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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One thought on “Principals Speak Out?

  1. Inspired by the article by Phil Cullen, We all need to keep up the fight to rid our schools of NAPLAN and all it represents ASAP. Principals need to lead again not follow, they need to be light! Kevin Pope Principal Meadow Heights Primary School Victoria

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