Simon Birmingham Stop Bullying our Kids and Teachers

Janine Rees 16th May 2018

@sparktEd @janinerees

The incessant need to clamber our way to the top of PISA league tables reminds me of an abusive parent I used to see training his child aggressively at the park to win, win, WIN!!!

The poor young boy used to cry at the father’s treatment. I’d hear him say things like…your not trying..toughen up..that’s not good enough.. so and so is much better than you! I once stepped in and asked if everything was okay, which scared the hell out of me, so I imagined what the poor child was feeling. I received a very frosty bugger off!

In hindsight it was very wrong of me not to have reported it because I now think if the father displayed that kind of behaviour in a public space I shudder to think what went on in private. I hope that poor boy is safe.

Aiming for academic excellence for our country’s children is exactly the same to me. Forcing children to open wide and swallow the information government deems appropriate is abusive. Making them sit through NAPLAN style, high stakes testing to regurgitate it and put a value on each child and school is horrifically mistreating the children in our care.

Children have an innate desire to learn. They are naturally curious. We saw this so beautifully supported in the old Early Years Learning Philosophy. Now it is a race to get them up to speed so we can look good as a country.

A new education paradigm for a new world would see the wellbeing of each individual the focus. This would then direct the changes necessary for a holistic system of education. As Plutarch wisely put it, “the mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.”

NAPLAN has well and truly put out many a fire, sadly. I am bolstered by the fact that there are too many voices now to be ignored. 2018 must be the last year of the bullying and abuse that is NAPLAN.

Save your children from the damage and withdraw them or just keep them home. The days of doing as we’re told to please the bully are over.

You can help to support my work in transforming education in Australia here:

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