The Silent Media

Aussie Friends of Treehorn
protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided
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.
The Silent Media
One of the essentials for the maintenance of unpalatable programs in public schools is ‘media silence’.  The Australian well-controlled media outlets use this tactic with classic ability.
During the past week or so, there has been a splash in the press about the rise in scores for some NAPLAN tests. They had risen. It covered a couple of pages in the print press and was mentioned favourably in a few TV News presentations. But,  when it was reported this week, that Australia was sinking in its PISA [NAPLAN in world terms] results – very serious stuff – the news was mentioned in passing in the lower corner of Page 2 and never mentioned anywhere else.  This item: thatthe most recent PISA results showed that Australia had sunk to 14th place in world rankings – a flop of hara kari dimensions for dedicated Naplanists – didn’t make very far. There was no noise whatsoever.  I waited for ‘The Drum’ members to discuss this extraordinary flop…Australia’s scores dropping from around the top of the rankings to 14th place during the life of NAPLAN !
What sort of message does that convey?  Julia G. believed in the validity and sanctity of PISA results and was determined to flog teachers and pupils to get to her catch-cry target of ‘Top 5 by 25’.  Looks like we’ll be lucky to be in the 25 by then, if we persist in using  NAPLAN!  She didn’t know the secret that pupils achieve higher when they learn how to learn better, in a test-free environment.  The trouble is that Rupert and Klein cannot sell tests and books and programs nor sell computer tablets for the tests when we don’t have tests.
You will recall the combined Australian-New Zealand Conference of primary school principals held in Melbourne a few years ago that featured outstanding world speakers, each of whom condemned the use of high stakes standardised testing as a motivator for learning and as a  measure of accountability.  The conference convenor, APPA, I’ve been assured, made copies of the speeches available early as press releases. Not one was published.  The international conference passed by, unnoticed.
NAPLAN, quite obviously, has the  protection of extremely powerful people and their flunkies.  It wouldn’t exist in a normal climate of schooling that treated its children compassionately and taught them to enjoy learning and to achieve up to the limit of their God-given abilities.  NAPLAN insists that mediocre achievements are good enough as long as a lot of students get to a pre-set average standard.
 This is just not good enough for a country that wants to improve its intellectual and commercial position on the world stage. 
(Restraining children from reaching their potential by drawing public attention to personal inadequacies through one-hit test-taking, instead of encouraging self-evaluation at every step of learning all year for the full year for motivational and emotional reasons, certainly leads to social and moral degradation of the human spirit. Expect trouble from disgruntled NAPLAN contestants as they grow older….and… It’s not their fault.)  
It’s no wonder that politicians and would-be pollies have nothing to say. Who would want to antagonise anyone on Rupert’s payroll who prefers to keep NAPLAN? rolling. The pursuit of the mighty dollar is ruthless and they don’t have to clean up the mess.
__________________________________________________________________________________
 Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486    cphilcullen@bigpond.com             http://primaryschooling.net/                     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/
07 5524 6443        0407865999
 
Why do we tolerate it?
Even the Director of the OECD, the world’s testing centre singled us out…..but nobody bothered to discuss his issue.  H said that using our teachers as widgets [
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