Bye Treehorn

I love primary education.  I love primary schooling. I love primary school kids.  When I left school in 1944, I just wanted to get amongst the whole mix of teaching and go bush to teach young kids. My big brother would bring home stories about the kids at Nogo River in rural Queensland and it all sounded so fascinating.   I eventually made it to Teachers College, and by 1947 I was the Head Teacher, of all things, of a one-teacher school. I loved it. My dream achieved.  For eleven years, I did my  apprenticeship in four  different localities. All of my one-teacher schools are closed now but I still remember the names of the pupils. Many have passed on and some are in their eighties. You see,  when I first started as a Head Teacher cum Principal I was eighteen years of age.  My two or three ‘scholarship class’ members were fourteen or fifteen years of age.  I now have a lot of former pupils. Love each one of them.

The years went on and the love for primary schooling and kids just grew and grew.  I now love nostalgia.  I love catching up with former pupils who remember me for the right reasons. It’s the sort of feeling that only schoolies enjoy but can’t explain; and is unique to those who care about kids. I thought that I shared these feelings with an endless number of others. I was sure that every primary teacher was the same way. I kept this belief for sixty years….that everyone in primary schooling loved kids and teaching them, as much as I did; and would go to the ends of the earth for them.

I was wrong.

2008-17 has revealed that many employees in the field of primary schooling in Australia don’t care much about kids. They care deeply about some kids, but not the universal kid. I had accepted, early in the piece, that Australian every-day adults, generally speaking, prefer to have as little as possible to do with kids, apart from coaching the local under-eights footy team.  Treehorn, when I found him, validated the view that all adults, including parents, teachers and principals prefer not to be bothered too much by what distresses kids.   I was disappointed [‘floored’ is a better term] to learn, in particular that Australia’s  school principals don’t have much interest in the ‘generalised’ school child, at all. They like their job and do it well and that’s it. They  meekly and  publicly approve of the extreme. heavy, burdensome NAPLAN testing device because Julia Gillard told them to do so after she returned from New York, overdosed on Klein bullshit, which, they know all very well, destroys the learning spirit of the curriculum in the interests of data-gathering – just for the sake of data-gathering.  Principal’s associations know that. APPA was blatantly ‘Stockholmed’, replaced by AGPPA and then  ‘Eichmannised’ .  They should have known that NAPLAN, under the pretence of being diagnostic and motivational, would destroy our system;  a system that once had the potential to be great. Sloppily, near tearfully,  I must say : They broke my heart by their desertion from reality.

When Julia Gillard introduced this crazy New York system of schooling based on the deliberate creation of anxiety and fear, they had a chance to say to her : “We don’t do that sort of thing to school children.” They didn’t.

I now know what disappointment is.

Then, in January 2010, the Australian Education Union that represents the chalkface operators, unanimously supported a motion at its Sydney Conference that NAPLAN be banned!   I was over the moon. I was so proud of my association with some of the attenders. Amazed that such a thing had happened and so proud that Aussie teachers collectively, it seemed, recognised the implications of naplanising school children ….that they had assured the welfare of little Aussie learners to progress in a child-centred environment, that I did something that I had never done before. It seemed to me like it was the wonder of the age….that our classroom teachers could be so wonderful, so glorious, so up-front.  I could see Cloud 9 way down below me; so I went to Mass on the following day to say thanks. [I’m a Mick. ] I am usually asking for a favour, but here I was doing something that I have reflected upon, often, since:  Going to church just to say ‘Thanks’!!  That’s not normal. Maybe I’ll get the chance to do it again sometime…maybe when politicians  start thinking about what they are doing to children  and ban the stupid thing.  You see…ouch….The motion was at the AEU Conference was withdrawn on the same day and the notion of freedom abandoned.  Never learned why.   Very little mention of NAPLAN by the AEU since. Did the big boys capture Him, or was it the AEU? The big end of town seems to believe that it is  dominant enough  to do either. I may never learn what happened to the original motion.

{By the way, did you listen to all that Budget Yak-Yak in the Federal Parliament?  “We will spend billions and billions on schools and our kids will be the best in the world! We will improve education standards by giving more money to this, that and whatever” The baloney from both sides of the house was vomitous.  NAPLAN, the extreme destroyer of schooling, introduced by Labor  and maliciously ‘fiddled’ by Liberals and Nationals, now supported by their common neo-liberal viewpoints, did not get a mention, even though it wastes billions per year.. the worst ‘bad debt’ in on the landscape……and it was budget time!}

Those who know me, know that, back in the eighties I held super-normous hope for the future of primary schooling in Australia. I could see super-dooper schooling happening and, for some reason, I always thought that by about 2010 [no good reason for picking that year], Australia would enjoy an enormous network of public schools, to which children would burst a boiler to get to each and every day BECAUSE OF THE LEARNING HAPPINESS THERE….for no other reason. Enjoying a thoroughly holistic tailor-made curriculum, each would find real joy in extending their own abilities as far as they could and enjoy every moment of learning at their local community school.  They would not need any sexy inexperienced measurement sciolist from outside the school gate to judge their capacity,  and brand them with a number. Schooling would be real schooling, real learning. School leavers would not need an HSC score or NAPLAN score. Hirers would ask the school about their applicants and be given the full picture.

Garn. No matter what you might like to say, a progressive exam-free system is possible.

Well, things didn’t live up to expectations. Once managerialism and the restructuring fad hit the fan in the eighties, one could see what was happening. We were destined to follow the path ‘back to drastics’.  The last paragraph in my “Back to Drastics” [USQ Faculty of Education, 2006. P.87] was prophetic : “Hope persists. There are some great schools around and classroom teachers still have the real power. Once the teacher and the pupils move into their room together, the educational processes begin. Nobody in any self-important holy of holies has yet thought of starting from such a premise. Structural changes are usually imposed from the politicial apex, downwards. We keep starting at the wrong end. Education 3000?   At all times, the large and dangerous changes have been initiated by sciolistic ne’er-do-wells, who have had their decisions confirmed by the kinds of political party decision-making, for whom absurdity is not a handicap.

Clearly, the managerialism era was the start of Australia’s demise as a world power and of the standards of schooling that were once on the up and up. They are related; so, when Managerialsim and Restructurism made an easy path for the rabid Standardised Blanket Testing routine called NAPLAN because the wrong decision-makers were in the wrong positions, our system went haywire and has been that way for a decade. We cannot claim any growth in world stature in financial, industrial or political terms nor is there any indication of improvement in overall intellectual performance of any kind. We are waiting for the big boys to sort things out.  We maintain a mediocre ranking in world affairs, even though we have the ability [now being crushed] of fighting above our weight.

The forces that keep us in this mid-to-low-level position are powerful, extremely powerful. WE NEED THEM TO GET OFF OUR BACKS. We need them to talk with Rupert and tell their mates, Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten that they are allowed to discuss schooling  openly, and not deliberately hide the mention of NAPLAN. Bring it out in the open! Schooling is not about money. The 37 kids from my railway-fettlers’ one-teacher school at Baking Board have contributed significantly to Australia’s welfare as has every other school. Schooling is about the promotion of learning and that banking corporation called UBS, needs to let go of the hooks on our institutions that they use to control our schooling system, our politicians and our media. The cone of controlled silence is too thick, as well.

NAPLAN is now discussed as a generality, a part of schooling, a thing that happens at school, a thing to be feared or wondered about. Rupert and UBS have had their way.  UBS, controlling our top end of town might care to think more seriously about the real meaning of the word SCHOOL.  What is it? What is it supposed to do? Is it doing it? Do kids like learning? Do they do  well at all parts of the curriculum? Why blanket test them when they progress faster and better when teachers share the evaluation of their efforts with them at the time of learning?  If you want to know how well they are doing, why not have a system of mentoring and reporting by highly qualified, experienced experts with a yen for excellence and with pollen on their wings? Why not just give the profession back to teachers?

The Australian education system, without any fear or doubt, is controlled by UBS and Rupert Murdoch [the schooling industry, in testucation mode, is worth $300 billion per year to him…at his last count].  UBS [this  banking corporation that paid the fares of bull-shipper Joel Klein down-under to show us what to do] seems motivated by a lack of appreciation for the ethics of the education profession. Big Bankers don’t like us teachers. [We shouldn’t have given up doing  school banking for them] It does not seem to understand that  a profession can be based on altruistic principles.  UBS, a respected organisation within thee money-making professions, could do so much good for children if it was able to adopt a moralistic view of the treatment of children and a responsible view of the work of the caring professions.

In any case, I’ve tried for quite a few years with the help of little Treehorn and a remarkable Kiwi educator, Allan Alach, to try to help restore normal conditions for Aussie school children through the columns of The Treehorn Express. We didn’t do any good. Treehorn is still that vivid green colour, because no one with any wit, has noticed him.

The two superordinate forces [UBS, Murdoch] are just so enormously powerful and our decision-makers are so very easily persuaded and so very well controlled……

They do not allow ANY political party to discuss NAPLAN.  The party doors are closed to reasoned discourse.

The mainstream press and the ABC aren’t brave enough to investigate the history or worthiness of NAPLAN.  [Kids. You can rely on shock-jock Alan Jones for support, however. He’s just got going.]

Shaky state governments [e.g NSW] believe that, by adding to the ferocity of the NAPLAN notion by screwing around with a relationship to the HSC, something or other will be improve.  Fat chance.

OMG. The place has really gone crazy and the standard of the whole gamut of learnings at school is fading – not just the naplan subjects. Kids just don’t like school much…..for good reasons.

We could end all the anguish in our schooling system if primary and secondary principals’ associations flexed their ethical muscles and told the feds that their members will return to their professional code OR if ACSSO (Australian Council of State School Organsations)  suggested to their members that they say NO to ‘NAPLAN’ OR  more mums and dads at home, thinking seriously about their child’s future, would  refuse to allow their children to participate……. like the parents of those 337 out of 343 pupils at Kimberley College, Brisbane have done OR some political party members would just sit down and talk about the meaning of school.

We all know our test-crazed system  stinks, but who am I [with some aligned colleagues and friends ] to test the might of UBS, Rupert and Co. and tolerate sloppy politicising. We don’t make the slightest impression,  it seems. They’re too powerful. Little Treehorn looks like staying a vivid green colour for a long, long time. We live in an era when there is a serious disinterest in childhood.

I can’t stand it any more. I quit. Thanks Allan and friends. Bye.

Phil Cullen

Finally to those who don’t mind or don’t care how much NAPLAN is used to bash young children : “May the fleas of a thousand camels……”


The Liberals’ War on Learning

In the early days of his prime ministership,John Howard shared with some a private view about universities: don’t spend money on them, the people there don’t vote for us.

It is hardly novel to suggest that conservatives have always been troubled about the consequences of allowing the masses to be educated.

Ignorance advantages the hard right.

Book learning is a real danger for right wing politics. Numerous studies show that the more educated a person is – the more developed their analytical faculties – the less likely they are to vote for a party of the right. The uneducated vote right because they can easily be indoctrinated, scared by slogans and believe anything they are told. Not so those with any education. They easily see through political tricks and slogans. They use their advanced thinking skills and higher order learning. They also read much more widely on all issues before they form an opinion.

Conservative leaders are well aware of this, which is why they have historically sought, by one means or another, to limit the provision of education to the masses. They also are aware, though, that in a modern, knowledge-based economy, education is the key to growth. And so they face a dilemma: how to harness the brainpower of the masses without losing their political support.


Popular political wisdom holds that economic division led to the election of Donald Trump as United States president last year. Wrong, according to the analysis of America’s leading psephologist, Nate Silver.

He studied the county-by-county shifts in voting between the election of the rational progressive Barack Obama in 2012 and the populist right-winger Donald Trump in 2016. He found that in 48 of the 50 best-educated counties, more people voted for Hilary Clinton than had voted for Obama four years previously. Conversely, she got fewer votes in 47 of the 50 least-educated counties.

It was not economic disadvantage that drove them to move their votes to Trump; it was intellectual disadvantage. Education, not income, concluded Silver, was “the critical factor in predicting shifts in the vote between 2012 and 2016”.

The uneducated had their world view reflected back at them by Trump, and voted for it.

The same thing is happening  with Pauline Hanson.Those who vote for her are mainly the over 60’s and those who have not had much education.

The standout demographic characteristic of One Nation voters was their lack of education. The typical One Nation voter didn’t finish school, much less “set foot in a university”.

Following this week’s announcement that the government planned to save $2.8 billion through cuts to university funding and increases to student payments, Researcher McAllister was asked crunch the numbers again, this time not on the voting patterns of the uneducated, but of the tertiary educated.

Sure enough, they showed that the more education people received, the more progressive their politics became. These were thinking people who did not take up what was served to them without questioning it.

At the 2016 election, the Liberal and National parties got 39.2 per cent of the vote overall, but less – 38.5 per cent – among those who held bachelor’s degrees, and less again – 36.1 per cent – among those with postgraduate qualifications.

The big beneficiaries of the educated vote, however, were the Greens. Some 13.2 per cent of those with an undergraduate degree and 16.1 per cent of those with postgraduate qualifications voted for them.

“The total Green vote was just under 10 per cent, so they’re getting about half as many again among the tertiary-educated,” McAllister says.

Those figures include voters of all ages. When one refines the data further, to look at younger voters, the progressive skew is far more dramatic.

For those under 30 with bachelor’s degrees, just 22.6 per cent preferred the Coalition, compared with 28 per cent for the Greens and 39.8 per cent for Labor.

More startling yet is the voting pattern of those in that age group with postgraduate degrees. In that cohort, the Greens were by far the preferred party. Almost 40 per cent of people – 39.8, to be precise – voted for them. Labor got 31.5 per cent and the Coalition parties a miserable 22.2.

No doubt some of these people will change their votes as they get older and richer. Nonetheless, the trend is ominous for conservatives.

No wonder the political right is concerned about the consequences of having an informed and educated electorate, and that many Liberals yearn for a dumbed-down society.

In May 2013 the then-opinion editor for The Australian newspaper, Nick Cater, launched his book The Lucky Culture at a Melbourne function sponsored by the Institute of Public Affairs, the hard right-wing think tank with great influence in conservative political circles.

The biggest response to Cater’s speech came when he noted that the number of people with university educations was climbing ever upward in Australia. The IPA crowd booed loudly. Those boos tell the truth: underlying it is the desire to restrict education to a wealthy and conservative elite.

Indeed, the IPA’s executive director, John Roskam, a former senior adviser to John Howard’s hard-right education minister David Kemp, also an IPA alumnus, argued in a piece for Fairfax in 2006 thatstudents who did not qualify on merit for a university place should be able to buy their way in.

He advocated full deregulation of fees, writing: “The fact that some students might have their fees paid for by their wealthy parents while others will be forced to take out a loan is irrelevant.” How cruel is this argument?

The Howard government was notable for its attacks on the standards of public schooling as well as universities. It responded by vastly increasing the funds allocated to elite private schools that their sons and daughters attended. Under the Kemp–Howard funding model, the money allocated to private schools increased six times as much as that for public schools between 1999 and 2006.

Allocating more school resources to kids who already have the advantages of well-educated, supportive, well-off parents is like providing food aid to the well fed. It’s superfluous. Meanwhile, disadvantaged kids, increasingly concentrated in disadvantaged schools, are left intellectually hungry.

Coincident with Howard’s funding changes, Australia began to slide down the global rankings for school education. Why? Because most of the funding was going to the rich private schools. A comprehensive OECD survey of 76 countries in late 2015 ranked Australia 14th, behind places such as Poland, Estonia and Vietnam.

The top Australian school students, both public and private, compare well with the best internationally, but the gap between them and those at the bottom of the educational heap has widened to be among the biggest in the developed world.

GONSKI:- Abbott opposition’s response to Gonski was deceptive. He was deeply suspicious of it from the start as he was the NBN. First the Liberals opposed it, and encouraged conservative state leaders not to sign up. Then, just before the 2013 election, Abbott declared the Coalition to be “on a unity ticket” with Labor on school funding. Immediately after winning, he abandoned the unity ticket and committed to drastically reduced funding. His cuts represented about $29 billion less according to the government’s own figures.

The first budget under Abbott and his treasurer, Joe Hockey, also proposed a 20 per cent cut to base funding for universities.

The government could not get its changes through the senate, despite many tweaks, threats and finessing of the policy by then education minister Christopher Pyne – the famous “fixer”. And so we have had several years of funding uncertainty for both school and tertiary education.

The bottom line associated with Gonski 2.0 is that the government is shifting some $2.8 billion of the cost of higher education from its budget and onto universities and ultimately to students and their poorer parents.

How you feel about this cost-shifting depends on whether you consider a university education to be a private or a public benefit. Deloitte Access Economics valued the contribution of tertiary education to Australia’s productive capacity at $140 billion in 2014, of which $24 billion accrued to the tertiary educated themselves. The “spillover effects”, it found, meant that for every one percentage point increase in the number of workers with a university degree, the wages of those without tertiary qualifications rose 1.6 to 1.9 per cent. That is good for families and good for the country.

So much for the claim by conservatives that it is not cause for concern if university fees deter people from studying. It is a concern not only in terms of equity, but in terms of the broader economy.

Now to schools. Labor went to the last election promising what it called “full Gonski”: $30 billion more in extra funding than the Coalition.

Turnbull’s announcement this week cuts that differential to $22 billion. But the new policy does at least make a start on tackling the huge elephant in the room – reducing the taxpayer subsidy to overfunded non-government schools. If Labor did this there would be cries of “class warfare”.

Education Minister Birmingham announced that initially just 24 of the richest schools would see “negative growth”. But he also confirmed that 353 other schools would also lose money-many of them Catholic schools. The protests of the non-government schools were predictable. They have always argued that they should get government money because they take pressure off public schools. It’s akin to arguing that if you drive your Mercedes-Benz to work instead of taking the bus, you should be subsidised for taking the pressure off public transport.

The Australian system of giving public money to private schools is unique in the developed world. Everywhere else, if you choose an elite education for your child, you pay for that choice.

The Greens, who oppose funding for private schools, welcomed the change and offered tentative support – in advance of consideration of its detail – for the government’s funding package, on the pragmatic basis that it was better than what was previously proposed. Weren’t we always told the Liberals would never do deals with the Greens? Well they have on many occasions. The backpacker tax,changes to superannuation which have cost pensioners thousands of dollars.

The Labor deputy leader and shadow education minister, Tanya Plibersek, argued that by directing attention to the changes in funding for elite schools, the government was playing a “smoke and mirrors, pea and thimble” trick. “I mean, truly, we’re talking about a couple of dozen schools, out of more than 9000 across Australia, and some pretence that this will actually make a difference to $22 billion of cuts across the system,” she said. “It’s laughable, it’s absolutely laughable.” She has a good point.

We’ll see if the conservatives in the government think it laughable. Tony Abbott already has warned it will be “pretty vigorously debated in the party room next week”. He further said that it was “almost an article of faith in our party since Menzies that we were the party that promoted parental choice in education”. Which, of course, is code for supporting funding for elite education.The education of the sons and daughters of the very rich by poorly paid taxpayers.

Aislinn Stein-Magee, president of the Student Representative Council at the University of New South Wales, sees the funding cuts as part of a broader budgetary attack on low-income earners and young people. She cites the cuts to penalty rates, the tightening of Centrelink compliance and the robo-debt fiasco as other examples.

Faced with a budgetary problem on the one hand and the electoral problem on the other, the easiest targets are people who are less inclined to vote conservative anyway. Ian McAllister’s election analysis supports that view. He notes there were “big age effects” at the last election, “driven by older people moving away from the Coalition because of the superannuation changes and pension cuts” passed by the Liberals and the Greens.

The government cannot afford to further alienate its most reliable supporters, wealthy and over the age of 55. So it’s looking down the age and income scale for cuts.

The trouble is about 50 per cent of people under the age of 40 now have tertiary qualifications. They value education and it’s very dangerous to alienate them. McAllister notes that it is now Labor Party policy to reduce the voting age to 16. “If Labor gets in at the next election, you’ll suddenly have a much bigger cohort of people aged 16 to 22 or 23, all in school education or higher education,” he says. “That’s a much bigger education voting bloc than you have now. And much more inclined to vote for leftish parties.” Book learning is a real danger to conservative politics.


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.


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.

Phil Cullen, 41 Cominan Avenue   Banora Point  Australia 2486   07 5524 6443  9397865999 
Refer:  Who’s Who in Australia



 Neo-Liberalism in Control

 Neo-liberalism is rooted in the fiction that those people with the most money know more about the control of society than anybody else does. Their views on the control of society’s political, religious, education  and economical welfare are superior to all other views because they are rich and successful in businesses that exist for profit.  Disciples of renewed Adam Smith economics, big business should be free to exploit their particular interests with minimal restrictions.  Their superior position on the social ladder means that they know more than most; and governments should do as they are told.

A kind of laissez-faire conservatism, its philosophy controls the western world .

 Such notions as ‘liberal’ are meant to imply that there is no need to control what the rich want to do.  The word has no philosophical nor political base that applies to humanitarianism. Put simply, it applauds the antics of  ‘wild’ society  routines and uses the ‘domesticated’ (Carlson).  Humans can be purchased; and once the status quo, according to Hayek and Friedman, has been established, there should be no questioning.  Free-traders, their exploits should be allowed to prevail in all matters.  Donald Trump and Clive Palmer and Rupert Murdoch know what they are doing no matter what they do.

 Neo-liberals have firm beliefs in privatisation.  Governments run some services with a humanitarian core that can be better used for profit.  Schools and hospitals, tollways, electricity, banking, railroads are some examples. Rules and regulations that impede profit-making in these sectors should be abolished. The counterfeit aura of sharing the wealth is their fanciful catch-cry; but the poor ’… still have children’.

The market rules.  They prefer situations where the poor find their own solutions to their health and educations. If they don’t survive, they are lazy or illiterate or both……or controlled by unions.

 Prime amongst their exertion of management techniques is their use of their power to reward and punish. They can easily buy advice and hard labour and lobbyists and politicians and political parties.  They can purchase the best in each of these fields.  They pay well and they usually get what they want. When they overstep the mark they flop badly and leave a mess. Clive seems to have; and Donald is about to.

 Unfortunately, such people drain the humanity out of social enterprises like schooling and medical services, even politicking.  The concept of Care has lost its meaning in too many  institutions where neo-liberals now have control. Sadly, they have been able to round-up the more gullible in various caring professions  and use them as disciples. Witness the school testing industry. It has removed the humanity from schooling and has seriously flopped in its own intentions. Never mind. Neo-liberalism and its patron saint Rupert will prevail and  will force his will on us, on our media and our parliamentary representatives. Neo-libs will continue to treat our children, in particular, as expendable items, whose time as children does not last long and can be used for purposes other than intended while they are institutionalised, unable to exert the free will that they share with their parents. …unable to learn with any open gusto.

 As Mexican authors Martinez and Garcia  conclude: “The beneficiaries of neo-liberalism are a minority of the world’s people. For the vast majority it brings even more suffering than before.”

 We are conscious of the control of neo-liberalism on the politics of the Labor and Coalition political parties in Australia. Its efforts in the education services have been monumental failures, but they will persist. Onwards ever onwards to privatisation!  Unions and professional organisations are powerless. First step, Independent Public [aka Charter] Schools and the loan of groups of needy schools to private enterprise; the continuance of coercive management and kleinism ( test-frightened children) ; the denigration of the work force and the disrespect for  curriculum standards; the playing of managerialist ‘square pegs’ games.  Humanity has no real meaning. 

 Neo-liberalism is here to stay…..busily exploiting educational and other services.

 Social consciousness is a forgotten ethic.

Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  0              

Forward to fundamentals. For politicians who read about the important issues.

 Treehorn says ‘hello’…….

 “An example of crass political stupidity: If the Labor Party had thoroughly examined the impact of kleinism and NAPLAN, which are based clearly on ‘motivation by fear’, and had made ‘Ban NAPLAN’ part of its election commitments, it would have increased its voting numbers by tens of thousands.  There are heaps of teachers and concerned parents out there who would have willingly subscribed to the catch cry if it had been emphasised.  The evil of NAPLAN has been clearly validated and the ALP would have had a push-over. Even fair-dinkum liberal Libs. would have voted Labor.   The same admonition applies to all political parties.  Political parties can’t count.”

 Forward to Fundamentals

Silly Labor Party

 It’s all over. The coalition has a majority of one.  Chaos for another few years. We’ll fiddle around with gay marriages, superannuation, immigration, equal pay, trade unions, banking, pensions without addressing fundamental and vital issues concerning the direction of Australia’s economic and social future. I suspect that our PM would like to address more worthy  and more critical issues than those currently on the agenda, but is not allowed to do so.

 Australia seems to have about 100 years before we are completely embedded in an Asian culture of some sort and our children’s children and theirs will be part of it. Historian Ian Morris: “WHY THE WEST RULES – FOR NOW “  (Profile Books, 2011)  gives ‘us’ until 2103 [Don’t ask]. How well will our children’s children survive?  Should we care?  Nah…

 Well, at present we don’t  care much about the near future or our children’s part in it;  anything beyond next year is beyond us. Our education system, with its ‘back to drastics’ whimpishness,  under the control of an endless number of politicians, experts and media commentators,  who, in turn do what our father who art in New York wants them to do,  is in a mess, but we do nothing about it.

 Our system is a mish-mash-mess. Is the education of our children important or isn’t it?   Why do we pussy-foot around its importance?

 All the smarty pants [SMH Editorial 29/08/16] blame the quality of the teaching force for the decline in scores on PISA tests. That seems to be about the highest level of ‘intelligent’ public comment .  While all professions can be cited for improvement, Australians tend to pick on the teaching profession  because teachers give in so easily.  They’re easy meat.  If one travels overseas, however, one finds that there is nobody as efficient in the classroom as an Aussie teacher.  They are generally regarded as the best in the world. Where did our fellow whimps and know-it-alls get the idea that teacher quality is poor and is the cause of diminishing scores in NAPLAN tests, upon which nincompoops rely for value judgements of school performance? Cowardly Aussie commentators don’t bother to examine the subversive nature of the tests themselves  while such soft uncomplaining targets are available. Too easy.

 An example of crass political stupidity: If the Labor Party had thoroughly examined the impact of kleinism and NAPLAN,  both based clearly on ‘motivation by fear’, and had subsequently made ‘Ban NAPLAN’ part of its election commitments – for known reasons – it would have increased its voting numbers by tens of thousands.  There are heaps of teachers and knowledgeable concerned parents out there who would have willingly subscribed to the catch cry  ‘Ban NAPLAN’ if it had been emphasised. Even liberal Liberals would have voted Labor.  The evil has been clearly validated and the ALP would have had a push-over. The same admonition applies to all political parties.  They don’t seem to give a stuff about kids.  And….Political parties, certainly the ALP,  just can’t count.

 These comments do not take account of the financial cost. No politician is brave enough to reveal how much the administration of NAPLAN testing costs. It is said to exceed $20 million. $30 million has been mentioned. More like a billion dollars when every aspect of kleinism in taken into account.  What is the cost of the tablets being provided just to make the test results get to testucrats asap, so that the data can be compiled? What is the cost of waste?

 NAPLAN is a complete waste of money and time[“Millions of dollars and trillions of hours.” according to Brady]. You can bet London to a brick that the savings that can be made by its abolition will not be one of the measures for our famous omnibus. But then the money can be transferred internally to useful activities that Education Departments perform. Let’s hope so.

 Let’s guesstimate  that NAPLAN  IS costing millions and millions of dollars. Over a billion!  Probably. Can Australia afford to chuck so much down the drain for such universally known, worthless enterprises?  Does Mr. Morrison like NAPLAN so much?  Wouldn’t Mr. Pyne prefer to spend the money on another submarine that will prevent an anticipated armed invasion [from New Zealand? ] at some time during the remainder of this century?  Do our thinking caps fit?

 Don’t these people and their colleagues want the best for their children?

 Which all begs the question……Where are our priorities?  Can we afford to be so inane…insane…crude….plain stupid?   Where are we going?  How did Finland and other places develop a philosophy of achievement and joy in learning ?  Why can’t we?  It’s not what they do now, but how did they arrange it? Why don’t we have a clear vision?  Why don’t our kids love learning for what it is?  Why do we keep just chucking money around on the worthless?  With a bit of Aussie gumption, we can do better than any other country on the planet.

 Bugger it. Nobody’s interested.

Phil Cullen 07 5524 6443  0407865999

Cowards’ Way

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

The Cowardly Way

The NAPLAN way

Read it more carefully this time and give it to as many Mums and Dads as you possibly can

A few straight words for the spineless….

If some vile creature made its way into our classrooms, and threatened the 7 year-olds like these little fellas represented above, so much, that they cried and felt cowered and helpless, we’d either destroy the menace or contact the police.

If we welcomed such a monstrosity in human form into our classroom, physically  even helped  ‘it’ by arranging the scene for intense discomfort and distress for very young children;  and then told the children  that  this culmination of the heavy-duty test-prep of the previous months, was important, and their deep-seated emotional wounds didn’t matter; and that they should just have to shut up and do as they were told  in order to supply rickety information required by our Government …and if we, as ethical professionals, didn’t do anything about it, then it is we who are the ones who should be assaulted or reported to the police.  Right?

Let’s be blunt……

NAPLAN is a dirty, cowardly form of child abuse. It leaves deep permanent scars on almost every child’s mental condition  that will certainly last a lifetime.   Can’t you see this, you useless excuses for educators, you twisted testucrats?   You and your colourless organisations that won’t even say ‘boo’ or raise your voice for kids,  should not be allowed anywhere near a school. You adopt an arrogant,  contemptuous, ego-centric colonial attitude to parents, teachers and children.  The crippled emotions, depression and damaged social attitudes that results from all NAPLAN tests, can and probably will have very serious consequences for every Australian child in later life……all because some cowardly clot like you meek, anti-educational data-gathers  for your greedy bosses, treats kids badly.

That’s what we do to children in schools in Australia.  The medical profession does not do this.  It stands up for kids……like the scalded child whom they wouldn’t release from hospital in Brisbane because a return to its hostile environment on Manus Island would not be good for him. Only one child , but the significance of the medical profession’s stance is profound. It cares for kids.

As proud members of what was once the greatest of the caring professions, we teachers should care ten times as much.  Teaching in a real democracy is the noblest of professions. Not in ours.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every single teacher was so emotionally concerned about professional ethics that it adopted a real caring attitude to children….and protected them from further harm ? We can’t expect teachers to be lone heroes in such a  crazy, chaotic climate.  What do their so-called professional associations do? What do we do to alert our associations?

At the present time, our silence has helped to turn every single school in Australia into a hostile environment for kids for three days every May. The school becomes a torture chamber.  The atmosphere of the school is held in ‘CAUTION’ – SERIOUS STUFF IS GOING ON mode.  It is thoroughly shameful behaviour, worthy of three days incarceration in the same place for every one who has anything to do with testing procedures…..from the postman, principal, teacher, janitor and certainly, the minister.  They set up a ghastly atmosphere, sit kids down in complete silence and make them mark useless dots on scraps of paper for three long days. Talk about ‘hostile environments’ ! Talk about ‘child abuse’ !

Why don’t we consider the plight of our young-uns with the same kind of compassion that medicos do?  What’s wrong with us?


Let’s imagine the scene in a large Australian school on May 10, 2016 and the compulsory actions of teachers.  The children are seated at desks  in a very clinical, threatening environment  – a dull school hall, with bare walls. No talk. No singing or whistling. No smiling. No winking. The teacher is not allowed to respond to any appeal for help.[ Have you ever looked into the eyes of a child, pleading only with their eyes to their loving teacher for help;  and then, be coldly ignored? Not easy on the teacher or the pupil. ]  The atmosphere is tense. There’s always tears [some from the teachers],  but the invigilators, those guards hired to watch out for non-approved behaviour, and the supervising teachers dare not relax nor offer comfort to those obviously distressed. All eichmannized supervisors have been issued their instructions!   Heil!  Try to imagine it. Mum and Dad. It’s your child there.   May 10 is the first of three frightening days. Pretend you are 7 or 8 years old in Year 3.   You can cut the tense, anxious, hostile, nasty atmosphere in the test-room with a knife.  Parents can stop this shocking nonsense, by the way, just by ‘opting out’.  Allow your child to go to schools for some learning arranged by real teachers instead.

Can really ethical teachers apply not to indulge in NAPLAN test-preparation as a professionally conscience objection? What would happen if they did?

Those sensitive children, many of whom have just turned seven years-of-age and who have already been damaged emotionally  during the test-prep period and who cry or vomit or both or are obviously distressed must not be treated humanely, according to test instructions.  Verboten!

test_cartoonIt’s a nasty business and disgustingly abusive to children.  Yes  Three days of intense child abuse. Shouldn’t the police be contacted?

The treatment being inflicted on the child is cruel and somebody has to take responsibility.

The evil geniuses behind the maintenance of this kind of cruelty, the politicians and their political parties, not only allow this kind of cruelty to be used in their schools, they encourage it. Ask any politician or political party if they approve of NAPLAN and if they will discuss their attitude openly. Usually, they have nothing to say. They’ve been ‘spoken to’.  They’ll say that they have heard some teachers complain about it; and then dismiss it. These jelly-spined, depraved ‘representatives’  play their nasty games at children’s expense and they know that such totalitarian-based abuse is happening around the country. They won’t do anything. Cowards.

I’m looking for some human being to vote for, aren’t you?

You cannot find a political party at the present time who will even comment on NAPLAN.  Brutish dingoes. May every politician of the present era who keeps quiet about this scandal,  lose his or her seat and perks…..unless they reform and advocate NAPLAN banning. It’s evil and inhumane but they just don’t seem to  give a damn. It’s much worse than the cane or the strap, familiar to many politicians who must have enjoyed it when they were at school.

This dirty, rotten, destructive, inhumane testing device has to go. The longer it continues, the more it threatens Australia’s future. Politicians! For children’s sake, wake up!

We can lead the world of education in almost everything, if you will only wake up to yourselves.

While parents who allow their children to endure this kind of callous torture, do not speak out or withdraw their children in larger numbers, they have an excuse.  The cowardly government does not want parents to know that they can say ‘NO’, so they have passed the buck to school principals who are not allowed to release publically  this information and are discouraged from discussing issues of choice or issues concerning NAPLAN in the open. Their philosophical leader is known as Adolf Eichmann. Docile, compliant Principals will always do as they are told and shut up .  There are a few beauties, but they are very lonely.

THIS PRINCIPAL WANTS TO SPEAK OUT.  His Union and his ‘professional’ organisation provided the tape and tied his hands.

Our pollies can  play really dirty with our children’s lives…..They feel confident because almost  all NAPLAN operatives in leadership positions  are so docile and compliant.

Try calling in on your local politician’s office and ask for a copy of their party’s view of NAPLAN.  I have. Two. Labor & National at Tweed Heads. No politicians, only workers. Nice people. No opinion.  No decent policy nor opinion on classroom learning. Bare. Just the usual claptrap, that ignores any serious issues, adorns the walls.

Try asking your candidate why children are forced to go to school.  Why do we compel attendance? If they included the word ‘learning’ in their response, then ask what NAPLAN has to do with anything related to learning.

You will have noticed that Julia has re-entered the cess-pit with indulgent congratulations to herself and News_of_day_10_480wher Klein system.

From deep beneath the bozone layer, which, defined by the Washington Post Mensa Invitational as

“The thickness that prevents wisdom from penetrating the intellect of those people who don’t know what they are talking about”, she even speaks NAPLANese!  Jump, teachers,  as you were forced to do in 2008. She is about to say or make sure that her     co-neo-con Simon Birmingham says it for her! JUMP TEACHERS! On command! She’s been our cloistered ‘senior fellow’ of NAPLAN since she left the mess to us, hiding somewhere, ready to pounce.  She will have noticed how we have slipped down to 14th place on the PISA totem pole, thanks to her and her Yankee cobber. She thought that ‘fear’ would work on kids and teachers and we’d be back again to a top-five spot by 25 through its intense use. Thanks to her cock-eyed ideas, we are now in the backward class, heading for the bottom ‘5 by 25’

We can still become the greatest ever if our politicians wake up this year.

First steps first. NAPLAN OUT.


 Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486              
07 5524 6443          0407865999

proud to crusade for kids

looking for a party to vote for

NAPLAN and political parties


Aussie Friends of Treehorn

encouraging adults to think sensitively, to care for kids, to make wise choices….with their hearts in gear, their pens active and their votes available .

NAPLAN has nothing to do with learning. It has nothing to do with teaching. It has nothing to do with real schooling. It has to do with finding fault and making money. It’s an ineffective, unreliable and invalid device that makes the most of young children’s vulnerability and it deliberately threatens their emotional and cognitive development.


NAPLAN and Political Parties

The ALP played its cards first. Bad move, Bill.  Your statements showed your party’s enormous disregard  for what goes on in Australian schools. You didn’t mention NAPLAN at all…don’t give a fig? [Did ACARA prepare your paper?]

Your twin neo-con party, the Liberals, followed the Gillard line and all that it has to say about NAPLAN is that the results should be returned to schools within 12 weeks, instead of the present four or five months….as if they were of some use.

The Greens are usually much more realistic, even though they don’t dare to make esoteric statements  They like starting inquiries so that the esoters can fight each other and schooling  never gets anywhere. Their only comment on NAPLAN is that the tests should be conducted at the start of the year. Quite profound for a party that stands a real chance.

If an Independent says that he or she will get rid of NAPLAN, he or she is on a winner. No doubt. They’ll get a job. Mums and dads will make sure.

So……. if the parents of this great [Education] country want some betterment to the system […since NAPLAN controls it], we must

Ignore the effects of NAPLAN on schooling [ALP]

Run the tests at the beginning of the year. [Green]

Get the [useless] results back within 12 weeks. [LNP]

That’s school improvement 2016 style!!

That’s real thinking about how well our kids are treated at school!!

That’s what happens when politics rules a schooling system!!!

Quality teachers will agree with the definition of a test score as provided by Professor John Settledge:

A NAPLAN result is an inadequate judgement by a biased and variable data-miner, of the extent to which an undefined level of mastery of unknown proportions of an inadequate amount of material has been completed on time. It is operated by a New Mafia, more engrossed in the accumulation of dollars and cents than in concern for child welfare and progress. Its Frankenstein outcomes, the creation of a monster that destroys everything around it, has no boundaries within the curriculum. 

It is the product of a cane-toad ‘intellectual’ persuasion,  Just as scientists were told that some Hawaiian toads ate beetles, without reference to any other sidelights [such as how high they could jump or how high beetles could fly or what else toads ate.], NAPLAN  was introduced because some bankers thought that fear was the best way to make young children learn. No further thought. Politicians then took over.

Now. Our kids need help. Politicians can get rid of the menace. Ironic, isn’t it?

Let’s see how fair dinkum they are when they talk about kids and NAPLAN during the electioneering.

Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  07 5524 6443              
07 5524 6443          0407865999