Treehorn Friends: I Agree With Tony

Pupil Treehorn:    Why can’t we kids have a test-free, pupil-centred, achievement-oriented, holistic-learning-based-curriculum?  Why? Why?
Klein testucators:      Why can’t we have a profit-based, stress-laden, teacher-squirming, unreliable test program.  That’s what we have. We can’t change it. 
Treehorn:     Why can’t you replace tension with challenge, fear with encouragement, ritual with creativity, teacher-bashing with professionalism, subject-hate with love-of-learning, time-wasting-tests with shared-evaluation ?
Testucator:    Simply : We don’t know HOW.
Aussie Friends of Treehorn
Treehorn is the hero of a children’s book called The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Parry Heidi. It’s about a small boy with enormous problems, who remained totally ignored by all adults, including his parents, teachers and principal during an important period in his life. Like all young school pupils, he came to learn that adults don’t take much notice of school kids, no matter how dire the circumstances. Children are left on their own to survive, despite the stress that  some very cruel adults impose on them – like the operators and users of NAPLAN the Wombat tests. The Shrinking of Treehorn is a powerful story with a morally-stunning conclusion.
Agree with Tony?
“We should not waste a single dollar”
During his captain’s speech at the Press Club on 2 February, 2015 Anthony Abbott emphasised  the government’s desire not to waste even one dollar. “Every dollar government spends is a dollar taken from your taxes….a dollar that you don’t spend.” He confessed that his addiction to the PPL was too costly and the idea was scrapped. Approved.  
The use of the Efficiency Dividend measure as applied to the ABC was exploited by a questioner.  
Our PM had promised not to cut the allocations to the ABC, but the ‘annual funding reductor’ for Commonwealth agencies, had assessed that their money was being wasted. It wasn’t just that he doesn’t like the ABC.
What if the Efficiency Dividend Principle was applied generally to ACARA and specifically to the costs of conducting the NAPLAN testing program?
Questions do need to be asked as to the efficiency of the grossly unpopular NAPLAN testing scheme with an even greater fervour than that applied to the ABC. 
Has NAPLAN lived up to the efficiency predictions of improving achievement scores, as judged by its own self-assessment tests and in international forms of testing, especially PISA.  An almost over-night  improvement at the ‘significant’ end of the scale was expected by 2010. Nothing much happened. Right?  Efficient? Why does it remain?
What is the real cost of conducting a program that it almost totally out of focus with best schooling practices?  The costs beyond the testing centre itself have to be considered…..costs to each state and to regions and districts that are obliged to service the requirements  and organise the schools according to the  obsessions of the valuers-in-charge whose own experience in schools is seriously limited.
The costs have been estimated in the tens of millions. One example is the allocation of $22m  [“a modest amount” said C. Pyne, who made the off-the-cuff allocation] for an American packaged program to one group that ritualises teacher performance in stunning ways.
Would high stakes blanket testing  have been welcomed  had there been a careful evaluation at the pre-introduction stage in 2008?  What reliable evidence was there that its kleinistic modes actually worked?  The American educracy, school experts and overseas observers have always soundly condemned the New York kind of excesses as counter learning. Most school-experienced educators of the time assessed it a ‘crazy’ and there has been no reason to alter this assessment. 
There is little doubt that our P.M. will have apoplexy if a serious efficiency report is conducted.  If PPL Scheme budget allocations can be diverted to needy children, why can’t the millions of NAPLAN funds be diverted to other needy test-stressed children in schools; and try to atone. Eh Tone?
NAPLAN is obviously a WOMBAT….a ‘Canberra Insider’ kind of invention.
I’m on your side, Captain.   Waste not
Phil Cullen , 41 Cominan Avenue, Banora Point, Australia 2486  07 5524 6443

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