The Billion Dollar Blunder

The Treehorn  Express

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]

 Treehorn is the hero of a masterful children’s book The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Heidi Parry that cleverly illustrates adult concerns for the welfare of school children. The little fellow kept shrinking and became so small that he could walk upright under his bed. Nobody – nobody – his parents, his teacher, his principal took any real interest in his well-being.except for an occasional nod. The message is a clear and simple one for all parents of school children, for less-than-ethical teachers and principals who just don’t care enough.



The Billion Dollar Blunder

Yes. NAPLAN testing has cost the Australian taxpayer over a billion dollars just to test Years 3,5,7.9 once every year without showing a positive result of any kind. Having drowned our schools in data-driven trivia, the experience is now recorded in our history as an exceptional waste of human resources, effort and public money. Our contemporary cohort of school children have been seriously short-changed and they may never recover the spirit of learning that should have been theirs. For one-third of each of the past 5 school years, serious efforts at learning challenges have been placed on a back-burner and parents’ money has been ill-used. The price is vast…and not just in money terms. It’s time to tidy-up.

MONEY  Mr. Swan and Mr. Garrett. Wouldn’t this amount of money be better used by [a] implementing the recommendations of the GONSKI in full at any early date ? or [b] restoring the ‘kids’ bonus’ in a better shape than it is now? or [c] running high-impact Asian language classes during after-school hours.  {There’s not much room in the school day for any more add-ons, is there?. You’re pushing your luck with school management arrangements, fellas]  Do you like creating stress?

The $540million+ federal costs,  supplemented by millions from each state’s budget, are too much to pay for a zilch return. The waste has been shameful. If you bothered to gather all the financial data starting with the cost of ACARA and the costs of various federal and state agencies that supervise the activities, then adding the publishing, correction and technology costs, the expenses of maintaining a vigilante force, the administrative time of principals and their schools…. and presented a detailed balance sheet, you will be surprised yourselves. The public deserves to know how much. Despite the difficulty of extracting genuine totals  from the myriad accounting mechanisms in various localities, surely a reasonably accurate picture can be drawn. Can we Australia citizens please see a balance sheet?

Surely a few competent auditors can do a cost analysis within a short time frame.

If, at the same time, an investigative education-oriented journalist or sociologist  or curious student, was to follow the caprices of NAPLAN’s founder, Joel Klein A.O. now test-publisher and on-line marketeer, NAPLAN would finish tomorrow; although there is some considerable doubt that the Australia press would bother to highlight the outcomes of such a news item.

The Washington Post article of 24 Oct. How to save taxpayers billions of $$- really  commences “Companies that create and administer standardized tests are making a fortune in this era of test-based accountability, and business keeps growing.”


 This image, found on Bruce Hammonds’  , represents a NAPLAN testucating machine, illustrating what happens to school children when they are subjected to the routines of test preparation and practice. Within its bowels, individual competencies and interests in various parts of the curriculum are crunched, re-modelled and replaced by exercises and practice routines that promote one-size-for-all outcomes. Holistic school systems based on pupilling, that recognises individuality in all school learnings and routine subjects and emphasise and celebrate personal achievement  become a thing of the past.  The illustration recognises that each child is different in so many ways when they arrive at a GERM-supported school. The NAPLAN machinery, installed by order of the government,  crushes their individual interests and  the teacher- sponsored subject-based challenges, giving way to the dull ‘one-size-fits-all’ routines of the measureable aspects of literacy and numeracy. Aiming its standards-arrow at the middle of the tree instead of the top, its products are usually mediocre, as the past five years of NAPLAN, Australia’s testucating-based version of GERM, have clearly demonstrated.

In the Washington Post article, Marion Brady asks us to suspend our thoughts about money for a moment, and think about the effects [of this machine called NAPLAN ]: Okay Marion. You want us to our base money thoughts and….“Think about the long-term consequences of taking control of kids’ minds away from homes and parents, away from neighbourhood schools and teachers and handing it over to people for whom quality education is far down the list of priorities, if it appears at all.”

Yes. Think about it – all you Australian and New Zealand testucators in schools and you non-school supporters of high-stakes testing. You are costing us adults a lot of money and our kids some critical years of  their development by denying them the  chance to achieve the highest of heights at their own rate…not yours.

Tell Her Immenseness that, if the only two goals of the Australian education system is to learn an Asian language and to be in ‘the top 5 by 25’, then she needs to drop NAPLAN quickly. LOTE is extremely demanding and….If  Her Immenseness  is so entranced by the peculiar PISA  international tests then the system had better produce some high-quality learners, not mediocre, cubed test-takers.  PISA is a piece of cake for learners.

NAPLAN must finish asap. The alternative is very, very scary.  When the government recklessly dumps further curriculum additives on schools without school-based consultation, things can go crazy. Serious choices have to be made.

Marion Brady concludes his article : “After our sick fascination with testing and ranking has run its course, after we finally decide to listen to real experts rather than politicians….after the best teachers have been driven out of the profession; after math and reading drills have replaced productive childhood play, art, music, and other forms of personality development, creativity and ingenuity; after all the non-standardized kids are out on the street with nothing to show for the work they’ve done, after a bedrock of real democracy has been destroyed rather than thoughtfully enhanced, attention may be paid.

But the damage, irreversible, will have been done.”


Check and read the submissions to the Senate Committee of Inquiry into Teaching and Learning


Says Esther Quintero : “A colleague of mine recently wrote that “NCLB  ‘…has helped to institutionalize the improper interpretation of testing data’ True. But I would go even further. NCLB has helped to institutionalize not just how to handle data, but also, and more importantly, what counts as data.”   Esther Quintero,22 Oct. 2012 [See Allan Alach’s ;’Readings’.]

Greg Thompson’s research becomes particularly relevant for Australia ! “Since when” Esther Q. asks “ are qualitative data unacceptable in social and behavioural science research and as a guide in policy-relevant decision-making?”  Dr Thompson’s work reveals a disturbing level of pessimism amongst NAPLAN workers.

Yes. There are greater truths in opinions and  observations than in gathering data by force.

Recommended Links


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07 5524 6443

I’m A Primary Teacher & other things

The Treehorn  Express

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]

 Treehorn is the hero of a masterful children’s book The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Heidi Parry that cleverly illustrates adult concerns for the welfare of school children. The little fellow kept shrinking and became so small that he could walk upright under his bed. Nobody – nobody – his parents, his teacher, his principal took any real interest in his well-being.except for an occasional nod. The message is a clear and simple one for all parents of school children, for less-than-ethical teachers and principals who just don’t care enough.

Naplan cannot predict anything nor reveal anything that teachers do not know already.

It only reveals that our national leadership is bankrupt. We have managers,not leaders.


I’m a Primary Teacher

I am a primary teacher. As well as teaching English, which includes reading, writing, spelling, punctuation, phonics, grammar, handwriting, speaking and listening. I teach maths, social studies, science, art, health and technology.

I teach children to sing, dance and act so they can be part of a school musical. I teach children about healthy eating and the need for exercise.

I teach children to communicate and get along with others, to value others’ opinions, to treat others as they would like to be treated, to use manners, to respect the property of others and to be fair. I teach children to cross the road safely, to ride their bikes safely, to  walk safely on the cement. I teach them to wash their hands, to blow their noses, to wear hats in the sun and to sit on their chairs safely.

I teach children to want to go to school, to want to learn and to develop a love for learning. The children I teach know that I will do my best for each one of them, that I like them, that I value their opinions, that I want each of them to succeed and that I  proud of their achievements.

Who am I? Just an ordinary teacher. There are thousands of other teachers just like me out there. Thousands of them pick up the newspaper or turn to television daily to be told what a bad job they are doing.

I love my job. I love my children. I love the buzz I get when they make me feel proud and I love the noise of 52 of them beating down my classroom door at 8.15 am every day.

That’s what will get me through these turbulent times. I hope that all of those teachers just like me get through them too. Have a great day today. teachers.

[ Bundaberg Teacher, Catriona J.Mc  – Letter to Editor C.M.1 Oct., 2008]


Australia – A Testucator’s Disneyland

[Definition – TESTUCATOR:  One, usually in an education job of some sort with a passing knowledge of schooling, who approves of or supports forms of national blanket testing, aimed at blaming someone or other.]

Australian education’s Deen Brothers have swung their assessment hammers again !  Saturday’s [27 Oct. 2012] press revealed that “Aspiring teachers will be tested in literacy and numeracy at the beginning and end of their education degree under a national plan to drive up teacher quality.”  [Courier Mail]

School Education Minister, Peter Garrett told the Eidos Institute in Brisbane, yesterday, that preparation for this was under way. State Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek welcomed the announcement.

Australia is about to hang out a sign: “We test everything.”  In small letters the sign will say. “It doesn’t do any good. We just like doing it. The salt mines if YOU object.”

Don’t stand still for too long, Mums and Dads, Grandpa and Grandma. You’re next.


Best Wishes to Kevin Pope

Principal hero and child-advocate, Kevin Pope of Meadow Heights is expecting a visit from either a ‘Fed” or a ‘Ted’ officer sometime soon. [Ted Baillieu is Victoria’s premier]. It is to be hoped the officers are able to learn something from Kevin. In an earlier time, an officer reckoned that Ted was being ‘political’, because he had candidly described “NAPLAN’ and its effects in a professional manner.

There is a word for ‘back-to-frontness’, but it escapes me.

An issue such as this is not so much about Kevin or Ted or Fed. It’s about his stand-out REGARD and CARE and LOVE for kids at school. In another GERM-free time, Kevin would not stand out as a hero.

In case you missed it, for more information, see See Article 12 in “Say NO to NAPLAN” at

You might like to send a short ‘best wishes’ to him. He deserves a little support, a pat on the back and a  sincere ‘fairy clap’.  {See Kevin. I remember.}

[Coming soon : A story from Paul Thomson, the independent-school principal of a school where parents refuse to do the damaging/degrading NAPLAN tests]


It’s October

It wasn’t so long ago that school vacations consisted of a six week period in mid-summer, a week in May and a two-week period during the winter months. In Queensland, the two-week period was arranged to coincide with the Brisbane Show aka Exhibition. There was a long unbroken period between mid-August and mid-December, with the pre-Christmas period devoted to examinations of many kinds. It was a really tough slog. Departmental statistics showed that there were more parental complaints about teacher behaviour during the month of October than the whole of the rest of the year. It was understandable. One did not need to have a Ph.D. with a background in psychology to know the reasons why.

AND……It was extra-extremely tough for those teachers serving in remote areas [of WA & Q’ld especially], a long way from their boy-friends, girl-friends, family members, friends and the kinds of sporting interests and cultural pursuits that their home-town offered. Most Queensland teachers came from Brisbane and other cities tucked away in the south east corner. Teachers in remote localities sacrificed a lot to provide schooling for those children whose folk had chosen to live where they lived. It is over 1800 kms from Brisbane to Mt. Isa and 1700 kms to Cairns [both stepping stones to far-away places]; so week-ends visits to home are out of the question. It was also a long tough period for parents as well who listened to ‘school stories’ for the tense period up to October, but, with thoughts similar to the teachers, relaxed about November in anticipation of a long break.
I was Regional Director and Inspector for the north-west schools district, an area that was marginally bigger than Texas….just a little bit, but larger. I was ably assisted by a senior clerk and two typists in the office at Longreach. The district stretched the full length of the Northern Territory border from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the South Australian border, east to places like Hughenden, Barcaldine and Tambo. I was obliged, at the time, to inspect every teacher in the area and provide them with a numerical assessment of their abilities [Believe it]. I wrote a report on every state school and convent in the area every year; later adding ‘mission’ schools at Mornington Island and Doomadgee. I used to send out an occasional professional newsletter for every teacher written by their regional colleagues, willing to describe some interesting activity that I might have noticed during my visits; and included many professional articles as well, sourced from the giants of the era. It was the period of [mistakenly called ] open area schooling. It was an exciting time for me, professionally, and I learned a lot from the young enthusiastic teachers and principals of the outback. We had a saying,”Only the best go west.”I didn’t want to have to listen to too many parental complaints at any official inquiry that were usually acrimonious and from which no ‘winner’ emerged. Besides,it was a long way to some places where tensions may have got beyond breaking point. I wondered how I might alert all teachers in the region to be careful in handling the tensions and stress of this part of the school year. The October statistics were not generally known, so I sent out a one page, foolscap-size newsletter with “IT’S OCTOBER” in the largest print that would fit on the page. Nothing else – apart from my signature. Imagine the reaction in schools and staffrooms.What’s he talking about?Did it ‘work’? Who knows? Who cares? I know that I had no inquiries to endure.
naplancontrolsareevilnaplancpntrolsareevilnaplancontrolsareevilnaplancontrolsareevilnaplancontrolsareevilnaplancontrolsareevilSenate InquiryIf you take a look at the submissions to the enquiry received [before mine], then you will appreciate the extent of the issues with which the  members of the committee will have to cope over the next few months. You wont envy them their task. The variety of issues raised is enormous. Check out take a look from time to time.


Thinking in the Deep End

Patricia Buoncristiani, an Aussie with American citizenship shares a blog with her American husband  now listed in the links below. Both spend a  portion of each year in both countries.  Pat, in the latest one, expresses concern about “…the decline in the arts since the advent of GERM. It worries me greatly.”  She continues in her letter to Treehorn: “ The intriguing thing is that things are changing in Australia to more closely resemble what has destroyed education in the USA . Bizarre! “


Please note that  has also been added to the links below. It is one that points the way to issues that primary teachers will want to consider many times during the course of a school year. Thanks to Professor Alexander for indicating that “The ‘primary’ in the title might give encouragement to those in that sector.” Every primary teacher in every GERM country needs to be familiar with this review. Every testucator in every GERM country who can read-for-content, as unlikely as that is, needs to read about what is necessary [See above as well]


When Is A Charter School Not a Charter School?

The Queensland Minister for Education etc. John-Paul Langbroek, has assured Bruce Jones, former Primary School Principal, that Q’ld has ‘…no intention of introducing charter schools based on the U.S.A, or N.Z. models….Over the next four year 120 Independent Public Schools [IPS] will be rolled out across the state [Queensland] with 26 IPS to commence in 2013.”

One can now expect U.S.A. and N.Z. to change their charter school names to Independent Public Schools….if they like to use oxymorons in public. It’s a game called ‘Having fun with gimmicks’.”

Principals of IPS in Q’ld will be able to ban the use of all forms of external blanket testing, I suppose.


Shop Big W

Ken and Suesie Woolford, Toowoomba, of Home-schooling fame, found a splendid book at Big W for $22: The One World Schoolhouse – Education Reimagined by Salman Khan. They enjoyed it because, says Ken: [1] You can pick it up at Big W; [2] it is NOT a book above gloom, boom and guilt; [3] It is obviously aimed at non-specialist readers; [4] It is positive and exciting to read, referring to the same research and ideas that Treehorn highlights. Keep alert next shopping trip, kids, and slip a copy in the trolley.


“Having a top-five PISA goal as the centre of the nation’s educational ambition is clearly at odds with the Gonski panel’s view that ‘An excessive focus on what is testable, measureable and publicly reportable carries the risk of imbalance in the school curriculum.” [David Loader and Simon Whatmore in The Age :’Why It’s Time for a Class Revolt. ]

G.O.N.S.K.I : Guide Our Nation’s School Kids Intelligently

N.A.P.L.A.N. :  Never Allow Pupils Learn Anything Necessary

Recommended Links


[Gold Medal :ACEL]

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point 2486

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Educational Readings October 26th

The Treehorn  Express

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]

Educational Readings
By Allan Alach

Yesterday’s Special Edition, highlighting the Cambridge Primary Review, has been well received around the world, helping to connect the international campaign against GERM. This includes this comment from Robin Alexander in an email to Phil Cullen:

‘That’s terrific. Many thanks,

 Best wishes from Chile (where there’s huge interest in the Cambridge Primary Review).


I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

This week’s homework!

Montessori: The Missing Voice in the Education Reform Debate

These two links need no introduction.

The Data-Driven Education Movement

A comprehensive debunking of this GERM that is infecting education all over:

‘Being data-driven is only useful if you have a strong theory by which to navigate; anything else can leave you heading blindly toward a cliff.’

How to save taxpayers billions of $$ — really

Marion Brady arguing for the use of sampling as the best means of determining effectiveness of pupil learning.

This section, while US focussed, is very applicable elsewhere. Readers, wherever they are, will be very familiar with this.

What’s the education-test manufacturer complex’s long-term strategy, as coordinated by the American Legislative Exchange Council?

           (1) Invent an education emergency and make skillful use of the mainstream media to push it.

          (2) Attack the legitimacy of public education by destroying trust in its most obvious representatives — teachers.

          (3) To make manipulation easy, centralize decision-making for standards and accountability at the highest possible level.

          (4) Work behind the scenes with politicians from both political parties, wealthy foundations, and Wall Street types to push vouchers, charters, and funding for anything public that can be profitably privatized.

          (5) Call congressional hearings on the matter and invite to testify only those “educators” and think-tank “experts” who — if they taught long enough to understand what they were doing — have long since forgotten it.

          (6) Dazzle the continuous stream of new, young, inexperienced teachers with slick, colorful, ready-made instructional materials heavy with current jargon about it being “data driven,” “child-centered,” “research-based,” “technology enabled,” “blended,” “aligned with the new Common Core Standards. ”

Testing in kindergarten: whatever happened to story time? 

‘Chicago kindergarteners could spend a third of their school year taking standardized tests’

A warning for the rest of the infected world from the USA, remembering that their kindergarten is for five year olds.

Five-year-olds put to the test as kindergarten exams gain steam

Another article on the same topic.

Survey Finds that NAPLAN Has a Detrimental Effect on Education

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Australia now finding out what USA and England have already learnt – GERM damages education.

Audit Blasts Lack of Oversight of Charter Spending

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, Part 2. As the New Zealand government moves to pass legislation to establish charter schools, there is increasing concern about the lack of oversight. Maybe the government, as well as blindly following the GERM prescription, should also read articles such as this one from Diane Ravitch.

Educational Readings: Special Edition

The Treehorn  Express

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]


Educational Readings
Special Edition
By Allan Alach
As an example of the increasingly wide connections being developed in in the anti-GERM campaign, Phil Cullen recently received an email from Professor Robin Alexander, Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge University, Professor of Education Emeritus, University of Warwick, and Director of the Cambridge Primary Review, which has been called;
The most comprehensive enquiry into English primary education for 40 years.’
The value of this review, and associated documents, in supporting the battle for holistic education, worldwide, should not be underestimated. Accordingly this Special Edition provides links to the Review itself, and also to a number of supporting websites.  
New Zealand readers will be interested to note that the former Minister of Education, Anne Tolley, in correspondence with a Board of Trustees chair in Auckland, made the claim that national standards were consistent with the findings of this review. We can conclude from this that she hadn’t bothered to read it. 
This set of documents is highly recommended.
Cambridge Primary Review home page:
Cambridge Primary Review Publications Overview:
Cambridge Primary Review Final Report:
Lectures presented by Robin Alexander in Melbourne 2010
THE PERILS OF POLICY Success, amnesia and collateral damage in systemic educational reform

Ethical Depravity

The Treehorn  Express

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]

 Treehorn is the hero of a masterful children’s book The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Heidi Parry that cleverly illustrates adult concerns for the welfare of school children. The little fellow kept shrinking and became so small that he could walk upright under his bed. Nobody – nobody – his parents, his teacher, his principal took any real interest in his well-being.except for an occasional nod. The message is a clear and simple one for all parents of school children, for less-than-ethical teachers and principals who just don’t care enough.


“Testing should be seen as an essential dimension in the process of teaching, not a parasitic growth upon it.”

 [The Bullock Report. 1975 – ironically the report of a Committee of Inquiry, appointed by Margaret Thatcher, concerned about ‘declining standards’ .]

Ethical  Depravity

I’m so proud of what I do.  I’m so pleased that Althea Hurley introduced me to Treehorn. I’m pleased  to have named The Treehorn Express after a school child who represents every school child in the world now suffering from debilitating school experiences and macabre class-room practices, because few adults care; and such children are forced to attend schools where classes have to tolerate the indignity of arrogant  political corruption of professional practices. I hope to see the dignity of Treehorn and his friends restored, one day soon.

I am so proud to share the newsletter with Allan Alach who maintains this blog which is being read by hundreds of folk in a number of countries. The biggest daily ‘hit’ of 240 readers was made on

There has been no challenge to the claim of Australia leading the world in GERM practices.  This means:  We lead the world in the disgraceful treatment of school children.

I am so proud that I once quoted a teacher, in an official state department document [June 1983]: “If I have to test my kids to see how well they are doing, I ought to quit my job.” then went on to say,” It’s the children’s business to evaluate their progress and to gain confidence from their accomplishments. It’s the teacher’s business to teach them how to evaluate purposefully…”

I am so appalled by the Stalinisation of democratic processes that treats our children as robotic measurement tools in a most contemptuous manner, for political purposes. Since all of Australia’s major parties support the imposition of state-controlled theories of learning based on fear and shame and competition, they have seriously restricted my franchise. How can I vote for any candidate who supports such policies?

How can I trust a political party that once espoused democratic principles but now demeans such principles, fully conscious that they are being manipulated by  under-hand lobbying of media conglomerates? I mean Liberal and Labor and National parties. The Brer Fox parties just don’t bother much about kids. If they had more gumption, I suspect that they might. They  haven’t found the breath to announce their views on blanket testing yet.

I am surprised and disappointed to learn that state education department officials, catholic education and independent school  authorities do as they are told so willingly. When they feel that they have to use Gestapo-type tactics on child-caring professional, curriculum-oriented principals [e.g. Thomson and Pope] they demean their office. They should celebrate the presence of such people in their vicinity.  When they ‘come the raw prawn’ with ‘heavy’ treatment of their hierarchical subordinates at the same time as they support and encourage wide-scale cheating practices, they lower the dignity of the teaching profession, including their own office,  even further.

[e.g. NAPLAN protocols indicate a lack of tolerance for ‘cheating’ which it defines as ‘gaining an advantage over another’. Then, ignoring its own ‘code of conduct’ aka ‘code of control’, it hypocritically encourages schools to practice and even makes practice tests available.  In its cheating report, it does not mention the number of hours each class spends on practice routines, at the expense of other curriculum imperatives. It probably doesn’t bother to check.

Some regions publish NAPLAN results to massage their competitive boasting, such as listing the “TOP TEN” in regional newsletters. One such region includes in the top 10, the name of a school that follows the sport of giving the current Year 9 NAPLAN test to its Year 8s and then suggesting to parents of the low achievers that their children should not do the test in Year 9. In this case, the practice is widely known in the region because the cluster of primary schools in the vicinity are blamed for the low achievements of the Year 8s.  It’s a National Partnership School  and the principal’s c.v. notes his abilities as the head of a ‘high performance school’. It’s an ironic twist to the Literacy Educators’ “Say NO to NAPLAN” campaign, but it is widely known that more and more schools around Australia are offering such advice to the parents of low achievers. That’s NAPLAN in action.That’s NAPLAN know-how.]

I am professionally sickened by the ethical depravity of Australia’s principals associations and teachers unions, who used to believe in children and used to encourage teaching/learning experiences according to the most effective classroom  techniques known. I used to believe in them. I held primary principals in the very highest regard – the greatest of all professions – and was always proud to say that. They now openly subscribe to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ publishers’ beliefs and to the ‘state-controlled-theory’ of fear-promotes-learning and pupil-stress-focused-attention, best inflicted through didactic techniques. I’m ashamed. Even worse, they subscribe to the belief [despite 2012 NAPLAN results] that blanket testing and rigid supervision produces positive learning outcomes and higher test scores. I am very, very sad and disillusioned.

School teacher groups should have told Ms. Gillard at the outset that their support for such pupil-demeaning, injurious, exotic and unusable Big Apple practices infringed our professional ethics – which they plainly do; and which are presently having an obvious and proven deleterious effect on children’s learning. Perhaps it is too late for the present occupants. They have been corralled and branded, unfortunate enough to have to ply their craft during this crazy moment in history.  For now they MUST do as they are told. Over the past five years, compliance and moulding to the will of politicians and sciolists have invaded their ethical space and GERMed it. Ethically principled principals are in short supply. Those who do what sterling leaders do, are stand-outs.

[Should  Gillard-Garrett GERM operators recommend Joel Klein for an Order of Australia?] 


“Educational standards should be redefined as the quality and outcomes of learning in the entire curriculum to which children are entitled by law.”

Prof. Robin Alexander , Chairman: Cambridge Primary Review

Recommended Links

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Banora Point 2486
07 5524 6443

Latest News

The Treehorn  Express

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]

 Treehorn is the hero of a masterful children’s book The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Heidi Parry that cleverly illustrates adult concerns for the welfare of school children. The little fellow kept shrinking and became so small that he could walk upright under his bed. Nobody – nobody – his parents, his teacher, his principal took any real interest in his well-being.except for an occasional nod. The message is a clear and simple one for all parents of school children, for teachers and principals who just don’t care enough.


Naplan, like a coal-seam-gas miner, invades each Aussie child’s intellectual property without permission,  fracks their cerebral underpinnings without remorse and scars their learning landscape forever without a care.

Latest  News

Senate Inquiry Submissions close on 26 October – next Friday. It’s the second time that I have made one to a senate inquiry, the first being into ‘the administration and reporting of NAPLAN testing.  Didn’t have any impact. So much has happened since then….things got worse…a lot worse… almost out of hand;  and Australia now holds the title of the GERMiest country on earth. In her blog headed “Australia Claims the GERM Title”. Diane Ravitch says, “Is Australian the GERM capital of the world?  I was sure that the U.S. was first in the world when it came to testing and accountability, choice, competition and privatization.” she continues, “ We now discover we are number 2.”  Gotcha Diane.

You were the first at these things, Diane…but…. we are not called your 51st state for nothing. We have to do what your corporations want us to do….and…don’t forget…Rupert used to be one of ours!  Yes.  We copied that fear-full, shame-full, competitive system from your Joel Klein [A.O. or A.M. ?] but it’s flopped, gone pear-shaped. We are looking forward to throwing in the towel, as soon as possible; and teaching our school children instead. Some other unfortunate country can have the title. We aren’t proud of it. Fair dinkum Aussies look forward to starting again…which is a probable outcome of this inquiry. Listen to what one school principal [click  ‘Kevin Pope radio interview’ ] describes how this system works down under. He is one who has risen above the politically-inspired intimidation tricks and Orwellian forms of bureaucratic control on behalf of his school. You can sense the love and respect that he has for his pupils, can’t you?  Australia needs to re-introduce this kind of pupil care and respect into its schools, this kind of ethical school leadership. You will have noticed that there are now so many schools that once boasted of their learning achievements on many broad curriculum fronts and how they carried out their duty of care; who now describe their successes in terms of NAPLAN results. They’ve gone rogue and allowed fear-based testing and high-stakes competitiveness into their management ethos. Sick.

Please. true-blue Aussie educators and friends of schools, help our school children and make a submission on any or all of the  terms of reference and send to  this week. Tell the senators that NAPLAN has to go—entirely and forthwith. If you cannot find the time, and think that my submission, Submission – Senate Committee  is in line with your own opinions, why not just send an email to endorse mine, and ask the secretariat to attach it, with your comments if you wish, to my submission. If you think  that my ‘selected readings’ are insufficient, for instance,  and that members need to read a particular item of importance please send the article or source to the same address. The busy people on the committee will need as much well-sourced material as they can get. Their Christmas will be ruined, but Christmas is about kids too.

For instance, Greg Thompson’s research into the “Effects of NAPLAN” {Murdoch University, Oct. 2012 as perceived by teachers is ground-breaking. See attachment: Greg Thompson – NAPLAN research   I hope Mr. Garrett reads it. He once wrote ,”…the opinions expressed in The Treehorn Express newsletter are largely opinion or anecdotal and are not supported by evidence.”  Here’s some more opinions, Peter, you poor misguided chap, from the chalk-face. These opinions of Australian teachers, obtained by empirically based research – a much more reliable source of opinion than those that you express when you boast that NAPLAN ensures “improved learning outcomes” and “promotes quality education in Australia”. You know full well that you base such fiction on silly, unreliable and invalid NAPLAN scoring devices….fair go.

This study by Greg Thompson, consistent with international research, reveals that “high-stakes testing has a negative impact on Australian schooling.”

  1. NAPLAN “creates incentives for teachers to narrow the curriculum, adopt teachers-centred pedagogies, and teach to the test.”  “…these strategies are detrimental to literacy and numeracy learning.” and create “…classroom environments that are less, rather than more inclusive.”
  2. “The majority of teachers surveyed do not see NAPLAN as improving literacy and numeracy in their classrooms and schools.”
  3. “Research suggests that stress makes learning more difficult, not more likely. Trying to improve education outcomes through NAPLAN at the same time as it increases the stress of those involved would appear to be a self-defeating strategy.”
  4. “Only a minority of teachers perceive NAPLAN has had some positive outcomes, and these positives are much less prevalent in the data than the perceptions of negative impacts.”

Peter. Please learn to say “Oops. I’m sorry.”…then, after a yarn to the political founders of the Klein invented, GERM infested NAPLAN testing routines,  be Aussie enough to say, “NAPLAN  must cease forthwith!”  It’s an accident of history and has to be put behind us.

Might I suggest that you and your flunks [e.g. letter-writers] download the attachment : Greg Thompson research  and study each table and judge the intensity of  responses to each question carefully.  Ask the senators what they think. Then, play fair with our kids; and ask the busy senators to recommend the cessation of NAPLAN testing, completely….no half-measures.

It’s election year next year, kiddies. Let’s hope that it becomes our Australian year of the child….and anyone who supports NAPLAN [i.e. those who obviously doesn’t care much about children] loses his or her seat.


At the conclusion of my submission, I made three recommendations. What do you think?

1…..that this senate inquiry sponsor a legal inquiry into the standing of a Code of Conduct within a state department of education, especially in its relationship to the exercise of professional ethics by its employees; and that the outcomes be made public. 

2…..that all education authorities be informed that parents’ rights in regard to their children’s participation in NAPLAN testing be respected; that their right of refusal is clearly made on enrolment forms and on official announcements.

3…..that state public schools be allowed to hire teachers to teach those whose normal curriculum  experiences are not available because of NAPLAN testing preparation and operation.


“Legislators and bureaucrats scheme to achieve greater control over what is taught and to whom. Their motives are partly egotistical, and some intentions are honourable. However, their actions are not judged by their intentions but by their consequences, which are uniformly bad.”   [Gene Glass]

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Educational Readings October 19th

The Treehorn  Express

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]

Educational Readings

By Allan Alach

A number of events over the week has demonstrated the determination of the deformers to  ensure that their aims are met, even if this means telling untruths about their backgrounds, as exemplified by GERM Master in chief, Joel Klein, Murdoch’s hatchet man in New York. Klein is a self described educational expert who knows how to raise achievement (seems being a lawyer provides the idea background for this – damn, why did I spend all those years studying education?). However his stories about his childhood, education, favourite teacher, etc, are demonstrably hogwash. Not that this seems to matter to his Aussie disciples, who are hell bent on out GERMing the rest of the world.

In the spirit of trans Tasman competition, and the desire to outdo the Aussies, New Zealand hasn’t been immune this week, as the government have introduced legislation into parliament that will allow the establishment of ‘partnership’ (aka charter) schools, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary and ignoring the advice of Pasi Sahlberg during his recent visit. Seems we have the three unwise monkeys – hands over ears, hands over eyes, and speaking a lot of evil. There’s much worse to come, so Australian GERMers shouldn’t rest on their laurels. If our government has its way, battle for the title of World GERM champions will commence.

A frightening aspect of this legislation is that even though ‘partnership’ schools will be government funded, they will not be subject to official information act requests, thus preventing the media, in particular, from accessing ‘achievement data,’ as they are able to do with all the other state schools. Media league tables will, as a consequence, not include partnership schools data.   Partnership schools will also be free from most other statutory requirements imposed on state schools.  Why? Of course these schools are being promoted as the saving of education in New Zealand, that will instantly solve the problem of underachievement, notwithstanding all the evidence that indicates addressing poverty would be much more beneficial.

However, to save Australia from the threat of losing their title as World Germ champions there is a very welcome unity amongst all the opposition political parties that GERMs do not have a place in New Zealand in any shape or form.

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

This week’s homework!

A convenient untruth

Steve Wheeler debunking the learning styles myth.

‘One of the biggest myths known to teacherdom is learning styles. Time and time again, the belief that students can be placed into specific categories such as activist or theorist, or that they are predominantly inclined toward one modal category of learning (e.g. visual, auditory, kinaesthetic) is inserted into professional conversations as if the theories are fact.’

Race-based student goals prompt controversy in South Florida

Hmmmm…. I can see a version of this coming in New Zealand, where achievement goals are set for underachieving Maori and Pacific Island children – anything to avoid the ‘elephant’ of poverty that the present government doesn’t want to acknowledge.

Homework: Training For Blind Obedience

Why give copious amounts of homework? Because this is the way it’s always been done? Seems the French may be going against the flow. Très bon!

America’s Worst Invasive Species: The Wonk

Not just in the USA. This species is thriving in New Zealand and I suspect has joined cane toads in Australia.

Why the ‘market theory’ of education reform doesn’t work

“Modern education reform is being driven by people who believe that competition, privatization and other elements of a market economy will improve public schools. In this post, Mark Tucker, president of the non-profit National Center on Education and the Economy and an internationally known expert on reform, explains why this approach is actually harming rather than helping schools.”

Best Practices Make Purrfect

A very timely expose on that horrible cliche´ ‘best practice.”

Save Unsuccessful Charter Schools (SUCS), Now!

“Increasingly over the past decade, children and their parents all across the U.S. are choosing to enroll in or are being chosen to attend charter schools that are average or failing. Since these children are our future, we must organize now and help reform the struggling charter school movement; thus, I am forming Save Unsuccessful Charter Schools (SUCS).”

Fraudulent Educational Reform in America

Given the pipeline from USA to ‘down under’ this is worth reading so you can play “spot the similarities’.

“What goes on in America’s schools is essentially identical to what goes on in the Madrassas of the Muslim world. In both, orthodox beliefs are taught as truth and critical examination is discouraged. Two worlds clash in loggerheads.”


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Principals Speak Out?

The Treehorn  Express

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]
“Learning preceded assessment by 3 million years. Testing leads to celibacy of the intellect.”

Treehorn is the hero of masterful children’s book The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Heidi Parry that cleverly illustrates adult concerns for the welfare of school children. The little fellow kept shrinking and became so small that he could walk upright under his bed. Nobody – nobody – his parents, his teacher, his principal took any real interest in his well-being.except for an occasional nod. The message is a clear and simple one for all parents of school children, for teachers and principals who just don’t care enough.. Wake up! Testucation in our schools is shrinking the intellectual capacity of our children… big time……and YOU don’t care enough.


When Will Principals Speak Out?

In the “Say NO to NAPLAN” No. 2 booklet of short readings being launched this evening [15 Oct.2012] in Melbourne, there is an account of an interview with a principled primary school principal of a school that he calls a ‘Gold Mine’ where all of his pupils “deserve to shine.” 80% live below the poverty line, 75% from non-English speaking backgrounds and 75% are of Islamic faith. There are 80 refugee families. His responses to a number of interviewer questions that might be asked of all principals, is No.12 paper in the series available now on , a series of diverse papers by down-to-earth practitioners. Click now if you want to learn more about the treatment of our children by testucators.  It is a wonderful series.

“We used to hand out the official Test Exemption forms at parent-teacher interviews and interpreters could help parents understand their rights. The Regional Office told us that we were being too political and we had to stop doing it.”  said this principled principal.

Such actions must seriously damage the integrity of the office and the department it represents. The effrontery to describe the school as ‘political’ as it uses its own gestapo-like heavily-political tactics to control democratic freedoms and well-based professional attitudes, is scandalous. Even more scandalous is that this story is repeated in a number of states….whispered behind closed doors…until now. State governments are expected to wield heavy stick on the commonwealth’s behalf.

Such a state of affairs is part of  GERM conditions. Professional behaviour is controlled by sciolistic non-professional measurers and imposed by a heavy-handed departmental political force. Kelvin Smythe tells it as it is,  in his critique of a position paper produced by the NZ Assessment Academy [‘quantitatives’ as he calls them].

“Let me give it to you straight. The truth does not lie in you; the answers do not lie in you; for goodness sake, you do not even know the questions. Your ignorance for one so credentialed is a thing to be marvelled at.
You and your academic kind hold sway over most western countries because you provide the academic justification for governments to impose managerialist structures over education systems to the power benefit of politicians and high bureaucrats and, not incidentally, yourselves. You have become ideologically corrupted as a result of your close association with governments. You have taken mana from classroom teachers with your condescension and crushing of their knowledge. You command the spotlight allowing a place for teachers only in relationship to yourself.
You whisper the poison of such a credo, as you label it, into the ear of the powerful, promising them fabulous power over the minds of the young. I will give you the ideological theory and means, you whisper, all that remains is for you to work with us as a cabal of the powerful; a cabal excluding teachers, the community, and parents; though taking in others of power like corporates and member of right-wing think tanks….
You say : ‘If data are to be used for accountability purposes they must have a high degree of integrity and reliability.’
You are, of course, now waist deep into self-serving muck.”


Our Founder Tells a Porkie

The founder of the Australian high-stakes test-based schooling system is Joel Klein. He claims this and is justified in his claims. He now flogs testing and ed-tech material as well as ipads to all GERM countries on behalf of Rupert Murdoch. He influences the learning behaviour of every school child in Australia and has done so for five years. The Murdoch empire makes a packet out of our state-controlled consumption of testing material and its associated paraphernalia.

Embarrassingly, our great lord and master was recently found to have told a porkie in the description of his sad young life that inspired him “…to launch a life-long crusade against teachers.”  The author of says, “To be fair to Chancellor Klein, he is only the latest reformer to be caught wandering deep into phantasy land. In fact, the #edreform world [aka GERM] is so riddled with serial truth stretchers, edu-exaggeraters and outright fabricators that whole archetypes of misleading-ness have emerged.”

And Australia bought that sort of system. It is such a  dreadful way of encouraging children to learn that it needed totalitarian political tactics to force schools to accept the GERM-ridden level of testucation that our schools now have.  It should never have got to this stage.  State control of learning-oriented proud principals like Mr. Kevin Pope of Meadow Heights Primary School, Melbourne is shameful. He makes it clear in a very Aussie sort of way, foreign to NAPLAN- Kleinish- New York copy-cats: “Every child has the right to the best resources. Why waste money on useless testing? NAPLAN is an obscene waste of public funds.”  Where have all our principals gone? Why aren’t you all saying this?

He continues :“Principals should be shaping change in education – not responding to it. Several decades ago principals were the educational leaders in schools.”

Finally :“There is no professional trust any more – just useless tests that are meaningless in the life of a school.”

“Educators must reclaim education.”

Sincerely, may every blessing go to Kevin Pope [ ] and principals like him who are standing up for children, un-ashamed to express their views to parents and communities. There is a new dawn. When you read and the forthright friends of parents who are encouraging them to “Say NO to NAPLAN.”, you will be so pleased to have joined the crusade of caring for kids.

Ask yourself:-

Why would a democratic regime not allow  school principals to express their opinion to their community. Why are they forbidden?

Why are P&C members required to testify that they will not discuss NAPLAN business in public…and no parent nor principal nor union organisation does anything about it?

Why aren’t parents given the chance to ‘say NO to NAPLAN’ on the enrolment form?  Why aren’t  they told that they have a choice?  They are lied to.

Why have state governments of different political persuasions complied so meekly with the wishes of a central government with whom they are usually at loggerheads?  Is there any other force somewhere?

Why must state governments force their professional officers in regional and state offices to ‘persuade’  principals and teachers to suspend their professional ethics? They do. See above.


SENATE INQUIRY – Teaching and Learning

Did you know about it?  It was promulgated on 11 September and submissions close on 26 October….10 days time.
Its terms of reference are wide as you will see.

I missed the announcement. Did you?  Makes we think of Darwin. The press has been very, very quiet about teaching and learning issues and the recent APPA-NZPF conference on Leading-Learning; and about this momentous opportunity.  Why? Will this be the fate of the inquiry?

Very perplexing. 

 “An education program is, by definition, a societal program. Work should be done at school rather than at home”  said Francois Hollande the newly-elected French President as he declared a nation-wide ban on homework


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Educational Readings October 12th.

The Treehorn  Express
[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]
Educational Readings
By Allan Alach
Here’s this week’s collection. Things must be speeding up, as I could have doubled the number of links. There is increasing interest in the USA about the GERMing of Australia and New Zealand, as shown by the big increase in readership of the Treehorn Express blogs, and also by increasing Twitter referrals of our articles. We can use our experiences and battles to support the disinfection campaign elsewhere, through using the power of the social media and internet to counteract the media driven spin supported GERM. Right will prevail over might.
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

This week’s homework!

The goal of the war against teachers: A conjecture
Stephen Krashen is yet another US academic who is battling against the deformers. Here’s his take on the war against teachers in the USA. Applicable elsewhere – what do you think?
Assessing Ourselves To Death
Albert Shanker was a USA educator who fought for public education and teacher unionism. We can forgive him for his misguided thoughts that started charter schools, as these never turned out to match his vision, much to his sorrow. The Albert Shanker Institute honours his memory. The title of this article is self explanatory.
Save Our Schools NZ
New Zealand anti-GERM campaigner Dianne Khan attended a presentation by Pasi Sahlberg and subsequently wrote two detailed blog articles summarising Pasi’s wisdom. For those who have not read Pasi’s book “The Finnish Lesson” nor listened to him in person, these articles provide an excellent introduction. Finland, via Pasi, is our most powerful weapon against the GERMs. Pasi travels the world to spread disinfectant. The third link is to a Radio New Zealand interview with Pasi, which would have had a nationwide audience.

Fear of Creativity

“Why do corporations say they want and need creative ideas, but then reject them when the ideas are ambiguous and make them feel uncertain. Does society really value creativity? People say they want more creative people, more creative ideas and solutions, but do they really?”
The rigor (?) of kindergarten!
Editor’s Note: How would you like a job with the following in the description? Severity, strictness, demanding, difficult, extreme conditions, exhaustive. I suppose some enjoy such jobs, but many of us would not like to be forced into such work. Unfortunately, this is exactly what our schools expect of our children…starting in kindergarten!!!  Read on to learn more.”
What’s Next on the School Reform Agenda
Once again, this is from USA; however history tells us that their mad ideas spread like GERMs….
Parenting More Important Than Schools to Academic Achievement, Study Finds
Yet more researched based evidence to be ignored by the ‘we know better’ ideologues of the political and corporate worlds.
The United States of ALEC: Bill Moyers on the Secretive Corporate-Legislative Body Writing Our Laws
This video has an educational connection that kicks in at about the 27 minute mark. You won’t be surprised by the revelations about US education policy development; however the fact that these policies are appearing elsewhere in the world may cause you to reflect on why this could be. The same goes with policies about climate change denial, clamp down on workers’ rights, targeting beneficiaries, privatising health care, tax cuts, etc etc……  This illustrates how the corporates are shaping the world to their benefit.

Australia – GERM Capital


Named in honour of a young school boy called Treehorn, the hero of a children’s book called The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Heidi Parry with macabre illustrations by Edward Gorey. The story contains a powerful message. Treehorn.  kept shrinking but everybody ignored his condition – his parents, his teacher, his principal – everybody. He became so small that he could walk under his bed upright. Still, no one took notice of his plight. He had to find his own cure, which he did.  Then one evening he started to turn green – bright green.

  He decided not to tell no one. He had learned that all grown-ups take little notice of what happens to young school children.

 [Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”  {Dante]


Australia – GERM capital of the World

GERM is an acronym for the giant scato-meme that testucators have helped to spread around the world with predictable success. It stands for Global Education Reform Movement.  It is a movement that has altered the well-established schooling status quo of countries from child-focussed-learning  to one that relies solely on high stakes testing.  It is a movement that started off in a New York school district and, supported by the resources of big-ticket publishing companies, established modes of testucation in a number of western countries. Australia was a push-over.  Australia can now claim to be the GERM capital of the world. This reform movement, powered by extreme political muscle, has corralled principals, teachers, parents and pupils. All are now well-conditioned to the pressures of GERM-inspired NAPLAN testing and look forward to its conversion to on-line operations.    NAPLAN, a testing device that pretends to assess literacy and numeracy levels, is standardised testing on steroids; sadly unreliable and invalid for ‘improvement’ purposes. That doesn’t matter. Australian schools were told to put up and shut up. We put up with it. We must.

The forms of corporation-based political control of learning is now part of the Australian landscape.

NAPLAN is failing, badly, in what it was supposed to do; and the political solution to this is to increase the effort – a not unusual political reaction. More clout. More money

Pasi Sahlberg first used the word GERM in a non-pejorative way to describe the differences between his country’s reform movement of many years ago that used non-testing, learning principles…. and those countries, like Australia, that have more recently adopted the heavy-handed measurement reform mode.  Finland’s system operates on cultural equity, teacher respect and curriculum freedom; ours and other GERM countries the direct opposite. Australian schooling now enlarges social differences, degrades the teaching profession and follows hard-core curriculum guidelines.

All authorities seem to be possessed by the occasional international PISA tests for 15 years olds, conducted by the OECD, for opinion and judgement about their schooling, despite the frailties of that mode of judgement.  Finland treats PISA casually because it cannot see any benefit in  national blanket testing and it does not want PISA results to control their curriculum as it does to GERM countries

NAPLAN adherents, advocates, supporters and operators cannot explain how our ‘students’ under-perform profoundly compared with Finland’s pupils at 15 years of age. How come? Australian children attend school for up to four years longer than do Finnish children by 15 years of age!  Over two years more of intense test-preparation and test practice for Australian school pupils and we still can’t ‘measure-up’! What is going on? Child-oriented learning-based educators [non-testucators] can tell the politicians why. But then, with their usual fervour for knowledge of what happens in the classroom, Australian politicians take no notice of those who know what they are talking about. They prefer to talk in numbers – NAPLAN-speak. That has been the pattern of political rhetoric for the past half-decade. These unfortunate policy-makers believe that there are votes in supporting NAPLAN, promoting choice, shaming teachers, advocating heavy guidelines and spruiking test scores.

No other authority, even New York whose model we adopted, can be as proud as Australia for its attention to GERM ideals as listed on ] We are faithful supporters and our schools are well controlled…not as productive in learning terms as they should be…going downhill in NAPLAN terms …but, well controlled. The Klein-Gillard duo continues to claim ownership.


Credit for Australia’s ascendance to gold-level standard in GERM principles must go to its forms of control.

POLITICAL CONTROL  The introduction, in the 1990s, of managerialism into  public school education saw ‘plumbers running garages’ from pre-schools to state education systems. The  devastating inexperience-based effects filtered to classrooms and after a decade or so of its wantonness, there was an obvious need for reform of public schooling. Basic school experience of school administration had been devalued and pupils were paying a heavy price. This aspect of educational leadership remains, but politicians preferred to blame teachers at the work-face for the problem and continue to do so. Kemp, Nelson, Rudd and Gillard at the federal level made statements about the need for improved standards in a manner that was reminiscent of the Black Papers ‘Back to basics’ era. Joel Klein, a New York lawyer appointed by the Mayor to run his school district had found favour with Rupert Murdoch; and his efforts made headlines.  The spin drew the attention of Australia’s Minister for Education during a visit to USA, and persuaded by the sweet-talk of a fellow-lawyer, arranged to have him hold meetings with corporate Australia to have them endorse her next step – import the Klein System into Australian schools.

In retrospect, Australian school educators wish that she had visited Finland instead of the U.S.A. at the time. A learning-based indigenous system could have been developed based on equity, teacher respect and a developmental curriculum.

A diversion. What would happen, if, for 2013, one of our states decided to drop the expensive, failed NAPLAN program and adopt a child-focussed learning model of schooling of its own?  A dream?

Historically, schooling has been the responsibility of the states but, by the turn of the century, the press of the federal authorities for a take-over was made manifest.  “He who pays the piper” held the states to ransom and, being of the same political level of understanding about classroom behaviour, easily set the limits of control. Each state willingly complied and the tax-payer has since contributed billions of dollars to a useless effort.

PRESS CONTROL The daily press sets the agenda for discussions in the community, wherever people gather for a common purpose. It has always guided public opinion and has been known to manipulate commonly held views to suit vested interests and political viewpoints.  NAPLAN is a source of many newspaper columns, especially in May and October. As far as schooling issues are concerned, there has been a developing tendency not to report issues that might express a contrary-GERM view [The Darwin Effect], but individual journalists will sometimes  express an anti-NAPLAN stance or report someone else’s view. That’s the way, things appear to be.

Rupert Murdoch, owner of Wireless Generation, the test publishing company that is part of the world’s largest media conglomerate, hired the aforementioned Joel Klein, founder of Australia’s fear-based, high-stakes schooling system, “to pursue business opportunities in the education market-place.” In Australia the Murdoch companies own 22 influential major newspapers and 4 regional and suburban chains covering 64.2% of metropolitan Australia, while the Fairfax group covers 26’4%. I ask you!

The Fairfax group appears to take a more neutral view of Australia’s GERM addiction. Indeed its reporting of the first “Say NO to NAPLAN” production was balanced and open-ended.

While the balance lies in the hands of a powerful press, hand-in-glove with GERM adherent politicians, encouraged and supported by New York’s publishing houses/ i-pad retailers, and operated by heavy-measuring sciolists, Australia will remain at the top of the GERM heap. The secret lies in keeping parents in the dark and making sure that principal groups and teacher unions do not revive their lost professional ethics.

There’s the rub. There is a serious need for open discussion and learn-ed parent and teacher conferences on topics such as “The Morality of Blanket Testing” or “What Happened to Professional Ethics?” or “Where Have All the Parents Gone?”

While the media/political control of important schooling issues [such as those listed on the right-hand side of the Pasi Sahlberg-inspired table : *Teach Learnacy,  *Customise instruction for each child,  *Teach each at own pace, *Use children as the inspiration for change,  * Share evaluation of effort personally,  *Treat children as pupils – as potential students,  *Celebrate successes,  *Share teaching and learning efforts with as many possible],  will persist; and while testucators control Australian schooling, Australia’s future does not have much of a chance.  Schools and parents and the general public do not seem to discuss such things.  Tightly controlled, right?

We used to punch above our weight on international issues and the rest of the western world respected our opinions and took notice. We must get used to the lightweight division for that where our future is.


If you can’t make the ‘Say NO’ launch next Monday, [Oct. 15]

at AEU Building, 112 Trenerry Crescent  Abbotsford  Victoria

5pm for 5.30pm – Tea, coffee. refreshments provided

[Please rsvp your indication of attendance at the function, at your earliest : ]


Please make sure that you send this contact site to as many people as possible and download the papers to share with parents and teachers…………..

For the sake of Australian children, it is very important that concerned parents and an apathetic public be informed….even hounded to listen to reason.


“What is needed in society is a change in the pattern of living …bring people back into the lives of children and children back into the lives of people.”  [Urie Brofenbrenner]

Recommended Links

[Gold Medal :ACEL]
41 Cominan Avenue
Banora Point 2486
07 5524 6443