Treehorn Express:

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



Senate Inquiry

Teaching and Learning (Maximising our Investment in Australian Schools)

Public Hearing 4 March, 2013

Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens, 380 William Street, Melbourne. VIC 3000

Readers of The Treehorn Express and as many of their friends as possible are encouraged to attend.

Members of the Senate Committee will question those who made submissions

David Hornsby [Submission 39] and Lorraine Wilson of Literacy Educators have been invited to attend. I[Submission 6] have been invited to join David & Lorraine – by telephone – as a group. Our time allocation is 3.35 to 4.20 pm, the second last of the day.



6.30 p.m. March 6

Victoria University 301 Flinders Lane City Room FLB

‘Boycott Naplan Tests’

Click Attachment  Victorians: please print and circulate.


AUSTRALIAN EDUCATION TODAY The February issue of The Monthly contains a story of a gifted young Year 9 student undertaking the Select Entry Accelerated Learning [SEAL] program at Box Hill High School. Tina is the daughter of Chinese immigrants who want her to do well. The SEAL program is run in 39 government schools throughout Victoria, designed to stem the flow of talented students from public to private education by creating an environment that would challenge and stimulate bright children. The article by Alice Pung is called, “The Secret Life of Them. What it takes to shift class in Australia.”

GARFIELD HIGH STUDENT TELLS Garfield High was the lead school in Oregon to start a trend. Teachers refused to handle the state blanket tests, of the kind that we call NAPLAN. A student writes :

I am a freshman at Garfield, There have been flyers handed out with information for opt-out for about a week. They have been saying to fill in a form with a parent signature or email the test coordinator. This morning as people arrived at school, there were flyers that said that you could opt out verbally without any consequences, or a need for parent consent,

Today was the day they were starting to hand out the tests to be proctored by administrators because the teachers were refusing. Administrators went to the Language Arts classes, and very few students went with them because pretty much everyone verbally opted out. This happened until about the third period when something changed teachers and students don’t know exactly what. Students could not verbally opt out. They needed the signature of their parents. We were told the if we opted out verbally, we could face severe consequences for disobeying an administrator, even though we knew that the admin didn’t want to give the test either (they wee being put under lots of pressure to give it though.) I don’t think that anyone verbally opted out after the rules were changed, so no one knows exactly what the consequences are,

Many people in my class did not want to do the test but they did not have parental consent. I did not know along with most of the class, so we went to the computer to check the opt-out list. If our name was not there, we were allowed to use our cell phone to contact our parents to get them to email the coordinator within the next 5 minutes. Most managed to get in touch and most were able to opt out. Those who had to take the test went through it as fast as possible, picked random answers. If a student completes the test in under 15 minutes the scores are invalid. Since that was the case for everyone, hopefully that is making a point too. I think that about 40 of these took the test out of at least 120.

One of the main reasons the students dislike the test is not only because it is a waste of time, but it closes the library. We were told that, not only the library, all 4 computer labs are closed for the rest of February because of the tests. This means no books, computers, internet or printing which many students rely on.

Coming to a school near you in Australia.

Home-schooling Coordinator Ken Woolford writes : “I believe the first contact I had with blanket National Testing was in an aboriginal community in NT [1989]. The tests arrived by truck. I took one look at them and burned them all. The Area Principal [aka District Director] was amused and appalled. The next year I was advised to write across the cover for each booklet ‘not appropriate’ and return them.

I struck a similar thing when back in Qld in 1999. A senior Ed Qld official told a group of principals how inappropriate the tests were but then began lamenting how poorly Qld did in comparison to NSW. I have not been involved with them since.

When I ran a small independent school in the mid noughties I had every family decide not to have their children take the tests. When queried by an officer from the Office of Non-State Schooling about this I pointed out to her that involvement in the tests was optional. She would not believe me and checked with with one of her colleagues as to the correctness of the statement. When it was confirmed, she looked quite shocked. I then informed her that in my opinion National Testing was merely child-abuse.

Since then I have been working with homeschoolers – none of whom has been involved with the tests – even though the Home Education Unit and the Brisbane School of Distance Education regularly and incorrectly inform their clients that tests are mandatory. The families I work with have ignored both bodies.

I feel sorry for the educators who are torn between their professional ethics and the dictates of their employers. I believe that many doctors suffered similarly under the Nazi regime.

Cheers from one who works in a world of education where NAPLAN is a non-starter.”

Former primary principal, Bruce Jones comments : Funny how schools now regard the importance of enforcing the goals and intent of Conformity as paramount, while the real world celebrates the glory and joy of Diversity, in all its forms. Maybe the politicians dream of a more easily managed electorate where Conformity is God. Conformity equates to Compliance and the greatest money-making government bodies of the past three decades have been in the areas of Compliance. I finally realised why NAPLAN is featured for the subservient and compliant.

The Romans had The Circus. We have The Circus sand NAPLAN. How can things ever be better than that.


Guide Our Nation’s School Kids Intelligently


Click: ‘Care for Kids’

Phil Cullen

February 13th  2013

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