Senate Inquiry

 The Treehorn Express

‘The Treehorn Express is a tribute to those children who are forced to encounter Standardised Blanket Testing in GERM countries and are forced to suffer from the distress, a narrowed curriculum and loss of progressive cognitive development. Like little Treehorn, they are wonderful young citizens, ignored by those who are expected to care and exploited by those who don’t.

ON THEIR BEHALF, SAY NO to NAPLAN

NAPLAN– MAINTAINING MEDIOCRITY – USING UNETHICAL PRACTICES SINCE 2008

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 Senate Inquiry

The Last Stand for Kids

Very few people knew about this Inquiry. It was not announced to the public by the press. Word had seeped through to some senators that there was a level of concern in the electorate that NAPLAN may not be the great reform of Australian schooling that it was said to be…so there was a call for a ‘snap’ inquiry. The general public doesn’t know much about it….yet..

Let me explain the background to my reasons for making this submission and for condemning the existence of NAPLAN with all the force that I can muster. I once held a vision that primary schooling in Australia would be the absolute best in the world by the Year 2000. It was certainly heading that way in the pre-managerialist era. I was sure that, in retirement, I would see my grand-children and their peers enjoy the excitement of learning in stimulating classrooms. I was absolutely positive that, by then, every Australian kid would burst a boiler to get to their neighbourhood school each day because of all the exciting learning challenges there; a magical place of learning; and would exit schooling with super-zestful enthusiasm for learning that had been constantly enriched each year since that day that they had started school,12 years or so earlier….full of wonder and excitement about the act of learning every single day of their lives…..and happy. At preparation institutions, teachers would have learned more and more about about all the classroom strategies and techniques required to make every minute together with their pupils meaningful and they would maintain the personal development of their teaching/learning abilities until they retired. There would be no place for the indolent. I was so absolutely sure that I would see this happen. Children and teachers would be happy, playful, learning-crazed, enthusiastic 24/7 no matter what they were doing. There would be no trace of fear or feelings of failure, no competitive dislikes, no bullying….just joy of learning.

And, by the way,I had learned from teachers of the time about the value of shared-evaluation of effort linked so directly to the learning task-in-hand that the use of even DIY blanket testing would became rare. They knew the difference between evaluation, assessment and testing and how to make the most of each concept. Measurers, unfamiliar with the differences and the use of sharing developmental evaluation in a classroom setting took over control of schooling in Australia. They use only numbers. Their disrespect for children’s feelings and learning levels is monumental.

A school would be a place where everybody was a teacher and a learner and evaluator…..pupil, teacher, mum, dad, friends, aides, janitors, visitors…everybody! I came to feel that the word ‘teaching’ sounded too much like ‘instructing’, so I started to use the term ‘pupilling’. It implied a higher level of seriousness about the teaching/learning contract and total immersion with the three Ls – Love, Laughter and Learning. The future looked so good.

OK. It didn’t happen and it’s too late for me to see it happen. I feel really devastated with disappointment; and certainly sick from what has happened. If the future of Australia is in the classrooms,I shed a tear for Australia. I never ever thought that we would end up in the mess that we are in….with almost total disrespect for child welfare and this crazed belief in scores. If NAPLAN is terminated tomorrow, as it should be, it will still take a long time to repair the damage done already. Standardised Blanket Testing has been an extraordinarily dangerous hoax-meme.

That’s my reason for the length of my submission to the Senate Inquiry and for its style. It’s a Custer-like stand with a growing number of true-blue educators with whom I’m proud to associate and make a stand against the overwhelming, powerful, insensitive, greedy assaults on children’s learnings.. The welfare of school kids motivates us. Nothing else. See below.

The submission was forwarded on 20 May and printed on-line on 18 June  as the last of the ordinary submissions up to that date. It must have been held-up in the machinery.

Apparently there will be a public hearing in Melbourne on 21 June….this Friday, if you happen to be going through Melbourne….. to which selected groups, in the main, have been invited…..not many practising classroom teachers.

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This title was NOT used on the submission . It just asks our senators what sort of school children, Australia wants to produce.

Scholars or Data-driven Drongos?

To : Senate Committee of Inquiry.

This submission suggests that NAPLAN testing and any other ruinous substitute never ever be inflicted on the school children of this country again; that NAPLAN testing be banished forthwith; and that the focus of public discussion be directed to LEARNING IN THE CLASSROOM and the impact that outsides influences have on classroom activities.

Maybe few people understand what LEARNING in context means, 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. Parents need to talk about ‘Learning’ in a positive, healthy, politically-free manner. Discussions about Learning at the school level need to be encouraged, rather than obscured by officially encouraged underhand means.

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 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 impact that politically controlled Standardised Blanket Testing has had on classroom outcomes.

senate

Q & A

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

Q. WHY is it that countries, like Finland, that are represented on 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 do not approve of Standardised Blanket Testing regimes? Finland concentrates on how to learn about learning; Australia about testing.

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 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 profession, 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 the mighty dollar. NAPLAN has to be totally destroyed , without modification or substitution. It is a national threat.

The interlocked connection between the administrative operations of NAPLAN testing and mega-business should be enough to call a halt and examine the connection.

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 a committed 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? “ BHM]

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

A. About as useful as ‘lips on a chicken’. How in the world can results, provided five months after the tests, when the learners are in circumstances far different from the circumstances at the time of testing, be of any help? Fair go! Can it be better that DIY tests on the spot? Can it be better than face-to-face evaluation of effort? Try the other leg.

If testucators need assistance to see how well they are going and have to rely on external assistance, there are plenty of sources. A.C.E.R. is a one-stop shop. There’s ‘Google’ to find other providers. There’s books. [As a test fixated principal, my copy of Sir Fred Schonell’s “Diagnostic and Attainment Testing” became dog-eared and tattered and fell apart from over-use. If only I’d thought about what I was doing. I could have sold it to another testucator in pristine condition.]

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

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.

Let our kids LEARN, for heaven’s sake.

More questions are asked on the following clip demonstrating the concern of NY parents enduring the same conditions as Aussie parents. I realise that the clip will not be reproduced on the senate report, but it is essential viewing for anyone who is concerned about their children and able to view it:

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Paradigms of social behaviour, such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs [1954] and French & Ravens’ Bases of Social Power [1959] are worthy 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 regime to cease its NAPLAN antics. Our teachers are too scared or 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 [Standardised Blanket Tests] 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 1,030,000 parents of kids whose private learning behaviour was assaulted on 14,15,16 May and the parents of other victims might comment. If the responses are not up to expectations, the testucators will claim that their notions of schooling have been supported.

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 : Sir Ken Robinson, Prof. Robin Alexander, Diane Ravitch, Yong Zhau, Marion Brady, Kelvin Smythe, Bruce Hammonds, Allan Alach…an endless list. The evidence is so overwhelming and the literature so profuse. 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 untested 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 casually 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!

Reader note : This talk by Sir Ken Robinson has been seen by 300milion people, according to TIME magazine [June 10, 2013]:-

NAPLAN

NAPLAN is a slyly introduced fear-based schooling system whose philosophy was imported en bloc from a large New York School District in 2008, following a meeting of the then Federal Minister for Education, Hon. J. Gillard, with fellow former lawyer at a cocktail party. His name is Joel Klein, then Chancellor of a large urban school district in New York, who has since moved to a senior executive position with the Rupert Murdoch’s publishing companies [Salary: $4m p.a.] that concentrate on the production of print and online tests and support material. Mr. Klein has claimed publically that he helped to establish his system in Australia and that it is a replica of his.

This is the genesis of existing schooling operations in Australia.

How did this happen? Supported by Australian banking corporations, Mr. Klein was brought to Australia to talk to various corporate bodies and to address the Press Club. Known to possess a powerfully persuasive personality, his efforts worked. Both the Hon. J. Gillard and her superior, Mr. K. Rudd, felt sufficiently empowered, following a few encounters with this former lawyer, to copy the N.Y. system and proclaim its establishment in Australia without further discussion. Corporate Australia applauded. Measurement experts were appointed to the most senior positions to run the show. It was on the way with no reference to learning outcomes except the word: ‘scores’. Professional organisations, including those of primary and secondary principals, were corralled. The methods used to enlist them were shameful. The press was already under control. It was all systems go by 2008.

Testucators took the place of educators at decision-making assemblies, suspending any discussion of professional ethics in relation to the use of children’s fear as a teaching device; and ignoring the effects of the imported threats and gimmickry. The scato-meme, now described as ‘Testucation’, a system of control based on standardised blanket testing, was established in all GERM countries. We tend to ‘go with the flow’ with innovations from up-over.

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

While this was going on, Rupert Murdoch was rubbing his hands together with fiendish glee. He has said that this approach to schooling is worth $500billion to him per year, in the US alone. If he corners the market for the supply of on-line machines for quick responses for testing and other uses, later, for every child at school at a cost of $US700 per machine, the market is probably worth more than he estimates. Standardised Blanket Testing is big bikkies. Australians will be shelling out, big time, as well. The cost of each paper test in Australia at the present time is about $50. Since 1,030,000 victims performed in 2013, the cost to the tax-payers just for the publishing of papers was about $51,500,000 and the cost of suspension of learning activities for 3 days, inestimable.

There is an unholy scramble for the control of the on-line education market, certainly between the super-publishers. Murdoch’s opposition businesses have tried to match his eagerness for money. His company Amplify, under the control of Joel Klein, and the British-based Pearson Education are major opponents in cornering the market for the supply of androids to every school child in the world. These hand-held information warehouses are challenging learning theories involving the role of the person in various pupilling processes within the classroom. Any fruitful discussion has yet to be held. The testers have the front running and dominate any useful dialogue at present as education prime-time is given to scores. On-line NAPLAN testing and scoring is coming to a school near you first [of course].

There has also been a considerable growth industry in side-line businesses like coaching, special tests and practice booklets. In the past year the growth in the numbers of these businesses occurred for the same reason that Ned Kelly robbed the bank: that’s where the money is. Nothing else matters. NAPLAN can easily be seen as a money-making stunt for greedy billionaires.

The marking of the May tests is under way as this is written. An army of pencil wielders is currently being paid $38 per hour for five hours per day for three weeks. An estimated cost for just marking the useless [in learning terms] test is about $85m.

With the cost of administration of NAPLAN tests added to the above simple items, the money costs must be gigantic. No one will tell the public exactly what NAPLAN costs. The costs are successfully hidden in state and commonwealth account books and no one willing to check it all out…not even the Commonwealth Treasury. Where can the full costs be found? Who dares look? Even investigative journalists dare not.

Sadly our present generation of school kids is paying heavily in learning terms while we pay in dollar terms; and few people care. That’s Testucation, kids!

CHEATING

NAPLAN has led to wide-scale cheating of all kinds. The worst kind is the encouragement by authorities for schools and scholars to practice as much as possible. Practice tests have been provided by state governments on-line so that schools can cheat better by using reliable sources. Political and departmental superordinates are not called to account for cheating even though they perpetuate it, while principals and teachers are for lesser crimes like allowing kids a five-minute extension; some are sacked. Harassment of the child-caring teachers is quick and intense. It’s clear. If one school practises and another doesn’t, the validity of the tests is ruined. To run a system that has a plethora of types of practice surely makes blanket testing procedures completely useless; and testucating reputations shameful. This sort of cheating can’t be stopped.

This alone ruins the raison d’etre for NAPLAN. That’s Testucation! NAPLAN is pure waste.

SUPPLEMENTS ENHANCEMENT

But there’s more. During the weeks before the NAPLAN contest, the pharmaceutical industry, openly acknowledging the stress and concern that this sort of testing causes to young children, undertook an expensive advertising campaign, featuring Nicole Kidman’s sister, to proclaim the benefits of Fish Oil to allay the stress and concern. Other pharmaceuticals are certainly being used on a large scale to enhance performance. This company advertised it and was caught out. Pharmaceutical products are becoming part of the essential diet for victims of Testucation?

NAPLAN Test Stress has created a new industry and is bigger than originally imagined.

Special breakfast are held, even sleep-overs, to steady the nerves prior to tests! The condemned kids eat a hearty meal.

I ask each senator: Did you ever believe that you would see the day?

EDUCATORS GAGGED

During NAPLAN week, 2013 the principal of a school in Canberra explained to its parents that they needed to consider the impact of NAPLAN testing on their children’s learning; that they had the democratic right to say “No”. He dared to face the wrath of his superiors, who, in accordance the with blatant procedural ACARA deception, does not encourage schools to tell people that they have such a right. He dared to share his opinion with his stakeholders. It is difficult to believe, but this made headlines around the country.

NAPLAN’s official information documents provide an underhand masterpiece of chicanery. ‘Students are expected to participate in the testing. Please discuss your concerns with your child’s teacher or your school principal.’ No democratic right of choice. ACARA knows, full well, that parents do not have to discuss such items with anybody. ACARA perpetuates this fraud by claiming, “Signed parent/carer consent forms are required for students withdrawn from the tests.” Bunkum. They do not. As a matter of courtesy, all that a parent needs to do is drop a simple note to their child’s teacher. Nothing more.

ACARA adds a buck-passing coda to these jack-boot requirements with : “ ACARA does not manage the consideration of requests for withdrawals or exemptions.” Consideration of requests? Pardon! One might suggest that a ‘thank you’ card might be a more appropriate response from ACARA to parents who have said that they don’t want their children to participate.

There has been, it might be noted, a growth in the number of school children in the USA who write on the papers, “I do not wish to do this test” and politely hand it to their teacher without comment. It’s called The Bartleby Project. There is nothing that can be done about it.

I ask each senator again: Did you ever believe that you would see the day? AND You have claimed the power to do something about this disgraceful torment by inviting comments. Do it….for the sake of our kids!

PRESS CONTROL

On the day after this earth-shattering front-page news of this devious Canberra principal, 14 May, the first day of NAPLAN testing, the Senate Inquiry into ‘….maximising our investment in education’, was tabled after eight months. It did not get a mention in any local media outlet of any kind. If the public wants to know what it said, it has to chase the report on its own. When this particular senate inquiry was announced in September 2012, there was nary a mention in any part of the Australian media. One can be pretty certain that only a few dozen people have even heard of its existence.

The same was true of the previous senate inquiry into education. You remember it, don’t you?

The Darwin Effect has operated well. Not a word so far about any education senate inquiry in recent times. I suppose that editors of the Murdoch chain of newspapers and controllers of TV/radio news items do not want to displease him, and journalistic codes of conduct prevent colleagues from rocking the boat with items that mates cannot use. Besides, when did what kids suffer at school attract as much attention as a crucial ligament injury to a footballer?

One classic example. In November, 2012, over a thousand public primary school principals from Australia and New Zealand gathered in Melbourne. Their speakers were from the world’s finest down-to-earth educators: Pasi Sahlberg, Director of Finland’s education system; Yong Zhau, researcher, China, Michigan and Oregon; Andy Hargraves of primary school pursuits from Boston. It was the biggest such conference ever held down under. As with all renowned world educators, none supports the various forms of Standardised Blanket Testing now in vogue. Not a word was published or referred to, in any Australian or New Zealand news item. Strange, don’t you think, Senators?

The ABC-TV conducts a Q&A program each Monday that invites open questions from viewers before and during the program. When the host was to interview both Peter Garrett and Christopher Pyne a few educators tried to make sure that questions about NAPLAN would be asked. Gonski consumes so much air-play. The word ‘NAPLAN’ was not even used during the hour. It was so obvious that the producer or the host or Aunty herself prevented any questions about NAPLAN issues from being used. Why? Some educators tried again when Julia Gillard was interviewed with groups of high school pupils. Same result. Not a mention.

Some classical academic research and anecdotal reports into the impact of SBTs have been printed in documents easily accessible on-line. There are hundreds each month. None makes our airways. As Carson Robson said, “There’s sumpin cock-eyed somewhere.”

However, Channel 7’s Today Tonight program presented a seminal documentary on the Monday of NAPLAN week, that featured the renowned Kimberley College, known world-wide for its successful multi-aged [to Year 10] de Bono- style program that emphasises the unrestricted development of learning styles for its scholars. 140 parents of 150 ACARA enforced NAPLAN victims have refused to comply. The presentation was a gem, extending its references to the manipulations of our system’s founders and controllers : Joel Klein and Rupert Murdoch.

GIMMICKRY

The system relies on sycophantic fear-driven adherence to testing by school personnel and their pupils. Joel Klein says that he told Julia Gillard that opposition by real educators should be resisted by tightening the thumb-screws on all participants and by creating diversions to forms of gimmickry that make specious claims as to effectiveness. Prime amongst these has been the creation of Charter Schools [using deceptive other names, some oxy-moronic, but serving the same moronic purpose]. They provide a smoother and quicker conduit for test-takers than the usual red-tape route. Another furphy has been the notion that people work harder when paid a higher salary for success in teaching to the tests. There is ample sociological evidence to illustrate the futility of such proposals. Ask Maslow, French or Raven.

PISA

Comparisons are made by the test-crazed number crunchers with other countries by using a set of international tests called PISA [Programme for International School Assessment] that are conducted in a number of countries by measurement experts from Paris-based OECD. Teaching experts, who believe in the power of on-the-spot shared evaluation, have little respect for these forms of testing. The PISA device is applied only to 15 year-olds every 5 years. As odious as such comparisons are, there is a strange reliance by politicians in particular on the results. Since their knowledge of and interest in classroom outcomes is limited, they have nothing else to use. Ill-trained observers have been known to state that their systems were ‘better’ or ‘worse’ in an educative sense because of results in tests of some simple aspects of mathematics and grammar.

Australia has always been in the top ten of testing results in international tests, as useless as they may be, until the year 2008, but we have never made a great song-and-dance about it. ‘So what ?’ we’ve asked. Recently, Australia’s present Prime Minister has stated that SHE will have Australian schools’ PISA test results ‘in the top 5 by 25’. That’s the lady leading the so-called ‘reform’ agenda. Such statements will surely rank in the top 10 of the craziest announcements of the first quarter of the 21st century. Judging by the way we are going and such a screwball test-based result ensues, our general cognitive development outcomes will surely place us amongst the bottom. Tests do that to their victims. Just watch.

See Tom Waterhouse now before the odds shorten.

Clearly, Australian citizens need to discuss, openly, what ‘goes on’ in classrooms in terms of LEARNING IN THE CLASSROOM. SERIOUSLY. We need to contemplate what classrooms will look like in 2025. To have allowed a testing regime to be inflicted on our children and impair cognitive outcomes, before examining its effects on classroom learning, is not to our credit. It was a dumb thing to start doing.

Senators, did you ever believe that you would see the day that Australian schooling would be such a mess?

POLITICAL OUTCOMES

This Senate controlled inquiry has to make a clear statement. Senate asked for it as a matter of urgency. The Committee of Inquiry needs to be brave enough to face the facts. No more molly-coddling fence-sitting gloss. CEASE NAPLAN TESTING.

This inquiry needs to make this statement asap and not pussy-foot around the issues.

As things now stand, the major political parties , Liberal/Nationals and Labor, are in favour of the continuance of this rigorous political control of teaching and learning; and of one-size-fits-all curriculum and of its assessment by testing methods – the most invalid, depressing, unreliable and useless ever used in this normally progressive country of ours. Professional educators, especially classroom teachers need to reclaim their profession, now degraded and devalued to an extreme degree by our confused politicians, most of whom are party-bound and not concerned enough to publish their own points of view. Clearly, in terms of PISA test scores, we are now ‘falling behind’ other countries thanks to NAPLAN methods of operating…as despicable a way to describe educational achievements as there is. Leading protagonists, Gillard, Garrett and Pyne are, unwittingly perhaps, dangerous people. Teachers, parents and children, blind to the consequences, are suffering.They should talk up..

POLITICIANS NEED TO TALK ABOUT EVALUATION AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE LEARNING ENDEAVOUR.

The proof is in the pudding. NAPLAN is a gigantic flop and a danger. As a issue of accountability it is totally useless. But… there seems to be an entrenched political fear of the power of Rupert Murdoch, [‘the man who shapes the world’, according to potential Prime Minister Abbott] and his publishing colleagues, who control enormous test publishing and online businesses. Australian political parties’ dedication to the designs of the mega-rich is a threat to their own children and to ours.

The Greens Party usually sits on the fence in matters of importance and tends to call for an inquiry when the heat is turned up; the outcomes of which are widely ignored and seldom mentioned in the wider community. Party members then bang on the drums, abrogate responsibilities for child health and schooling, and say to constituents, “We tried. Nothing happened.”

While the popularity of the major parties and their leaders goes up and down like a fiddler’s elbow, it surely means that the Greens can capitalise on this political uncertainly by having a NO NAPLAN election platform. Other parties seem too ‘tied up’ with more pedestrian issues. There are 300,000 teachers who would support the banning of NAPLAN if they were allowed to speak their mind, as well as a growing number of disenchanted parents and friends. A political candidate of any persuasion would attract a substantial number of votes from the school-interested section of their electorate if they spoke their mind.

Senators. Please stand up for our kids. You can keep up your allegiance to the testucators or pussy-foot around or care about our kids. The choices are clear and distinct.

Does Australia want scholars, not matter what occupation they pursue or data-driven drongos?

Phil Cullen AM FACE FACEL FQIEL Gold Medal ACEL

Founder : Treehorn Express.

Former State Director of Primary Education, Queensland.

41 Cominan Avenue,

Banora Point 2486

Ph.: 07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

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