Proxy NAPLAN; Parenting trap.

 The Treehorn Express

Treehorn is the hero of an easy-to-read, sad children’s book, “The Shrinking of Treehorn” by Florence Heidi Parry. She cleverly exposes adults’ couldn’t-care-less attitude towards the needs of children, even when the circumstances of mal-treatment of children  are patently obvious.  Treehorn found that parents, teachers and principals only pretend to care.  His principal ignored his problem but was still able to say, “You were right to come to me. That’s what I’m here for. To guide. Not to punish, but to guide. To guide all members of my team. To solve their problems.” And Treehorn kept shrinking.

When he started to turn green, his mother told him to comb his hair before the Smedleys arrived for bridge.


In the 100 years since we really got serious about education as a universally good idea, we have managed to take away the 15 years of children’s lives that should be the most carefree, inquisitive and memorable and fill them with a motley collection of stress and a neurotic fear of failure. [A,A.Gill]


In a “rapid, verbal, energetic, improvised verbal outpouring” [aka “riff”]…..Seth Godin riffs on marketing, respect and the ways that ideas spread…..

Avoiding the false proxy trap.

Sometimes, we can’t measure what we need to measure, so we invent a proxy, something that’s much easier to measure and stands in as an approximation.

TV advertisers, for example, could never tell which viewers would be impacted by an ad, so instead, they measured how many people saw it. Or a model might not be able to measure beauty, but a bathroom scale is a handy stand in.

A business person might choose cash in the bank as a measure of his success, and a book publisher, unable to easily figure out if the right people are engaging with the book, might rely instead on a rank on a single bookseller list.

One last example: the non-profit organisation that uses money raised as a proxy for difference made.

You’ve already guessed the problem. Once you find the simple proxy and decide to make it go up, there are lots of available tactics that have nothing at all to do with improving the thing you set out to achieve in the first place. When we fall in love with a proxy, we spend our time improving the proxy instead of focusing on our original (more important) goal instead.    {Why  do I keep thinking 5×25?}

Gaming the system is never the goal. The goal is the goal.


The Parenting Trap

A.A.Gill, a father of four argues that the biggest problem that kids face is the byzantine education-industrial complex known as school, which ruins the most carefree and memorable years of their lives. He says that you are not allowed to put his article on the fridge door nor put it in a file marked “Kids’ Stuff”.  Have a smile or big laugh at the way he gets his message across.

You will enjoy it.


 When my child goes to school I want her/him to be treated as a pupil in the hands of enthusiastic quality  schooling professionals, whose perceptual overview of the multitude of pupilling acts that happen each day at school, borders on perfect. I want the kind of leadership at the political and organizational level that is ethical and protective, keen and pleasant, unhampered by hammerers and measurers. I want a school full of people who think about the consequences of their actions; and don’t just hammer and measure because despoilers of children’s lives tell them to. [Jan Moroney]


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2 thoughts on “Proxy NAPLAN; Parenting trap.

  1. VERY interesting!!! I was ‘most popular’, ‘best looking’, AND ‘sexiest legs’. (; Where am I now (at 50)?… an at home mom, lots of animals, an awesome eclectic home, a divine and brilliantly talented husband, and a great kid with serious potential. I peaked between high school and my mid 20’s…it’s hard getting old. But I have lived a fun filled an interesting life, most of which did NOT include the things that I was taught in very expensive private schools. I am taking this article to heart, will not spend one more SECOND feeling guilty that my son doesn’t “do” enough. I will see to it that he plays, yells and screams, shoots up the place, gets dirty, and loafs as MUCH as he can in the next 5 years!!

    And, I am happy to announce that this article is what it took to get the DaTTy crackin’ on the boy’s tree house!!

    Thanks A. A. Gill!

    Beth (:

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