Friends of Treehorn: Gonski & G.O.N.S.K.I.

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

Probable Protectors of Children.

Gonksi and G.O.N.S.K.I.

‘Gonski’ refers to the Committee led by respected businessman, David Gonski which recommended sweeping reforms to the manner in which taxpayers’ money, held in trust by the commonwealth and state governments, should be distributed for schooling purposes. The Gonski report, recommending fairness, equity and the popular Australian notion of fair-dinkumness, is now the subject of a disgraceful dispute between the bean-counters of how to make the most of the political capital that such a bundle of money can provide. ‘Gonski’ is about MONEY.

G.O.N.S.K.I. is about kids in classroom. It’s a fortuitous acronymic plea to ‘them’ to GUIDE OUR NATIONS’ SCHOOL KIDS INTELLIGENTLY. It constantly calls on our state and commonwealth ministers of education [who meet at the end of this week], to consider the fate of kids at school now being treated in a most ignoble and abominable fashion. The crazed reformers are operators of a ‘…high-stakes testing craze [that] has pushed thousands of kids out of school, trivialized learning, limited teacher ability to adapt to learner differences, and ended many physical education, art, and music programs.’ (Marion Brady} They need to find out what impact their evil testing program, NAPLAN, has had on the teacher/pupil classroom interactions that should take effective teaching/learning to the highest of limits, but has, so far, only reduced them to mediocre standards and lower; thus producing no useful results.

These unimaginative, uninformed and inexperienced cockalorums cunningly dodge the main issues of schooling.

As Washington Post writer, Marion Brady points out, our school-based educators are not free to use higher-order teaching skills with limitless goals…because standardised tests can’t evaluate what children do. Classroom work is too complex, too original, too idiosyncratic to be scored by tests and testing machines.’

He points out, as any experienced class teacher will point out, that the tests produce only anxiety and distress with no lasting learning accomplishments . ‘Test-inundated kids get depressed, sick, cry, soil their underwear, vomit, hate themselves when they can’t finish a test or don’t know the answers, tune out or drop out when their scores tell them that they’re not minimally competent.’

When the clowns have finished brawling over the Gonski dollars in the next few days, let the rest of us call on them [the inmates who run the cuckoo-nest], to G.O.N.S.K.I. and really improve the school condition.

The unintelligent, fear-driven continuance of NAPLAN testing is too serious to ignore; but the real conversation has been taken over by nasty money-rows. Shame on us for allowing it.


Phil Cullen, 41 Cominan Avenue, Banora Point. 2486 07 4424 6443


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