It was close. School Education almost returns home.

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.
It was close! School Education Nearly Restored to Owners
Although rendered lifeless and despoiled by the usurped political commonwealth control of teaching and learning since it took over school education in 2008, there was a chance in late March 2016 [the other day] that it could be returned to its rightful owners. States had been bullied by Julia G. into submission, using the power of the mighty dollar, with no consideration given,in 2008 nor since, to the effects of high stakes testing on the standards of learning. It was a bull-at-the-gate approach…..and it flopped.  It has set Australia’s yen for learning standards and its potential for even mightier standards back for decades,through the use of nasty, seditious, rusty, kleinish testing techniques. 
The Commonwealth Government aka Malcolm,unable to cope at present with the leadership of the monster that had been created, decided to return schooling to where it belongs. Schooling in Australia has become a monstrous foul-up and the Commonwealth aka Malcolm, has now [March 2016] lost control. In the best interests of the BCA, IPA and other money-making privatisation interests, Malc. tried to give it back to the states about a week ago.It came to the crunch on April Fools’ day. It was the wrong motive, but the right day. States didn’t want it under the fiscal conditions and told him what to do with it.  In any case, the commonwealth could not compensate states enough for the damage down to their systems over eight years. There can be no compensation large enough that will make up for the vitality and energy and variety that it has removed from states’ education systems nor for the damage that it has caused to a generation of probable scholars and learners and innovators and artists and writers and thinkers….the kind of folk that we desperately need on the world’s stage.
Of course, NAPLAN is the corrosive instrument used. Even responsible Australians are using it as a measure of generalised schooling performance. That’s dangerous. Any one state could and should make an enormous contribution to the welfare of the country if it now ignored the contents of Malcolm’s fiscal envelope and banned NAPLAN because of the damage that it is doing to the children of that state. Amen. NOW,  It could still claim its rightful share from the fiscal bucket and Australia would progress as it should, instead of regress, as it is.
Malc. must have figured that he could hasten privatisation of Australia schooling if he acted quickly, as well as find an excuse for it while our PISA results are so low.  It’s up his sleeve somewhere.  Watch this space. 
States that were once proud of their attention to compulsory school education should feel cheated  on professional grounds alone. The money saved by the demise of NAPLAN would be considerable, but that is  a side issue. Quality education is what counts;  guaranteed to improve… once NAPLAN is gone.   Those states that once had a Department of School Education peopled by those who had ‘been there, done that’ and used to be committed to child welfare in schools, will be disappointed by the halt called by COAG. 
ACARA, Australia’s test centre, will continue to run the show and state talent will continue to be ignored. Shame.
It also begs the question : If NAPLAN was banned and ACARA lost its control, and states had a chance to reshape their departments of [school] education what should they do? Would each take the opportunity to think about what has happened and remodel their raison d’etre?
What should be the organisational shape? Would it have a school shape to its chart, a civil service shape or a Rudd-style managerial shape?
Would the shape indicate that the department is focussed on teaching and learning instead of on the present terrible terror of  testing?
It would not be difficult to run a department of school education in each state that catered for all kinds of schools and all kinds of children …public, private, religious….with an inclusive view of looking after children as children-without-brands [brands like rich, Calathumpian, Kleinist – private, religious, alternative]. They’re all just kids.  Kids treated as kids. This would not suit the Business Council, however,conscious of the big money to be made through Murdoch connections and/or by running a private ‘school’ ,‘academy’, ’institution’, ‘college’ [upper class talk].
A determination by teachers themselves could ensure a vast improvement to Australian schooling by May 10, the first day of the NAPLAN testing marathon, if they were prepared to give that extra effort to a ‘Care For Kids’ crusade;   and to ignore or subvert bureaucratic threats.
If classroom teachers just told the parents of their pupils as often as possible during the next few weeks that they ought to withdraw their kids from the testing program as soon as possible; and let them get on with real teaching, NAPLAN would be finished.
Let’s thank God genuinely, if this happens.
When quality classroom teachers think about their role in the school learning process, they must do this. They will, surely.
They can’t leave it any later.
Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486              
07 5524 6443        0407865999

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