The hysterical history of our testucation system.

The Hysterical History of Australian Schooling

Important principles of school administration  have not changed much since the education industry was established in Australia. We still have a similar arrangement to what we had when we kicked off.  The monied gentry would tell the governor what they wanted and expect to get it.  They still do. They still rule. It’s easy to describe.

Mind you, there were no state schools providing free and compulsory schooling and those who came from the great Britain in earlier colonial times were used to an arrangement back home where churches and a few private societies supplied schools. The remnants of this system remain. There are public and private schools.

Rev. John Dunmore Lang was a big wheel in Sydney society in the 1830s, and a passionate educator, according to historian, David Hunt.  Lang was concerned by the increasing numbers of Irish bushrangers – The Wild Colonial Boy and his impoverished kind were becoming a real nuisance. “Lang, a Presbyterian minister hated Catholics and believed that they were conspiring to ‘rivet the chains of popery on a deluded people in the Australian colonies'”; so he started a school in 1826 to counter their influence.

The irreverent Hunt [“True Girt”]wrote : “The Church of England was the only church to have an official presence in NSW in the first decade of settlement and it hadn’t exactly set the colony alight. While the church half-heartedly provided a few schools, they were funded by the state, a radical departure from British practice.
In 1824, Governor Brisbane reported, ‘every murder or diabolical crime, which has been committed in the colony since my arrival, has been perpetrated by Irish Catholics’ . Believing strong moral leadership  from the church would reduce Catholic crime, Brisbane funded Therry’s schools.” (Fr. Therry was the first Catholic priest allowed to practice his faith in the colony and was keen to establish the schools for altruistic and religious purposes.) Believing  that strong moral leadership from the church would reduce Catholic crime, Brisbane funded Therry’s Catholic schools. He also partially financed the building of Australia’s first Catholic Church, given the impoverished state of the predominantly Irish Catholics, although he refused to pay for any over-the-top papist frou-frou.”

“This Catholic aid outraged Lang. The splenetic Scot complained that he was forced to give his sermons in a schoolhouse shared with diabolical papists, who assaulted his nostrils with their incense and his ears with their bell-ringing. Brisbane refused his demands for a government-subsidised church because the Scottish Presbyterians had enough cash hidden in their mattresses to build one themselves.”

What a diabolical setting it would have been for a  2010 Gillard-type ‘My School’ presentation!

“The arrival of Therry and Lang brought the long-dormant religious divisions of the old country to the surface,”  continued Hunt. “The Catholics hated the Anglicans for not permitting Catholic education in their schools; the Presbyterians hated the Catholics for receiving government support and for being Catholics and the Anglicans hated the Catholics and Presbyterians  for moving onto their turf. Sectarianism had stormed into the previously secular colony, its battlefield the hearts and minds of children.”

William Charles Wentworth was a key figure in the introduction of state education. Also, money was his God and he could not abide having the poor in any decision-making position. “People with property portfolios and sheep should be given the vote and people without them should not. The poor were not fit to determine the future of the colony, as ‘ignorance and poverty went together’. In the world of Wentworth’s faith, the moneychangers would be keepers of the Temple.” That’s how our super-elite took power, and the thought-bubbles that encourage such a point of view persist to the present day.  Schoolies are part of the poor and ignorant brigade.  They don’t count. The governance of the day and teacher groups will do as they are told by those who matter. ….and so say all of us….right through to today.   The notion of the schooling profession using its expertise to run schools all around the vast land to teach the children to read and write and calculate properly, was not on the agenda….the same as it is now….and, so, teachers just have to enjoy being the target of ingenuous, ignorant, dishonest, elitist nincompoopish criticism, because the self-important, very rich  cockalorums say so.

Part of the Gillard-Klein negotiations included the New York proposal that principals and teachers be sacked if their schools did not get decent results in set tests. It’s  still on the  klein/gillard agenda and will receive little oppositions from Australia’s meek and mild teacher groups when it becomes instituted. UBS [‘UBS’ is an anagram for all sorts of things] paid the fare of Joel Klein and his wife to come down under to proseltyse the values of whipping kids and teachers into shape, for money. He only spoke to big business and to their press at their club. We members of the poor and ordinary, bought it  all…big time.  UBS MEANS BIG, BIG POWER AND CONTROL, in case you want to know.   It owns us….well….our public-care institutions.

Ironically, Wentworth, at the time,  had an ally in the press. Horatio Spencer Howe Wills, publisher of The Gazette,  who joined with Willy and, together,  they founded The Australian Patriotic Association. “The membership fee of £5 kept the riffraff out and the association’s policy of denying the vote to poor people, blacks and women encouraged a number of the more progressive exclusives to join. Governors Bourke and Gipps lent their support…..”  and nothing much has changed to the present day. The denigration of the most important of the caring professions remains a feature of our schooling. 

In the mother country, popular education had to have a religious basis  In the Old Dart, the State started in 1833 to make contributions to schools started by the National Public Schools Association following heavy advocacy by secularist and those who hotly disputed the claims of the Church of England to be responsible for national education. As is usual in such cases, dispute  and conflict and dissatisfaction was maintained until Britain decided to establish a Department of Education in 1856.  A Royal Commission [ a certainty for Australiaeducation in a few years from now] was appointed in 1858. It found that churches had done a reasonable job, but, generally speaking the standard was too elementary and superficial….and children were leaving school too early to get a job. Disputes, conflict and dissatisfacton kept reigning. It was the period of Wentworth and Lang wrestling with Governors Bourke and Gipps in the colonies. Chaos and uncertainty. Schooling in Australia had no model , so we tolerated a kind of chaos – who does what to whom and who cares – free-wheeling = as it was in Britain.

Not only that. Since the state was paying grants to schools on a per capita basis, a mere numbering of attendees was unsatisfactory.  The pupils had to be up to scratch with their standards.  During this period, England’s Parliament introduced what they called a Revised Code. As Barnard [P.130] notes : The government will pay per capita grants to schools which had a satisfactory report from Her Majesty’s Inspector. These grants would be supplemented by local grants from county and borough rates. Thus was introduced the system of ‘payment by results’ which hampered the development of elementary education for many years to come.”  OMG! It lasted forty years....and our NAPLAN has been going for ten….which is certainly nine years too long.

“…the shortcomings of the Revised Code were clearly  seen by such educationists as Kay-Shuttleworth and Matthew Arnold; and subsequent history show the justice of their condemnation of it. The examination system resulted – as it so often does – on overpressure on children, due to the anxiety to produce ‘results’. The teaching of the three ‘Rs’ may have improved because teachers were tempted to concentrate on these grant-earning subjects and neglect other work; but this encouraged mechanical methods of teaching. The New Code also tended to demoralise the teacher. Their position in the eyes of their managers and therefore their very livelihood, might depend on the amount of the grant earned by their pupils. Hence there was a temptation to falsify registers and hoodwink inspectors by requiring pupils to learn off their reading book by heart. One of the inspectors stated that  he used to counteract this pratice by requiring pupils to read their book backwards. ‘

NAPLAN has returned us to the exigencies of The Revised Code…..with its over-pressure, anxiety and stress….way beyond blue.   We must wonder at the wisdom of those of the NAPLAN sect, who ignore the lessons of history. Their lack of classroom experience and ignorance of the psychology  of classroom behaviour does not do anything for Australian progress. We are driving at breakneck speed, using only the rear-vision mirror for guidance, backwards.

Put another way :- Once we arrive back at about the 1830’s standards …which shouldn’t be too long,…we will probably continue to exercise the tenants of the Kajabbi Complex. “The Kajabbi Complex is named the antics of after two notable Queensland  North  Westerners who  had had a successful day at the races at Kajabbi, not far from the Gulf of Carpentaria. The two  celebrated excessively, atthe bramble bar before  heading, late in the night, for their home town, Cloncurry.  They drove for hours and did not seem to be getting any closer.  They paused at a signpost to check things out. It said “6 Furlongs”. They had  been driving  in circles around the Kajabbi racetrack for hours…..around and around, as if the were NAPLAN testucators.

Sadly. the Revised Code lasted so long that its test-test-test cancer became part of the DNA of British-style schooling, despite the efforts of Matthew Arnold and superior educators of the time. Church schools applauded the rigours of testing, believing in the long run that preparation for tests was a holy mission and a legitimate enterprise. The Gradgrinds of the world thought it was Christmas all year. They could watch the kids squirm for months.  While western-style cultures have been praying for the ghost of Matthew Arnold to re-emerge, corporate bodies and other proponents of Gillard’s kleinism, have been burning effigies of him. He made too much common-sense for them…They just can’t comprehend that teachers make the most of child’s zest for learning by using the full range of teaching strategies [not just direct, chalk-talk didactic instruction];and there is no need to scare the living daylights out of them. Vision-impaired, these just wont see. They must believe that producing learners with top-level intellectual capacities is a communist plot or something and that the conventional target of producing mediocre scholars because we have always done that sort of thing and we should maintain the traditions. “Learning how to learn because we like it” must be  disgusting socialist stuff like they do in Finland up near those Commie countries.

Kleinists  want us to respect our heroes…..Thomas Gradgrind, Joel Klein himself, Rupert Murdoch, Julia Gillard  and Simon Birmingham as they thunder down the stretch of the Kajabbi racetrack heading for the next round – not knowing how far to go nor where they are heading – charter schools, Year 1 Tests, full school testing, dumbing down test levels, computer testing, pre-graduation testing, sacking principals, sacking teachers, appointing big named sciolists to administrative positions; all floating around as ‘different’ ideas. Your local member will fit in with them, if he/she doesn’t have a mind of their own. It’s all yet to come.

London to a brick.

Aussies seem struck with a special kind of attitude, born of an hysterical past. Right?

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BREAKING NEWS

NAPLAN victims of stress, anxiety, depression and sleeplessnes will be relieved to learn that Ms. Julia Gillard, co-founder of our kleinist system of schooling, is taking control of the organisation that works towards the relief for sufferers from stress, anxiety and depression.

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Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  07 5524644  0407865999  cphilcullen@bigpond.com      REFER: Who’s Who in Australia

 

Treehorn: Comments on Comments

COMMENTS ON COMMENTS

“NAPLAN is an optional extra – like Religious Instruction and School Excursions – which should require the approval of parents for children to participate. Its threatening impact on children’s mental health is too serious to slap on top of a regular learning curriculum just to provide data for a politically-inspired institution…..and then ‘allow’ parents to withdraw if they want!!”

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MUST READ : https://theconversation.com/parents-shouldnt-rely-on-my-school-data-when-choosing-a-school-for-their-child-74301?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20March%2014%202017%20-%2069605203&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20March%2014%202017%20-%2069605203+CID_e20578e1e46fd4f0c1cf16bb09133841&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Parents%20shouldnt%20rely%20on%20My%20School%20data%20when%20choosing%20a%20school%20for%20their%20child

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Ray Armstrong adds to the previous Treehorn Express. Please feel free to add your own.

“Serious consideration must be given to the abolition of the NOPLAN (literacy and numeracy) tests unless changes are made, mainly because  any “results” are invalid. If the tests are to be kept, then they must be administered in a scientific way, not the ad hoc system that now exists. 

For all intents and purposes, they are standardized tests which are unfortunately not administered in a standardized manner. Any Psychology 101 student could tell you this, yet the government persists with them. If you want reliable results, the way the tests are organized must be changed.

No valid conclusions can be from tests that ignore accepted procedure. 

The way the tests are administered leaves them open to manipulation and interference. When millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money is distributed on the basis of the test results, a more serious approach should be given to their implementation. 

For a start, the tests should not be given by the classroom teacher who has a vested interest in the results. A suitably trained anonymous person like a school counsellor should be engaged. With teachers increasingly ‘teaching to the tests’, settings ‘trial tests’ for weeks before, it is critical that these tests be administered by a person not known to the children and from outside the school

With this in mind, I was more than pleased to observe  that Angelo Gavrielatos of the Australian Education Union, has said teachers should boycott the tests. Many schools teachers “help” their children in order to boost their own standing, their school’s and any grant increases that may result as a spinoff from the tests. Only recently there were media reports of schools that had extraordinary improvements in their results over previous poor scores with no reasonable explanation. The answer is obvious to opponents of NOPLAN. Would you all like to see the HSC tests given out by the classroom teacher? I think not.

If you want to know how your child is progressing visit your school, talk with your child’s teacher, become engaged with your child’s school

The Naplan tests should be abolished. They are a waste of money. The money should be diverted to schools and their more immediate needs. The tests damage children and there is no research that demonstrates they do any good. In fact they do great harm. The time devoted to ‘teaching to the tests’ could be used in more creative educational pursuits.

Sadly, Governments will persist with NOPLAN until? Well I will tell you! Until a few of them have their seats threatened. As soon as politicians see there is even the slightest chance of losing their seats as a result of their obsession with NOPLAN only then will they act. This will mean groups like Treehorn will have to be more organized, address parental groups, communicate with other educational organizations (Principals’ Councils, P&C’s) and seek funding. ”

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Richard Flint, former army officer,  offered some advice to teachers….

“All who want to be better teachers. Never mind the wordy talk about NAPLAN. Teach better where ever you are..

No such a thing as bad students , only bad teachers.

To improve student performance ,increase teacher skill

Good teachers are expert in skills to impart knowledge to students. Student learn little if left to themselves.

Teachers can only teach approved doctrine. Most professions determine the minimum standard for licence or registration as a practitioner.

Education is too important to be left to teachers alone. The community determines what it wants its inhabitants to know.

There has always been examinations, usually annually, to allow to students to rise to the next age level. Didn’t have a fancy name in the past.

Difficulty is experienced creating a syllabus for Australia wide use.  For example, Darwin has difference to Melbourne for ethnic reasons. Rural is different to urban.

An examination can only be successful if it tests all the salient points of a subject.

Students tested a half an hour after the teaching session only remember some of the subject, results  are worse later. Revision is essential.

Last but not least. The only way to success in learning is to instil motivation. Students don’t learn if they don’t want to.”

R.S.Flint   AM, Brigadier (Ret) – Former Director General of Army Training and Education

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Stan Price, ex-teacher, differentiates between schools.

“We have a differentiated school system in Australia.
1. There are the NAPLAN-conditioned ones which care more about the test results than about the substance of school learning.
2. There are the learning focussed schools who teach children and tolerate the nuisance interruption of Naplan.
3. There are anti-NAPLAN schools which openly discuss the effects of Naplanning on their learning philosophy , and encourage dissent.

It’s too confusing.
I’d like to send my daughter to the third kind that openly discusses issues such as NAPLAN’S effects on learning, but there aren’t any handy.”

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Connie,Assistant Principal says.
“I don’t know what we will do this year during the change-over to computerised testing.  We don’t have enough computers now, so I guess special arrangements will be made.
Our suburb is not high on the socio-economic scale and our children are not used to computers.  Will the tests be modified to  cater for the confusion to come?  If so, what use will the test results then be?

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Treehorn’s 
article on ‘Attitude’in January 2017 applies:
Monopath, Julia Gillard, representing our entrenched screwball attitude to schooling when she chose the Klein system of fear-based learning in 2007, did so with confidence that Australia’s attitude to schooling and scoring is of the bang-crash-wallop-fear kind. Attitude! With her attitude embedded in looking for a malevolent solution rather than a tender, inclusive one for Australia to conduct an  evaluation of its schooling system, she only went for one extreme view. She only looked at one, using the Stuart Firestein technique of ‘farting around in the dark’, and she grabbed the kind her friend Kevin wanted. Since then, of course, it has been shown that she boo-booed,  that the use of NAPLAN testing to judge the standard of schooling is the work of fools, but we are stuck with it because she and her political and corporate friends said that we must do as we are told….despite our professional desires to exert true ethics and esoteric knowledge that will benefit children…..and avoiding the kind of  serious damage that NAPLAN inflicts.

It’s

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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.

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’

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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?

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

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.

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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

What If?

Treehorn recently speculated as to what would happen if Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party included the banning of NAPLAN as part of its policy.


If it did, it would be ‘London to a brick’ that she would become Prime Minister, the  Honourable Pauline Hanson at the next election. Wouldn’t it? There are a few million teachers and parents and others who just don’t like what NAPLAN does to our kids, how it contributes to our lowering of status and ‘standards’ on international tests, what it does to the mental health of our young and the blatant waste of  billions of dollars  through ACARA’s  assault on our schools each year.

Pauline has a leadership style that is different.  While neo-con business corporations and bankers will try to ‘persuade’ her to join their other units – Liberal and Labor – she seems most likely to resist.

No.  She’s not my cup of tea; but dissatisfaction with major parties seems to be increasing.  If she was able to get rid of NAPLAN, one of the greatest threats to our nation’s progress ever, she’s worth considering….just because of that.

It’s a very real possibility, don’t you think?

As our squirming, nervous  kids get closer to the May NAPLAN testocaust, things should get interesting.

In the meantime……

A thought.

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


Rollicking Politics

Rollicking Politics

Australia is enduring a peculiar period of political chicanery, wastage of enormous amounts of money  and indifference to social welfare, this year.

Maverick Pauline Hanson is taking over the airways and gaining ground every day on issues that befound and befuddle the population as our two major neo-con parties try to throttle each other. If she promises to ban NAPLAN, she’s the next PM. The major parties are losing their good manners,their ideological base and looking more like each other in their pursuits of neo-conservatism. The greens poke their noses at the others and nothing else. They seem to tolerate too easily their title of ‘tree-huggers’ and have become indifferent to things like schooling and caring for kids. In all, the Libs and Labs are antagonistic to children’s well-being, Greens are indifferent and the remainder just don’t care. Our education system is in a mess and no political party cares. Our future is dicey.

Sadly, there is no ‘star’ amongst the great number of state and federal politicians, no stalwart, no crusader who will stand up for the rights of children in their party room, in their state or federal legislature or in their star chambers. ‘Gutless wonders’, so-called, they don’t know how to talk about kids and their learning; nor to discuss why we force them to go to school…..and it’s not too difficult. Here’s a summary.

Kids go to school to learn things from a teacher. Each child is a pupil who is expected to work with his or her teacher; and each teacher is expected to provide the learning experiences that matter for the healthy, whole-hearted development of each child. Authorities believe that it takes about 12 or 13 years and a variety of teachers to do the job properly.

Let me repeat the key phrase : “WITH A TEACHER”….not controlled by some distant measurement freak

Kids do not go to school to pass tests. They go to school to learn;  and a major part of the learning process is for the teacher and the pupil to evaluate the progress of each child’s learning as they learn [not some time later] ; and so, each child grows in confidence and gets better. It ain’t easy and distractions from the teaching-learning-evaluating curriculum process are a nuisance; major distractions like external standardised blanket testing can be quite toxic. NAPLAN has shown that it is.  Such tests contain a lethal gene that destroys a love of the subject and of schooling and of learning. It’s extremely dangerous.

Effective evaluation does not need written tests nor high stakes nonsense. Children progress best with a pat on the back or a ‘word in season’ at the particular point in the learning process…not months away. Every person who bothers to read this page will recall a point in time when they were told by someone they respected that they were good at something  and they lived up to that prediction. Ask your favourite sports person or singer or artist how they came to be so good. Mr. Ghirladaiu told young Michael Angelo that he was good at drawing.

Business corporations who, once employed the cream of the school graduates became unable to understand, after the cream graduates went on to higher education,that they were left with the strugglers ….better value, but no more Einsteins amongst them. They blamed the school fraternity for producing lower level workers and when they had to pay through the nose for uni. graduates, they blamed the system.

Very , very ignorant politicians listened to the whinges of the high and mighty corporate bodies and felt obliged to do as they were told by their sponsors and lobbyists. Besides, a toxic meme that referred to standards of schooling was receiving controlled encouragement by the George Bush intelligentsia in New York where billion-dollar enterprises, connected to publishing tests and test-prep computer programs had got going.  The links to Australia were very, very strong.

All in all, the big boys decided that there was big money in school activities, once you had control of the activities. Money-making and blanket testing are a perfect couple….a perfect storm. Since then, others have found that schooling can be a very profitable racket in a number of ways.

So, when pumped-up Kevin Rudd, as PM decided that bullying tactics worked best when one dealt with schooling, he sent a bully to meet a bully who had an enormous reputation for bullying and was despised for the way he did it. So…we copied it. We must love the notion of kids trembling in a test room to confirm the big-business opinion of slovenliness.  The story of how Fair-Dinkum pupilling – consensual arrangements for learning – in Australia, became girt and choked by a toxic testing program in Australia – unfolds in Chapter 3…  

Kids

 

Australia’s casual indifference to the effects of mass testing on the learning progress of its school children, contains the fuel for its developing inabilities as a nation to mix with the world at large.

Presently distrustful of those who lead us, and sceptical of their abilities to lead, many believe that the standard of politics does not look like improving over the years to come…..and it may be the wrong time to crusade on behalf of kids to have NAPLAN banned. Personal animosity is at a high level just now. It is difficult, therefore,  to see any worthwhile national progress while we treat each other the way we do, too busy with party politics and low-level-personal exchanges to care for our kids and unwilling to talk about what is best for them.

Our fixation with testing is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to our national progress, ever. We need to talk about it……and, especially the effects that it has on kids’ learning….but…..will we do so in an ordered purposeful manner? Can we?

We need to start with our future, with the learning needs of the child and the construction of  a system of school education that means something.

Treehorn has long advocated that Australia needs to stop all the nonsense parts of its operations and concentrates on an Aussie style of pupilling.  “Pupilling” is not a standard part of our lexicon, but it’s meaning is obvious. We need a system where teachers can get as close to individual learners as possible and share the learning act with high levels of enthusiasm that are generated from both of them, with the sky being the limit.

What else?

We should not be inhibited in this learning pursuit by any kind of negative interference that has only been successful, to date, at maintaining a diminishing level of mediocrity. Our dwindling status on the world stage …now very obvious to the world….is being set by people, who are external to a school’s curriculum designs for their children, whose the school  knows better than anyone else on the kind of schooling required.  In other words, measurers  should stay away from schooling processes. It’s an outrageous assumption (that schools will do better if more testing takes place) being made by measurers who only know about measuring and, because of their appointed position on the hierarchical ladder, are able to keep turning tighter on the measurement screws to make children get better results….not to learn anything new…to get better results.

Surely, Australia can find a way to install a system that starts with kids.  We are upside down at present, aren’t we? We have a school curriculum, controlled by a testing regime that determines the level of learning, the learning styles and turns most of our pupils off their natural zest to improve themselves.   Schooling needs to be returned to our teachers and their pupils, to rediscover the joys of learning.  Why is it so girt?

We need a fair dinkum learning system, a system that highlights ‘pupilling’ that is not girt and choked by NAPLAN.

Please start with the attached and consider you own views of how children learn best while they are at school.

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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