On the Road to Nowhere

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn? http://primaryschooling.net/?page_id=1924    Theme song: “Care for Kids”


Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australian.   Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which  uses the blanket testing ‘wmd’ called NAPLAN to destroy the reputation of  public schooling.      This weapon was introduced to schools in Australia in 2009. It disrespects children, devalues teachers’ professionalism and threatens the developmental future of Australia.     Ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, politically driven, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, unprofessional, interruptive and very divisive. It is clearly aimed in a malicious manner  at public schooling and its teachers.  It also strives for mandated, standardised mediocre achievements in only a very few aspects of a full school curriculum in all schools.  It will survive until enough good people say, “Stop it.”

Click on the Naplan site for more details : http://www.nap.edu.au/information/FAQs/index.html


‘Looking Ahead’ –  We are ‘On a Road to Nowhere’

These are the titles of two of a number of articles forwarded by Allan Alach, NZ Principal.

In Looking Ahead http://edge.ascd.org/_Churchill-38-Burke/blog/5233779/127586.html  Walter McKenzie displays a photo of and a quote by Winston Churchil: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something in your life.”  and then says ‘Standing up for education is different. It’s not about reacting to an immediate crisis…it’s about advocating for the future. It doesn’t carry that immediate call to action to fend off an immediate attack. Nonetheless, it requiries those of us invested in the cause, to speak up for what we know to be good and true and right about public educator’s role in the future of our civilization. Yet most of us in education today have our heads down and are trying to quietly get along during difficult times. As one colleague remarked,”Educators know what is at stake. But they are too scared to do anything about it.

Fear is an understandably human emotion…one that can powerfully impact our motivations and actions. Will you speak up for what is right and good for public education, even as your leaders and colleagues continue to plod along with business-as-usual? Or will you settle for the status quo and allow the future of public education to be co-opted by political and commercial interests who do not have your insight and investment in the value of a free education for all? Speaking out is a moral imperative…we need your voice… now.”

{“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” –Edmund Burke 1729-97}


In http://www.pasisahlberg.com/blog/?p=23 Finn Pasi Sahberg compares the UK and Finland’s attitudes to school. “Many countries are obsessed by test rankings.  These league tables let policy makers benchmark their school system not only across countries but also within them. Administrators and principals in the UK, for instance, can access the strengths of their schools by comparing England to Wales, or Scotland to Northern Ireland. As the stakes – both political and economic – get higher, the temptation to create policies and employ practices that help to boost the test scores is growing. [See ‘Courier Mail 5 October2011 P.4:’Test results fail targets’] As a consequence, teachers teach to tests and schools turn away children who are not effective learners to guarantee greater success in forthcoming student assessments.

A typical feature of teaching and learning in Finland is high confidence in teachers and principals as respected professionals. Another involves encouraging teachers and students to try new ideas and approaches rather than teaching them to master fixed attainment targets. This makes school a creative and inspiring place for students and teachers. These policies are the result of systematic, mostly intentional development that has created a culture of diversity, trust and respect within Finnish society in general, and within its education system in particular. The result is a cocktail of good ideas from other countries and smart practices from the tradition of teaching and learning in Finland.

Experience from Finland shows that through high quality teachers committed to and capable of creating deep and broad teaching and learning it is possible to have powerful to have powerful, responsible and inspiring schools in an increasingly self-regulating profession. In Finland teachers design and pursue high quality learning and shared goals. They improve their schools continuously through professional teamwork and networks without being disturbed by standardised teaching, frequent testing or competition. You did hear what Diane Ravitch said about her visit to Finland on http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4409 didn’t you?


So, while the UK –and Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.A. continue downhill on the road to nowhere, there is hope. The OPT-OUT crusade, encouraging parents to tell their school that they do not want their children to contest the standardized blanket tests, is gathering momentum. It’s wonderful news. Australia needs a few thousand more to drop a note to their school. It can be done at any time. Why not do it NOW?

Here’s what Prof. Tim Slekar of Penn State Uni wrote to his school. Stop treating my child as data. He’s a great kid who loves to learn. He is not a politicians’ pawn in a chess game designed to prove the inadequacy of his teachers and school.” Prof Slekar appreciates how people feel about whether to opt-out or not and asks them to consider five things…

1.KNOW YOUR RIGHTS Although schools don’t speak about it, parents have the legal right to say no to standardized tests. Children are allowed to attend school on the days of the test and it is expected that they will be learning as usual.

{Apropos: Ken Woolford of Toowoomba writes on Oct.6: “…talking with parents and teachers we are finally hearing that some local schools are accepting and acknowledging that the Naplan tests are NOT compulsory (despite statements to the effect that they were compulsory in this year’s Q’ld Distance Ed. Year 9 Information to Parents). Welcome to Planet Qld.” Ken suggests that Qld is much more obsessive with results of Naplan than NSW is.}

2.IMPLICATIONS If the school suggests that the refusal will affect the school’s test score, parents need to remember that waivers are allowed and accounted for.

3.STRENGTH IN NUMBERS  In the USA, to find other families exploring the opt-out option, mums and dads are turning to Facebook. Florida-based Facebook group called “Testing is not Teaching” boasts 13,000 supporters.  Another called “Opt Out of the State Test – The National Movement” attracted 600 members in its first few days online. {Google both for more information}

Australians will like the Bartleby Project where Year 9s are encouraged to write “I prefer not to take this test” on each test, to sit calm and respond politely to each question or comment, not to get upset and just answer “I prefer not to do this test.” The argument is maintained that kids and parents should not be forcibly subjected to tests that “ pervert education, are disgracefully inaccurate, impose brutal stresses without reason, and actively encourage a class system which poison the nation’s future.”  Year 9s will know this.

4.THE SIX PER CENT RULE  Yung Zhau maintains that, if more than 5 per cent of parents opt out, the validity of statements about schools is very uncertain. There is too much doubt for anyone to believe the statistics.   Which State School is “The Worst” will not be able to be indicated, as did the Gold Coast Bulletin 15 September 2011’

5.THE END TO TESTING While corporations, banks, publishers and political parties control schooling, the end is not expected any time soon. The rug has been pulled from under the feet of kids, parents, principals and teachers. They need to stand up for kids at school and be loud in their insistence on better schooling than fear-driven testing can offer.

[See  http://www.takepart.com/article/2011/09/30/opting-kids-out-standardized-tests-5-things-you-should-know ]


Wouldn’t 2011 have been a wonderful year if Andrew Wilkie had taken up the banner for kids; or if another independent politician decided to do so, instead of having to wait for 2013 when each candidate will be asked if he or she supports NAPLAN testing. Poker machine addiction is so passe by comparison. A stance by an Independent at this time would save so much anguish.  Well Rob, Tony, Bob …how about it?  Caring for kids would be talked about !  It’s a new political idea.

With hope for a better Australia, Kleinism and Naplan will certainly share No.1 issue for the next federal election and state elections if enough Real Teachers and Fair-dinkum Parents take sufficient interest. Just watch this space. Hang in there, Treehorn.


Have you checked Recent Posts and Archive menus in the sidebar, to catch up on previous  comments?


Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point  2486

07 5524 6443



Please send this to as many readers as possible, Diane Ravitch has 20,000 readers.

Treehorn only has a hundred or so.

We’ll keep trying, kids.

Enhanced by Zemanta