Parents’ alert

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided
Does my child have to ‘do’ NAPLAN tests?
Let’s all make sure that, during the month of April, each parent of every child in Years 3,5.7.9 in every single Australian schools knows that they have a choice.  
While our government is being deliberately deceitful in this matter and does not tell parents in any clear manner that they have the right to say “Yes” or “No”, and try to make things as difficult as possible when they have to, parents still do  have this right. Keeping such secrets gives Australian politicians and school officials no credit for honesty or ethical behaviour. 
Ethical democratic principles are at stake here.  
All a parent needs to do is drop a short note to their child’s teacher or to the principal, despite the way in which ACARA expresses its requirements. Nothing more.  
Principals and teachers also have an obligation to express their opinion of NAPLAN testing in the public arena; and are professionally obliged to inform the parents of their pupils of their rights. They need to do so asap prior to their pre-NAPLAN teaching program for this year, or give the reasons why they don’t ‘indulge’ in test-prep. It’s April.
There has never been an official instruction to prohibit principals from offering the choice to parents.  There is a furphy abroad that they are not allowed to do so. It is now clear, that this furphy was perpetrated by a few brown-nosing non-school state departmental executives in regional areas. No self-respecting school-oriented educator would try to deceive parents in this way. 
Even some professional organisations are fearful of mentioning that parents have a choice.
Offering parents the democratic right to say “Yes’ or “NO – not just ‘No’
is just good-manners.  Not to offer the choice is crude and insulting.
Ethical principals should publically inform all parents of this right through normal school communications.  Some will provide a pro forma, offering the choice to their parents. It doesn’t matter which one is used. [ACARA has a copy that requires a statement of a religous belief or philosophical stance. No need for it. Use anything….as long as the school hears of your intentions.]
If one is not supplied by schools, parents who  prefer to be more ‘official’, will find a pro forma in the Literacy Educators’ site, mentioned below. The need for special ACARA documents to withdraw from NAPLAN is quite untrue. A short note is sufficient.
Educational authorities have the same obligations of transparency.  So do media outlets.  The right of choice, under the present circumstances needs to be a media responsibility. If media outlets had more autonomy and believed seriously in the concept of a free press, NAPLAN would not be here now. 
Since it is unlikely that public exposure of parental rights will occur in the short term, principals and teachers must take the initiative…for the kids sake. Tell parents.  
Let’s do it now.  Tell the world…
 School pupils do not have to do NAPLAN tests.

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