February 2016 -Things Looked Good for a While

FEBRUARY 2016 saw the continuation of heavy NAPLAN-test-prep in those schools that have to rely on test results for their reputation. Holistic learning requirements , shared evaluation and real teaching were discussed and operated behind closed doors during this period, while regional officers in some states heavied [aka ‘mentored’] their teachers to be more naplanish and deliberately encouraged didactic modes of instruction among the unsure. Some even tried to ‘sell’ the ubiquitous direct de/instruction packages.These data-collectors can claim success. They have the naplan-based system firmly in their clutches.

The NAPLAN testing’s paranoia for the collection of scores was being properly defined : “ A NAPLAN score represents an inadequate judgement by a biased and variable testucator of the content to which an undefined level of mastery of unknown proportions of an inadequate amount of peculiar material has been completed on time. It is a device controlled by the New Mafia in the upper reaches of the banking and big corporate businesses, more engrossed in the accumulation of dollars and cents than in any concern. for child welfare or learning processes. It has the Frankenstein Effects of monstering as many learning abilities as it can, of abusing children’s mental health; and its control over decent curriculum and Australia’s intellectual future is extremely dangerous. As a mode of accountability and encouragement and system improvement, NAPLAN is pure crap.”

The importation of NAPLAN’s form of fear-based kleinism was, and remains an insult to the Aussie ‘way of life’. Instead of focusing on the basics of teaching, the importers’ fascist-inspired modes of teaching and learning turned our democratic options to a new low. The usual Aussie fair-play attitude to life actually contains the seeds of unrivaled achievement through a fair-play credo. We have neglected this attitude as it applies to school children for eight long years. It will have to be re-installed if we want to secure our future and a positive Aussie ‘way of life.’

The impact on political parties was varied at this time of 2016. An election year was coming up. Although the interest in schooling was minimal, each party hastily made up some quick policies. The Greens wanted the tests run at the beginning of the year. The LNP wanted better results within 12 weeks…forced, if necessary…May, of course! The ALP, it lay low. It, as usual, ignored the plight of kids under NAPLAN conditions and allowed their neo-con colleagues to have their way. The education policies of all parties and independent candidates demonstrated a clear disinterest in the guts of schooling. Independents and minor parties didn’t give two hoots. No political party or group indicated any interest in re-installing the high achieving, have-a-go, fair-dinkum, Aussie fair-crack-of-the-whip kind of education system we can have…if we want it. We seem to have lost the plot on the natural connection between fair-dinkum aussieness and productivity of school achievements. Our fixation with testing and data-collection, of New York origin, obscures the vision of Australia.s ability to becomeamongst the world’s most progressive countries. …depending on how well it treats its children.

OUR CANE-TOAD MENTALITY
Political parties’ attitude seemed to be based on a ‘cane toad’ mentality. THAT IS: Release an untested foreign ‘solution’ , without too much thought, to solve an invented problem and our school system will improve.{You will recall that the non-thinking scientists at the time of the cane-toad, overlooked the fact that toads could only leap so high and cane beetles flew higher.] .

Also… The New Mess, as the proposed use of computers for persuasive writing tests was called, hit the fan. The cane toad mentality was in full leap.

The concierge factions of each political party [the lobbyists, facilitators and door-openers] were busy , especially in the LNP, making sure that the candidates for the forthcoming elections were of the ‘right’ frame of mind. As it turned out, the electorate was starting to get sick of our pollies being controlled by the Gordon Gekkos of this world and turned to Pauline. She was chuffed and the longer neo-con un-seen operators control our politicians and systems, the happier she’ll be; the longer she’ll remain. The big Lib-Lab boys, probably paying for their sins of ignoring children, only have a slender lead over each other., now….and the more their indolence neglects the mental health of school children, the more slender any lead should become for the both parties.

During February, 2016

Concern was expressed by elite media commentators as to why states did not reclaim their control over schooling and treat children as human beings. Nothing happened.

The ALP started a peculiar petition for more resources in schools!!! It went flat.

THEN THINGS STARTED TO LOOK GOOD…..

A letter from Gabriel Stroud received resounding applause from real professionals and from the local media for a little while...” For many years I was privileged to be a teacher in primary schools. I knew I was a good teacher and my classroom was a place where pupils felt happy, confident, challenged and valued……But after 15 years of primary education in Australia I’ve had to admit defeat.” What a loss to the teaching profession. Nothing happened….except one other significant letter to the Courier Mail hit the fan.

Kathy Margolis wrote a letter that went viral. Kathy, who was a dedicated teacher for over 30 years was forced to seek another job. “Never have I experienced a time in my professional life where teachers are this stressed and in real fear for the mental health not only themselves, but the children that they teach…..I have never seen so many children suffering from stress and anxiety. It saddens me greatly. Teaching at the moment is data driven……I write this in the hope that we can spark a public discussion. We need the support of parents, who I know, agree with us. I love children and can’t bear to see what we are doing to them.”

A street march was held in Brisbane, and an interview with the state minister….then…zero activity.

The letters from Gabriel and Kathy …and Lucy Clark’s wonderful book….gave great heart to thousands of frustrated teachers wanting to teach their pupils to learn. For the first time since the measurement vandals started trespassing in classrooms of learning in 2008, someone was speaking out from where the action is! Enthusiasm was quickly quelled. Silence returned.

Treehorn wrote to Minister Birmingham suggesting that he initiate a study by a group of teachers such as Gabriel Stroud and Kathy Margolis of the effects of NAPLAN testing on the classroom atmosphere in Australian schools. He replied in April and referred to the fact that the new version of the Australian Curriculum “should assist teachers, thereby, improving morale.” !!! ‘Scuse me…..

He repeated what his dutiful officers had already told me as if I was a rookie or an impatient parent who needed reminding, that “….the purpose of NAPLAN tests is to help determine whether the students have the literacy and numeracy skills that provide the critical foundation for their learning.’

(“Ties and slurs It all sounds like…” ) Later in the year, the tests proved to the world that NAPLAN was not working…in fact, things were getting worse. The only conclusion to be reached was that the tests themselves were destroying the yen to do better. Kids how how they are being treated. It might have been a good idea to talk to the likes of Gabriel and Kathy, after all, to find out why this was so, instead of his making a unilateral decision to intimidate the states with threats of funding ‘arrangements’. if they didn’t exert more pressure on kids with more of the same. That’s what the poor fellow did! Too busy to think about schooling! He could even have checked how the original model was going in the USA [It has since collapsed] as any prudent assessor would do. He won’t believe that the fault is in the tests themselves. He doesn’t seem to like the Treehorn suggestion that children should be treated with dignity and care and develop a personal belief that they can achieve at the highest of levels, if they are taught to like Maths. Science, Literacy. He much prefers the state-threatened, fear-based, parent-deceited, press-silenced, teacher-timidified original Klein model. So, things remain the same. States were conned and still do as they are told. Teachers tolerate it. Kids suffer. Since our system’s aim is to pursue the mediocre through the continued use of fault-ridden tests, we will certainly continue as a flat-lined system on the way to nowhere.

It was in February that I had an accidental crew cut by the local hairdresser. She is still there, if you would like a crew cut. Just say: “NAPLAN.”

I was having a haircut and happened to mention ‘NAPLAN’ to the lady with the clippers.

The clipping speed increased rapidly. “That bloody thing! When my lad was in Grade 3, he didn’t sleep for weeks. He hated school and did not want to go. On the day, he threw up and I had to make him go.”

The clippers went into another gear, and hair flew off in my many shades of gray. “In Grade 5, same bloody thing.happened. He hated it and was really worried.”

Now, clip, clip. clip at breakneck speed. “He’s in Grade 7 now and I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s on again now. Everyone is getting ready.”

Appeals to political candidates through The Treehorn Express to scrap NAPLAN based on UNESCO’s Rights of the Child, or on its inherent nastiness, and further pleas for them to think about their personal attitude to the purposes of schooling, and on the uselessness of the results, continued through February. The simple question was :”Why do we send children to school?” The unfortunate neo-con political robots were deaf or dyslexic. The month concluded with a clear expose from political science that countries get what they deserve from their attitude to the treatment of all human beings by their pollies. The neo-con attitude to getting what they want is to demand it. That’s the prevailing Australian attitude. The leaders of the Lib-Lab parties in particular, prefer to use coercion and reward power to get their way. I’m angry. Of course, I’m angry. I’m angry that no [political party in Australia cares enough about children to think about what they should be doing. I hate to see kids treated in the manner that our parliamentarians endorse.

Ideologies based on the yen for big money begets the use of reward and/or coercive powers to try to get people to do what they want. Such anxiety-driven, fear-based operations generally result in lower-level responses from the operatives at the work-face or chalk-face, ranging from rejection of the operation to enthusiasm for the enterprise. Australian schools are close to the rejection end, but not close enough. The problem is that the caring professions are more sensitive than others, trying to ride out the oppression but failing to stand up for the ideals and ethics of their work [which are shelved] because coercive activities are built into their chain of command…..as they are these days in Australian schooling. Fear and intimidation prevail.

NAPLAN testing can never rely on any enthusiasm from any dignified teaching service, for the task of blanket testing. It is bound to fail. Serious caring teachers can only take so much. The arrogant toxicity of the testing industry, in which love and care are denied to the humanity of the task, ignores the colleagueship between a teacher and a learner. Both teacher and learner know that NAPLAN is a very dangerous operation that should be dropped as soon as possible. Before the testing factories swing into action in February 2017, some wise politicians might anticipate parental and teacher revolt before reality hits and they might have to do something about it. People don’t like the suggestion that their schools are operated by fascist-oriented people, but it’s the truth. Schools can do without FEAR, ANXIETY, DECEIT and GREED. All four factors are too firmly embedded in the Australian system of schooling at present. ….and…..they can so easily be replaced by zest, enthusiasm, accomplishment and achievement. Just get rid of the menace that is holding Australia back.

That’s how we left February, 2016…..confused, battered, hopeful for a while thanks to Kathy and Gabriel, busily preparing for the May tests, imposing extra homework, enrolling at after-school NAPLAN-focused back-yard shops, not giving a tinkers about the mental health of our kids, knowing full-well that the emphasis on getting good test scores actually inhibits learning, hiding parental rights, infringing the Code of Moral Conduct https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_of_conduct , with our tongue in our cheek; and learning to say dutifully, with louder ‘test-speak’ that “we don’t like NAPLAN, but…..what can we do?”……

Why do some people and caring institutions, bother to write definitive Moral Codes, Rights of the Child, Freedom to Learn kind of documents?

As Aussie pollies and administrators we cannot be too proud of our timidity . Why can’t we do the job properly? Why don’t we CARE FOR KIDS ?


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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 .

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

.

The Fallacy of NAPLAN’s Hegemonic Dominance

IT’S NAPLAN SEASON.  NORMAL SCHOOLING WILL RESUME ON MONDAY 15 MAY

 

THE FALLACY OF NAPLAN’S HEGEMONIC DOMINANCE

The manipulation by the ruling class of  developmental values that are

contrary to the authenticated needs of children (Maslow),

through the elite’s establishment

of a State Theory of Learning.

based on shaky quantitative measurement,

ensures a long-lasting  cultural hegemony

that seriously impedes wise and democratic decision-making procedures.

Maslow’s description of the motivational factors that spur people on to greater things, has been established, uncontested, for over half-a-century.  This five-stage model  of ‘growth needs’ arranged in hierarchical order which indicates that particular needs have to be satisfied before those higher in the pyramid of needs can be fulfilled.

NAPLAN applies  official indifference to the second rung of the ladder by attacking a child’s security and mental confidence with tests in the first year of schooling. Then, at about seven years of age, a crucial stage of a child’s development, it threatens, with totalitarian command, the warmth of friendly teaching/learning relationships with the rigours and anxiety of stern testing procedures.

It deliberately  establishes anxiety as a school requirement. A child’s Esteem needs are ignored so the chances of reaching their full potential are  seriously hindered. Most Australian children have Buckley’s chance of reaching their complete self-fulfilment while NAPLAN exists.

The lack of humanity shown by our political schadenfreudists borders on sadomachicism. They should know as well as any other sadist that the extremely  well researched dictum: ” The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distract and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.” [Campbell] is real.    Last year’s PISA and TIMSS failures and NAPLAN’s flat-lining bear testimony to this.  As Goodhart’s Law also emphasises “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”….which gives credence to the prediction that NAPLAN will be dumbed down this year so that better scores can be obtained.

The use of NAPLAN as a cultural weapon of control over the democratic elements of schooling reveals a level of corruption and deceit that Australian schooling is unused to.

BEWARE

AUSTRALIA’S STATE LAWS OF SCHOOLING. [Developed and installed by Naplan experts]

Since life is linear, learning is linear. School subjects are linear, ordered and hierarchical within and between themselves.

Each subject is unique to itself and must be kept isolated from all others. Some are more important than others. The Vaccination Theory of Learning* applies.

Regular testing controls all school learnings. Tests do not need to be reliable nor valid.
Anxiety creation and the threat of fear of testing results are the essential elements of all learning processes.

All scores obtained by testing are to be officially regarded as reliable indicators of [a] a child’s potential for a happy and successful future, [b] growth in intellectual capacity, [c] creativity potential, [d] how well he or she learns,[e] how each pupil learns [f] how much is learned, [g] teacher ability.

Only a compulsory three-day rigorous workout once every two years can reveal how well each of these traits have been taught.

Humiliation of teachers and pupils is sanctioned as a motivational device.

Testing also shows how well children are taught, the organisational quality of school leadership, the curriculum leadership of the school authority; and the suitability of the curriculum content.

Standardised blanket testing such as NAPLAN has powers beyond the comprehension of the average human being. They should not enquire.

If learners are uncomfortable with this method of schooling, they must be taught to toughen up.

Views such as those expressed above by ‘The NAPLAN Law Of Dominance of Schooling’ will not be mentioned in any open company nor conveyed to parents of children who have allowed, either wittingly or unwittingly,  their children to sit the tests.

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VACCINATION THEORY OF LEARNING.   English is not History and History is not Maths and Maths is not Art and Art is not Science and Science is not Music and English and Maths and Science are major subjects and  History and Art and Music are minor.  Once you have been innoculated with these subjects you are protected and need not be vaccinated again.

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NOTE   Google ‘Hegemony” : The Marxist theory of cultural hegemony…is the idea that the ruling class can manipulate the value system and mores of a society, so that their view becomes the world view (Weltanschanung} ….In contrast to authoritative rule, cultural hegemony is “ is hegemonic only if those affected by it also consent to and struggle over its common sense”

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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….

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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?

 

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

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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

Skinning Cats Alive.

I had convinced myself during the 1980s that, within twenty years, Australia would have a schooling system that was like no other…..built purely on love for learning and a zest for achievement in all things. At the time, things were on the up-and-up and school leadership was more ethical and professional and thoughtful than it had ever been. Teachers were proving their academic and professional worth in the big arena. Bureaucrats were learning to pull their heads in and were releasing the power of a truly caring profession. There was ‘Pride in Primary’ – real fair-dinkum pride in being a primary teacher -a catch-phrase that the good guys used at the time during their professional and personal activities. Classrooms looked like exciting learning places…‘Living, Learning Laboratories’ as Bob Pashen called them – inviting children to come in and join in the joy of learning. Things felt good. We had a lot of wrinkles to iron out that would take some doing and a lot more independence to be grasped … but we knew we could do it. We felt so tall and so proud of being primary.

Bugger! We couldn’t. A special form of heavy-handed totalitarian political control grew alien antennae that made some powerful politico-weirdos believe they knew everything about everything.,..and they took over the activities of governments.

A toxic form of managerialism hit the fan in the mid-80s; and we lost sight of the kids. These aliens organised and started running testing factories replacing real people who’d been-there-done-that ,organising schools of learning and mentoring others on the way. These good guys were cunningly dominated by absurdists who forced fear-laden testing on kids and have now done more damage to Australia than the Japanese could ever have done. Fear-laden swotting of a kind never known before has replaced decent teaching. The load on small pupils during normal learning time, the likes of which no previous generation has had to tolerate. is enormous. Kids are still our future, but you wouldn’t think so. 

Now we have a take-over of schooling by the most ruthless gang of kid-bashing monsters ever. Schools, intended to be the centres of schooling excellence that our children deserve, were set up on Day 1 of schooling … ,last Monday…. to be an examination centre for happy, anxious young kids who’d been dreaming of something else on their first day. 

What an introduction to a lifetime of learning!

The little ones were kept quiet and submissive, we’ve been told, waiting for a teacher to give them a series of literacy and mathematical encounters, the results of which were scored and recorded and forwarded to an all-powerful pooh-bah who will keep the data for statistical purposes. The school will be expected to keep the results until the poor little folk contest the really earnest NAPLAN test in Year 3, when they are about 7 years of age. The branding done and intellectual expectations set in place in the minds of those adults whom the child respects at this point, will mark their progress for many years, Day 2 marked the beginning of ‘getting to know you’ activities, starting to ‘down play’ the implications of the day before, and to start the pupilling….fair-dinkum schooling. No one will have time to try to see what effect the testing had on the pupil, how the pupil felt, The effects could be profound, but we big people will pretend that negativity can be patted away and all will be okay. We will also pretend on behalf of those who did not do well, that it doesn’t matter. The kids are so young. They’ll get over it. We’ve sorted them out early, as far as NAPLAN goes, anyhow. 

Remember that page in one of the most wonderful books on education :ThGeranium on the Window Sill Just Died but Teacher you went right on” by Albert Cullum : 

Where is my place in your puzzle, teach?

Do I fit?

Or am I one piece too many?

Tell me for real, teach!

I know there’s no room for me on the bulletin board,

but do I have a place in your puzzle?

When the advisers and special helpers move in to remind the slow or poor-scoring child of his or her inadequacies, we will be sure to get an increase in scores, by Year 3, because that’s what this kind of schooling is all about. By test time in Year 3 0r 5, many pupils will be saying, in Albert Cullum talk :

was good at everything

– honest, everything –

until I started being here with you.

I was good at laughing, 

playing dead, being king.

Yeah, I was good at everything!

But now I’m only good at everything

on Saturdays and Sundays…

It’s certainly useful to know how your pupil stacks up against others and against certain criteria. …and against their own views of themselves. It’s also critical , however, that the information is obtained as part of the learning operation. Those who would kill a cat by skinning it alive, would approve of the way that some schools conducted the operation last Monday. “Hello Sam. Here’s a little fun thing I’d like you to do. Bye Sam”

The media will pile on the plaudits for the kids and the teachers for the first day. It makes good copy. Parents will scurry home to learn how to do it better with the next child. After all, kids talk. The disgrace of having to seek remediation for what I did to my kid! OMG.

I should like to make one point. The way that this operation was carried out, the organisational mode was a disgrace. Only cold and calculating beasts , excuses for humanity, would dream this sort of thing

Teachers will learn more about each child during the first week or two of schooling and use it for each child’s welfare; in the way things ought to operateand;, hopefully, repair some of the damage done by mean-spirited adults who enjoy skinning cats alive,

Phil Culllen, Emeritus Director of Primary Education, Q’ld.., 41 Cominan Avenue, Banora Point. Australia 2486. 07 5524 6443 0407865999 cphilcullen@bigpond.com

Datafication

THIS IS AN EXTREMELY SERIOUS TOPIC.  IGNORE ITS INTENTIONS AT OUR NATION’S PERIL; AND THEN PRAY FOR ITS KIDS.

The future of our nation depends on our attitude towards children and their schooling

DATAFICATION

It’s here. It’s the end of schooling as an interpersonal teacher-pupil interactive learning enterprise.
During this century there has been a distinct movement in schooling from Education to Testucation to Datafication.

To the everlasting credit of a remarkable work force, Australiam teachers have maintained an amazing standard of pupilling excellence, of which, despite the debilitating interruptions by blanket testing, Australians can be proud. The future of schooling will be much tougher for pupils, teachers and parents, however, if we continue on our present course.

DATAFICATION

IT’S SERIOUS. “What it simply means is this: from our actions to our thoughts, everything is getting transformed into a numerically transformed format or ‘Data’….from sports to finance and from entertainment to healthcare, everything around us is converting into data.” [Sawinder Kaur]. Get used to it.

“Datafication refers to the collective tools, technologies and processes used to transfer an organisation to a data-driven enterprise. This buzzword describes an organisational trend of defining the key to core business operations through a reliance on data and its related infrastructure.”[Technopedia]

“Datafication is the method behind the madness of Big Data.”  [Mark Sylvestor]

It’s a later day technological trend that involves the collection of data and transforming the information into new forms of value. It’s the sort of thing that Rupert has dreamed of for years.  Seen to be of benefit for core business operations, it has invaded schooling systems to destroy the vigorous spirit of established institutionalised learning and to turn its citadels into business operations and testing factories in which a gullible public will spend big money to enrol their children. The recent rise in the standard of marketing and lobbying  skills will ensure this.   Datification has been able to take over from the testucation processes attached to NAPLAN because our testing industry had difficulty in understanding the consequences of certain unwelcome schooling behaviours that were introduced rudely into Australia in 2008; and this makes things easier for schools to become digitised and datafied testing factories.  It’s more than just using laptops at school for learning purposes. It’s a debauched use of technology merely to supply data to measurers for judgmental causes and maladjusted, political control.

Data collection is driving our schools….now….and the intensity is about to increase.  The shape and infrastructure of schooling and our attitude to it have changed. We need to stop the nonsense and talk. Testucation and datafication are draining the humanity of learning from our schools.

If we want this trend to continue, we should do nothing.  We are used to doing nothing. Ignoring the plight of school children is a major Australian cultural meme.  “She’ll be right, Jack.”  We allowed managerialism to take over from experienced-based organisational designs in the 1980s, then ignored the change to testucation in 2008, now to datafication.  Are you happy with the trend? Within the school setting, it meant changing from challenging styles of maieutic pupilling to didactic chalk-talk test practice, practice, practice that pupils usually detest. It has produced mediocre results in national and international tests as expected and should continue to do so.  It’s the pupils who decide how well they will do on tests, for goodness sake. How do we treat them in a productive, learning sense?

This may not have been  the Gillard-Klein intention when they introduced fear and obsession with test scores to supplant pupilled love of learning in 2008, but it happened.  They certainly set out to be data-centric, nasty and tough, but I should think that they did not intend things to go so far. They thought that they were just testing what had been taught, as we all used to do in our schools. It all went pear-shaped and the kids are now doing worse than ever before  at basic operations, because of the tests themselves…. but the modus operandi of using NAPLAN to gather data has been maintained!  […and it’s the bogey that contains the seeds of lowering standards! It actually causes the slump!] This has suited the datafying hawks, however,  who are presently taking over  from both kleinish testucators and former educators, ‘…using rapid speed and amazing tools to store, manipulate and analyse  information”,  for other-than-schooling purposes. Almost the whole population will, in the future,  be data-nailed as soon as they enter school and be branded through  datafying routines now being used by industry.  Schooling is not what it used to be; and we should fear for the kids at the chalk-face of the 21st century.   With creativity, problem solving, thinking, decision making, zest, acceptance  of challenges and pupilling,  all removed from the school scene, the kids don’t have much chance to enjoy a happy, challenging, creative, healthy life full of satisfying achievements as they could have expected from basic pupilling conditions at a humanity-based learning school.

Eagerly supported by the big corporate boys, the testucrats have set no limits to the expenditure of tax-payers’ money on new organisational arrangements.  If someone had said to you, some years ago, that education departments in Australia would, one day, spend $A24.7million dollars for computerised tablets, just to do a few tests of basic standards over a one-hit three-day period, because it’s quicker than using paper and pencil…..what would the electorate have said?   OUT!

Just to score tests faster !!!!   You can also be sure that much more than that will be spent over the next few years on increasing ‘how’ and ‘what’ we collect in our next lot of data-drives.

If you approve of totalitarian tactics, creation of fear, sleepnessness, depression and arrogant child abuse to obtain better scores on unreliable tests, that those such as NAPLAN now provide, with the expectation of more datafication procedures,   you must belong to some kind of moronic religion or terror group that ignores humanity and children and fair-play and equality.  Get outa here. Go back home to dataland.

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Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  07 5524 6443 407865999 cphilcullen@bigpond.com  REFER :”Who’s Who in Australia.”