Follow-up to ‘Why School Makes Us Stupid”.

A TREEHORN FOLLOW-UP

If you missed the clip of the young man’s rant, here is a transcript. Yes. We call it TESTUCATION. He calls it REGURGITATION. Would you really call it EDUCATION?

NAPLAN soon for Australia! That fixes everything!

We flopped last year because the kids don’t like it.

What do we do now?

We could try pupilling in our schooling!

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Below is a transcript for my latest rant video called “Why School Makes Us Stupid” which can be viewed on my YouTube channel Freshtastical here: https://youtu.be/qba-EOaq3NM

Why School Makes Us Stupid
By Spencer Cathcart

Does anyone else find it insane how much of our childhood we spend in a classroom?
As soon as you’re old enough to be in a room without shitting your pants…bam! You’re thrown into kindergarten! And from that day until you’re 18 school becomes your full time job. 5 days a week, 10 months a year, for 14 years. And even then it’s still not over! Because if you want a job other than serving fries, well lucky you, you get to spend 4 more years in college or university!

In that amount of time getting “educated” you’d think we’d all be geniuses walking around contemplating Shakespeare’s use of metaphors, while simultaneously calculating the parabola of the sun’s descent in order to figure out the time we should head home to our wife who’s waiting with a protractor to see if tonight we can achieve an obtuse angle in the bedroom, rather than acute.

Well obviously something went wrong because last time I checked our world is littered with dumb people. Like, I constantly find myself being blown away reading emails by how many people lack basic writing skills. Or the amount of people in line at a store who can’t do the simplest math to calculate their change. Yet all these people spent years in school learning all this, so what happened?

Well the problem is that in school we’re not “learning” we’re just regurgitating. We’re only taught what we need to know to pass a test, not pass at life. So for years we repeat this cycle of constantly memorizing useless facts for a grade. And then forgetting it all a few days later since by then we’ve gone and “secure empty trash” that shit from our minds to make room for the next batch of useless information.

Information that today you’d just Google if you really needed to know.

Also, now that I’m an adult I can officially confirm what we all knew as kids. And that’s nearly everything we’re taught has never applied once in my everyday life. And believe it or not I was actually an A student . Yet now when I look back now at my tests and assignments I have no clue what any of this crap is. So if what we’re being taught has no use in our adult lives, then what use does a kid have learning it? I mean there I am, my balls haven’t even dropped yet I’m learning equations to calculate the density of my balls and the speed of the drop.

A big reason why I believe our world is full of so many uneducated people is because school kills our desire to want to learn. Education becomes something we all quickly learn to hate. Which is really sad because you’d think education is something kids should enjoy. When you’re a kid you’re new to the planet and you have a million questions about everything. It’s why we bug our parents all day asking “why this mommy” and “why” that. But once school begins that curiosity quickly fades and we stop asking “why” and start asking “whyyyy”

It also doesn’t help that school doesn’t take consideration into what we want to learn about. Even subjects you didn’t care about if they were taught in a more engaging way you might realized a whole passion you never thought you had, changing your entire direction in life.

To this day I’ll often come across a random subject from elementary school again, like say ancient Egypt and I’ll think “holy shit, how did they build the pyramids? This is mind blowing!”. But back then you didn’t care because it wasn’t taught in an interesting way. And you were so busy memorizing the spelling of people’s names, the years of birth and other random useless facts that you had no time to actually be interested in what you were learning about.

By the way, fuck Shakespeare. Every single year from grade 6 until my second year of university I had a class where we spent some time studying Shakespeare. Why? The writing is over 400 years old! Back then English was almost a different language. It still makes no sense to me to this day. If you want kids to get something out of English class, maybe give them something that’s written in English! Also I am convinced if Shakespeare wrote in modern day English teachers would find the stories disgusting. It would be like reading prequels to 50 Shades of Grey in class. But I guess the lesson here is if you write anything in old-fashioned English then thou can say anything and thee who come hither to question thy writing skills shall be banished from whence thee came.

And that’s a big problem with school. So much of what we’re taught is about the world of our past and so little has anything to do with our present world. And isn’t that the whole point of school, to prepare us for the world ahead of us, not behind us?

Look I’m not against school. I think the idea of school is great. In fact some of my best memories are being around all random weird people you’d meet through the years at school. My issue with school is with the system of how we’re taught. Because how much can you truly learn being surrounded by four walls all day? And then you get home and you can’t even relax because you have hours of homework to do. And it leaves us with no time to clear our minds and think or explore the world firsthand. And isn’t that what education should really be about?

Instead school teaches us not to question what we’re taught, to abide by the textbook, think within the box of a rubric, and do what the teacher says like they are some almighty authority figure! It’s no wonder when we graduate we wear a square on our head, just to make sure everyone knows how great we are at thinking inside the box. It feels like the goal is to raise us to be suitable employees, not suitable people. When you think about it school kind of feels like a giant practice run of waking up at unhealthy hours every morning 5 days a week so we can get used to that 9-5 lifestyle. And then to ensure we transition into that 9-5 life we have to pay tens of thousands of dollars just to go to college or university which puts many people in debt and forces many to start working jobs they hate right away.

Education is the most important part of our lives because it builds the foundation of who we are as people. And I think a lot of the problems with today’s world are a result of our poor education system. Because when your education system creates uninformed people, with no curiosity to learn, who are forced to work jobs they hate to pay debt from school, well it’s no wonder our world is a mess.
– Written by Spencer Cathcart

Disbobedient Teaching

Disbobedient Teaching

Surviving and creating change in education

Welby Ings

This book is about disobedience. Positive disobedience. Disobedience as a kind of professional behaviour. It shows how teachers can survive and even influence an education system that does staggering damage to potential. More importantly it is an arm around the shoulder of disobedient teachers who transform people’s lives, not by climbing promotion ladders but by operating at the grassroots. Disobedient Teaching tells stories from the chalk face. Some are funny and some are heartbreaking, but they all happen in New Zealand schools. This book says you can reform things in a system that has become obsessed with assessment and tick-box reporting. It shows how the essence of what makes a great teacher is the ability to change educational practices that have been shaped by anxiety, ritual and convention. Disobedient Teaching argues the transformative power of teachers who think and act.

Author Welby Ings is a professor in design at Auckland University of Technology. He is an elected Fellow of the British Royal Society of Arts and a consultant to many international organisations on issues of creativity and learning. He is also an award-winning academic, designer, filmmaker and playwright. But until the age of 15 Welby could neither read nor write. He was considered ‘slow’ at school and he was eventually expelled. Later he was suspended from teachers’ college. Welby has taught at all levels of the New Zealand education system and remains an outspoken critic of the education system’s ‘obsession’ with assessing performance. In 2001 he was awarded the Prime Minister’s inaugural Supreme Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence.

Otago University Press

Paperback
ISBN 978-1-927322-66-6
RRP $35.00

Education Readings April 21st

By Allan Alach

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

The hidden dangers of caring about your career too much

‘This is one of the most important social justice and economic issues of our time. Until teachers feel valued and supported in their pursuit of their calling, they will continue to leave the classroom—and our most vulnerable children will suffer as a result.’

http://bit.ly/2oPsekK

Why School Makes Us Stupid

‘If you’ve ever thought school sucks, is a waste of time, or the education system is stupid, then this video is for you.’

http://bit.ly/2ovMEeY

A Look at 6 Digital Citizenship Myths That Must Be Dispelled

When digital citizenship cemented itself into the public consciousness only a few years ago, it definitely had its critics. That remains true even today as we strive to understand what it means and how to practice it in our homes and classrooms. Many digital citizenship myths still have some of us doubting the intrinsic need for its practices.’

http://bit.ly/2p0qHsw

7 Suggestions For How To Treat Wilful Digital Illiteracy In Education

‘A teacher I know asked me last week if I could create a Word document for him so that he could type a list of dates. He has been teaching, I believe, for over 20 years, and is in a senior position in her school. Why has he been allowed to get away with such a basic lack of knowledge for so long?

In this particular instance it doesn’t have any direct effect on the children he teaches, or the staff he manages. Or does it? I am a firm believer in what has been called the “hidden curriculum”, in which what you teach and what the kids learn may be rather different. What are his children and staff learning from his behaviour? ‘

http://bit.ly/2pk3kLu

Why Kids Shouldn’t Sit Still in Class

‘Sit still. It’s the mantra of every classroom.

But that is changing as evidence builds that taking brief activity breaks during the day helps children learn and be more attentive in class, and a growing number of programs designed to promote movement are being adopted in schools.’

http://nyti.ms/2pk5WZZ

What Student Test-Takers Share with Ejected Airline Passengers

By Alfie Kohn

‘Consider the sport of ranking the U.S. against other nations on standardized exams.  Even if these tests were meaningful indicators of intellectual proficiency, which is doubtful, specifying how well one country’s students perform relative to those elsewhere tells us nothing of interest. If all countries did reasonably well in absolute terms, there would be no shame in (and, perhaps, no statistical significance to) being at the bottom.  If all countries did poorly, there would be no glory in being at the top.’

http://bit.ly/2pHZ1GK

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Why Giving Effective Feedback Is Trickier Than It Seems

‘But giving effective feedback in the classroom can be trickier than it seems. It’s more of an art than a simple practice and requires the teacher to be disciplined and thoughtful about what is worthy of feedback, as well as when to give it.’

http://bit.ly/2oVltMC

More to good schools than ranked pass results

‘When choosing schools we need to prioritise much more than ranked test results. Choosing a school is infinitely more serious than scanning ranked examination percentages. We need to know the human heart of a school because design for learning is a complex thing.’

http://bit.ly/2oVuKnY

Computers in class ‘a scandalous waste’: Sydney Grammar head

Is there some truth in this?

‘A top Australian school has banned laptops in class, warning that technology “distracts’’ from old-school quality teaching.The headmaster of Sydney Grammar School, John Vallance, yesterday described the billions of dollars spent on computers in Australian schools over the past seven years as a “scandalous waste of money’’.’

http://bit.ly/2ortBn1

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Learning to be ‘creatively rebellious’. The importance of the Three Ds: being Different, Disruptive and Deviant.

‘Organisations (and this includes schools if they are to be true “learning organisations”) need to become ‘courageous’ and adopt a ‘rebellious instinct’ and to discard old habits and safety nets to remake themselves as 21st C  adaptive organisations. Unfortunately all this is beyond the timid leadership of most primary schools or the industrial aged straightjackets secondary schools operate under.’

http://bit.ly/2pI6e9L

Fundamentals in education

The real fundamentals in education – the creation of a creative mind

‘In recent years education has become more and more cognitive or rational; learning that can be seen and measured so as to prove evidence of growth.

In the process real fundamentals have been overlooked.The creation of the mind is more than simply cognitive. The mind is a unified, active, constructive, self creating, and symbol making organ; it feels as well as thinks- feelings and emotions are a kind of thought. Attitudes are created from feelings and emotions.’

http://bit.ly/13b5vRO

The corporate takeover of society and education.

‘Since the early 90s society has been reshaped by a neo liberal corporate ideology. An emphasis on private enterprise and self-centred individualism has replaced an earlier concern for collective good of all members of society.   As a result of this ideological shift a wider gap has been created between the rich and poor causing a number of social concerns. Schools as part of this shift have been transformed from a community orientation to being part of a competitive cut throat ideology.’

http://bit.ly/1hARUnP

Education Readings April 14th

By Allan Alach

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

Apostrophe vigilantes: who cares?

Think you’re an expert on apostrophes?

‘The Apostrophe Police are everywhere. Not only do they want you to get apostrophes in what they think are the right places, they are also ready to mock you if you get it wrong. The general message is that the rules for apostrophes are very easy, and only a fool could make a mistake.’

http://bit.ly/2ougcNA

Standardized Testing Creates Captive Markets

‘For example, school children as young as 8-years-old are forced to take a battery of standardized tests in public schools. Would educators prescribe such assessments if it were up to them? Would parents demand children be treated this way if they were consulted? Or is this just a corporate scam perpetrated by our government for the sole benefit of a particular industry that funnels a portion of the profits to our lawmakers as political donations?’

http://bit.ly/2oBEzcG

The one question to ask yourself the next time you’re facing a difficult problem

Can you adapt this for your classroom?

‘A lot of us have trouble dealing with conflict. But there’s an effective strategy for solving problems at work and at home. The only downside? It makes you sound a bit like a toddler on a road trip. The secret to resolving conflict, as first outlined by former Toyota executive Taiichi Ohno, is to “ask why five times.” The idea is that by continuously asking “why,” you’ll eventually arrive at a root cause and learn from the problem—the better to avoid repeating unproductive or ignorant behavior.’

http://bit.ly/2o80ncP

To Become a Better Problem-Solver, Try Thinking Like a Toddler

Following on (references previous article):

‘As Science of Us has previously reported, one analysis found that preschoolers ask an average of 76 questions per hour. That’s a lot of why, especially when you consider the fact that most of the time, they don’t even care much about the explanation.

http://sciof.us/2pwcY9V

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

The Age of Uncertainty: Who is Bold?

‘Why School?- What are the conditions for optimal, sticky learning? What are we doing in school that can not be Khanified?- What do students need to learn in school when they can learn so much without us? What are the skills that our students need now to succeed?Where do we start?I used to think I knew the answers to those questions. I am not sure (maybe a bit uncertain) as to what the future holds for our concept of “education.”’

http://bit.ly/2o7D82C

School doubles in size after curriculum change brings learning into 21st century

‘A school has doubled in size since changing its curriculum to a utopia-like educational system. Patea Area School’s role now sits at 154 pupils since a “massive overhaul” trialled last year appealed to a large number of people. School principal Nicola Ngarewa said the school now “focuses on preparing children for the 21st century, beyond the school gates”.’

http://bit.ly/2p8nmrX

Teachers struggle with modern learning environments

‘If there’s a pot of gold at the end of the collaborative teaching rainbow, Dave* thinks it’s a small one. He’s struggled with 50-child classrooms at his Christchurch primary school over the past few years and says he’s not the only one, with at least half his colleagues exhausted by what’s supposed to be the future of education. Endless collaboration between teachers sharing the spaces has distracted them from teaching pupils, who are in turn distracted by each other. Learning outcomes have gone down, not up, but no one wants to discuss the elephant in the room, he says.’

http://bit.ly/2o8iiiD

Brian Cox: Don’t use children as ‘measurement probes’ to test schools

‘Science presenter and particle physicist Professor Brian Cox has called for testing in schools to be minimised – and only used when the positive benefits can be proven.There has been concern that too much focus on maths and English – particularly in Year 6 in the run-up to Sats – can narrow the curriculum, leaving less time for other subjects.’

http://bit.ly/2oZmXbq

Education Kills Our Creativity, Here Is How We Can Regain It

‘Scholars have identified two thinking process: convergent thinking and divergent thinking. Education focuses on convergent thinking — emphasizes on finding definite, absolute answers. But in reality, we actually need divergent thinking more, which is the ability to find more than one way to solve problems, and it is essential to creativity.’

http://bit.ly/2o7CSk9

How Do We Define and Measure “Deeper Learning”?

‘In preparing students for the world outside school, what skills are important to learn. Simply defined, “deeper learning” is the “process of learning for transfer,” meaning it allows a student to take what’s learned in one situation and apply it to another.’

http://bit.ly/2oB6fOV

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

The balance between consistency and creativity.

For three days the Gisborne principals visited selected schools in Taranaki. Their task was to look for each schools ‘cc’ rating: consistency and conversely creativity across classrooms. Consistency because this indicates shared language of expectations and creativity, for without celebrating each teacher and child’s creativity, it all can become mediocre.The balance between the two is vital.’

http://bit.ly/2p8Itdt

Learning styles

Developing a personalised educational approach

Developing a ‘personalised learning’ approach, tailoring learning to the needs of each students ( as against the ‘one size fits all’), is not as easy as it sounds. In the real world, outside of school, people make use of whatever ways of learning that do the job. For many such people school learning is of little use to them.’

http://bit.ly/1GgidNa

NAPLAN, Mental Health and Dopamine.

NAPLAN, Mental Health and Dopamine

The psychological, sociological and now neurological effects of sytemic naplan abuse  can be very serious.

Loss of the natural, basic ‘yen to learn’ has serious consequences.

Much has been made of the abusive nature of NAPLAN testing.   News Ltd’s Guru, Joel Klein made the most of what he saw as testing’s most effective modus operandi – fear and threats – [love of subject and pupil care :OUT!] …..as did the Australian, Ms. Gillard,  whom he met at a Rockefeller booze-up near Wall st., New York in 2008, where, there and then,  she decided that the Australian education system should be based on kleinism. He openly championed FEAR in the Learning process. ….as did Ms. Gillard, her mentor Mr. Rudd,  and its later disciples Messrs Pyne and Birmingham….splendid examples of child-caring citizens. May the outcomes of government-sponsored child abuse and the destruction of the ‘yen to learn’  be on their hands.

Fear of failing and losing your job are now seen as motivators of great importance in the hunt for better scores for school children when they contest  standardised blanket tests that are  part of a scato-meme called GERM [Geopolitical Emetic Retard Meme].  Australia adopted it, without any kind of  examination and at enormous cost, and installed one of the most successful child-scare systems the world has ever seen.  Called NAPLAN, it has since failed because a neurological catastrophe was inbuilt into its nerve-system, and, for suspicious reasons, it  is being maintained.  While the financial costs are extremely burdensome, the costs to  mental health are much, much larger than any educator or testucator had ever anticipated.

Observers of the tragedy are now concerned about the dopamine effects on growing children. Neurologists, sociologists and serious educators tell us that dopamine, an organic chemical,  is a neurotransmitter that sends brain signals from one set of nerve cells to another.  This is very serious stuff. These messages can be quite dysfunctional during  anxious moments  [NAPLAN?] or periods of worry [NAPLAN test-prep?].  Outside the central nervous system, it assists in transporting some bodily operations to another.  Vomiting, sleeplessness, crying, anti-social behaviour, anti-subject and anti-school feelings and other degenerative conditions are outcomes of a lack of support and encouragement at crucial times.  The supply and maintenance of dopamine is central to positive learning; and fear-based, anxiety-promoted learning cuts off the supply. Encouragement  plays an important role in brain and body connectiveness.

Parkinsons Disease is ‘a degenerative condition …caused by a loss of dopamine-secreting neurons in the area of the mid-brain.’ … … ‘Restless legs and ADHD  – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are associated with decreased dopamine activity.‘ [Google : Dopamine] and there has been a startling increase in diagnosed ADHD in Australia since the introduction of NAPLAN

Suicide in GERM countries, including Australia, as an outcome of the lack of dopamine maintenance in our young learners, is amongst us

While social workers concerned by the present fixation on the use of digitised hand-held devices,  have raised serious ‘alert’ signals on the lack of dopamine in the public arena, Australian ‘educators’ have completely ignored discussion on the nasty things that NAPLAN ,the biggest monster of all, does to children…..and  we all seem to remain indifferent….cowed by political dictators and their henchmen!

Through their attitude and reactions to the NAPLAN tests, called ‘failure’, school children are pleading with Australian adults to treat them with humanity and help them to learn better and learn more.  Why do we treat them as we do?

With the shenanagans of on-line or paper tests and the movement to ‘opt-out’, we can be pretty sure that ‘adjustments’ will be made for the 2017 tests.

WON’T SOMEONE TRY TO GET RID OF IT!!!!????   WHAT MORE EVIDENCE DO YOU WANT, Mr or Ms Politician? WHERE ARE OUR ELITE SCHOOL PRACTITIONERS?

Sadly…..with Australia’s  inbuilt casual indifference to child welfare, aided and abetted by the silence of the press and the open support of so-called educators’ organisations, you can still lay ‘London to a brick’, that nothing will be done before May 9 .

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  07 5524 6443   0407865999  cphilcullen@bigpond.com

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A Principal’s Dilemma

A PRINCIPAL’S DILEMMA

Primary school principalship used to be the most caring, most ethical, most intellectually demanding, most exciting of all the caring professions

I was a proud primary school principal for quite a few years and, despite my later higher administrative duties, remained so until retirement.  I reckon that primary school principalship was the most caring, most professional, most difficult, most intellectually demanding of all the caring professions.  Its dignity and esoteric nature set it apart. I loved the role. I retired from the rituals of bureaucracy, confident that, despite the impact of managerialism, dedicated primary principals would ensure that the new century would see schools loaded with love for learning, playing and learning, finding the beauty in all school subjects, but especially in the fundamental ones. Achievements in all subjects would have no ceiling. Love of learning would the catch-cry

Now, principals have had a testing program forced on their schools in police-state circumstances by crazed politicians, ordered to do so be the big end of town and supported by a press much more silent than it was in 1942-3 concerning Darwin [ 2 reports on 62 raids] which, they all know,  is causing enormous damage to their administrative professionalism and to  kids’ progress ; but they are told that they must comply. They all do.  The brown-nosed ones say that they don’t mind because the tests are diagnostic….as diagnostic as a kick in the crotch reveals how degenerate one’s macula is. Dedication to test scores has become the catch-cry.

There is hope in the younger generation of principals. There has to be. They seem to understand better[we all hope] what primary schooling is, what it is for; that it is about pupilling, a notion that most seem to understand and want to share with kids;  and that inspirational challenge by pupils requires evaluation of progress and encouragement at the learning-point,  not months later.  I have met many who seem to understand clearly the a-about-f turmoil of NAPLAN-directed bang-crash kind of instruction and would love to see it go away..

Frighten – mentally abuse – cause anxiety – test – practise – practise – practise -homework- homework- homework – test – test -test – abuse – punish – create fear – frighten……. They know what NAPLAN does to kids.

If the present tests had any diagnostic element, schools should be able to request the new one for the year at any time to fit in with the school’s own evaluation program, if the school principal deems its use necessary. The only thing sacred about the first week in May, is that it suits the testucrats.

If accountability is an issue, then consideration must be given to the use of true-blue, well-experienced, former principal experts checking out each and every school for all phases of school operations as regularly as possible. It’s been tried and it’s true blue. It keeps the system curriculum-connected, teacher-mentored, team-building, innovative  and responsible.

Disastrously, when kleinism was introduced into Australia in 2008 and the major body of principals [the APPA] preferred to support the ‘lawyers’ lore’ of schooling than to uphold  ‘principals’ principles’ of ethical delivery of learning services. It surrendered shamefully to its own political capture, allowed itself to be remodelled as an association in the likeness of eichmannism and, in doing so,  changed to being a deliverer of rigid, high stakes blanket testing , subservient for its upkeep and its opinions to disgusting forms of political thought-police control and to the dictates of ACARA, a pure-bred testing factory; …….THEN …. it adopted a casual indifference to the welfare of children and kept its distance from the concerns of parents. I lost my admiration for the present generation of principal organizational disposition when APPA told the governement in public that it supported NAPLAN. The political institutionalisation of its association’s activities belittles the profession of primary school principalship. It no longer has any importance in Australia.  AND….The overall health of schooling in Australia is not good while these circumstances prevail.

One notes that the ‘professional’ views of APPA and that of its state bodies are largely ignored when public discussion on a broad landscape are  held.  They are largely ignored and their opinions seldom requested.  Principals seem to have succumbed to their maverick  role as compliant agents of testucation and have totally lost the plot as far as child learning, mental health and professional dignity  are concerned. They no longer have the respect that forthright ethical bodies usually have. Believe me, it hurts …it hurts real bad to be a witness to this kind of degradation.

In this era of neo-liberal kleinist control of schools, I sometimes wonder how I would react as a principal of one of my old schools to the kind of irrational force now imposed on school leadership.

I do know that, as director of primary education there is no way in the world that I would have supported the  introduction of kleinism nor the Australian Primary Principals’ Association’s approval of NAPLAN testing.  Divorce proceedings with the state association  would have put in place post haste. The present APPA  attitude towards child welfare and schooling progress runs counter to the intellectual progress of children, to mental health issues and to the fundamental acquisition of knowledge.  As it is now proving, it is detrimental to child health [anxiety, sleeplessness, ADHD epidemic and suicide amongst its outcomes] and to the progress of a worthy, holistic curriculum for the nation’s children. As a true-blue primary teacher, I did not join the profession to treat children  in the way that the kleinist freaks and Naplan approvers [including APPA members] treat curriculum issues of such major importance do,  these days. It would not have been worth my job to have indulged in any sort of collusion with such a fear-based, anxiety-inducing Wall St.nooze-up’s hangover. I’d been through a similar unseemly politically threatening time during the M:ACOS era and the Standards Debate. With confidence, I reckon that I could ride the punches of this debacle or find a meaningful job of some kind.

As an operating primary school principal, however, I know that I would have tried, as some are doing, to subvert the process of learning-destruction.  I would have held a number of meetings of parents to try to persuade them not to give their permission for their children  to undertake the nonsense; tell them the truth that NAPLAN was not part of a normal school curriculum. It was a booze-inspired foreigner dumped on schools without any prior check. Teaching is better-off without it.  I’d try to beat the for-and-against NAPLAN score of Kimberley College near Brisbane. 300 parents againstNAPLAN; 6 for.  Great. [These days, if the Kimberley spirit was alive in every school, it means that the odds of NAPLAN lasting much longer in a proper school are 50 to 1.  I’d like some of that.]  Learning seems to have a higher priority than testing at Kimberley and brooks no interference.

That attitude would probably get me into trouble with authorities, these days, as it does at Kimberley College . So what!

At local Union meetings and at principals’ meetings I would propose that parents be given the choice at an appropriate time….say first Monday in May  each year – to express a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ – to exercise their  democratic right to participate .  Only ‘Yes’ respondents would do the test. The non-test pupils would be learning. See http://huff.to/2nFzqMA

Of course there would be no special kinds of test-prep, like practising previous tests, special kinds of homework that usurp learning time. The maintenance of love for subjects of the NAPLAN kind would continue, and this, of itself, would probably produce superior results at test time. So what! That’s just what happens when kids like learning and like the subjects that they do, They’d have Maths., science and literature amongst their favourite subjects, and give raspberries to test-freak modes of teaching..

I would indicate to my superiors in a humble letter that I seriously oppose NAPLAN…just to clear the air with them. I’m a professional principal. They have to earn the right to try to bully me in the same way that they want their teachers to bully children.

I would remind them that I am the principal head teacher at my school.

Finally, there is music in the air. I feel that the the younger generation of principals are much more alert than the older, that their crap-detectors are fully charged, that  they are more conscious of the unlimited outcomes that originate from fair-dinkum pupilling of children and realise the value of sharing progress with their pupils as they ‘learn along’.  They openly condemn the immorality of sharing a pupil’s personal achievements with anyone beyond the school precincts. I reckon that, very soon,  they’ll tell their political masters what to do with their shameful abuse of children.

000ooo000ooo000ooo

What do you think?

As has long been recognized by students, parents and educators, the essence of test-based education policy is not accountability but punishment. Punishment is about control, about regulation; the right to punish is a police power. The governance of education increasingly takes the form of policing. More and more, school is about compliance, and more and more, this compliance is organized via tests (and “data”) of some kind.    Mark J. Garrison: ‘A Measure of Failure – The Political Origin of Standardised Testing’  http://bit.ly/2ncI3CE

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Phil Cullen 
41 Cominan Avenue   Banora Point 2486   
07 5524 6443   0407865999 
cphilcullen@bigpond.com

A Naplan Victim’s Prayer

  A NAPLAN VICTIM’S PRAYER
May the fleas of a thousand camels infest the crotch of those who invent, distribute, administer, supervise or approve of NAPLAN testing ;
and may their arms be too short to scratch.

While many memes spread unaided, this scato-meme, because of its scatological consistency, requires extra assistance from powerful people and the presence of an ideologically corrupt system. Australia is well suited.
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I’m giving the Treehorn crusade away shortly. It’s a waste of time. The bullies are just too big…and I’m an aged coward.  But – I reckon it’s worth my reviewing the circumstances of the use of NAPLAN as a controlling device of the nation’s schooling, however, because I’ve spent a few years at it.

I have rationalised the reasons for my failure, especially in the light of my high-level 2008 confidence that Australia’s teaching profession would reject such abuse of children’s mental health outright…from the very beginning.  I couldn’t see it lasting more than six months! It did, so I felt that our kids needed an advocate whose own life had been about schooling.  It seemed obvious that the Australian public just cannot handle this sort of schooling problem and were prevented from talking about it. I thought that I could help.  Silly moo.

To ease the pain caused by my inadequacy, I’ve rationalised why things have proved to be so difficult…

1. We have a school rigorous testing culture that is a product of our colonial convict history. Most folk approve of rigorous mass testing as a component of schooling because that’s the way the British grammar schools operated at the time of settlement. Phillip, Hunter, King nor Bligh and free citizens would never have considered thinking about alternative ways of operating ‘government’ schools. We got stuck with it. Sadly then, our post-WW1 grasp of the coat-tails of the U.S., its corporate management style  and its schooling history  has ensured that, in the modern era,  we should learn only from them, no matter what level of ideological corruption exists there. Our masters live there and they guide us on important aspects of our political agenda [education, defence, notions of social justice] and how to use the corporate world’s  moral compass for a set purpose.  As specious as their expertise may be, we are obliged to follow them. So. A peculiar mixture of British loyalty and Yankee hegemony combine to ensure that  an invisible government controls our future as a nation….that’s if you believe that schooling helps a nation to grow. When we join other countries in our Asian galaxy, though,  I wonder what will happen. For the present, we don’t know what we are doing; but our Anglo-Yankee disposition ensures that testucation is preferred to education.

We are not inclined to be daring and to think for ourselves like some countries do. We could easily out-Finnish the Finns if we wanted to try and become the learning capital of the world. We just don’t want to try.

I should have realised.

2. The other significant reason, as far as I can tell, is that Aussie sense of ‘being tough’.  This too, probably comes from our convict heritage. Records  of one of our own  family’s heroes tell us that one of them received twenty-five lashes for being cheeky to his boss while working on Bruny Island and had to go back to work immediately afterwards. That’s the kind of thing we admire. …stiff upper lip….and getting back to work….the Kokoda spirit of never giving in….the Anzac spirit of hanging in there, enhances the attitude of being tough and immortalises the uniqueness of ourleaders.  It’s easier to manage things by adopting a tough stance  than to  encourage innovation and creativity and zest for learning in humane ways.

‘Bugger the kids’ feelings.  I had it tough. Didn’t do me no harm.  Why can’t they cop the crap? They must be sooks.’

The depth of importance of naplanning our curriculum is oceanic. It is tearing our education system apart and our ‘go with the flow’ mentality is no help. The Orwellian characteristics of the change, and the eichmannist tendencies of the operators have combined to serve the delusional high priests of measurement, the greedy pirates of Wall Street, the pilferers of curriculum and userpers of critical learning time to a feeling of high-level, confident totalitarian command and bullying control that has been previously unknown in the caring professions…..but….it’s anything for a quick buck.

As S. Spears said, ” IF YOU CAN’T FEEL THE SPIRIT OF A CHILD,  OPT OUT!”  [If that was the battle=cry for 2017, we wouldn’t h

School leaders are getting too used to using Eichmann’s excuses for their fawnication, to Milgraming the kids to the full 450 volts without remorse, to being Stockholmed too easily in order to enjoy the blessing of superiors, to faking interest in the plight of girls like Lucy Clark’s daughter. Remember her view of the chasing of scores and numbers in the schooling examination processes? [1] Now  envoys of distress, anxiety and grief, they have been psyoped with military proficiency. Once the guardians of child welfare and hope, they have abandoned the Treehorns of this world, who just want to be noticed and  loved and helped

Both of these attitudes of being tough in a hard-nosed testing culture are to hard to beat when the perpetrators are so powerful. I give up.

At the same time, I’m left  with a truckload of descriptions of NAPLAN…….Yes. I’ll just ponder on them and cry.

immoral, unprofessional, politically corrupt, corporate controlled, unrequested, forced,  focused on mediocrity, of tawdry origin, outsourced by News Ltd., the

worst possible form of kleinism, abhorred by ethical professionals, extremely wasteful and costly, product of kitsch political tactics, schadenfreude, assertoric, despised by the teaching profession,  distrustful and fearful of logical debate, disrespectful  of  ethical reasoning,,

This hidden power to dominate the most caring of caring professions, exemplifies a charade democracy imposing  a pedagogical heresy on its citizens – that fear is the best thing to use in the instruction of  others.”

“While many memes spread unaided, this scato-meme, because of its scatological consistency,  requires extra assistance from  powerful people and the presence of an ideologically corrupt political system. Australia is well suited.”

“The narrative that fear is a greater motivator than intrinsic love is becoming embedded in the psyche of Australian school leaders.  We still have a chance to change from the ‘lawyer’s lore’ to the ‘principal’s principle'”….from ‘stand-over’ to ‘learn-with’ ”

“GERM – an acronym for Global Education Reform Movement [Pasi Sahlberg] now has a new meaning – Geopolitical Emetic Retard Meme.

We live in dangerous times.

As Martin Luther King pointed out : “Nothing in the world is more dangerous  than ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”  NAPLAN’s birth at a New York booze-up provides ample testimony to this quotation. To make things worse, the promoter of the heresy, Julia G, had the hierarchical clout to dominate her co-neo-liberals in the Australian Labor and Liberal Parties to such an extent that political skulduggery became the main from all sides; and no politician since has been brave enough to question the existence of NAPLAN’s cancerous influence. Not one!  Her successors , especially Pyne and Birmingham, were able to adopt a fascist stance…..hand money around in willy-nilly fashion and threaten those who do not improve their ubiquitous test scores….eventually finishing school with an allocated  number that pretends to describe achievement .

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[1] Lucy Clark’s daughter did not open her ‘results’ from the Board of Studies. She told her mum, “I will not be judged by the Board of Studies.”  Her mum then said,“Every time my daughter walked past that envelope without opening it, she was saying, fuck that number. ”
[P.280 Lucy Clark: Beautiful Failures Penguin Random House 2016]

Yea,