Teacher-Bashing 101

The Treehorn Express


Treehorn story? http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/print.asp?article=11697

No fair-dinkum teacher likes NAPLAN.

It breaches all ethical rules.

In a school of repute there is no fan;

There’s learning without measurement tools.

Theme song:  ‘Care for Kids’

Parents: Had a good yarn with your child’s teacher about the recent NAPLAN tests?

Principals: Take a peek at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethical_code

Politicians : Do you really think that the outcomes of NAPLAN testing is worth spending $100million?

 Pupils: Just hang in there. Your generation is dead-set unlucky to have to go to school while this test-craze persists. Maybe…soon?


Have you ordered your bundles of “Say NO to NAPLAN’ stickers yet?  Order in bundles of ten.  $1 each plus postage. Quick delivery.

Contact l.m.wilson@bigpond.com while they are still available.


Teacher Bashing 101

Testing!  Testing!  Testing!

Question 1. Correct the grammar in this sentence and improve its presentation.

“But we acknowledge and aim to promptly correct errors when they occur.”

This sentence has appeared for well over a decade on the most-read page of an Australian newspaper. It follows the paper’s credo mission-statement:  “[This newspaper] is committed to accurate, fair and fearless publication of news and commentary.” Yeah.



Today – Queen’s Birthday, June 11, 2012- the front page of the same newspaper’s headlines read, in very, very large font:

Student teachers struggle on basic exam questions


The first two pages contained descriptions of the administration of the test { described, when the proposal was first made to run the tests [June 2009,] as “…a dill-pot idea of major proportions.” } with profound comments on the results. The sample of the test on Page 2 was a giggle. The student teachers must have had fun completing the device; and who wouldn’t like to have been a fly-on-the-wall during their post-test comments?  Whoever made up the tests?

The idea to ‘test’ neophytes came from an ACER measurer who believes that the tests demonstrate whether teachers possess “…the knowledge to teach literacy and numeracy that we [?] require in our schools.” Yeah.

The reporting of the results follows usual ACER protocols by highlighting the levels of failure. This gives unkind editors and journos the chance to emphasise FAILURE. Indeed, the first sentence of this article contained  a peculiar statistic :

”Almost half of aspiring teachers failed parts of a landmark test featuring literacy and numeracy questions that Year 7 students should be able to answer.”  YEAH. ‘Landmark’, alright.

The tests cost over $2million to develop and have now “…been shelved under cost-saving measures.” Shame. No more laughs.

Could this criterion for ‘shelving’ be applied to NAPLAN tests?

Forthcoming expected official and unofficial comments from professional organisations and union groups should prove lively reading.


One’s thoughts went back to the time when the same newspaper nailed a soft-hearted principal who allowed extra time for his pupils to complete the 2010 NAPLAN tests….the last 3 questions, actually. The paper said that the community was in a furore as a result. He was named as a cheat in large font on the front paper, and his home privacy was invaded with a photo of him inside his front door also on the front page. [“Yesterday, he shut his door before any questions could be asked.”]  The article was repeated in other newspapers within the chain.

The lengthy editorial of this issue on October 1, 2010 was headed,”Parents deserve the facts about tests cheating.”  You betcha, editor. The list of 2012 schools and the amount of school time they used to practise for the tests as well as the list of subjects that had to give school time for the practice session, should provide great reading when the time comes.  That’s big-time cheating. Yeah. Yeah.


Rupert, in his quest to privatize or charterize all schools within his empire, will be pleased with such journalistic efforts. It makes things easier to flog his testucating systems.


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41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443



Cheating or Practising

 The Treehorn Express

Treehorn story? http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/print.asp?article=11697

The Treehorn Express Theme song: ‘Care for Kids’


How to make a mockery of Australian Schooling

The full-school staff meeting on Monday, 2 March was about practising. With great emotion, the principal of a private school instructed the teachers of Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 to practise for the NAPLAN tests as often as possible. When asked about commitments to music and the like, she replied that normal time-table allocations between subjects were  not applicable until after the tests in May. Homework was to form part of the practice and any complaints from parents should be referred to her. The teachers could use the practice books as much as they liked. The message to the school staff [according to my gym friend who grinned slyly as she told me that she taught Year 1] was : “Go for it. Our reputation is at stake. Practise! Practise! Practise!”

This is an Australian schooling exemplar at its operational best… But….Hold it…

That’s cheating, isn’t it? After all, grand conclusions are reached and headlines scream about the results with no reference to school time-table allocations.  It seems so obvious that NAPLAN blanket testing has nothing whatsoever to do with learning; and its encouragement of practice-style pedagogy prostitutes teaching as well.

ACARA is happy with its internal methods of establishing validity and reliability, with its use of common scales and its ways of equating the tests. It would be happier, of course, if all the developing robot-style pupil-contestants had started off the school year on an equal footing, possessing the same levels of knowledge and, then, by May, the tests would measure up to its idealistic judgements. It could point and wave fingers with reliability at the miscreant teachers who did not follow the prescribed mathematics and grammar test-preparation as well as ordered; risking lower scores. That’s what it is all about. Scores and accusations.

Developmental syllabuses usually intertwine to help the whole child grow, and it would be nice for parents to feel  that their children were progressing favourably on the whole school curriculum. They can do this simply by talking with the child’s teacher. If the parents know of the year-by-year  goals in their child’s music, art, health, social accomplishments and other school-based learnings, they can discuss things with their child in the presence of their teacher as often as they wish. The syllabus goals are usually available in understandable terms on school documents.

Schools syllabuses are written interpretations of what is expected at a particular age level, compiled by or supplied to the school with, perhaps, suggestions from its main authority, filtered from an overall suitable curriculum. A syllabus states the necessary action without defining the reasons for the action. The curriculum itself outlines guiding principles for teaching something to somebody. It explains the reasons for action without defining the action. A useful curriculum suggests seamless development and integration of subject matter as much as possible, reflecting children’s experience in ordinary life situations.

Parents will want to get opinions as to  their child’s knowledge of age-level knowables [the syllabus if you like]: what the world looks like and what we do for it; with knowing the story of our great country and its part in world development; with their child’s achievements and level of love for mathematics as well as in their growth and interest in the challenges of our changing language. Talking to a teacher about how well one’s child is progressing in all aspects of the required curriculum is easy to arrange and is more reliable and valid than any form of written test, even school-based ones. If the  child’s self-evaluation of progress [the only meaningful kind of evaluation] is shared with those that he/she respects, there is no reason for expensive and useless blanket testing.

NAPLAN testing is totally unnecessary. It dismisses self and shared evaluation which is directly linked to the learning task at hand. It has a explicit barren view of the teaching-learning act; of pupilling; of learnacy. It should cease forthwith.

This would save taxpayers millions and millions of dollars. If any parent wants to compare their school with another, try the sports field, not the classroom. The scores there are just as reliable as NAPLAN scores.

In our politically inspired, dumbed-down mockery-up of schooling, Australia follows the New York penchant for limiting child growth by measuring, measuring, measuring. Then, if the scores don’t measure-up, the teachers are VAMed.  It’s a New York state of mind, bordering on mafia-style control of operations. A numbers racket, it is a schooling system run by numbers and scores. It leads to intense and unworthy kinds of competition, wide scale cheating, coercing of  politicians into thoughtless cooperation; and it lines the pockets of the publishing technocratic godfathers with big money. Big, big money. Our kids are used as robots. Our teachers are used as procurers and pimps.

NAPLAN has its origins in greed for the mighty dollar through the demoralisation and humiliation of the teaching profession. Wide scale NY-style blanket testing regimes have never had any other purpose.

Time Allocations

Practising is not teaching. It is big-time cheating when the original schooling concept of teaching a full curriculum to all, using pedagogically useful syllabuses and time allocations based on society’s view of their importance, is fiddled with for nefarious reasons….publishers profits and political bloody-mindedness. A balanced time table, related to child growth and development is a critical schooling issue.

If present-day Australian schools are compliant with the dictates of their curriculum masters, they should follow the suggestions of the commanding body ACARA with its time allocations to subjects;  and they should  tolerate no hanky-panky with the times that ACARA itself has suggested. See : http://www.qsa.qld.edu.au/downloads/early_middle/ac_time_alloc_entitlement_middle/ac_time_alloc_entitlement_report.pdf or google ‘naplan time allocations’. This means that all schools, public and private, will obey and not spend any more time in Year 5  than 4 hours per week [less than 1 hour per day] on Maths and 5 hours on English [ 1 hour per day] between now and the NAPLAN tests in May. Yep.  Pigs will fly.

A Gillard demand in April 2011 for schools to limit the time stolen from non-testable subjects to 10 hours in the pre-test swot period, was comprehensively ignored, so the issue was back-seated.  With tongue in cheek, ACARA then said, “The best preparation schools can provide for students is teaching the curriculum, as the tests reflect core elements of the curricula of all state and territories.” Whatever.

Then states supported and encouraged the chaotic testing program by printing practice tests online themselves! Try http://education.qld.gov.au/mastersreview/naplan-materials.html or http://www.det.nt.gov.au/parents-community/assessment-reporting/nap/schools/tests  There ought to be a special word for this kind of hypocrisy.  Yes. And….ACARA  had the temerity to print a list of those who ‘cheated’ the tests – like the person who left some grammar charts on the wall during the test – and left the states to punish them. That school was named and shamed in public, the person’s reputation shot.  ‘Ye Gods and little fishes’ has found its origin.

States now cheat on other states by encouraging schools to practise harder and longer then they do.  Have they taken a hypocritic oath or something? They don’t need to publish their own swot sheets. Test practice itself is becoming a big business.  Check these out…

http://pascalpress.com.au/Basic-Skills-Tests-renamed-NAPLAN-Tests-s/415.htm   There is a connection here with Kalaci Press and Kip McGrath.

http://www.Naplantest.com.au  Despite its name, its a private company.

http://studyladder.com.au/learn/naplan-practice-tests  Widely used, it contains practice tests.

http://www.qsa.qld.edu.au/10523.html   Go direct to practice tests, supplied by Q’ld government.

http://www.coroneos.com.au/catalog/756 A Sydney firm


http://www.naplanpracticetests.com.au “lumosity improves your brain health and performance.”



For so many publishing businesses to be peddling practice tests and exploiting the cheating racket, there has to be a big enough market.

Isn’t our political system exploiting our children for commercial purposes?



1. Open own facebook page.       2. Tick : “Keep me logged in.”       3. Open http://www.facebook.com/tree.horn1     {Apologies for previous confusion. }       Have your say.

If you have 4 minutes 17 seconds to spare from your busy schedule, click on the theme song “Care for Kids” above, relax and ‘take in’ the words. Meditate on the plight of today’s generation of Aussie kids.

OtherTreehorns ? :   Check Recent Posts and Archives in the sidebar.

Maintained by outstanding NZ educator, Allan Alach

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443



The NAPLAN Farce

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn story?  http://primaryschooling.net?page_id=1924

Theme song: ‘Care for Kids’

The Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australia.  Our recently introduced Australian schooling system is based on one introduced to a New York school district by a lawyer, Joel Klein. in 2002 and copied by Australia’s Ms. Gillard in 2009, without consultation or examination. Mr Klein now heads the Murdoch test-publishing company worth billions. Australian test-freaks are amongst his disciples. Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which separates ‘haves’ from ‘have nots’ and opens the door for mega-bank-rolling by known curriculum vandals for control of school-based learning. That’s why it exists.

It disrespects school pupils, devalues teachers’ professionalism, forces States to prescribe school texts and teaching strategies, threatens Australia’s future and rivals the Perth Mint as a money source for the top end of town. Why does Australia support it? Weird.

Come on folks. Get off the fence.Say something to somebody who might be able to rescue our kids.

Parents can stop the malignant practice by telling their school that they don’t want their children to contest NAPLAN.

Politicians can stop it if a few fair-dinkum Aussie ones stand up for Aussie kids in their Parliamentary Party Room.

Principals can stop it by refusing to have their professional ethics battered any more.

Teachers can stop it by saying ‘enough is enough’. We like our kids.

We should not have to wait for the next election when un-Australian supporters of NAPLAN will be turfed out.

________But…Little Treehorn and his cobbers reckon that “Adults just don’t care about school kids.” ________

________TRUE?  HARD TO BELIEVE.   WHY IS IT SO?________

The NAPLAN Farce

Today’s Courier Mail [18 Jan.,2012]  unkindly headlines State Tops Cheats on Naplan.

“Queensland recorded half of the nation’s cheating incidents on the 2010 NAPLAN tests and nearly one-third of the total breaches, an ACARA report shows.”

God bless Queensland.

ACARA the governing body for the administration of NAPLAN, and now clearly in charge of the Australian schooling system as designed by Joel Klein [see above] , has recently released its report on incidents attached to the 2011 NAPLAN tests. It’s a riot.

It defines that “…cheating occurs when there is intent to gain an unfair advantage or improperly influence test results .”

You will find the report when you open the  http://www.saveourschools.com.au article “Several Schools Found to be cheating in NAPLAN Tests”; and click on the access in Para 5. Thirty-one un-named naughty incidents at schools are listed as “Incidents Investigated and Substantiated” [as at 15 December, 2011]. Please stop laughing until you have read it.

Not one mention was made of those schools that deliberately practised for the tests nor of those that used test-practice books in school time. Big-time ‘cheating’ of this magnitude seems to have been ignored. Intense practice is done only to influence results, and those who practise better or longer get a greater advantage. Those who teach the full curriculum until May are clearly in the purest condition for serious wide-scale testing; but they are at a disadvantage as far as test results are concerned. And those who are in a multiple grade situation, such as a small school, won’t be able to have their practice sessions supervised as diligently as a single-class group. There is a clear advantage to a school that has single-grade units with lots of help, lots of time and lots of money. Those of them who do the most practice, cheat the most. Some schools have been reported in the press as concentrating on NAPLAN practice in Years 1 and 2. No mention of this in the incidents report. Next year’s report, maybe, if NAPLAN lasts that long. Confusing and farcical, isn’t it?

Is there mention of what happens in large schools that believe in the effectiveness of multi-aged learning? Must they succumb to less effective forms of single-aged instruction because blanket testing almost demands it? Since practice seems to be the approved norm for Australian school systems, shouldn’t multi-aged schools of all kinds be given a choice of contesting NAPLAN or not?

Is our system of learning for children at school becoming shambled or not….for the sake of some distant measurer’s score…or a special politician’s self-aggrandisement?

It is clear that that no reliable or valid statement about mental capacity, learning ability or teaching expertise can be made about any person, school, suburb or town, based on any form of blanket testing. Such comparisons are grossly frivolous.

Most of the incidents are really funny – both “funny ha-ha” and ”funny peculiar”; and even the administration of ‘six-cuts’ to some miscreants is passed off to some-one else beyond or below ACARA. Poor State Department. The boss-principal had to do the dirty work in our day.

There is a serious side. One wonders if any ACARIAN or NAPLAN supporter or fence-sitting politician has ever been in a classroom where test-induced tension prevails. It can be like water-torture at its most efficient.  Nervousness and agitation pervade the atmosphere. It’s thick with created tension. Wonder at what the test might contain and worry. worry, worry is in the air. It’s in the faces and the gestures and the antics. As the test gets going and the teacher empathizes with the obvious tension, the temptation to help their young friends…somehow… must be great. They can’t. Those who do…maybe a few minutes extra..maybe pointing at an obvious error…maybe a grunt or ‘uh-uh’ at a mistake about to be made…can get mentioned in the SUMMARY OF REPORTED INCIDENTS and the future of a loving teacher is in jeopardy. As a teacher-supervisor or invigilator, you wonder what masochist dreamed up this idea. Why can’t these little people enjoy learning?

The Save Our Schools article started with “Several teachers were found to have helped children…” and “Several schools were also found to have encouraged some parents to withdraw their children from the tests’.” As friend Fred would say, “That’s their bloody duty, mate…to tell it as it is! We need more spunky, information-sharing schools with independent points-of-view.”  Spunkiness is the only way to contest this malicious, threatening and degenerative regime of fear. We want to know what our principal, unthreatened, thinks of national blanket testing. It’s our kids’ future on the line. We want our [thinking] principal to tell us as it is.

One incident was described as follows : “Principal reported in media interviews that he would not allow students to sit the tests and subsequently that parents would be encouraged to withdraw students. Relevant to: Years 3,5,7,9.’’ No prizes for guessing the school. Kimberley College, a private school,  is one of the best in Australia, with spunky, heavy curriculum-based, achievement-oriented leadership. It doesn’t need unreliable, curriculum-wrecking external blanket-testing to ruin its esprit. What did ACARA record in its ‘Action taken and outcome’ column in its report?  “Matter was substantiated. No further action taken.”   Well done, KC.    LOL

It is now reported that one State wants to limit the time spent on practising for the test. Ye Gods. Did one ever think they would witness such a thing in 2012? It knows that wide-scale cheating is going-on and tries to organise/supervise it!  One hope that it doesn’t say that it approves of a child-oriented, learning-based curriculum at the same time as it suggests such a thing.

Even the shambles are becoming shambled.

CLEARLY…..this NAPLAN testing is the centre-point of Australian schooling. It defines us as educators…all of us.

Fair go.


If you have 4 minutes 17 seconds to spare from your busy schedule, click on the theme song “Care for Kids” above, relax and ‘take in’ the words. It’s quick meditation. Calm your anger. Enjoy.

Other Treehorns ? There are 70 others! 

Check Recent Posts and Archives in the sidebar.

  Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443