Educational Readings September 28th

The Treehorn  Express
[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]
Educational Readings
By Allan Alach
The usual potpourri this week. The quantity of valuable educational articles available online is an excellent illustration of how the internet is being used to sidestep traditional communication sources, leading to the internationalisation of educational developments and activism.
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at
This week’s homework!
Tests and grades are just tools — it’s how they are used that matters most.
Two articles from Canadian teacher Joe Bower who is always on the ball. Here’s a quote from an earlier article:
When learning is enslaved by the quantifiable, we fall victim to the MacNamara Fallacy which refers to the quantifying of success while ignoring other variables – particularly variables that are inconveniently difficult to measure.”
The end of testsandgrades
Our Numbers Obsession Will Kill Us
Will Richardson is yet another very valuable commentator on matters educational. Here he reviews the problems with quantifiable assessments that fail to record what really matters.
Nineteenth Century English Schools for the Poor in Yuma, AZ: Only the Monitors Have Been Swapped Out
The great neo-liberal dream for education is for computer based instruction, using online delivery – hence their raves over the Khan Academy. Here is our ultimate GERM future, unless the forces of rightness prevail!
Five-year-olds put to the test as kindergarten exams gain steam
“A national push to make public schools more rigorous and hold teachers more accountable has led to a vast expansion of testing in kindergarten. And more exams are on the way, including a test meant to determine whether 5-year-olds are on track to succeed in college and career.”  
Is further comment required?
Studies Find Payoff in ‘Personalizing’ Algebra
Thanks to Bruce Hammonds for this link about algebra. Can’t argue with the findings, however – did it need research to work this out? Personalising any learning is going to make it more relevant to the learners.
The future is a big place
Another article from Steve Wheeler, discussing topics from a recent Windsor Debate he attended. Seems the consensus was that the future is going to be much different from today and so we need to be preparing for that. Obvious, yes? Then why are GERM minded governments taking education back to the late 19th century?
From Metaphor to Global Nightmare: The World Bank’s Influence on US Education Reform Policies
Want to know where GERMs breed? Not just USA GERMs but international GERMs.
Socio-economic conditions determine educational under-achievement
This is an analysis of New Zealand ‘national standards data’ but the message is valid elsewhere.
Background information on Mike Feinberg and KIPP (Knowledge is Power Programme)
As part of the agenda to promote charter schools in New Zealand, power brokers calling themselves “The Aotearoa Foundation” (comprised of business etc) brought Mike Feinberg from USA to extol the virtues of the KIPP schools. Here’s an article on the Quality Public Education Coalition website (NZ) that explains the other side of KIPP.

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