23 Feb’10- Teachers Facing Pressure – Cairns Post

TEACHERS FACING ADDED PRESSURE – Cairns Post   23 February 2010

[Retired Primary Principal, Peter Beatts,  wrote to the Cairns Post on 6 February pointing out how the ACARA website My School avoided attention to the social condition of schools and therefore judged them falsely.]

The comments by Peter Beats [6-2-10] were heartening : a Primary Principal prepared to say his piece about the social milieu of the classroom when every-one else is expected to blow raspberries at schools that don’t do well on testing scores, no matter what the condition of the school.

Introduced in a Ruddy-blush with malice-before-thought in 2008, it is already having its effects on schooling. There is special preparation for the tests; there are time-table alterations to cater for less time on the untestable and more on the testable; and, yes, there’s cheating.

By the end of this year, the 3Rs ‘ Repetition, Repetition, Repetition, should  be soundly in place.

The Gillard fear-driven testing was introduced through the auspices of a New York lawyer who advised her not to brook any opposition from parents or teachers. That suited her totalitarian attitude.

She hired academics called “experts” whose schooling experiences, according to another northerner, can “…be written on a reduced-sized postage stamp in large font”. They are good measurers; that’s all.

THEN, the normally timid, passive, pussy-footed teachers, prompted by their innate concern for children and their curriculum, dared to vote unanimously – on a professional [non-industrial] issue at the Australian Education Union’s annual conference. This has never happened before in our history. It’s a miracle.

It will require another miracle for them to stick to their guns, and they’ll need to be brave to face the pressures that they are about to encounter. Dissent is easily controlled in present day political circumstances.

This year will not be a good year to be a teacher. They will be pressure on all, but especially on those subject association devotees whose subject time is being stolen.

Sadly, she who must be obeyed has School Principals under control. It’s a mess.

Phil Cullen,AM, ex-Edge Hill State School [1964-69], Banora Point