Senate Inquiry






Please let me share the first piece of my submission to the senate inquiry, due by 7 June. I do hope that this one and yours make it on time.



To : Senate Committee of Inquiry.

This is my submission to the recently established Senate snap Inquiry. This submission tries to emphasise that NAPLAN testing and any other ruinous substitute should never ever be inflicted on the school children of this country; that NAPLAN testing be banished forthwith; and that the focus of public discussion concentrate on LEARNING IN THE CLASSROOM and the impact that outsides influences have on classroom activities.

Maybe few people understand what LEARNING means in context, especially when applied to classroom activities. Since prevailing political control of schools has dominated classroom outcomes to the detriment of the overall view of learning progress, a halt needs to be called. Politicians and measurers cannot pretend to know that they understand the dynamics of a school classroom. Parents need to talk about ‘Learning’ in a positive manner. Discussions about Learning at the school level need to be encouraged, rather than discouraged using underhand tricks.

Immediately below is a table of differences between a Joel Klein/NAPLAN testing system, now controlling Australian education, and that of a future system that emphasises learning.

This submission suggests that a blue-ribbon, superior education system is possible in Australia, once the public is given the opportunity to talk about the way we treat our children when they go to school; especially to talk openly about the detrimental impact that politically controlled Standardised Blanket Testing has on classroom outcomes.


Here is a short Q & A that suggests open discussion on the critical issues of present-day schooling is urgent. [Questions on the ABC show ‘Q&A’ about NAPLAN are barred, by the way, without explanation.  ????]

Q. WHY is it that countries, like Finland, that represent the right-hand side of this table, lead the PISA test results of 70 countries, even though its tested cohort has up to four years less at school by 15 years of age than do those countries, like Australia….and Finnish educators detest the use of Standardised Blanket Testing regimes? Finland concentrates on how to learn about learning; Australia about testing. Please explain.

A. SEE Items 3,4,5 above. The answer is SO obvious. When pupils are treated with respect – as ‘pupils’ [rather than as over-testucated frightened ‘students’] with total recognition of their individual differences, their personal attitudes to learning, their natural desire to take their developed learnings to the dizziest of heights – there are no limits to their learnacy [learning HOW to learn] outcomes. NAPLAN and other forms of national testing ruthlessly applied by our part-time political employees, whose ‘knowledge of learning in the classroom can be written on a used postage stamp in large font’ [JH], merely standardise learning; and curb development of each child, each system, each country. Our elected servants have become our masters in recent years and there are too many of them who seem to take delight in disrespecting the efforts of our beautiful children and devaluing the tasks of our teaching professionals who love our kids and just want to be able to do the best that they can by them. Democratic principles have been suppressed by corporate saboteurs in the quest for simplistic scores and the mighty dollar. NAPLAN has to be totally destroyed , without modification or substitution. It is a national threat.

Q. WHY is Australia regarded as the most GERM ridden country, so crazed about testing?

A. Excessive totalitarian federal political control of each state’s education systems, linked to unseemly threats; and an unhealthy  attachment to the mega-rich testing tycoons’ greed for more money have a lot to do with it.

[“Why would someone with any conscience think it is okay to degrade the art of teaching in exchange for profit, while denying the love of learning for an entire generation. Sounds like science fiction, doesn’t it? “ Blue Hat Movement]

Q. Isn’t NAPLAN useful as a diagnostic test?

A. About as useful as  ‘…on a bull’. How can results, provided five months after the tests when learners are  in circumstances far different from the circumstances at the time of testing, be of any help? Fair go! On the spot DIY testing surrounding the learning act has a far greater impact, surely. Is NAPLAN so much better than one-on-one individualised evaluation?

There are ample sources for those testucators who need outside assistance, that can provide ‘closer to the special problem’ tests at cost.  A.C.E.R. is a useful test shop; there’s ‘Google’ to pin-point other providers; there’s books. [As a test-fixated principal, my copy  of Sir Fred Schonell’s ‘Diagnostic and Attainment Testing’ became dog-eared, tattered and fell apart from over-use. If only I’d realised the damage that I was doing! I could have dumped it when it was in pristine condition.]

NAPLAN is a useless, dangerous, frightening, dark weapon that seriously threatens our country’s future. Financially, it represents an enormous waste of tax-payers’ money that can be better used.

Let our kids LEARN, for heaven’s sake.

The danger MUST be totally removed from the schooling landscape before May, 2014. Let’s rescue the unfortunate children presently in Years 2, 4, 6, 8 from assaults on their learning capacity, for starters.


Paradigms of social behaviour, such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs [1954] and French & Ravens’ Bases of Social Power [1959] are recent additions to empirical knowledge, that summarise what has been obvious to man for thousands of years:

1. ‘Man’ hates to be pushed around. It is a lower-order need on the totem-pole of basic requirements. ‘Man’ much prefers to be valued for his/her own worth and prefers to be self-actualised. [Maslow]

2. The use of coercion and reward power by super-ordinates on subordinates brings resistance. Their use stifles enthusiasm and initiatives. [French & Raven]

Why is the Australian system of schooling in the hands of measurement-crazed dinosaurs who believe that fear motivates children to learn? Why are our legislative representatives too timid to stand up for kids? Why do they need this complicated, costly, time-wasting senate inquiry indeed, [sorry Penny] in the knowledge that mostly testucating sycophantic compliers have the time to respond adequately; and our real educating experts are too busy in the classroom and too frightened? It will require a few million anti-NAPLAN voters to convince the present hard-nosed, measurement-biased, tycoon connected regime to cease its NAPLAN antics. Our teachers are too scared and too busy.

While the intentions of Senator Penny Wright are most honourable, praiseworthy and laudable [I just love the lady for her honest good intentions], the call for such a ‘snap’ inquiry could have a ‘diminishing effect’ [P. Darwin 21-05-13]. The warm, well-intentioned belief that those who are most concerned about the effects of SBTs on teaching and learning in classrooms will have enough to say to persuade those in power to change their minds is admirable. It’s a long bow to draw to believe that some of the 1,030,00 parents of kids whose private learning behaviour was assaulted on 14,15,16 May and the parents of other victims might comment. If the number of responses is not up to expectations, the testucators will claim that their notions of schooling have been supported, and some idiotic form of NAPLAN will continue.

LEARNING REFORM should become an enormous public discussion by talking about what actually happens INSIDE the classroom. That’s where our future is.

There is plethora of reliable information that clearly demonstrates that GERM-based Standardised Blanket Testing is a major threat to productive learning. Thank God for ‘google’ that can provide a guide to productive thinking at the click of a button.

Try some of the world’s greatest educators : Sir Ken Robinson, Prof. Robin Alexander, Diane Ravitch, Yong Zhau, Marion Brady, Bruce Hammonds, Allan Alach, Kelvin  Smythe…an endless list. The evidence is so overwhelming and the literature so profuse and convincing. Why isn’t any notice taken? There is certainly no reliable or valid evidence that current measurement techniques create intellectual products of worth. None! Try ‘google’ to find any. Plenty to the contrary.

NAPLAN is just an unreliable, invalid,  test-focussed measurer’s crazy idea. The worst outcome of this snap senate inquiry would be a recommendation for a substitute because many people now tend to go with the flow and prefer not to comment; just as millions of Germans did once when undemocratic, inhumane practices were often noticed and completely ignored. They had a fall-guy. We can blame Julia or Peter or Chris….or any of their sycophantic eichmanns. Not necessary if the the craziness goes! We can all work together towards the establishment of a wonderful open, honest, professional, down-under learning climate that the world has never known before.

to be continued……….

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point 2486

07 5524 6443


One thought on “Senate Inquiry

  1. Good luck with it, Phil.

    I don’t know enough of all the details relating to this topic, so I restrict myself to an overall observation and comment. Below, is a cut and paste extract from my blog which gives that comment.

    >>>> What is a country’s greatest asset?

    It isn’t gold, coal, iron ore, water, wheat, fish, or any other product from the land or ocean, nor is it anything manufactured in large factories or small industries.

    We are still a “cottage industry”.

    A country’s greatest asset is normally created and moulded at home, and then developed further in special facilities, before being set forth to make our country a greater place.

    These are our children. Our greatest asset. They are the country’s future.

    Any under-development of this asset will be to the country’s detriment, and future generations will pay for it.

    If a country doesn’t maximise its effort in developing its greatest asset, then that country will not progress at its greatest potential.

    The family unit has the initial responsibility of setting the foundation stones, but then it’s the government which is largely responsible for making every opportunity available to educate and develop this asset to its maximum potential.

    The government can’t control what happens in the home, but it certainly could double (or more) its efforts in the education sector.

    Most governments will give limp excuses for not putting more money into the education system, and the spin on these excuses will vary in proportion to the nearness of the next election.

    I could go on for many more paragraphs about consecutive governments’ irresponsible attitude (and efforts) in this area, but I won’t.

    Instead, I’ll just make one comment which this, and successive governments, should consider………..

    If you think education is expensive, then just try pricing “ignorance”. <<<<

    And finally, Phil, this cartoon of mine could relate to the exact cause of all our problems…….



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