It is difficult

It is Difficult

It is difficult

to comprehend

the political mentality

of a country,

that relies on its schooling system

for its future;

then

copies a dud system

from somewhere else,

compounds its toxicity

and continues to spend billions of dollars

to maintain it.

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poor kids.

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

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

Fair Dinkum Pupilling Girt by NAPLAN

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

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

 

Fair Dinkum Pupilling Girt by NAPLAN Ch.4

WHAT ! ?

What kind of feudal system

makes a federated country,

allegedly ‘young and FREE’,

establish a unit,

born of base instructional principles,

with power

to knobble the democratic free spirit

of states that possess independent schooling rights?

What kind of totalitarian control

forces the states and their professional bodies

to inhibit the growth and development of its young

through the use of fear and the creation of anxiety?

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

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

ooooo00000ooooo

Chapter 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

Education Readings February 24th

By Allan Alach

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

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

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

http://bit.ly/2m5KnKM

Should Traditional Teachers Join the Revolution?

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

http://bit.ly/2mnagSB

Give teaching back to teachers

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

http://bit.ly/2la868t

What Works Can Hurt: Side Effects in Education

Yong Zhao:

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

http://bit.ly/2lMWNXm

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Designing New Learning Environments to Support 21st Century Skills

A serious read about modern learning environments by Bob Pearlman

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

http://bit.ly/2ma440X

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

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

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

http://bit.ly/2kXa8YP

Rethinking classroom design to promote creativity and collaboration

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

http://bit.ly/2m9drkK

Are Teachers Becoming Obsolete?

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

http://bit.ly/2lJS7S4

Students Learn from Inquiry, Not Interrogation

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

http://bit.ly/2kX3NN5

Always Think Like a Student

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

http://bit.ly/2lJTDDP

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Modern Learning Environments (MLEs) are they so new?

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

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

http://bit.ly/1Dxahay

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

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

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

http://bit.ly/1NUH50e

Parents – Do It Now!

Parents – Do it NOW

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

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

How to help
        students cope with stress

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

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

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

We should not be treating our children this way.

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

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

__________________________________________________________________________

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

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

Fairdinkum Pupilling -Girt by NAPLAN Ch.3

 

How did we get into testucation?

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

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

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

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

ooo000ooo

Fair-dinkum Pupilling – Girt by NAPLAN
                                                                                                                                                                                   CHAPTER 3

GO FORTH JULIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fair-dinkum Pupilling – Girt by NAPLAN

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 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…  

Fair-dinkum pupilling. Chapter 2

Attached is the next chapter of FAIR-DINKUM PUPILLING GIRT BY NAPLAN.

WHY?

Chapter  1 talked about kids, those little testucated robots that are forced to attend school to do NAPLAN tests.

Very few people bother to query why we do what we do to children.

Australian adults don’t take much notice of them nor of their plight nor want to discuss why our education system has imported peculiar curricular intrusions to take up a lot of school time! We have replaced items of the school curriculum that are of immense value, with soul-destroying test preparation that doesn’t work. Our system has gone quite crazy, but we don’t want to talk about it.

Children’s pleas for rescue and the system’s need for improvement through the use of reliable pupilling interactions, have fallen on deaf ears.

While adults tend to applaud high achievements and scores,  Australian adults have failed to notice the diminishing scores on PISA tests ….nothing to applaud….which ridicules our NAPLAN efforts, tells the world that we are getting worse at scoring well,  flattens our learners’ egos, attacks their mental health and threatens Australia’s industrial future.

We know that it is happening.  We tolerate it.  The school system is not allowed t change it.

WHY CAN’T WE JUST BANN NAPLAN AND GET ON WITH THE TASK OF TEACHING AND LEARNING?

Chapter 1 finished by asking “WHY?”.  Chapter 2 attempts an answer. See below.

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A THOUGHT BUBBLE…. So many of the silent majority hate NAPLAN so much, that, although they won’t talk about it in public,…… If Pauline’s Party was the first to include “Bann NAPLAN” in their electioneering policy…… the Hon. Pauline Hanson would be our next P.M.

Garn!   You agree, don’t you?

If not, Which Party or candidate will be first?              =-O           It’s got to be worth a few million votes over  all.  Disaffected mums and dads, all teachers, the boys at the local or at the club.                                    

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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


CHAPTER 2

WHY?

Back to 2007. A possible scenario…

It must have been after a business lunch, enjoyed by Kevin 07 Rudd and his many big-time corporate friends, that Kevin ran into an unhappy banker, or a business man who acted like an unhappy banker, who gave Kevin a spray…..as they do.

I don’t know what they teach kids at school these days. This morning I dictated a letter to my secretary and said that we operated under the auspices of the Liberal-National Party and, back came the printed letter which said, ‘acting under the ‘orse pisses’ ….”

Kevin grinned. 

You know that that story is a make-up but you also know that such lunches, cocktail parties and barbies are an essential part of running a country. For one, politicians do not have to use tax-payers’ money to eat as well as they do if they are guests of ‘business friends’; and no record is kept of the instructions given by the big-boys to the polly….which they do….the reason for the lunch, of course.

Kevin, however, knew everything. He was hardly a lover of the teaching fraternity and he was looking for something to show his great strength to the electorate. Going “Back to basics” and bashing teachers in the big, bad world is like Marilyn Munroe’s seven-year itch. It’s sure to happen every now and then. When it happens, peculiar memes comes out of left field for all sorts of reasons, receiving unkind media attention, making politicians panic and causing gross disturbance in various communities. Professional groups duck for cover and the issues slowly dissipate due to lack of interest. Kevin reckoned that he could generate a panic. He sure did and it has lasted.

The really big ‘standards debate, prior to this NAPLAN debacle was in the seventies when some ‘Black Papers’, written in England, criticised school standards and this false meme kick-started a crusade for better standards around the world. Led by The Bulletin in Australia, there was an enormous quantity of unwarranted criticism dumped on schools. It led to nation-wide TV debates, special documentaries, large public meetings, special conferences, the whole box and dice. It proved to be a big-time media hoax. Sales of The Bulletins skyrocketed.

You can be sure that, after NAPLAN has been seen for what it is; and has disappeared from the landscape. [“gone, dead, buried, cremated” to quote our once great leader]..and schooling has returned to pupilling…..things will get itchy again after a few more years. It happens

Schooling, in the late 70s and early 80s, was left vulnerable by this gigantic illegitimate meme and the gate was left open for the attacks of unhappy do-gooders. The moral crusaders got on the warpath. They caused an itch that became a rash. The League of Rights, the John Birch Society, Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority, the Australian Council for Education Standards, The Committee to Restore Educational Standards, The Campaign for Responsible Education and other alphabetical groups had a field day for about a decade under the leadership of educational priestess, Rona Joyner, head of STOP-CARE [Society to Outlaw Pornography-Committee Against Regressive Education] who believed that she and her troops had the right to condemn school programs [no need for a test] that they didn’t like; and to punish the wrong-doers. They had the ‘ear’ of the most powerful and her ladyship was often seen around the foyer of Parliament House looking for an unused ear. She had a unique talent for effective politicking. [Methinks Pauline took lessons] Perhaps, because human relationships are not performed according to numbers, like NAPLAN is, she and her storm-troopers faded away after a while.

Please don’t tell our naplanners that Rona did very well at her job; and had Joh’s Queensland cabinet wrapped in her moral fibre for quite a while. And one might note with caution that the son of her claimed mentor, Jerry Falwell Jnr. has now been invited to join President Trump as an adviser. 

Back to the present itch.

When a pollie uses the taxpayer’s generous ATM on himself or herself, the sky is the limit for a lunch. That’s another trick. No, it’s not always political largesse for help rendered. Sometimes it’s plain party business. ….maybe to dissuade a recalcitrant from behaving sensibly. In any case, many, maybe most decisions that effect the lives of all of us are made at lunches and parties shared by the big boys and our pollies…..and later ratified at the big house. It’s called ‘politics’. 

That’s how our education system got girted. 

Kevin 07, always on the side of big-business as is our present-day day neo-liberal Labor Party, agreed with that old business fart and a friend pf his wifei, we think, had also complained about a check-out girl at the supermarket, who had trouble calculating the total cost when Therese’s friend suggested the machine wasn’t working properly. 

From such earth-shattering major incidents, new nation-building schooling systems are born.

That kind of robust research was enough! The system needed reform! The evidence was clear; and he was the lad to smarten things up. He had just been appointed Prime Minister and had had enough experience as offsider to Premier Goss during the crazed restructure of the Public Service in Queensland, when it went ‘back to drastics’, organised according to Harvardian Business Management principles and some added academic foibles, to know how to go about it. He thought. Keeping the underdog in check is the secret and hanging on to the coat-tails of hired help from academia can help one ‘get ahead’.

Kevin, who always had trouble distinguishing knowledge from wisdom, started to harbour impure thoughts. If he gave this reform task to dear colleague Julia, Minister for Education, and she buggered it up, he’d still come out clean. Smart move 07. She obliged. She will now, for ever be blamed for introducing fear- based kleinism into Australia.

Of course, in his haste to be known as a master reformer and teacher-basher Ruddy, ally Julia and mentor Joel, overlooked the fact that profit-based business operations were ‘wild societies’, that had to forage like wild cats for their continued existence. They were very different from schools: humane, ‘domesticated’ operations, pussy-cat type caring institutions that perform moderating operations for the country’s welfare. The better the schooling, the more prosperous the country. But then, BCA types and the Ruddy/Gilly coalition believed that schools could and should be run like any old business enterprise; or like a prison or insane institution. Once the inmates are confined, the high authorities can do what they please with the inmates. In his business studies off the coast of China somewhere, Kev and his cronies did not have access, it seems, to the definitive work of one Richard Carlson who based his business studies on the nature of the client, the users of the institution….the customers, the kids. Carlson made it clear that schools and businesses are very different kinds of circuses, and require very different forms of administration……depending on the status of the client and the control over their admission to the firm or institution. 

Ironically, Richard Carlson died during a trip to promote his final book; “Don’t Get Screwed. How to thrive in a world full of Obnoxious, Incompetent, Arrogant and Down-right Mean-spirited People.” A telling treatise, one doubts if the book will be found on either of the Education shelves behind the door of the Federal Parliament Library. 

Also, schools are constructed for kids, a form of human being who sometimes survive childhood despite the thoughtless things that politicians and testucratic educators want to do to them. Things would run much better for such adults if kids were true robots. The notion that kids are really human and have deep feelings has escaped every single Australian politician, every testucator and most of the adult population.

Fair-dinkum Pupilling – Girt by NAPLAN