Pat may be deeply disturbed that democratically elected governments from both sides of politics disagree with her on the importance of testing.
For myself, I am deeply disturbed that she wrote this piece and then nicked off. So the Australian government have decided to test every child to see whether they can do basic arithmetic etc. What is the response from the teaching profession? Hysteria. What is Pat's response? Echoing the hysteria.
Participating in a vigorous attack on the first modest proposal for change helps ensure that the enthusiasm of prospective reformers is nipped in the bud.
The de Bono Society offers an ideal forum for exploring improvements to education without pandering to partisan interests, but the uptake from mainstream educators has not been evident.
Why are mainstream educators disinclined to participate in reform? Perhaps they see the education system like a temperamental cow: best kept stable so that it can be more easily milked.
Or maybe it's like travelling in a boat - rock it with reform and some of the passengers will start falling out.
Really, we should start expecting more from ourselves and from others.
for the salvo across Gillard's bow for her unimaginative and unashamedly business-model-driven championing of the Klein NYC Schools experience
Nevertheless, you go on to say:
I don't know how you can design an easily administered, cost effective standardised test that measures the capacity for creative, innovative thought. I DO know that that will be one of the most important capacities for the future and something our schools need to engender if our children are to make a success of the world 20 years from now.
Yes, that indeed is the point that brings many of us together here. But - you have to teach creative thinking in schools before you can test it. Testing creative thinking or the capacity for creative thinking sounds a bit like the last thing that we need because then it would become academicised like everything else and that kills creativity stone dead. Most of what could be tested about creativity relates to its output anyway, and that is usually unavailable for appreciation before it exists. The skill must be taught; that in itself takes us right to the top of the mountain instantly, Pat. To get "Parallel Thinking" taught as a skill you may well have to throw out something else from the curriculum. So be it in my humble view. So - that is where the effort for reform needs to go as never before.
Meanwhile, the "easily administered, cost effective standardised test that measures the capacity for creative, innovative thought" has been around since the 70s. It's called CoRT and information about it is available on this website.
po Children design their own education
This is a reasonable provocation, and would undoubtably lead to interesting and valuable ideas.
When I started to formulate a response to Pat, I started with a concept fan and that also produced many useful ideas.
But what is the use of producing ideas when they are just going to be attacked or ignored?
Pat makes a big deal about the fact that she is attacking the idea of "high stakes testing" not "publication of standardised testing", but that does not change the fact that when the Education Minister proposes changes she is met by a barrage of outrage from the profession - no praise, no suggestions, no awareness of their own conflict of interest.
This disease is everywhere. Health care is going to require huge changes with the retirement of the baby boomers. A couple of years ago the Australian government said if you've got the flu and want a certificate to take to your boss, you can see a pharmacist if you don't want to wait in a doctor's surgery.
These changes were attacked by the doctors and ignored by the pharmacists.