Heads Down: Abandon Naplan for the abandoned.

Heads Down

Mail Attachment

NAPLAN For Abandoned* Kids

10 Weeks only to May 9

It’s swot time.


Latest NAPLAN results :  Stagnation. Flat-lined.

                Latest PISA results:  Slipping back, relative to other countries

Relative to the promise of higher PISA results (‘top 5 by 25’), once NAPLAN has supposedly fixed the phantom Rudd/Gillard fantasies:  NAPLAN has failed miserably. See PISA results.

Cause : NAPLAN’s high success rate at ensuring that kids dislike Maths., Science, Reading as well as hate general learning and schooling.

‘Political’ cause: Poor teaching.

Political plans for the future : Get tougher. Create more anxiety. Keep blaming teachers. Keep parental choice secret.


Statements concerning the NAPLAN era

At  a cost of billions of dollars over the past decade, NAPLAN has been a miserable failure.

It’s not about money or disadavantage. It’s about the way we treat our young.

Despite its failure and dire consequences, we continue with it. We used to be amongst very the top in PISA result before NAPLAN was introduced

Political and media spin try to maintain  the furphy that its diagnostic fantasies can point the way to improvement in test results.

Machiavellian cunning has corralled influential education associations and deleted their codes of professional conduct so that they now do as they are told, despite professional ethics.

SCHOOLING and LEARNING in our schools have never been regarded as decision-making imperatives by our politicians and their testucrats.They are consumed by an intense political predisposition towards testing only.

NAPLAN operations de-dignifies the humanity of the teaching-learning exchange.

Abuse of children’s mental health is part of the ethos of NAPLAN testing. The creation of fear and anxiety are essential elements of the entire process.  They will continue since both are part of the dna of the testing process. .

UNESCO’s Rights of the Child are being ignored. The dignity of the child is not respected under the required conditions.

Part of Australia’s penchant for the ancient British traditions of maintaining  a surfeit of public blanket tests and examinations, it is causing consternation in the medical and other caring professions by its close connection to serious social  and mental p and to the increases in teen suicide.

Parents can refuse to participate in the NAPLAN processes, but schools are not allowed to tell them that they can do this.

Conducted under the auspices  of the Murdoch press, the Institute of Public Affairs and the Australian Banking Association with their links to major political parties, there is little likelihood of any change for some time.

Change can only be enacted by large numbers of parents refusing to have their children ‘treated’ by NAPLAN; or by principals’ associations refusing to participate in such unethical political activities; or a push by a political party – for votes or for altruistic reasons which will earn it votes.


To be noted

If NAPLAN continues this year, betcha there’s a panic about which schools have sufficient computers to cope with the tests and the level of proficiency of the various Year levels for  those who use them.  

During this test-prep period, official notices from various authorities to their schools will emphasise the importance of better NAPLAN results this year, with little mention of other more important curriculum issues.

If our NAPLAN and PISA reults continue of the present downward paths, what does our government do?

The kids are rejecting the modus operandi and they will reveal this in the results, despite the testucating ‘Tactics’ that are being planned. The pupils prefer to enjoy learning and to learn as much as they can about the whole curriculum…. in which  they are supposed to be properly pupilled during school hours.

There is now panic amongst the unclean testucators :“We need to focus on evidence based measures that will get results for our students because  results once again show that, despite significant funding growth, we are not getting sufficient improvements in student outcomes,” said Minister Simon Birmingham.  Whatever that means. It’s obviously a childish crack at funding by someone who knows little about schooling, of course. Someone should tell him that love for learning particular subjects ensures significant increased outcomes for any school subject….and that the banning of NAPLAN will bring great joy to his colleague Scott Morrison.  Billions ! [now being wasted on a once-per-year unreliable test] saved. Wow. Win-Win. More in success terms for kids; more in dollar terms for Scotty.

AND…Simon, you have sufficient evidence, young chap.  If you don’t know what causes test results to fall and how to make them rise, you’re in the wrong job. NAPLAN stinks and causes terrible outcomes in test results, disenchanment with learning, mental health, teacher unhappiness and parental concern, friend Morrison’s budget and general professional wreckage,  Haven’t you noticed? 

Get rid of it. Our kids’ schooling welfare has been abandoned for too long, now.


*Abandone”:  Those left to contest  NAPLAN after all others have been pulled out.by concerned parents.

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






School Education. No.1 Platform

Aussie Friends of Treehorn
protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided
School Education
No.1 on Platform
Could be. There are some healthy indications that some of our political parties might start thinking that the standards of learning in our schools could have something to do with our future as a nation…. not the standard of testing…the standard of LEARNING….and that NAPLAN is holding us back.  While each of the major parties has supported NAPLAN testing as if it was of use, or allowed it just to have its way with the curriculum without question, there’s a chance that some election candidates might speak-up in their party rooms to discuss the effects that it has had on the learning processes in Australian schools. It’s been a big mistake as any thinking candidate will know.
Even our testucrats are losing faith in its usefulness as a motivator of learning. [Slipping down to 14th on the latest PISA totem pole and heading further down, has not been good news for them.  To add to the indignity, such results were predicted by Australian kids’ crusaders, years ago]
The contest between the Libs and the Labs at the moment is so close at present, that if either of these parties promises to ban NAPLAN….maybe leave the announcement until about May 1….it would certainly be a winner. That’s for sure. 
A lot will depend on the level of media attention in the meantime; and  whether editors of newspapers, CEOs of TV news and elite journalists feel they have sufficient autonomy to reveal what happens to kids after experiencing the curriculum horrors of NAPLAN and during test-prep.  The Murdoch and Fairfax chain and ABC TV can hardly be called ‘kids’ supporters’.  Their early support for NAPLAN and the controlled silence since, has been noted.
If the heads of News Ltd. and Fairfax in particular,  feel that they have autonomy, do they pass this along to their education sub-editors and elite commentators? 
If they did, NAPLAN is dead. Its impact on school learning just cannot be ignored as they have been up to the present.
The standards of learning in Australian schools has to improve.  
Kids have to like learning and not be so limited in their learning.
The credo of NAPLAN that mediocre is good enough has to be dismissed from the Australian psyche. 
 The questioning by parents about the enormous emotional and educational drain on their children for three long days in May has had a lot to do with the recent positive reaction from the media. The thousands of parents withdrawing their children from the testing regime is making commentators considers their words.
Which political party will be the first? While timing is important…. if both major parties decide to ban NAPLAN….. being first will be crucial.   Just getting rid of it, is what matters to all parties.
 Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486   cphilcullen@bigpond.com             http://primaryschooling.net/                     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/
07 5524 6443          07 5524 6443  
proud to be sticking up for kids.

The Silent Media

Aussie Friends of Treehorn
protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided
encouraging adults to think sensitively, to care for kids, to make wise choices….with their hearts in gear, their pens active and their votes available.
The Silent Media
One of the essentials for the maintenance of unpalatable programs in public schools is ‘media silence’.  The Australian well-controlled media outlets use this tactic with classic ability.
During the past week or so, there has been a splash in the press about the rise in scores for some NAPLAN tests. They had risen. It covered a couple of pages in the print press and was mentioned favourably in a few TV News presentations. But,  when it was reported this week, that Australia was sinking in its PISA [NAPLAN in world terms] results – very serious stuff – the news was mentioned in passing in the lower corner of Page 2 and never mentioned anywhere else.  This item: thatthe most recent PISA results showed that Australia had sunk to 14th place in world rankings – a flop of hara kari dimensions for dedicated Naplanists – didn’t make very far. There was no noise whatsoever.  I waited for ‘The Drum’ members to discuss this extraordinary flop…Australia’s scores dropping from around the top of the rankings to 14th place during the life of NAPLAN !
What sort of message does that convey?  Julia G. believed in the validity and sanctity of PISA results and was determined to flog teachers and pupils to get to her catch-cry target of ‘Top 5 by 25’.  Looks like we’ll be lucky to be in the 25 by then, if we persist in using  NAPLAN!  She didn’t know the secret that pupils achieve higher when they learn how to learn better, in a test-free environment.  The trouble is that Rupert and Klein cannot sell tests and books and programs nor sell computer tablets for the tests when we don’t have tests.
You will recall the combined Australian-New Zealand Conference of primary school principals held in Melbourne a few years ago that featured outstanding world speakers, each of whom condemned the use of high stakes standardised testing as a motivator for learning and as a  measure of accountability.  The conference convenor, APPA, I’ve been assured, made copies of the speeches available early as press releases. Not one was published.  The international conference passed by, unnoticed.
NAPLAN, quite obviously, has the  protection of extremely powerful people and their flunkies.  It wouldn’t exist in a normal climate of schooling that treated its children compassionately and taught them to enjoy learning and to achieve up to the limit of their God-given abilities.  NAPLAN insists that mediocre achievements are good enough as long as a lot of students get to a pre-set average standard.
 This is just not good enough for a country that wants to improve its intellectual and commercial position on the world stage. 
(Restraining children from reaching their potential by drawing public attention to personal inadequacies through one-hit test-taking, instead of encouraging self-evaluation at every step of learning all year for the full year for motivational and emotional reasons, certainly leads to social and moral degradation of the human spirit. Expect trouble from disgruntled NAPLAN contestants as they grow older….and… It’s not their fault.)  
It’s no wonder that politicians and would-be pollies have nothing to say. Who would want to antagonise anyone on Rupert’s payroll who prefers to keep NAPLAN? rolling. The pursuit of the mighty dollar is ruthless and they don’t have to clean up the mess.
 Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486    cphilcullen@bigpond.com             http://primaryschooling.net/                     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/
07 5524 6443        0407865999
Why do we tolerate it?
Even the Director of the OECD, the world’s testing centre singled us out…..but nobody bothered to discuss his issue.  H said that using our teachers as widgets [

Friends of Treehorn: Bigotry-Free Zone

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

…..for those who believe that learning matters in every kind of political climate..

A Short Story of Bigotry & Totalitarian Control

kimberleyKimberley College [http://kimberleycollege.org/ ] is an Independent Schools on the outskirts of Brisbane, Australia; established by a group of parents who firmly believed in the power of school based professionally ethical teaching/learning arrangements to develop their children’s potential and life chances to the highest degree. Since the original cohort of children enjoyed the multi-aged principles, together with de Bono-based principles of lateral learning while at nearby Kimberley Park State Primary School…. they lobbied unsuccessfully to have a state secondary school established in their own suburb that followed the positive attitudes to learning that their state primary school had confirmed. Failing in their efforts to persuade their state department to attempt an innovative approach to secondary schooling, especially the multi-aged component, the parents decided to establish a school of their own that respected children’s learning.

Despite considerable harassment and negative official comment from some sections of the managerialist-based school authority of the time, it opened.

Thus, Kimberley College, undoubtedly one of Australia’s most outstanding learning institutions, was established in 2000. Its enrolment has rapidly increased and it has enjoyed a respected reputation for its learning programs and for the parental opposition to learning-destructive standardised blanket testing techniques such as NAPLAN. Fewer than 10% of the pupils contest NAPLAN tests. Its prospectus states : ‘We strongly believe that Naplan testing and its ‘necessary’ adjunct, a National Curriculum, are an unnecessary and negative influence on the stated philosophy of Kimberley College.’

Most Kimberley College parents, alive to the degrading influence that standardised blanket testing has on a healthy learnacy curriculum and of its source in the purses of ‘the big end of NY town’, refuse to allow their children to participate – fewer than 10 pupils are expected to sit the tests this year. This educated attitude to high stakes corporate control was featured in a “Four Corners” program http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/extraminutes/8726844/testing-times-kimberly-college

This exceptional campus of learning is a reflection of the philosophy of its Principal educator, Paul Thomson …..as all schools reflect the attitudes to learning of their leader, whether educator or testucator.


A STORY FROM THIS SBT-FREE SCHOOL When the annual NAPLAN-crazed preparation with its practice, practice, practice, curriculum-restricted, disrespectful, useless, immoral, child-stressing, Murdoch-purse-enhancing tests was under way in late-February of this year, a proud Mr. Thomson wanted his immediate community [Carbrook] to know that its nearest private school was a learning school, and not a willing contributor to the pockets of those who prefer to use children for data-collection only. Kimberley College wanted its public to know that its pupil clients would become high personal achievers without the curse of debilitating fear-driven tests

Also a general social justice proponent, he had, during this NAPLAN test crazed period, cause to telephone a Courier Mail journalist to suggest that his 22 March article “Why does the Left support this Avalanche of Paedophilic filth?” was excessive in his use of language in the below-the-belt reference to those not of the author’s own political persuasion. The reporter hung-up on Mr.Thomson.

The Courier Mail belongs to Mr. Murdoch. Mr. Murdoch owns lots of things and people.

Unrelated to this incident, but about the same time, Kimberley College proudly displayed on its notice-board that it was a “Murdoch-free zone”. Thomson decided, having second thoughts, to alter the reference and changed the notice to a more inclusive “Bigot-free Zone”. The original lasted only one day. The change to “Bigot-free Zone” encompassed more of those people who have fixed prejudices, are utterly intolerant of those with contrary views and prefer social institutions to be run with an iron fist.

In came the heavies, with the wrath of Rupert.

Believe it ! The Queensland Minister for Education telephoned the school and ordered Mr.Thomson to remove the reference to our lord and master.

Mr. Thomson agreed [he had already removed Rupert’s name] that the notice could be improved.

“Yes.” said Mr.Langbroek, “State Schools are not allowed to put up signs like that!”

“We are not a state school, Mr. Langbroek. We are a private school.”

“Well. You will need to think seriously about how you are funded!”

Believe it!


The Courier Mail’s ‘Andrew Bolt’ , whose Twitter motto is “Whatever it is, I don’t like it”, believes that everyone to his left is a Leftist [and there’s no one to his right], so he found a chance to square the ledger:- “Kimberley College, an independent school in Logan, has done an embarrassing backflip and removed a pompous commentary from its website. The statement, which began, “The wrong people are now in charge of the education future of our children,” was mysteriously taken down yesterday. And signs at the school attacking – horror of horrors – the Murdoch press, also came down. Could it be the college recoiled after being warned it may lose its funding for exposing children to overtly political rhetoric.”

??? Hello?? Where did that come from? ????

What was the name of that planet, again?



A recent Treehorn Express :- ‘”Our Oligarchy is Better than Your Oligarchy” opens with the comment “”It is clear that Australia’s schooling system is under the control of the most effective oligarchy in the world.”

Where else in the world would you find a Minister of Education run defence for a pupil-frozen, money-focussed, test publisher, while a high stakes testing program, of which the publisher is the originator and controller, pollutes the curriculum and inhibits cognitive development within the Minister’s own schools?

QED – quod erat demonstrandum.

Phil Cullen [……for kids who shouldn’t be doing the stress-ridden Murdoch tests] 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point 2486 075524 6443 cphilcullen@bigpond.com

Media and Schooling Control.


Media and Schooling Control

Overseas readers may not know that Australia’s most respected politician is not the leader of the ruling party. The ruling party is called Liberal, which it isn’t. It’s ultra-conservative and represents big-business. Labor, the major opposition party, is, despite the spelling, supposed to represents the ordinary folk, which it doesn’t. It’s conservative and represents business.

Malcolm Turnbull, highly respected member of the Liberal Party, [sometimes called a ‘moderate’] occasionally strays from his party’s control. As Minister for Communications, he has told his conservative party colleagues that he is not “the minister for right-wing communications.” You tell ‘em, Malcolm.

Last week, he helped in the launch of a fledgling newspaper called The Saturday Paper, whose rich owner, Morry Schwartz, plans to run the paper for profit; and tell all news items of interest. Now, that’s an innovative media move for Australia!

 Mr. Turnbull said to Mr. Schwartz [Click] “You are not some demented plutocrat pouring more and more money into a loss-making venture that is just going to peddle your opinions.”

Later, Mr. T emphasised that he was not talking about Mr. Rupert Murdoch, as many thought, but about William Randolph Hearst of megamaniacal Citizen Kane fame.


Of course. You check it! I said recently in a local publication that “KRM has his way [in Australia]….and….testing is big, big money. Compliance comes easy down under.” I was suggesting, of course, that Australian teachers work for him. Well! He seems to be more in control of Australia than any political party or parliament.

 Can’t get out of it now, can I? I said it.

Its’ all still a mystifying business.

 Who and what controls schooling down under? Profit? Bang-crash-wallop political ideology? Testucation? Compulsory Education? Learning?

What is schooling, Aussie-style? Copy-cat based? Testing based? Learning based?

Anything unique about it? Who cares?

 How’s the scores going?

______________________Thanks Rupert_____________________

Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point 2486 07 55246443 cphilcullen@bigpond.com

The Zone of Silence

The Treehorn  Express

[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]

 Treehorn is the hero of a masterful children’s book The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Heidi Parry that cleverly illustrates adult concerns for the welfare of school children. The little fellow kept shrinking and became so small that he could walk upright under his bed. Nobody – nobody – his parents, his teacher, his principal took any real interest in his well-being.except for an occasional nod. The message is a clear and simple one for all parents of school children, for less-than-ethical teachers and principals who just don’t care enough.


Diane Ravitch, once the second most powerful educator in the USA, then a ’passionate advocate for the conservative policies of testing and accountability, school choice, privatization and business-style management’  [Prof.Mark Bay] is now an ardent critic of blanket, standardized  testing, and is a powerful advocate for experience in school leadership and for learnacy  in classrooms, which entails ‘learning-how-to-learn’ as opposed to ‘learning-for tests’, said in The Wall Street Journal, “On our present course, we are disrupting communities, dumbing down our schools, giving students false reports of their progress, and creating a private sector that will undermine public education without improving it. Most significantly, we are not producing a generation of students who are knowledgeable. That is why I changed my mind about the current direction of school reform.”

Hello, ‘5 by 25’ Julia!  Your turn to do a 180.’.


The Zone of Silence

Something strange is going on with media coverage of serious educational issues in Australia. One has to wonder. It is mystifying. Why does the media not discuss important schooling issues? The citizenry and its various publics have been deprived of rich conversations on topics raised by distinguished visitors who know what they are taking about;. It has been denied access to the in-depth research into the effects of the GERM movement on schools and, consequently. It has become disinterested in finding the source of control, the money moguls, or of the control structure of scato-memes like blanket standardised testing [NAPLAN in Australia and ‘National Standards’ in N.Z.]. Media control of public opinion does not attempt to lead any serious debate about Charter Schools and their clones; nor the government control of teachers and parents’ rights to free speech; nor the legal aspects attached to a Code of Conduct; nor the billion dollar cost of NAPLAN ….

[There is the occasional banal item that a journalist or editor headlines: items about playground or cyber bullying; test scores that show ‘pupils struggling’; a schoolie on police charge; parents smoking at the school gate. Scriveners prescribe such issues for general discussion at business meetings, amongst bus or train travellers and at coffee breaks as if that is all that happens at our neighbourhood schools; and proscribe deep issues of interest and professional topics that effect the lives of school children.]

Let’s look at a few instances.

 1. Visit of Jouni Vakijarvi  In 2009, as it is now, a question on the lips of those members of the public who are interested in the collective good, was, “How come Finland scores so well on PISA tests, yet it does not encourage any forms of blanket testing within their system; and their kids don’t start school until 7 years of age? What did they decide during their reform era, 40 years ago ? What’s their secret?” Australian Secondary school principals were particularly interested.

To help themselves as responsible school leaders and to help the citizenry find out what was going on in Finland, the Secondary Principals Association invited Finland’s Head of Educational Research, Jouni Vakijarvi. to describe what has happened in Finland since its 1970 reforms. Why did the Finns abandon high-stakes testing? His valuable advice was comprehensively ignored by the press, and few people realised that he had come all that way to hit a brick wall. No one, beyond participants, knows what he told our secondary school leaders in 2009.

2. Visit of Director of Cambridge 6 year study Professor Robin Alexander, University of Cambridge, chaired the committee that produced the most detailed, comprehensive and most useful survey of primary schooling ever conducted in the western world. It took six years to compile and was presented to the world in October, 2009. Every school-based educator and every reliable education journalist would now own a copy of : “Your Child, Your Schools, Our Future. Building a 21st century school system’” . It is THE definitive compendium of schooling issues.

Professor Alexander was invited to Melbourne to present keynotes papers as the Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellowship awardee for 2010. His presentations in March 2010, as any google search will reveal, were seminal,….clearly, of inestimable value for policy makers. Many, who take even a moderate interest in Australian schooling, have yet to read his papers. Like Jouni Vakijarvi. we schoolies and parents didn’t even know he was here. His papers remain crucial, unused, but….who cares?

3. APPA-NZPF Conference One of the largest and most important conferences ever held in Australia about the kinds of school leadership needed in Australia to guide us out of the present debilitating levels of learning in our schools, was held on 18-21 September, 2012 in Melbourne. Over one thousand primary school principals from Australia and New Zealand gathered to discuss issues with world-famous academics and organisational leaders. There was Yong Zhao of China, now based in Oregon, USA who is uniquely placed to comment on the rise of China in its PISA test results, so beloved by our own ‘5 by 25’ political controller [the all-powerful wielder of sanctions and true-believer in the use of fear as a motivator for learning.] If she was to speak to Yong instead of to Joel Klein, her idol, she would learn that China has found that it is a great mistake to test the life out of young pupils as preparation for better PISA results. Indeed, as Yong Zhao explains “…we [in China] have been testing our students out of real learning. Teachers have little time to inspire when they are ‘teaching to the test’; students miss out on exploration and creative experiences when judged strictly on how well they memorize meaningless material.”

Treehorn has been telling you this, Julia, for ages. Teach for Learnacy; and the learning world…silly tests and all…is your oyster. Are you deaf or are you waiting for the press to tell you about it?

Pasi Sahlberg told participants at the conference very clearly why children in Finland do so well at PISA tests. They ignore them and, like China now, have little faith in them to tell them anything useful. One would have thought that the press would really ask our government why Finland does better than we do on the silly tests…yet they have up to four years less at school by Age 15….as Pasi claimed. That’s a lot of free, creative, playful time not being devoted to test preparation. ???!!! Don’t our politicians and their testucators and journos wonder about this? Nobody interested in finding out why?

Then, the APPA-NZPF star of the show, a New Zealand primary principal, Paul Drummond, spoke directly to both NZ and Aussie politicians, “ You have unravelled a first class school system…you have removed the right of every child to follow the richness of a sound curriculum.”

Not one word about the conference in either the NZ or Australian press, despite the conference’s press releases. A truly amazing silence-up. Neither Murdoch nor Fairfax lads and ladies showed. Mystifying.

The biggest chance in many years for critical schooling issues to be aired, was comprehensively ignored.

4. Senate Inquiry But then, there’s more. On 11 September 2012 the Senate referred a very serious matter to the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committees. The Senate called for an’ inquiry and report’ on “Teaching and learning – maximising our investment in assisting children to realise their potential in Australian schools.”, appointed a committee of quality senators, some of whom had been on the previous Senate Inquiry into the administration of NAPLAN and went on to list six special aspects, the last being open. There are dozens of doctorates in each one of the first five terms of reference but submissions had to be submitted by 26 October. Despite its enormous coverage and the importance of the terms, there was no media interest whatsoever. Educators learned of its existence by accident. It was a ruddy blush for everyone.

Questions that need to be asked: What was the source of this call for the appointment of this committee of inquiry ? How and where did the suggestion originate? Who? Which political party? Yes. There must have been a serious debate in the Senate, but how many of us plebs have access to parliamentary proceedings and where do we start? What will happen to the report? If it recommends the kinds of initiatives that Australia needs to take, will there be bi-lateral support for a return to learning which must include the cessation of national blanket testing of any kind? The education knights of the two major parties [Garret and Pyne] have their riding instructions and are plainly committed to more of the same, with heavier punishments and sanctions, and with added gimmickry to divert public attention. It’s perplexing. What will happen? What will the press do? At present, it doesn’t know about the Inquiry or isn’t interested.

5. Teacher Opinion One thing has been clear ever since changes were made to the Sabre-tooth Curriculum : If classroom teachers dislike and do not support an imposed teaching-learning innovation, it is doomed to failure. When Greg Thompson of Murdoch Uni., revealed the statistics from his research into the “Effects of NAPLAN” in October 2012, as a first phase of a wider study, the outcomes were ground-breaking – front-page material. Clearly, teachers believe…

1. High-stakes testing narrows the curriculum, persuades teachers to adopt teacher-centred pedagogies and to teach to the test.

2. NAPLAN testing does not improve literacy and numeracy in classrooms and schools.

3. Trying to improve education outcomes through NAPLAN at the same time as it increases the stress of those involved would appear to be a self-defeating strategy.

4. Only a minority of teachers perceive NAPLAN has had some positives and that these positive are much less prevalent in the data than the perception of negative impacts.

Things look terribly messy as far as positive learning goes in our classrooms, don’t they? If teachers were allowed to vote on its maintenance, it would disappear.

You won’t read about this kind of research in any newspaper or magazine nor hear of it on the evening TV news. It doesn’t seem to be allowed, despite its enormous relevance to Australia’s future. It could be interpreted as being the beginning of the end of NAPLAN…but schools have to keep practising for tests on two generations of our beautiful school children until 2025. That’s an order!

6. Escaping from the Cone What happens when an issue is printed that Rupert or Joel or Bill would not like to read? It usually stops where it was printed, but interest swells through other quarters. When highly respected Washington Post education journalist, Valerie Strauss printed a letter that she received as to why a teacher quit, the reasons were repeated on Diane Ravitch’s blog [see the link below]. This blog went feral. Over 130,000 visited it and it was re-tweeted more than 800 times.

Even our little Treehorn’s blog [see access under the heading above] had a couple of hundred visits during the first twelve hours or so. There’s hope.

There are some quality education journalists in Australia, unafraid to express an opinion.


Check and read the submissions to the Senate Committee of Inquiry into Teaching and Learning


Any comment on No.6?


 ‘Serious journalists covered our reports fairly and in depth,only to find them translated into ludicrous headlines by their sub-editors. But it’s the headlines that set the tone and do the damage. It’s the headlines that sell newspapers. And it’s to the headlines that politicians feel obliged to respond” Prof. Robin Alexander, Chairman  : Cambridge Primary Review.

Recommended Links



















[Gold Medal :ACEL]

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point 2486

07 5524 6443

Teacher-Bashing 101

The Treehorn Express


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

No fair-dinkum teacher likes NAPLAN.

It breaches all ethical rules.

In a school of repute there is no fan;

There’s learning without measurement tools.

Theme song:  ‘Care for Kids’

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

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

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

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


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

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


Teacher Bashing 101

Testing!  Testing!  Testing!

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

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

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



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

Student teachers struggle on basic exam questions


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


Recommended Links

















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

Maintained by outstanding NZ educator, Allan Alach

Phil Cullen AM,FACE, FACEL

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443