I had thought that my Treehorn article called ‘It’s NAPLAN time. Bring out the law book’ and a couple of quickies since, would be my swansong. I am flattered, of course, that Professor Diane Ravitch of the University of New York [home-town of our founder Joel Klein] repeated my article in her blog which has an extensive distribution in the USA. Professor Ravitch is the former Deputy Director of Education for the USA. She’s an icon.
But then, 9 May was the first day of NAPLAN testing and the Kimberley College episode hit the fan.
What happened yesterday, the first day of NAPLAN 2017, at Kimberley College?
Only SIX out of 343
sat the NAPLAN test.
That means that the parents of six pupils at Kimberley College have been misguided by the ramblings of testucators who reside beyond the school gate. Shame.
Kimberley College [https://www.kimberleycollege.org/] is a private school established by a group of parents just to the south of Brisbane in 2000. Back then, they wanted to have their children move into secondary schooling with the enthusiasm for learning and for achievement that they had developed at Kimberley Park State Primary School. Principal Paul Thomson was using the regular curriculum to establish THINKING as the most useful educational outcome, using multi-aged settings through to Year 10 to maximise the learning effort. It’s a place where deep thought is given by parents to the learning habits of their children, to the richness of their happily stimulated minds and what the future holds for them. De Bono’s spirit is in the air. Creative, conceptual thinking pervades the curriculum.
There is really no place in a serious, fair-dinkum learning institution like Kimberley College for killer tests like NAPLAN. Standardised blanket testing of the NAPLAN kind, products of testucators’ compulsive adoration of data, are anathema to the parents of this school. They want their children to learn and to achieve at higher than normal levels. NAPLAN’s focus on mediocrity doesn’t suit them, and NAPLAN’s DNA contains that measurement virus that disposes children to hate Maths, Science, Reading Literature. The testing regime is clearly based on fear and anxiousness. It is a repressive, stress ridden threat to each child’s mental health. It has run-on effects. It has no place on school premises.
Kimberley College would be popular at this time with Treasurer Scott Morrison. NAPLAN itself is a really ‘bad debt’, costing Australia billions each year to administer; and it ensures the loss of an industrial and intellectual future. Inestimable. The parents at Kimberley College have just contributed a few thousand dollars to the national welfare. I figure that $5000 is a reasonable estimate for over 300 papers, supervision, delivery, measurement of desks from each other by visiting officials….and the million other nuisances that schools musty tolerate because of NAPLAN.
It’s such a pity that our testucators do not know what happens in schools and in classrooms, minute by minute, day by day….the things that seriously detract from the learning enterprise. It’s a pity that they are so inexperienced at what really happens in the classroom.
NAPLAN is surely the biggest threat to learning that this country has even seen.
Sincerely. May God bless the parents of Kimberley College for showing us the way. The rest of Australia just might learn something.