Michael Moore: Where do we invade next?

“Where to Invade Next?”

You know Michael Moore, that sloppy looking bloke whose fond of stirring the possum.

On Monday, 26 February 2017 he presented a documentary on SBS, which can be found of your TV’s “SBS on Demand”, called  Where to Invade Next? in which he ‘invades’ countries on the continent that have the most outstanding  ways of combating social issues and conducting some of society’s most successful social institutions.

His ‘invasion’ of Finland’s education system is outstanding. He queries some of their more preciously held beliefs on the nature of schooling The looks on the faces of those Finns amazed at the ways we treat our school children, is worth the effort of watching.

It’s a pity that a video clip of this section of his documentary cannot be sent to every schools in Australia. It says so much.  The reference below is not as easy to follow [poor sound] as that available on TV’s  ‘SBS on demand’.

But, no matter how you access it, please make sure you do.

You will note…
Schooling starts at 7 years of age.
No ‘rich’ [aka ‘private’] schools.  Rich kids must mix with lower class kids. No distinctions are noted nor made between neighbourhood schools.  Each one is proficient.
“Less is More’.  Allow time for kids to be happy, to be ‘hands on’, to be problem solving learners.
[You will note the surprise on Moore’s face when the Maths teacher said that his pupils have to be happy with learning Maths. Please consider the NAPLAN view of how the teaching of Maths ought to be handled!]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRJ1hgN7uAU

If you should like to find more, another handy video clip that gives 5 reasons for Finland’s supremacy, is useful. Any authority can copy them….or….at least….talk about them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfmFIEh2QjU

1. No standardised tests during schooling …only one at end of schooling.
2. More time for play and socialising. School week is only 20 hours at school.  No homework.
3. Teaching is the highest and most respected profession in the country. A Masters Degree is required for entry.
4. Post-schooling college and university education is free.
5. Pre-schooling is universal.

Treehorn insists : Australian schooling, now near the bottom of the international scale of effective schooling, has the potential and the intellectual power to leave Finland and other top-rated systems way behind in schooling achievements. It only lacks drive and initiative and thought..
  1. It needs to get rid of NAPLAN
  2. It needs to consider whether there is any social merit in Public Examinations generally. After all, they contain the elements of serious threat to teen-age well-being; suicide being only one of them.
  3. It needs to consider whether the creation of fear and anxiety in young children is preferable to the creation of play and being happy.
  4. It needs to think about the reasons for schooling.
  5. It needs to wonder why the kind of Finnish élan for learning works comprehensively better than the Australian macabre disposition for driving learning by fear.

    ________________________________________________________________________________
    Thanks Gavin.

    Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point Australia 2486   07 5524 6443   0407865999   cphilcullen@bigpond.com  REFER: Who’s Who in Australia.

    Which do you think is more important for Australia’s future……  Its Schooling or its Defence by submarines?

    [It’s a trick question.]


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It is difficult

It is Difficult

It is difficult

to comprehend

the political mentality

of a country,

that relies on its schooling system

for its future;

then

copies a dud system

from somewhere else,

compounds its toxicity

and continues to spend billions of dollars

to maintain it.

It’s called Kleinism. It’s called NAPLAN. It’s called ‘child abuse’. It’s called ‘failure’ or ‘flop’. It’s called by thousands of ‘unrepeatable phrases’. It’s a real SNAFU.

Beloved only by a business institute and its whelp-force, it’s the kind of assault on our Aussie future with which only an inhumane testucator can comply.

Despite our Aussie casual indifference to crucial matters, there were some folk around a few years ago who sensed the danger in this alteration to sound schooling practices; and a couple of well-meaning senators initiated an inquiry or two. Forgotten now. Nothing happened.

Fair-dinkum Pupilling Girt by Naplan continues the story….

_____________________________________________________________________________
Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486 07 5536 8443 0407865999 cphilcullen@bigpond.com Refer: Who’s Who in Australia

Chapter 5

GO FORTH SENATORS
The Senate is sometimes called a House of Review or a State House or something pleasant that justifies its existence. Senators never appear to be very busy people unless their party boss has given them a jersey in Cabinet or something. Senator Simon Birmingham is our Minister for Educaton, a South Australian and a lawyer as were Cristopher Pyne and Julia Gillard, all previous ministers. The appointment of so many South Ausralian legal eagles to a task that has proved to be quite beyond them has been a special feature of Australian schooling. It must say something, but I’m not sure what it is, because none of their changes has been a credit to the legacy of South Australian schooling of the era of Alby Jones, John Steinle, Jim Giles and other SA schoolies of distinction, when SA was clearly a great schooling society.  S.A. was aptly called the ‘Jekyll and Hyde of Australia‘ by David Hunt in his “True Girt” [P.179].  It must be the eagality side of the schizoid Adelaide kleinsmen that makes them different and do some quite peculiar things. S.A. legal eagles have been in control, or, more directly, ‘ out-of-control’  for a long, long time.

A dominant species, these predatory birds of prey – Klein, Gillard, Pyne, Birmingham – reckon they know more about schooling than anybody else, and, being of their species, keep picking at the bones of the under-nourished. With total disregard for the opinions of more honourable professions within the caring community, they have became the judge,  jury  and executioner of how educational renewables should be organised. A  big blackout. …2008.. left  Australians groping in the dark. We are still groping  in the dark for a schooling system based on learning; on pupilling.

There was enough concern back in 2010 and 2013 for the Senate to appoint a committee of inquiry into aspects of NAPLAN. It has to do something like this every now and then to justify its existence. So, there have been two that concern NAPLAN, both now forgotten, both fizzers. The terms of reference were wide on both occasions, but, as the issues were dealt with, a  generalised feeling started to pervade the deliberations so much so  that the committee only dealt with how the government can tidy up the delivery of the tests and how to make the My School site more palatable for parents.  The age-old hardies: national curriculum, school funding, disadvantaged schools all got plenty of attention; very little on the effects of child abuse and the use of fear as a motivator for better test results. Neither the keeping of administrative secrets from parents nor the ethical dimensions of  improper testing got any air time despite the efforts of some committee members. I got the impression that there was no sense of urgency; no sense of seriousness; not great concern for kids – lots of concern for the processes. It was a snafu situation. You tried, Senators.

Children as children, the effects of the testing on their mental health and humanity,  useful evaluation and accountability alternatives to the American variety, were sidelined. A reading of the submissions only  helped readers to sort the wheat from the chaff about the professional attitude of those who made submissions.

While proud of the submission that I had made, my participation in the events were an embarrassment. There seemed to be no seriousness of intent. I joined with some wonderful Australian educators, especially David Hornsby and Lorraine Wilson, members  of the Australian Literacy Educators Association; but it was hopeless.
[By the way, check out  http://www.alea.edu.au/documents/item/773/ for an insight into The Place of Phonics in Learning to Read and Write.]

On reading the submissions to the first inquiry, I was blasted out of my cockpit when I saw that APPA, the Australian Primary Principals Association, approved of the use of NAPLAN as a diagnostic and evaluative device. I have had some bitter disappointments over the past eighty years, but, as a former primary principal, this was the biggest ever. Since APPA claims to represent all primary school principals’ associations and a one-off Queensland association of principals as well, I did not see how this could have happened. No mention in their submission or too many other submissions of the impact on children’s mental health or anything like that.  I never ever thought that I would see the day.

At the time, all the APPA had to say to her ladyship was: “Primary principals don’t do those sorts of things to children.”….and NAPLAN was ‘dead, buried and cremated.’ When I mentioned this to the President at the time, his non-verbal reaction seemed to say it all. Trapped.

The statement still applies, but it would take more courage than is currently available to tell the authorities where to get off….and leave our kids alone….to let them learn….to be pupilled instead of badgered. Fighting casual indifference, a silent well-controlled media, disinterested political parties and an overbearing, inhumane government makes things difficult for once-ethical, usually placid, lonely classroom teachers and parents to express their wishes. As Forrest Gump says: ‘It happens.” 

I repeat what I said: “We shouldn’t do such nasty things to children and Australian primary principals should have had no part in it.”

I was absolutely amazed and crushed. If there was any group of educators in Australia that would call for the complete banning of NAPLAN because of its toxic effects on the curriculum and on children’s learning and mental health, I was sure that it would be a group of primary principals. I just could not believe what I saw and hear. They approved of this devilish dilution of ethics and standards and said so. I thought of the primary school kids attending schools for the following few years, where NAPLAN was jollied and enacted by its leaders; and felt devastated.

Poor kids.

It seems as if the holding of a senate inquiry provided a counterfeit closure on debate about important issues…… and none comes more important than the welfare of our children.
Is there anybody around to stand up for the kids?

Is there anybody around to stand up for the kids?                                                                                                                                             oooo0000oooo

Fair Dinkum Pupilling Girt by NAPLAN

Do you remember the old story of the beautiful maiden and the frog? She had been told that if she kissed this frog, it would turn into a handsome prince.  But what kind of stunning beauty goes around kissing frogs? Yuk. She did! Crash!  Bang! Wallop!   There, before her, stood the most handsome prince.  You know the rest of the story.

That’s the job of teachers, isn’t it?……to kiss frogs?    and never stop looking for frogs to kiss?

 

Fair Dinkum Pupilling Girt by NAPLAN Ch.4

WHAT ! ?

What kind of feudal system

makes a federated country,

allegedly ‘young and FREE’,

establish a unit,

born of base instructional principles,

with power

to knobble the democratic free spirit

of states that possess independent schooling rights?

What kind of totalitarian control

forces the states and their professional bodies

to inhibit the growth and development of its young

through the use of fear and the creation of anxiety?

The story of NAPLAN’s control of the Australian system of schooling continues. After Joel persuaded our institutes of great power and consequence that so-called ‘measuring of progress’ was the way to go; and Julia had corralled the operating units to do as they were told, a special kind of Central Intelligence Agency was established to supervise the road to mediocrity.  Unlimited progress in learning achievements, creative expression and innovative thinking were knobbled in the pursuit of data and competition and blame.

Here is Chapter 4 of Fair-Dinkum Pupilling Girt by NAPLAN  ‘Go Forth ACARA’

ooooo00000ooooo

Chapter 4

GO FORTH ACARA
Julia decided to establish a well-funded unit to have control over every state and over every school in every state that relied on federal funding….and ‘take over’ means ‘take over’. It’s not fair to say that it has a Gestapo kind of role, CIA perhaps, but there is a similarity in terms of surveilance, orderliness and control. The level of control is unprecedented. She established an untouchable sacred temple called ACARA. It is totally in charge of Australian schools from January to May, each year.

ACARA is not a vogue word made-up from the name of the laxative, Cascara. True, It is an acronym that covers everything….in case you think that it’s a bit big for its boots and britches.  It says:

“The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is an independent statutory authority that will improve the learning of all young Australians through world-class school curriculum, assessment and reporting.”  

That’s what they tell us in its own literature in case you have any doubts as to its magical abilities. So it is! ….a bit big for its boots, that is. A brave statement: “….that will improve the learning of all young Australians…… !!!   Wow.

It’s now been operating for ten years.  How’s it going?

Our old cobber, Barry McGaw, statistician par excellence, was appointed to set the thing up. A world-class academic and  measurer from way back…and a good bloke to boot – he did what Julia bid and went in to bat for her scheme. Right up his alley.  He was a dead set statistics bloke.

As a side story, because it says so much, I last saw Barry when he and I happened to be visiting Professor Gene Glass [and, by the way, this story is really about Gene Glass,  not Barry] at the University of Colorado at Boulder, outside Denver, at the same time. They were preparing  an academic article concerning meta-analysis in social research. Not my cup of tea. I just hung around doing what I wanted to do. [At the time I was on a study tour, studying the Minimal Competency Movement that was plaguing USA schooling at the time. In Britain, it was called Assessment of Performance. I was checking both. Both of these naplannish-style attacks on schools in both countries failed. The time spent on trying to improve things by issuing dogmas about expectations and then testing had been wasted. The Poms admitted that all they found out was that a Primary School, oriented to decent curriculum outcomes, was a most complex organisation; one of the most complicated, most intense organisations on the planet. The Yanks don’t make those sorts of admissions. Their conclusions are usually, “We’ve stuffed it up. Let’s keep going harder with this stuff. Let’s set it in cement.”

Both movements, ‘Minimum Competency Testing’ in the USA and ‘Assessment of Performance’ in the UK clearly illustrated to the world that mass blanket testing restricted productive learning in schools and were, in fact, injurious to mental health.

USA has heaps of problems doesn’t it…although we can trump them in many things….especially when it comes to self-inflicting wounds and creating problems.   Gene was the Diane Ravitch of the time [1970-80s], unafraid the speak our against the peculiar excesses in relation to minimal competencies, and their peculiar setting of minimal standards for pupils to achieve. That’s why I wanted to meet him.  Being the world’s most respected educational measurement guru at the time, Glass was able to point out the crazyness of many of the states laws that dealt with competency tests like naplan, on statistical grounds ; and the high likelihood of such movements to destroy serious learning. One school district, with which I was familiar would not allow a Graduation Certificate to be issued to anyone  who was not proficient at Calculus. The school board consisted mostly of scientists attached to a Weapons Research Centre. You know what happens when know-alls from other disciplines take over. Cough. Cough.

Yes. He is the mega-analysis ‘Class Size’ Glass; and certainly has no equal as far as educational measurement and statistics-related commentary is concerned. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_V._Glass He’s ram-jam-packed with honors and awards and achievements that few world academics can claim. When he asked a little while ago to be released from  the kinds of evaluation/testing programs that his present university conducted because of the manner in which children are treated by the unethical measurement [Naplan-like] techniques, something must be seriously wrong. It meant something. The world was shocked.  It’s called ‘Integrity’ – now in short supply, world wide. Mind you the Murdoch press did not make much of this spectacular episode. No. They didn’t ‘fake’ anything, Donald. They just didn’t bother to mention it.  [OK. That could be the same thing!] At the same kind of level of importance….if the Queen resigned as Head of the Church of England, would it get a mention?  The likes of NCLB [NAPLAN if he lived down under] had compromised the integrity of beliefs of Gene Glass as a respected educational statistician for the same reasons that they compromise those of Treehorn and any other decent, clear-thinking, professional educator. There are measurers and there are measurers. I’m sure that Emeritus Professor Glass would not have a bar of NAPLAN. He does not encourage heresies and hoaxes of this kind.

Can ACARA and our testing system continue to thumb its noses at the like of Glass and Sir Ken Robinson and Robin Alexander and Kelvin Smythe and  other world giants of the teaching profession….and….whose side are we on?

Won’t somebody [decision-maker, that is] stick up for kids?

Why don’t we halt the whole silly, wasteful, kid-crippling  business and talk about fair-dinkum schooling?

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486
07 5524 6443 0407865999 cphilcullen@bigpond.com.au
REFER: Who’s Who in Australia.

Education Readings February 24th

By Allan Alach

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allanalach@inspire.net.nz

A new phonics test for Australian six year olds is a BAD idea

As renowned English author Michael Rosen explains, the difference between a phonics test and learning to read is that a phonics test merely requires children to pronounce a list of words, while learning to read is about making meaning of a text.  Phonics is only one part of the literacy story. And there is no evidence that phonics training should precede meaning making in literacy learning. It is much more productive to address decoding skills in meaningful contexts.’

http://bit.ly/2m5KnKM

Should Traditional Teachers Join the Revolution?

‘However my experience is that very few of colleagues make pedagogical choices on the basis of ideology or efficacy, they do what they do to get through the day. Effectively each teacher presents a personal mishmash of entrenched pedagogical styles. It is immensely difficult to persuade colleagues to break their particular pattern because the pattern is a coping strategy.’

http://bit.ly/2mnagSB

Give teaching back to teachers

‘We need to give back to teachers control of the learning agenda. They also need to be supported with high-quality professional experiences. I want to make clear that I am not advocating an ‘anything goes’ approach. Good teachers are prepared to be accountable and responsible for their work and the work of their colleagues. But making them jump through hoop after hoop to justify their existence is draining and disheartening.’

http://bit.ly/2la868t

What Works Can Hurt: Side Effects in Education

Yong Zhao:

‘Educational research has typically focused exclusively on the benefits, intended effects of products, programs, policies, and practices, as if there were no adverse side effects. But side effects exist the same way in education as in medicine. For many reasons, studying and reporting side effects simultaneously as has been mandated for medical products is not common in education.’

http://bit.ly/2lMWNXm

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Designing New Learning Environments to Support 21st Century Skills

A serious read about modern learning environments by Bob Pearlman

This chapter from a recent book outlines the development of creating 21stC learning environments. For schools moving in such directions it is worth the read. a key element of such schools is project base learning with students working collaboratively on authentic tasks to produce of quality. One message is not to put ‘old wine into new bottles’. Obviously purpose built buildings feature but it is the pedagogy that is most important.

http://bit.ly/2ma440X

How can the learning sciences inform the design of 21st century learning environments?

A short and valuable report about the teaching beliefs required to teach in a Innovative Learning Space.

‘Over recent years, learning has moved increasingly centre stage and for a range of powerful reasons. A primary driver has been the scale of change in our world the rapid advances in ICT, the shift to economies based on knowledge, and the emphasis on the skills required to thrive in them. Schools and education systems around the world are having to reconsider their design and approach to teaching and learning. What should schooling, teaching and, most especially, learning look like in this rapidly changing world?’

http://bit.ly/2kXa8YP

Rethinking classroom design to promote creativity and collaboration

‘Modern Learning Environments are the in thing but it’s what happens in them that counts!“The physical design of the space absolutely helps, especially when it comes to promoting collaboration. “It shouldn’t matter whether it’s for high school or college students,” he said. “We have to prepare students for a future that they can’t imagine, and how to succeed in the 21st century, using adaptability, creativity and empathy, along with ethics and problem-solving.”’

http://bit.ly/2m9drkK

Are Teachers Becoming Obsolete?

‘Leaving my school building the other day, I had an unexpected realization: Perhaps a computer was a more effective teacher than I currently was. The thought unnerved me, and still does as I’m writing this. I’m a nearly 13-year veteran educator dedicated to reflecting upon and refining my teaching craft. But I’m now considering the real possibility that, for at least part of a class period or school day, a computer could—and maybe should—replace me.’

http://bit.ly/2lJS7S4

Students Learn from Inquiry, Not Interrogation

‘Almost all students view follow-up questions as attempts to keep them on the “hot seat” and embarrass them for not knowing. And most perceive classroom questioning to be a competition that pits students against one another – Whose hand goes up first? Who answers most frequently? Very few students understand questioning as a process for collaborative exploration of ideas and a means by which teachers and students alike are able to find out where they are in their learning and decide on next step.’

http://bit.ly/2kX3NN5

Always Think Like a Student

‘There are many paths to success, but there is a common thread among them all: learning.The value of being a lifelong learner is immeasurable. We tend to forget this outside of the most obvious situations: at work or in school. What we all need to understand is that there is knowledge to be uncovered everywhere.’

http://bit.ly/2lJTDDP

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Modern Learning Environments (MLEs) are they so new?

‘My impressions of the schools I have visited are that they remind me of  technological futuristic factories and, in some ways, not really relating to real flesh and blood

children. Even the landscaping has been planned by ‘experts’ who like mass planting of natives that are forced to conform to their futuristic roles – amenity planting. Not really gardens – or even natural native gardens.’

http://bit.ly/1Dxahay

Teaching /learning in flexible spaces – Modern Learning Environments MLEs – New Tech High

A bit of history about modern learning environments – a NZ perspective.

“Modern School Environment are the latest iteration of 1970s open plan schools.I am not sure how they will be developed by teachers other than  by those who already have  an open approach to education. Time will tell but the flexibility of such buildings are a  great improvement on the limitations of self contained classrooms – sometimes disparagingly described as ‘single cell classrooms’.”

http://bit.ly/1NUH50e

Parents – Do It Now!

Parents – Do it NOW

Carrie Starbuck, Managing Director of ‘Learning Performance’ says : ” Pupils frequently display signs of stress, despite often not realising this is what they’re suffering from. 

Aside from a whole host of emotions that young people would rather not be experiencing, stress and anxiety have a significant impact on the brain’s ability to process, learn and retain information. Stressed students don’t make the most effective learners and this creates a negative cycle that we must work to prevent” 

How to help
        students cope with stress

“During childhood and adolescence, the brain goes through lots of change because it is highly malleable. Adolescence is triggered by the release of the protein kisspeptin into the brain. This affects the amygdala, which is the control centre for our emotions, making feelings more intense. This is why there is an increase in impulsive, emotional and emotive reactions during the teenage years”

Yes. You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again. Stress is not good for you….and the NAPLAN kind can damage kids for life….without your realising it.

NAPLAN was founded on the belief that the creation of stress and anxiety in school children would force them to try harder in their tests. NAPLAN preparaton and operation is a very real form of child abuse.

We should not be treating our children this way.

Parents should think very, very carefully about the timing of their child’s withdrawal from participation.

It is strongly recommended that they drop a note to their teacher NOW, withdrawing their child from any further NAPLAN activity.

__________________________________________________________________________

Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486  07 5524 6443  0407865999  cphilcullen@bigpond.com.au  Refer: Who’s Who in Australia

THE SOONER THE BETTER FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR CHILD’S MENTAL HEALTH.

Fairdinkum Pupilling -Girt by NAPLAN Ch.3

 

How did we get into testucation?

Here’s the next couple of chapters of Fair-dinkum Pupilling – Girt by Naplan.  They contain the story played by our  testucation warriors in the introduction of kleinism into Australia. Imported direct from New York.  It’s not a pretty story; especially when one considers preferred ways of introducing change to national systems of schooling.  Why do Australians politicians believe that Coercion is the only way to initiate change? Didn’t our leaders trust local educators ?   Why couldn’t a series of fora be held to discuss the issue? Where were our ‘learned societies’ such as ACEL and ACE ? Where were our subject and principals’ associations ? Where were our P&C Associations?  Where were our Teacher Unions?  [Early in the piece, I recall that an. AEU Conference in Sydney black-balled the use of NAPLAN, but the resolution was mysteriously withdrawn within a day or two at the conference itself. Strange!!!!] Where the hell was anybody who cared for kids?

What did Finland do, in similar circumstances, to have its entire population  want to skite about what its does in its schools??? How did they arrange it ?   Finnish folk abhor standardised blanket testing, yet it enters the international PISA contest just for a joke….and excels.  [We used to do very well too, by the way,  – top half-dozen – in these PISA comparisons before we started NAPLAN to teach the kids how to hate learning].  Formal compulsory schooling in Finland starts at seven years of age [the age that our kids are preparing the little ones for their second NAPLAN-generated test to make sure they can get used to anxiety; and learn to fear learning Maths etc.,  as early as possible].  Internal school evaluation programs are prized in Finland. Teaching experience is highly valued. A Masters degree is a requirement for entry to the profession.  Teaching itself has top billing in any rating of professional status.  Bit different from our kleinism style of testucation, ain’t it?

Have we ever investigated HOW  Finland got to the top of the pole, demonstrating such stark differences from our own attitudes to schooling.  We know what it does in its operations. It’s had millions of visitors to look at its schools. How did they manage  to create such an atmosphere of dedicated school learning?

We know what we did to change the system. A very sad story.  See below.

ooo000ooo

Fair-dinkum Pupilling – Girt by NAPLAN
                                                                                                                                                                                   CHAPTER 3

GO FORTH JULIA

Julia wasn’t fussy about kids. They don’t vote. Lots of money was spent on school buildings as part of the early school  Rudd reform, because she and Ruddy couldn’t think of anything else. That made the kids more comfortable…..physically…especially during the lengthy sit-stillery, itchy-bum swot episodes of test preparation.

Julia Gillard felt the yen for a world tour to find the kind of school system that she and Ruddy wanted…..something that took schools “…beyond the simplistic leagues tables” to use Kevie’s words. He should have washed his mouth out at that point in time, because that’s all that his deputy became interested in…(according to her mentor Joel Klein)….how to gather data for our long lists of scores that would prove that the Labor Party was right all the time. Labor members know the take-away tables better than the members of their fellow neo-con group, the Liberals; and they just wanted to prove that Kevie is always right.

Neither political group appreciates the value of non-testable subjects that help people to get real jobs and enjoy life. Not that pollies and their brown-nosed warriors don’t know how to be calculating, but not in a numerical sense. It is noticeable that few in that ant-hill in Canberra can talk about anything that provokes philosophical and/or ethical outcomes. I have yet to hear any pollie ever talk about the feelings of children in testing conditions. Have you?  I mean…have you ever watched Question Time ?

Joel Klein, the great founder of our 2008 brand of Aussie-New York Schooling that is now called the Klein System of Australian Schooling reckons  “…that’s all we [Julia and I] talked about …the collection of data…that was the focus of my discussion with the Deputy Prime Minister.” That’s what he said after the knees-up.   DATAFICATION was, at that point, at that Big Apple cocktail party, destined to became a major Australian occupation and business operation that will last as long as Australian adults continue to ignore the plights and rights of kids; and ignore the meaning of fair dinkum school pupilling. Have you ever spoken to a schoolie about data-collection?

That moment in New York time set the seal on the future for millions of Australian kids…..and was the moment that Australia lost the meaning of FAIR DINKUMNESS.

NAPLAN was then introduced by stealth, corrupted the ethics and professionalism of the teaching force, halted efforts at sincere pupilling of children, and forced children to dislike the fundamentals of learning certain subjects, especially maths and science and to feel inadequate at any attempts at learning. The longer it has kept going, the more our learning outcomes across the curriculum landscape have slumped.

Public opinion seems to have altered dramatically, too. It now ranges from “That bloody thing” to “I hate it.” and “I’m pulling my child out of it.” It is universally unpopular.

Have you met any parent or teacher who thinks that NAPLAN is a useful device, working the wonders for the improvement of school learning in Australia that were promised by J&J ? They  now know that it is completely UNNECESSARY.

In this 2007-17 decade, the opinion of parents and teachers and the achievements of children and their attention to learning has not mattered two hoots to our testucating monsters.  In fine Titanic style, NAPLAN has now bumped into reality and has started sinking. It truly IS a gigantic, titanic waste. Billions down the gurgler.
How much proof does a mature adult need to express disapproval on the ballot paper?

The next trick is [if we continue] to make the tests easier, in true Klein big apple fashion.

DATA  DATA DATA – totally unnecessary – but the mere collection of data, the capturing of professional attention from those who once loved kids, the trickery required to hide ethical principles from parents of kids, must send the measurers into seizures of supreme joy as they spend their time through to May, organising things for the annual NAPLAN WEEK, even though the results will, as usual, tell us nothing.  There must be some pay-out of some macabre kind for them; maybe like an Addams Family B.B.Q.;  a kind of activity that finds schadenfreude joy in others’ suffering or perhaps, NAPLAN , for its  proponents, is like playing trains. It’s entertaining and being the Fat Controller is a real blast for ACARiANS  to play, keeping Thomas the Tank Educator and his toys on the rails. No truly humane teacher-person would do things to kids or to steam engines what the likes of NAPLAN does to teachers and kids.  Control, once based on paradigms of educational truisms [e.g.French & Raven ‘Bases of Power’],  becomes a mechanical thing and will, one day,   run off the rail with a big bang. Soon, we hope.

As far as useful jobs are concerned, are you old enough to remember the dunny-man?
I was always intrigued by the peaked cap formed by the sugar-bag that he wore over one shoulder.  It made him look like a brown-coloured KKK member, didn’t it?  Oi!
Fair Dinkum Pupilling – Girt by NAPLAN
GO FORTH JOEL
[No. I’m not suggesting that Joel was a kind of dunny-man….but…if the sugar-bag fits….]

It was that kind of  junk anyhow.  Julia met her ‘pin-up boy’ during her first night on the town of New York….and things have not been the same down-under since. Yes, she actually described him as her ‘pin-up boy’.   That’s “across the crowded room” stuff.  Right? She had dutifully called on Rupert as all Australian leaders are expected to do when they go through the Big Apple, to get their riding instructions. He arranged for her to attend a Rockafeller cocktail party where mind-altering martinis were being served.  She was NOT on her way to Finland or any other country noted for its schooling achievements. She just took a trip to New York and nowhere else, where she was introduced to this slick, sweet-talking lawyer who was running one of New York’s better-known school districts…in much the same manner that a plumber runs a motor garage. It was famous for its peculiar operations. It’s achievements have never been  anywhere near the top 200 districts in the States national testing program. The world knew that his tough-guy experiment was failing, but no one at the party seemed to.  She must have swooned at his sweet-talk. There is no data available about the number of martinis that have to be consumed before the stage is set for a decision to be made suddenly; about an efficient and effective schooling system, as Australia had, to be changed to one of rapidly declining mediocrity in a few minutes.  How big and how loud can ‘WOW!’ get?

It is reported that Joel Klein improved the results of the New York pupils by making the tests easier. It didn’t work. It is monstrous that he established FEAR at an all time level within a schooling system…..sacking principals and closing schools where, according to his statistics, children were not performing. He also had mass resignations of teachers who could not tolerate the system. None of these antics, as appealing as they were to our reforming Minster,  worked. She just wanted to copy them. Hail to our founder, our ‘pin-up boy’ , according to Ms. Gillard.

The actual date is of historical consequence, but it seems to be lost.  Pity.  I’ve written to her office. I’m sure they’ll remember. It’s an important date for the annals of the Education History of Australia. It should be a postage stamp classic. The death of pupilling in Australian schools. It was in September, 2007…..a long long time ago for a suffering system….and a generation or two of learners lost.

It doesn’t matter now, our yawning adults reckon.  Although it was an auspicious moment [that word!], it happened and she was able to free-load Joel and Mrs, Klein on a flight down under at the expense of Australia’s banking fraternity, which has always been implicated in the testing felony. He spoke to important people in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra who knew as much about schooling as Radar Riley, school janitor at Bulamakanka knew about investment banking. Never mind. Joel-boy was IN…..the icon of a banker’s view of schooling…..the Knight of Wall Street…..and so…schooling based on fear and distaste for learning was established in Australia…and remains.  RIP fair-dinkum pupilling.

Fair-dinkum Pupilling – Girt by NAPLAN

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Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486   07 5524 6443    0407865999   cphilcullen@bigpond.com    Refer:Who’s Who in Australia

Kids and Elections

Our children are our future.  A country’s concern for its future is reflected in the way that it treats its school children.

Some countries treat this dictum seriously.

Australia doesn’t.  In the minds of our traditional political parties, it doesn’t have to do so.  Build schools, stick some teachers in them, force them to teach, test and examine the kids in British Grammar School style with a large dollop of American know-how and all will be well.

Countries [e.g. Finland] and states that dare to arrange for their future in learning terms, with sincere concern for the holistic development of their young and pride in achievements in fundamentals,  arrange their schooling differently.  They are proudly high in accomplishments and professional regard for excellence. We can be.

Treehorn maintains that the Australian style, to its credit,  has the remnants of some sturdy traditions of having-a-go under difficult circumstances and other colonial graces that would serve Ausdtralia well should it ever decide to help its children to learn as much as possible, in an effective style as part of an holistic and meaningful curriculum…and as happily as possible.  It is so bloody obvious. By doing so, it would become capable of punching well above its weight in world affairs. We could move from being a little- known underachieving squirt down-under to being a well-respected nation. We can do it if we have a mind to do it.

And…..there are a few million voters our there available for political parties who care about kids….. available from thousands of disillusioned teachers and many, many millions of disappointed parents. It’s a rich list of child supporters, measuring millions.

One Nation or Green? 

Recovering from the neo-conservative attitudes of the older traditional political parties  will take some serious thought and  dedicated political action. Anxiety and fear are so embedded in our schooling system and we have been on a dangerously steep downward path during the past decade, we are now stuck with mediocrity.  We don’t dare to think about the crisis too much.  We are fearful of altering our testing tradition and basic conservatism or of hurting the feelings of our superiors and those who control them.  Introduced by Labor, supported and maintained by the Liberals, our present yankified, fear-based klein system of schooling is a dismal failure. It went too far. It was not warranted. It was not necessary. It was a scam. No party now seems brave enough to test the chain of command and the disastrous outcomes at a curriculum level or on social and mental health grounds.  Either the Greens or the One Nations can fix things. They’re new to the schooling game and need basic policies that mean something. We now  know that the NAPLAN control of traditional schooling was not the way to go. Our schooling system is sinking on all counts, mainly because the traditional parties just do not care about kids and insist on teaching them the wrong way and with the wrong intentions.

The Lib-Lab conservative tradition will find these parties  difficult to change. They are too old. too like each other; and too worn out to think positively. Their political  tactis behaviour have degenerated abysmally and thoughts of learning progress for children are beyond them. There should be more hope in the latter day political parties that have already challenged the political system by their existence.  Think of a One Nation or Green party taking over government.  The door is wide open for them.  However, the following points should be  made……

If either Pauline Hanson’s party, now rising remarkably in electoral favour….or the Greens, who have yet to sort themselves out ….. proposes the banning of NAPLAN….. either  party  will be in power in Queensland soon, working with the astute Libs in W.A.; and then taking over in Canberra later  If you did not believe that Donald would make it, up over, you won’t believe this either.

However.

The Right Reasons
When the Rt.Hon. Pauline Hanson P.M. does take control, parents and teachers and children should still be concerned….

Will it ban NAPLAN and thus improve educational opportunities in schools for the right reasons?  No replacements or additions. Just ‘OUT!’ with the monster!
The concerned parties and candidates will certainly get sufficient votes because…

  • NAPLAN has failed.  On international rating [e.g PISA and TIMMS] we are heading way down below less affluent countries from being in the top three or four in the world in the past.
  • It has wasted billions and billions of dollars.  Its been a complete mega-waste.
  • Empirical evidence shows that over 80% of Australia’s population hates NAPLAN, while the cautious are uneasy. It’s now a dirty word.
  • It teaches kids to hate learning, hate basic subjects and hate schooling.
  • It deliberately hides its dirty process tactics from parents who prefer to have a choice. That’s a really dirty trick. Whom can we trust
  • It prostitutes the role of school administration by forcing professionals to indulge in unethical behaviours.
  • It promotes unprofessional conduct in schools that suffer feelings of inadequacy, by having to advertise that they are good at NAPLAN.
  • Its linkage with the New York publishing  and programming mafia  and the silenced Australian press  is too obvious. It’s not healthy politics.
  • The medical profession’s concern for the mental health of NAPLAN candidates is real. The abundance of referrals by teachers for mental care is now staggering.

The critical condition is that we must ban NAPLAN FOR THE RIGHT REASONS because of its nastiness and uselessness; its attitude to children.
It has no regard for the mental health of children and disrespects schools that want to get on with the task of pupilling.

I’ll be voting for the party that demonstrates the best reason for the banning.
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Phil Cullen, 41 Cominan Avenue   Banora Point  Australia 2486   07 5524 6443  9397865999   cphilcullen@bigpond.com 
Refer:  Who’s Who in Australia