Overture”   www.youtube.com/watch?v=BavRrRNvz8g  It concludes with a Q & A.

Q: What do we need to do?  A. Education expert Christopher Bantick said children need basic literacy and numeracy skills by the end of Year 2 and if hey didn’t have them, parents should ask why. He said parents need to demand more of the schools.”

…..and Beetle Bum… 


Reminder: Have you dropped a note to Mr. Pyne  c.pyne.mp@aph.gov.au asking him to reply to my email of 9 September, 2012?  Join the others who care about kids, please.

Treehorn’s friends from USA, Canada, New Zealand, Amsterdam, Mexico, Turkey!  Please join in and tell him that you too are anxious to know.

It could influence Australia’s future.



In a fascinating uncategorised article http://educationalchemy.com/2012/09/04/fast-food-educational-reviewing-the-facts-about-education-reform/ , the authors compare the claims of the high-stakes GERM/NAPLAN advocates against what is known about child growth and development applied to classroom behaviour, in tabular form. I’ve taken extensive liberties [Pp.5-8] with the arrangements to apply to conditions down under and present them to you for your consideration and comment.

The table is introduced : “We know that the crafters of GERM and its viruses, while they represent players from both sides of the political aisle, all of them actively support a corporate model of ‘reform’, the end goals of which are to : [a]privatize public education, [b] to transform schooling into a commodity for exploitation and corporate profits, and [c] to locate the control of public information in the hands of the few elite individuals and groups.

This is not a conspiracy. It is solidly evidenced in facts. [It has special political sponsorship in Australia.]

It is also known that the mainstream media, for political reasons, continue to evade reporting. Truth is replaced with emotionally charged rhetoric aimed at blindsiding parents to keep them from taking action or to resist the take-over of their children’s schooling. But, the truth can be found. It’s available.”

It is the unassailable right of parents to use their intellectual and economic privilege to investigate and comment upon their children’s schooling. Many will be surprised by what they discover.  Let the chart below be a start to their enquiry.


  WHAT THEY CLAIM                                                              WHAT WE KNOW

  Fear motivates children to learn.                                                                      

  • Yes it does. It has been used by tyrants, slave driver sand human monsters for aeons to bend the will of others for short-term goals.  When used on school children for intellectual endeavour, its damage has long-lasting effects. Its effects on individual’s intellectual and social psyche are always negative. Studies show that average group achievements on measureable school items rise slightly,  plateau;   and then decline… with lasting consequences.


GERM-based {NAPLAN} test results improve the quality of teaching. 

  • Anecdotal evidence indicates that teachers tend to revert or maintain heavy chalk-talk, paper-and-pencil, didactic techniques with an emphasis on practising for tests with rewards and punishments


Repeated testing improves student learning   

  • Repetition of non-creative tasks works with most animals. Parrots repeat words; monkeys tricks; humans both. Activities that concentrate on over-use of the left hemisphere of the brain, do so at risk to the right side.


Latest teachers’ evaluation/testing policies will inspire more rigor in classroom activities. 

  • High stakes testing has led to [1] cheating, [2] teaching to the test, [3] increased levels of student anxiety and depression.


Charter schools will create ‘choice’ and higher quality offerings. 

  • Corporate/private charter schools have NOT outperformed public schools in any testing in any locality known. Many have underperformed their public counterparts. Charter schools have also increased racial segregation. 


Charter schools are intended to “empower” parents.  

  • Parents are forced to send their children to poor performing charter schools or to send them to schools beyond their neighbourhood. Some charter schools can elect to refuse admission. Public schools are left  with those children who are the most difficult to teach.


GERM-style [NAPLAN] testing makes schools and teachers more accountable. 

  • NAPLAN test scores and student data are held by a third-party  organisation [ACARA], obtained under duress and used as it sees fit. Such storage and use is paid for with money that could have gone to schools. This data collection involves a cheap and seamless process that transforms learning outcomes into measurable chunks of big data needed to run schools as businesses. The information obtained is then used by test-publishers for quite enormous profit. The locus of accountability is chameleon.


“NAPLAN average scores for a school is a good indication of school performance.”   

  • Each child is different and their mood, when they mark bubbles on sheets of invalid and unreliable test items at a highly-charged, emotional moment in time, is a only reflection of how well they were drilled during test practice and the amount of time spent on practice. Such tests have little relevance to learning.


“Teachers use results to help them identify students who require challenges or additional support.” 

  • Any teacher who has been in charge of a class for a few weeks can predict the outcomes [pupil ranking and scores]of any test with a high level of accuracy. Confirmation at a later date is superfluous.


“Schools use results to identify strengths and weaknesses in teaching programs…”   

  • Principals control the school’s curriculum. They know the strengths and weaknesses of their staff and of classroom programs. Knowing both is their job. Outside controls that force them to breach professional ethics are an execration.


Primary schools are places used by politicians, measurers and corporations who believe that children are objects who attend school to achieve high scores in measureable aspects of     

* Reading mechanics;                         

* Writing

* Spelling

* Grammar            

* Punctuation   

* Numeracy        

Advanced world cultures expect that primary schools will:

  •  encourage curiosity and develop children’s natural desire to learn;
  • provide opportunities for children to observe, think critically, analyse information, reflect, discuss;
  • develop technical, manipulative, practical and intellectual skills;
  • foster aesthetic appreciation and creativity;
  • enable children to develop a set of values as a basis for understanding themselves and for making choices;
  • develop each individual’s unique form of learnacy;
  • help children to love learning for its own sake.


The original article contains endless empirical references to support its presentation.  There is also ample evidence in this Treehorn Express blog site.

“A child of 2012 should not attend a testing factory as many do. A primary school is an essential learning centre where those, skilled and knowledgeable in the nature of child learning, provide the opportunities for each individual child’s development. Children are human beings not items to be brutalised, averaged and scored for test results. They love,they laugh and they learn.”


It’s NAPLAN Scoring Week

NAPLAN scoring week was forewarned by the Courier Mail [14-09-12] with an article on cheating. Believe it.  The testucators have nailed a few test zealots.  Questionably,  ACARA says, “Cheating occurs when there is intent to gain an unfair advantage or improperly influence test results.”  Ergo: Are those schools that spend school  time, usurped from other curriculum areas to practise tests  ‘gaining an advantage’ or ‘influencing their school’s test results’?  Must be okay for some.  Very strange!  Shouldn’t mass cheating, such as this, be measured and ranked and made public according to the number of hours spent on practice ?  Shouldn’t possible clients know what kind of school they are going to attend?


THIS SUNDAY’S FEATURE: www.literacyeducators.com.au/docs/Say NO to NAPLAN.pdf

Because it is a special week, it is entirely appropriate that the comments by Australia’s renowned educators Professor Margaret Wu and literacy educator David Hornsby: “Inappropriate Uses of NAPLAN Results” and “Misleading Everyone with Statistics” be re-visited. Check your hard copy.     “ NAPLAN can only measure fragments of student achievement.” ; “For assessment to be relevant to teaching and learning, what is being assessed should match what is being taught.” ; “The tests are NOT diagnostic” ;  “ It cannot be used to make accurate decisions about student achievement or school performance.” ; “If results are being sent to parents, the margin of error should be plainly marked on the report and it should be explained.”

IMPORTANT READINGS:  https://treehornexpress.wordpress.com

True believers in the amazing array of abilities that school children possess might  try surfing through the side band for a reviver.

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