Treehorn Express:

Shared opinions soaked in knowledge & experience – all well tested.



A Story

Queensland testucators believe in ‘the sooner the better’ maxim to get children used to fear-based learning in preparation for the Standardised Blanket Testing. called NAPLAN. They really don’t like little kids nor the idea of their liking learning. Kids MUST be testucated asap and get used to a world of nastiness. Love has no place in it all.

A Sunday Mail article of 3 Feb,,2013 described the negotiations between two teacher organisations and the Q’ld Government, with the allocation of judgements made about Preparatory Grade children’s learnings. Apparently the Government wanted the branding systems to be of the A,B,C, variety but it gave way to a weird and wonderful categorisation list instead.

The article said: “Under a compromise agreement to spare children’s feelings the students [?] will be marked as Applying, Making Connections, Working With, Exploring or Becoming Aware instead of the usual A to E.” [The emphasis and query are mine]

I just could not believe what I was reading, and emailed a short letter to the Courier Mail on the same day, using the newspaper’s set routines. I sent it in time for Monday’s edition.

I wrote  “I can’t believe it. The Sunday Mail tells us that children in their first few months of schooling will be categorised in human learning activities according to a soft scale that disguises the use of numbers or of letters of the alphabet. No matter what is used, it is still categorisation, and children know what it means. They know that they have been officially branded according to a scale. They will live up to the scale with little regard for the kind of descriptors. Too many will sense failure before they have a chance.

Testucators in their NAPLAN preparations have gone too far. Confronting fear-based NAPLANism in Year 3 is bad enough. The poor young children who are just coming to terms with organised learning and loving the challenges of their first few months of schooling, will have a brand recorded on official lists. I don’t believe it

Teacher organisations compromised on this latest assault on children’s love for learning, which will seriously damage their zest for personal achievement.’

I just don’t believe it.’

[Phil Cullen, Banora Point]

It was not printed on Monday.

It was not printed on Tuesday.

Not unusual for the Courier Mail. On Tuesday, howeve, it did print the following letter.

‘The Queensland Teachers’ Union says the new A-B scale could inappropriately label students – give me a break.

Life is about realising your strength and improving short-falls. The only way you realise either is when they are communicated to you in a clear and easy to understand, way

Disappointment is something we all need to do with. Kids need to understand that there will always be someone faster, better, brighten and slower.

The football team has a captain, the workplace has a manager, and those positions are based on merit. It’s time we started teaching that you get out what you put in.’

[Amanda Pinna, Callamvale]

And Rupert Murdoch’s statue at Bowen Hills received some extra polish.


You, my dear teacher,

you who tell me my thoughts are wrong,

you who are so neat and strong ,

you so strict and proper and lukewarm

you who tell me that I can’t and that I shouldn’t!

You, you –

who are you?

[“The Geranium of the Window-sill just Died but Teacher you went right on “– Albert Cullum]


Let concerned adults make sure that NAPLAN eradication becomes a top election issue.

Kids don’t get a vote.

Phil Cullen

February 6th  2013

One thought on “Prep. NAPLAN?

  1. I think I quoted this poem in one of my blogs some time ago. this seems the right time to visit it again.

    Blue Umbrellas
    D. J. Enright

    The thing that makes a blue umbrella with its tail –
    how do you call it?’ you ask. Poorly and pale
    Comes my answer. For all I can call it is peacock.
    Now that you go to school, you will learn how we call all sorts of things;
    How we mar great works by our mean recital.
    You will learn, for instance, that Head Monster is not the gentleman’s accepted title;
    The blue-tailed eccentrics will be merely peacocks; the dead bird will no longer doze
    Off till tomorrow’s lark, for the latter has killed him.
    The dictionary is opening, the gay umbrellas close.
    Oh our mistaken teachers! –
    It was not a proper respect for words that we need,
    But a decent regard for things, those older creatures and more real.
    Later you may even resort to writing verse
    To prove the dishonesty of names and their black greed –
    To confess your ignorance, to exiate your crime, seeking one spell to
    life another curse.
    Or you may, more commodiously, spy on your children, busy discoverers,
    Without the dubious benefit of rhyme.

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