Our bad ideas about testing, bad teachers, and failing schools have infected Australia and New Zealand. NZ plans to open “independent public schools,” aka charter schools.
Never mind that Australia and New Zealand have higher scores on the international tests than most other nations, including the US.
Only one nation can be number one, and in the case of PISA, it’s Shanghai, which is not even a nation. Shanghai is not representative of China, but an unusual city whose schools have mastered test prep.
Now every nation in the world is supposed to engage in outrage and flogging a of teachers, because only one can be first.
That’s what it means to Race to the Top.
One wins, everyone else fails.
GERM–the global education reform movement–is spreading.
The Treehorn Express
Treehorn’s story : Open attachment.
[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]
NAPLANISM JUST GETS STUPIDER & STUPIDER
WHAT IS NAPLANISM? NAPLANISM is a belief that learning is best in school classrooms when the following conditions prevail :-
* Testing is the essential element.
* Fear is the best motivator for achievements in learning.
* Manipulation of a school’s daily time table for more time to be spent on NAPLAN preparation is essential and is officially encouraged.
* Cheating through extensive daily repetition of test-taking is ignored. This kind of cheating has high-level approval.
* Children must be denied access to other essential elements of child development during preparation for NAPLAN testing.
* Established professional ethics of the teaching profession and of school leadership have to be suspended during the NAPLAN period.
* Normal teacher compliance and willingness to work with authorities has to be exploited. Teachers are nice people. Use them.
* Teachers, principals, all school personnel and P&C members are forbidden to discuss the crippling effects of NAPLAN.
* Testimony from outstanding educators, statisticians, academics and practitioners must be hidden, silenced or ignored.
* No choices are offered to parents for their children to participate in the tests or test preparation. No mention allowed on enrolment forms or on websites or newsletters.
* If scores aren’t high, teacher ability has to be denigrated. They can’t spell, numerate, teach, always want to strike. Useless lot.
It is a cruel, nasty, shady system.
There are so many other essentials to be in place for the test publishers and their political fans to have their way:-
+ Semantic manipulation, especially with the word “OUTCOMES”. For politicians and education journalists, this means ‘test results’. e.g. C.Pyne : “Certainly student outcomes have gone backwards during the past ten years .” For teachers, “outcomes” means ‘identifiable improvement across the curriculum’. Quite different. See. It has a real meaning. ‘Outcomes” has become a colloquialism that is used when you don’t know what you are talking about.
+ Other uses of semantic subterfuge include the hood-winking use of words like…
“REFORM” to mean ‘forcing better test results on a testing program’ on measureable maths and grammar items with nothing to do with other school learnings;
“PERFORMANCE” to mean ‘test results’ and not ‘challenges to a beneficial activity’ ;
“IMPROVEMENT” to mean ‘better temporary results on the tests’ and not ‘gains in general ability’;
“FUNDING” to mean ‘we don’t what we are doing, so we’ll bribe everybody to get on our side.”
+ TEACHER QUALITY refers to those who get better results on the tests than others. The higher the scores, the better the teacher.
+ The list of the best and worst schools and school authorities must be printed and noted for derision and applause.
These conditions are relatively easy to establish and maintain once the compliance of principals, teachers’ unions and educational societies has been obtained by fair or foul means; and corporate Australia has been frightened by a manipulated and false scenario. This teacher compliance and corporate encouragement was a first step for the establishment of NAPLANISM in 2008-9 and was embodied in Klein’s advice to Gillard. It was too easy. She went about her duties for Klein and his testing firms with zeal and found the victims to be quite pliable. They remain so.
STOP PRESS Her Immenseness is in New York this week. ‘London to a brick’ she will contact her mentor Joel Klein for further advice and encouragement. Hang in there, kids.
Part of the silliness is evident in the quoted extract at the heading to this Treehorn Express in this childish response from Peter Garrett, composed no doubt by one of his expert testucators, to an inquiry from a respected, former High School principal, who had quoted Treehorn. Of course the Treehorn newsletter is proudly based on opinion and anecdotal evidence, with far more substance than does any NAPLANistic score. The opinions and evidence are based on over 40 years of
chalk-dust and primary schooling face-ups gathered by a once testing-fixated primary school principal who did a complete 180 when he realised, during one school testing period, that he was destroying children‘s love for learning by his thoughtlessness; and later came to realise that achievements in all school subjects are higher and more permanent than anything that any national testing can do, if evaluation of effort is carried on hand-in-hand with learning and by sharing the ‘outcomes’ [see above]. There is ample ‘anecdotal evidence’ for this stance.
Not only that, but the Treehorn opinions and anecdotes are shared by hundreds of Australia and New Zealands’ greatest educators, academics and statisticians who are familiar with NAPLAN and NZ’s National Standards. There’s Margaret Wu, Brian Cambourne, David Hornsby, Kelvin Smythe and those 100+ academics who signed that petition to “Say NO to NAPLAN”. All of these and Treehorn are on the same page as the world’s greatest known educators overseas : Diane Ravitch, Marion Brady, John Goodland, Neil Postmann, Sir Ted Robinson and so on, who challenge their own politically-based GERM viruses….and Pasi Sahlberg who doesn’t have to. Then there’s those thousands of anti-GERM articles, a few of which are provided by Allan Alach each week. Treehorn, typical of so many school children whose intellectual property is being invaded and fracked, would welcome a challenge to any one of the Treehorn Express statements or opinions, from any one of the ACARA testors, NAPLAN supporters or St. Custard ‘experts’. Try it.
1. Mr. Pyne, alternative Minister for Education has yet to answer my letter of 9 September concerning ‘outcomes’, ‘robust curriculum’, ‘principal autonomy’ and ‘teacher’ quality. I have faith in him. He seems to be a thinker.
2. Can anyone from anywhere provide a comment or opinion on the embargo of news from the APPA-NZPF conference held last week? Please read the Treehorn Express article “What Happened? Why?” on http://treehornexpress.wordpress.com and use the comment section. I am quite bewildered as any normal parent or grandparent would be; and I sincerely hope that our New Zealand guests and O.S. speakers are not offended by the snub. I, for one, just don’t understand. If it was deliberate, it is totally non-ANZAC I’m a little bit suspicious, of course, that the Murdoch lobbyists have been busy. Your comment?
This is a letter to co-editor Allan Alach of New Zealand, summarising the week on this side of the ditch : 1. Naplan Results Released. 2. McCharter Schools for Queensland. 3.APPA-NZPF Conference. 4.Teacher Strike. 5. Peter Garrett Responds. 6. No Pyne Reply.
It’s been quite a week.
“If they’re [Queensland] endemic as cellar-dwellers, it’s pretty serious systemic problem.”
[Christopher Bantick, Education Expert, Trinity Grammar, Melbourne. Courier Mail 4 18-09-12]
LINKS http://www.dianeravitch.net http://www.literacyeducators.com.au http://leading-learning.blogspot.co.nz http://www.networkonnet.co.nz http://saveourschools.com.au
http://primaryschooling.net http://www.marionbrady.com http://susanohanian.org http://alfiekohn.org http://www.essential.org http://optoutofstandardizedtests.wikispaces
http://www.essential.schools.org http://www.joebower.org http://treehornexpress.wordpress.com/bridging-the-ditch/ http://allthingslearning.wordpress.com
Phil Cullen AM, FACEL,FACE,FQIEL
41 Cominan Avenue
Banora Point 2486
07 5524 6443