19 Jan ’10 – Teachers to Boycott Tests

A RED-LETTER DAY  – 19 Jan., 2010

Today, Tuesday, 19 Jan is a redletter day. Teacher members of the Australian Education Union voted unanimously to boycott national literacy and numeracy tests in May, in protest against the creation of school league tables. President Angelo Gavrielatos wrote to Federal Minister Julia Gillard indicating that publication of the tables was “…one of the greatest threats to the provision of quality education in the History of Australia.” Ms. Gillard ruled out any possibility of giving way, “The My School website will go live on January 28 and it will give Australians rich performance information about schools, including their results in the last two years of national testing.”

NSW Greens MP Dr. John Kaye said that league tables would stigmatise schools. “Australia is fortunate that it has a teacher force that is prepared to save this nation from the mistakes that are crippling school education in England and the USA.”

Phil Cullen, former Director of Primary Education for Queensland and author of this site said. “Fancy timid, compliant teachers challenging a dictatorial minister over a professional, non-industrial issue. Mary McKillop must have had something to do with it and did not need to be asked. Ex-teacher, she loved children and respected their parents.  I did not think that it would happen so soon. It’s a miracle. The next step is to reverse the order of importance. Stop the immoral, curriculum-destructive, unnecessary, costly, shameful testing and  there will be no opportunity for  public executions.

In case state unions are ‘persuaded’ to desist by local politicians, another  miracle is required….for parents to indicate to their school’s Principal that they do not want their chidren to contest the test. Principals could suggest this in a school newsletter if they are not too afraid: that parents have that democratic right. Please Mary. Give our Principals more robust back-bones..