Aussie Friends of Treehorn
encouraging adults to think sensitively, to care for kids, to make wise choices….with their hearts in gear, their pens active and their votes available.
NAPLAN has nothing to do with learning. It has nothing to do with teaching. It has nothing to do with real schooling. It has to do with finding fault and making money. It’s an ineffective, unreliable and invalid device that makes the most of young children’s vulnerability and it deliberately threatens their cognitive development and emotional stability.
A New High School Principal Introduces Himself
To the students and faculty of our high school:
I am your new principal, and honoured to be so.
There is no greater calling than to teach young people.
I would like to apprise you of some important changes coming to our school.
I am making these changes because I am convinced that most of the ideas that have dominated public education in Australia and are now pervasive, have worked against you, against your teachers and against our country.
First, this school recognises that learning per se is an individual effort.
You are not a student at this school. You are a pupil. Pupil infers learning from a teacher.[My comments]
You attend this school because you want to learn as much as you can from those willing to help you.
We cannot make you learn if you are not willing to do so.
You will want to learn because we want to teach you how to learn and because you want to achieve.
The rest of your life will be learning focussed and will be measured by you, according to your personal achievements.
We undertake to help you to learn HOW to learn according to your individual abilities. and interests.
Second, this school respects your rights to humane treatment. You will be treated as a person, with emotions and wants and needs.
No fear laden tests that classify your individuality or intellect, will be used or made known to anyone but yourself.
We will share the evaluation of everything that you learn with you. You will measure your progress and we teachers will help you to do so.
Together we will aim for the very top, and ignore those static one-hit useless blanket tests, mandated by government, used by some schools. Any forms of in-class testing will be pertinent, related to the current learning enterprise; and motivational.
We believe strongly in the supremacy of basic literacy and numeracy skills and you will achieve very high in these aspects of learning because you will want to.
Third, this school will no longer honour race or ethnicity.
I could not care less if your racial makeup is black, brown, red, yellow or white. I could not care less if your origins are African, Latin American, Asian or European, or if your ancestors arrived here on the Endeavour or on convict ships.
The only identity I care about, the only one this school will recognize, is your individual identity — your character, your scholarship, your humanity.
And the only national identity this school will care about is Australia.
This is an Australian public school, and Australian public schools were created to make better Australians.
If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial or religious identity through school, you will have to go elsewhere.
We will end all ethnicity, race and non-Australian nationality-based celebrations and this school will be guided by Australia’s values. This includes all after-school clubs.
I will not authorize clubs that divide students based on any identities.
This includes race, language, religion, sexual orientation or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political correctness.
Your clubs will be based on interests and passions, not blood, ethnic, racial or other physically defined ties.
Those clubs just cultivate narcissism — an unhealthy preoccupation with the self — while the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself.
So we will have clubs that transport you to the wonders and glories of art, music, astronomy, languages you do not already speak, carpentry and more.
If the only extracurricular activities you can imagine being interested in are those based on ethnic, racial or sexual identity, that means that little outside of yourself really interests you.
Fourth , I am uninterested in whether English is your native language.
My only interest in terms of language is that you leave this school speaking and writing English as fluently as possible.
The English language has united Australia’s citizens for over 200 years, and it will unite us at this school.
It is one of the indispensable reasons this country of immigrants has always come to be one country.
And if you leave this school without excellent English language skills, I would be remiss in my duty to ensure that you will be prepared to successfully compete in the Australian job market.
We will learn other languages here, but if you want classes taught in your native language rather than in English, this is not your school.
Fifth , because I regard learning as a sacred endeavour, everything in this school will reflect learning’s elevated status.
This means, among other things, that you and your teachers will dress accordingly.
Many people in our society dress more formally for Horse Racing events than for church or school.
These people have their priorities backward. Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at this school.
Sixth , no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere on this school’s property — whether in class, in the hallways or at athletic events.
If you can’t speak without using the f -word, you can’t speak.
By obscene language I mean the words banned by the Federal Communications Commission, plus epithets such as “Abbo,” even when used by one black student to address another black, or “bitch,”even when addressed by a girl to a girlfriend. It is my intent that by the time you leave this school, you will be among the few of your age to instinctively distinguish between the elevated and the degraded, the holy and the obscene.
Sixth , we will end all self-esteem programs. In this school, self-esteem will be attained in only one way — the way people attained it a generation ago — by earning it.
Seventh , and last, I am reorienting the school toward learning-to-learn and achievement. Your achievements will not be measured by any one-hit external external standardised tests but by yourself and your teachers. You will be proud of your achievements no matter how modest they are nor how inadequate you think you are. You are a proud learner and you will be good at it
We will have failed if any one of you graduates from this school and does not consider him or herself inordinately fortunate to be alive and to be an Australian.
Now, please stand and join me in the singing of ‘Advance Australia Fair”’.
If you are new to the school and do not know the words, your teachers will hand them out to you.