Thursday, December 22, 2011

A message from Australia

I think it is worth sharing the below posting by Australian educator Phil Cullen ( Phil used to be Director Primary Education Queensland ) .Thankfully he hasn't lost his belief in creative education. Australia has moved further along the downhill  accountability track than New Zealand but we are rushing to catch up - a race to the bottom!

To access Phil's site click here.

On Wednesday, 21 December, the ASIDE blog commented upon the TIME magazine choice of The Protestor as the person of the year. ‘Frustrations felt by millions nationally and internationally reached breaking point ... in teachers as well.’

“To top it off, we have a growing number of disgruntled youth, who drop out of an education system that sees them as a number and fails to see the ensuing impact on society as a whole...Conformity and measurement are being used to define students, yet we constantly talk about differentiation, multiple learning styles, and the whole child....This leads us to ask the question, how many teachers will ‘dropout’ from conformity and measurement?”

“Just think how much more we could engage students if we were not so close to the edge of the cliff.”

There were protests everywhere in 2011 about the branding of schools with numbers. This week, also [Monday, 19 December] 1046 New York principals signed a petition opposing the linking of their own evaluation [ A score out of 100] with the results of their students’ testing scores. Such number branding is coming down here.

On July 30, you will remember how the many thousands of teachers marched on the White House chanting “No Testing. No Testing. 1-2-3”. They were supported by famous people – film stars, professors, legislators. Major cities around the country conducted their own protests at the time. No change yet, however. The school-bashing ideology is very strong. Teachers are very compliant.

Protests, however, are growing in size and number. Protestors now Occupy. It’s all coming to a town near you in Australia, for sure, if political parties don’t start caring for kids. There is a limit to the patience of parents and teachers down-under and up-over.

On January 7, 2012 the United Opt-out National in the U.S. is encouraging everybody to send a card or letter to their educational superordinates and legislators [our Minister for Education and Federal Minister for Education in our case] telling them ‘to end standardized testing.’ Check this out on With determined organisation and parent support, this movement could become world wide. Although schools in the southern hemisphere are closed, we parents and grand-parents can still have our say. Post offices aren’t closed.

Why be an Australia ( or a Kiwi) who has trouble grasping the significance of these movements?

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