Send this to a half-dozen friends who like kids.
The Treehorn Express
Opinion soaked in knowledge & experience.
Treehorn is the hero of an easy-to-read, sad children’s book: “The Shrinking of Treehorn” by Florence Heidi Parry. It clearly illustrates the disregard that adults demonstrate towards children at school. Treehorn’s principal and his teacher, even his parents give him ‘short shift’. They don’t seem to care that some unnecessary things that happen at school can cause stress,vomiting, worry and sleeplessness and do nothing for learning habits. Children’s problems are so easy to ignore.
CARE FOR KIDS
“There are some wrongheaded views …that somehow just ‘raising the bar’ increases students’ ability to clear it, that before the standards movement there were no standards, that the talent wasted by one-size-fits-all programs isn’t worth developing, that students will be turned into “failures”by the standards won’t present a serious problem, that standardised tests tell us something really important, that market forces have a magical ability to cure the ills of education, that extrinsic rewards are dependable motivators, and so on. However, behind the standards juggernaut and impelling it forward is the single, primary, simplistic, and unexamined assumption that what the next generation most needs to know is what this generation knows.” [Marion Brady]
Goodbye to 2012
Thanks for looking at the Treehorn Express pleas and caring for kids during 2012. We tried hard, didn’t we? Nothing happened to ease the burden and stress on the children and their Year 3,5,7,9 teachers, each of whom should receive a medal for their patience. We’ll keep trying. Vomiting, stress, worry and sleeplessness will continue to be part and parcel of the first-third of 2013 for Australian school children; teachers will continue to teach to the tests, narrow the curriculum and use stiffly controlled commanding pedagogies; while NAPLAN results will continue to flat-line; maybe rise a tween-weeny little bit. Classroom teachers know more than most and they have said that NAPLAN fails to improve the levels of numeracy and literacy. Ho hum. They have said it so often ; and 2012 testing has shown that to be true.
Our PISA-paranoiac great leader believes otherwise. Obsessed by a ‘Top 5 by 25’ fantasy using kleinish techniques, you can wager that she’ll insist on ‘raising the bar’ [see above] in 2013.
This feisty doyenne and her calcified education minister, both fused at the hip to Joel Klein, Brendan Nelson, Rupert Murdoch and fellow believers in the power of testucation, will continue with heavier threats and teacher-blame; as will Christopher Pyne if he gets the job next year. The ‘floggings’ will continue. The political control freaks will keep trying to pincer the wild geese because they just don’t know what else to do. Dwelling with ‘that’ wrong-headed 10%, they continue to believe in the existence of a planet-destroying Nibiru that only they can stop; and in Santa Claus [in Rupert’s robes or vice versa]. He’s in charge, really. Intellectually enamoured of high-stakes testing as are schadenfreude governments in parts of the scato-memed world, Such GERM governments will continue with their assertoric control…..if we meekly allow them to do so. Will we?
Things don’t look too good for 2013…..but….take heart.
During 2012, The Treehorn Express has been privileged to make closer contact with the world’s most reputable educators, and with some new colleagues. The links below increased their linkages. Remarkable people inhabit these blogs. One thing in common. They love kids and they want to make sure that all children learn how to learn more, and to achieve higher and higher at whatever they do for as long as they live. None of these wonderful, knowledgeable, down-to-earth people has any time for this short-term fast-fed GERM stuff. And more and more parents are opting-out; more and more principals are speaking out and revealing the ‘hidden agenda’. There’s an air of optimism.
There has been some heartening news during the year from hard-data research as well as most pleasing responses from stakeholders and fair-dinkum educators. So? If NAPLAN-trauma grows as an important electoral issue in Australia during 2013; and if most teachers and their families and friends ask each and every candidate where they stand on high-stakes testing, I am sure that NAPLAN will disappear before the election. Serious candidates will need to watch out for those ‘Tiger Mothers’ who genuinely CARE FOR KIDS, those principals who have regained their professional ethics; and those classroom teachers who prefer to treat their pupils as pupils. May the Force be with them. NAPLAN is about to disappear and serious achievement-based learning return to schools during 2013.
Enjoy 2013 – The Year that Children Return to LEARNING
“Bureaucratic administration is not necessarily bad because it happens to be unpalatable to some people; but it is bad because it is anti-pathetic to an education system. Bureaucratic administration is likely to lead to the maintenance oriented view that certain procedures are desirable because someone in authority insists on them. Management icons of the Peter Principle like to be pushed around by someone else, because it makes the job easier and they are not exhausted by thinking.”