The Treehorn Express
Treehorn’s story : Open attachment.
[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]
There are only four words in the English that end in –ous :- tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, hazardous. They all apply to NAPLAN.
“An education expert is a University-based doctor of anything or anyone who comes from more than 100kms away and has a different accent.”
That’s what I was told at a Native-American Educators’ Conference in Oregon where I was invited [jokingly] to go on a speaking circuit because two of the three credentials were so strong.
In fact any word-smith or sweet-talker can now become an expert, once they have been favoured by a publisher of the news-paper kind or have the ability to draw attention or can get the ear of an important personage. It’s so easy. Joel Klein a New York lawyer is the definitive case-in-point. He was a lawyer-friend of the Mayor and he had been to school many years before; and proclaimed that he could straighten out schools because he remembered how his teachers bashed him around at school. That’s what teachers ought to do to make children learn. Simple. Now his refined system of milder-but-not-much fear-teaching is in place in New York and Australia and any other place where political leaders demand stiff-arm acknowledgement of their expert politico-educative power. Their fear-based scato-memes are so easy to spread through cultures that don’t like children, other than their own…well…maybe their own. One can’t be sure of parents who allow politco-testucators, the flat-world adherents, do as they please with their institutionalised kids. Joel is now their patron saint and most successful education expert of this decade….sort of.
Anyone who believes that pupils and classes and schools and schools systems can be described according to scores on compulsory tests, compiled by non-school personnel from a far-away place, needs to make an appointment with a psychiatric expert. With no disrespect intended, they have a serious problem. It’s quite impossible to use a number to describe a human endeavour. They know that, surely.
Christopher Bantick, whose claim to expertise is that he once taught history and now teaches literature at a Grammar School in Victoria, is now the most highly regarded expert [by the Courier Mail] dealing with Queensland education. True. Basing his expert comments [C.M. 17/09/12] on NAPLAN scores, in which Queensland kids did not please their narrow-minded controllers, he patronised every Queenslander with a hefty insult: “If they’re [Queensland] endemic as cellar-dwellers, it’s pretty serious systemic problem there.” and counsels everybody, “Really, we’ve got to look at the classroom teaching and instruction and say we’ve got to do it better in Queensland.” One is tempted to be rude and exclaim,’, “What utter bulldust!”, because it i. I’m a proud Queenslander and I certainly take umbrage at such scatter-brain comments.
This is the same ‘expert’ who wrote for The Age: NAPLAN: The case against.[ http://theage.com.au/national/education/naplan-the-case-against-20120504-1y436.html ]on 7 May [NAPLAN month], a few days after the publication of ‘Say NO to NAPLAN’ by www.literacyeducators.com.au on 1 May and 10 days after a serve from Loon Pond describing him as “…a senior English teacher at Trinity Grammar School in Victoria, and a complacent, smug, self-satisfied one at that.” and suggested .“Chris, get a grip. You’re not really in the real world, but keep writing for ‘The Australian’ to get that journalism job you are chasing.” “Wash your mouth out with a particularly vile soap, and stand in the corner for the rest of the class.” [ http://loonpond.blogspost.com.au/2011/04/christopher-bantick-and-few-thoughts-on.html.UFag1VGHSg ] He reminded me of that dung-beetle on the ABC’s Miniscule trying to push his load up hill and losing it.
This gent is being presented by Rupert’s press as the new Messiah for the Queensland public. ‘All hale’, scream pro-NAPLAN journos! How gullible do they think Queenslanders are? They’ll defenestrate the Bantick ravings asap, for sure.
At the same time there are serious commentators who do not claim expertise but have a deep understanding of what is involved in the serious business of compulsory schooling. They don’t claim expertise. They just care.
Highly credentialed in academic terms they seek to know and share their knowledge and their concerns. As a rule, they apply their academic experiences to what is happening in schools. Their comments are valued by those who think seriously about what school children do, and the effects of high-stakes on pupil performance and welfare.
How can a serious minded parent or teacher ignore the wisdom of Margaret Wu, Diane Ravitch, John Goodlad, Marion Brady, Brian Cambourne, Neil Postman and their wise associates; and still maintain their support for the indignities imposed on our children by their silence?
SO…. a big warm welcome to Pasi Sahlberg, Yong Zhao and their co-speakers for the APPA-NZPF Conference this week. They carry all three credentials listed above. Let’s heed.
There are those who don’t know; and those who don’t know they don’t know.
YOU JUST HAVE TO READ
Bruce Hammonds’ summary of the book by Linda Darling-Hammond : ‘The Flat World Ediucation” who provides an alternative to the current standards’ approach. Her writing aligns well with the the currently side-lined N.Z. Curriculum;
Bruce also describes the book by UK Maths Professor Jo Boaler whose two main themes are  teach children to love maths by teaching ‘real’ maths; and  abandon ability grouping to encourage the love for math.