What is going on?

 Aussie Friends of Treehorn

A friend of Treehorn is a friend of school kids everywhere and will do anything to help them.

What is Going ON?


Christopher Pyne announced  on 10 January 2014 that he had appointed Dr. Kevin Donnelly, a Catholic Liberal Party member, and Professor Ken Wiltshire A.O. to review the national school curriculum now being revised, following his orwellian hectoring of testing results. Mr. Pyne’s quixotic evaluation of Australia’s schooling dystopia has been based on NAPLAN’s numerical scoring, which itself has been a major source of the decline in scores. Messrs Donnelly and Wiltshire will know this and of the profound impact that such SBTs have on the curriculum in action.

The use of young children as disposable items to obtain number scores, and the deliberate use of fear and stress on them to try to increase scores, and the enormous inroads into genuine curriculum activity for Years 3,5,7,9 during the February to May period, do not seem to have been included, however, in the terms of reference. They did not receive a mention from him who must be obeyed.

Since NAPLAN test preparation controls the curriculum for a major portion of the school year, its influence on other forms of classroom interaction and on the whole curriculum as well as the influences on child welfare is the largest curriculum issue that has faced Australia in decades….indeed it’s the only one of importance at this point in time

Administratively, since June 2008 when Julia returned from the Carnegie knees-up in New York, there have been endless examples of clownish tyranny in pursuit of the puritan ethic of hurt; and the associated belief that, if children enjoy learning and try to extend their achievements beyond the mediocre, it must be wrong. They just must not enjoy learning. “Toughen them up” is the official credo.

Already, it can be guaranteed that Pyne’s insistence that his public view of Australian history, which, in preference to a left-wing view [?], must be included; and Donnelly’s study of religions is also a certainty. It would appear that both Dr. Donnelly and Professor Wiltshire will act independently. Dr. Donnelly has started.

Have Messrs Wiltshire and Donnelly been compromised? Their knowledge of the curriculum in the classroom is hardly extensive. If they have a contrary view to that of the minister, as most teachers seem to have, will their reputation for speaking their mind be applauded? Do they appreciate what NAPLAN is doing to our schools?

At the same time, the minister has also placed great reliance on the operations of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership whose membership consists of a number of Naplan test supporters and some whose views are accommodatingly neutral. He has his cards spread all over the table. Messy.

Can anyone please tell us what is going on? What benefit is there in all this clownish political behaviour? Our deepest sympathies to Professor Wiltshire and Dr. Donnelly.

Leunig has a view


as does Tony Gurr.

image[1] Meanwhile, back at the school…..



Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue, Banora Point 2486 07 5524 6443 cphilcullen@bigpond.com


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