Care for Kids? Transfer fees.


TO:  Folk who care about kids, especially about  those kids from 5-15 years of age forced to go to school and ordered to sit for tests and examinations….the ‘Treehorns’ ….

                    • used by the unscrupulous,
                    • ignored by those who should care, and
                    • exploited by those who don’t.


Transfer Fees – Interchange between political parties.

The likelihood of making the top team is always dicey at best. Even when elite positions within the team are reached, a player’s  occupation of the position can be transitory. Selectors hire them for a short period and then get rid of them if they don’t do as we expect of them. Some last longer than they should. Communities are always on the look-out for outstanding substitutes and are prepared to go to great lengths to obtain the best available.

Isn’t it a pity that the notion of ‘transfer’ couldn’t apply to political parties in the same way that it does to football teams?  Let me present a case study.

The Australian Labor Party has lost its raison d’etre completely. That’s very plain. It used to care for the downtrodden and needy; and the children of the poor had a high priority. I can cite so many examples from the past. It is now doing as it is told by its corporate buddies and it has lost its caring, humanitarian base. The difference between it and its so-called opposition parties is difficult to distinguish. Both are specialist right wingers. Observers have great difficulty finding any single member of Australia’s major parties who would stick up for school kids and try to protect them from the prevailing inhumane treatment. Both sides advocate the ‘finger in the wind’ technique to measure the weather.

There is a Labour Party politician across the Tasman Sea who will speak his mind on behalf of children. Can Australian ‘Labor’ arrange for him to be transferred across the ditch on a three-year contract? He talks about kids instead of scores.  He will genuinely stick up for kids….a breath of fresh air.  He thinks. He can’t see ‘testing’ and top-down ‘reform’ living together. He is determined.

He probably prefers working with his own kids. BLAST. We could do with him in Australia.

His name is Chris Hipkins. He is the education spokesperson for the N.Z. Labour Party. At a recent Primary Principals’ Conference, he said the following in a speech that was described as…

“The Speech We’ve Been Waiting For”

Chris Hipkins

 “I totally reject the notion that increasing competition between schools will lead to better outcomes for everyone.”

 So let me be very clear about Labour’s position on Charter Schools. We see no place for them.  And any charter schools established under the current government will have no future under Labour.

 Our focus will be on ensuring that every schools is a great school.

 One of the most destructive things this government could do to quality education is to introduce ‘performance pay’ based on a narrow range of student achievement measures. If the alarm bells aren’t ringing, they should be. National Standards [known as NAPLAN in Australia] results are no measure of effective teaching.

 National Standards [known as NAPLAN in Australia] narrow the focus of teaching, encouraging teachers and students to concentrate time and attention on getting students over an arbitrary hurdle, rather than supporting that child to achieve full potential.   

 We recognise that parents want to know how their kids are going…how their kids are doing in Art and PE; how their social interactions are developing. 


If his true Labour Party views run  counter to those of Australian Labor Party views, he may not be welcomed. Too much to handle. Bill?  Would you dare?

Check him out :- Chris Hipkins Speaks


               No.83    Click. Based on Pasi Sahlberg’s original design, the table on Page 2 is a clear picture of ‘the way we are now.’.  You’ve seen this. This is what is going on in the big boys’ world. So. What does Australia do as its major schooling activity to bring itself into the world of learning?  You guessed it. It keeps checking scores of simple measureable items, using dull, fearsome NAPLAN tests to force our young kids to get higher scores on some antediluvian sorts of tests to please testucators, to fill the pockets of test and software companies; and to help politicians pat themselves on the back.  NAPLAN is the keystone of Australian Labor’s  intellectual movement towards yesterday. NAPLAN’s teleological purpose is to get in the first 5 in the PISA tests by 2025…..and our children’s creative, cognitive capacities to handle the future fly backwards.  It is staggering that anyone, ANYONE, supports NAPLAN through its downwards path.

I do wish that I could comprehend the real reasons why  principals’ associations and teachers’ unions in all sorts of places support easy-bent politicians of all colours in their sequacious pursuit of fear-based zombic functionalism. Parents listen to them. Our unions, associations, organisations and learned societies were once such reliable enthusiasts for maintaining a high moral stance on schooling issues.  They would not have closed their eyes to test-induced trauma on children. I need enlightenment. It’s so mystifying. Since I have always been a champion for their ideals and admirer of their professionalism, I am perplexed, disillusioned and disappointed. It’s the pits. I’m very, very sad. Please explain.

There is a  need for a reform-the-reform movement to banish all Standardised Blanket Testing before any other sort of reform can get under way. Is there a new-chum political candidate or party to stick up for kids and tidy up the mess first?  A Chris Hipkins?




  Phil Cullen No. 83 A.M., A.Ed., B.Ed., Dip.Ed.Admin. M.Ed.Admin[Hons], Former Q’ld Director of Primary Education, FACE, FACEL, FQIEL,, Gold Medal FACEL, Life Member QSPSSA, QSPSCA,QSPSA,QSPPA,BPSRLSA. Founder:Treehorn Express, FNQPPA, Primary School Principal 23 years    41 Cominan Avenue, Banora Point 2486    07 5524 6443


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