Why blame inequality?

Just a quick scan of the countries that fared really well in all three categories (Norway, Sweden, Japan, Finland and the Netherlands) compared to the countries that fared really badly (America and Britain) gives a pretty good indication that the inequality that is rampant in the (allegedly) dumber nations might have something to do with their pitifully low scores.

If people aren’t being educated might we not take as our first postulate that they’re being shovelled into a really crappy education system?

15 comments on “Why blame inequality?

  1. Inequality is the *result* not the *cause* of the appalling state education system with its “postcode lottery” for the handful of decent comprehensive schools.
    Yesterday’s Evening Standard claimed that 20% of parents hire a private tutor for their kid(s) – three times the number who pay to send them to independent schools. So the well-off are buying top-ups to the lousy state education at a fraction of the price of sending the kids to public school.

  2. Because it’s what good lefties do?

    Government schools are shit, ergo evil wealthy right wingers are to blame.

    Government health care is shit, ergo evil wealthy right wingers are to blame.

    And at all times, it’s important to pretend these problems will go away if only we spend more money. That we spent 13 years spunking ever greater sums of cash at schools-n-hospitals with no corresponding improvement in services, and that spending continues to rise, must be forgotten. Poor public sector workers are living in damp cardboard boxes and eating their own offspring just to survive because of those heartless Tory bastards.

  3. I thought that as exam results were THE BEST EVER for the fifteenth year in a row, this meant that our children were the BEST EDUCATED GENERATION EVER?

  4. A quick glance at that list of the five best suggests that the successful ones tend to be the most culturally and racially homogenous (the Netherlands being the exception). Might be relevant, might be just correlation.

    Might the worst countries also be those with the most ideological education establishments, dominated by nutjob trade unions?

  5. Interesting report on the BBC news site this morning that school children were going hungry because the State decided that 11 year olds should get the same portion size as 4 year olds. They ‘analysed’ it, see? So they must be right.

    So there is an example of ‘equality’ the Guardian can be proud of.

  6. Hmm. Moderately qualified to comment here, as I earn a modest crust teaching English in Japan (I’m a geologist, not a teacher but needs must).

    Japanese students score well because the education system here is rigourous. A lot of effort goes in to bringing the weaker students up, rather than reducing standards so everyone can feel good about themselves. Western teachers of my aquaintance dislike the system here: too focussed on discipline and learning heaps of stuff, rather than having fun.

    Last year the loss-making Grauniad published a lament by Williams F1 that most 16yo apprentice applicants couldn’t pass a simple maths test. I ran the test past two of my 13yo English students, and they scored 95% and 97%. Ho hum.

  7. ‘Inequality is the *result* not the *cause* of the appalling state education system with its “postcode lottery” for the handful of decent comprehensive schools’.

    Bear in mind that the journos and politicians who rail against ‘inequality’ in education will all themselves have been privately educated, and will themselves ensure that their children go to private schools. So why should they give a shit?

    It’s OK to buy your kids better schooling, but not to promote a system where children with intelligence and grit (but without parents with deep pockets) can prosper and thrive.

  8. “…those with the most ideological education establishments…” must be sacrificing the educational part to the ideology, because ideologies usually have very little to do with practical results other than contort them to conform to the ideology, i.e. unreality.

    “too focussed on discipline and learning heaps of stuff, rather than having fun”
    It is repetitive teaching the same subjects to children, year after year, so you’d really expect teachers to be good at it, yes?
    But the teachers are bored. They want to do fun things. And be liked. And have their ideas and beliefs followed by the children… such as telling students that the LibDems had no choice but to give in to the evil Tories over University fees.
    Parents are scaping to pay for extra-tuition to make up for the poor education so many self-righteous ideological Leftie teachers provide.

  9. @ DerekP
    When I was a kid (admittedly in the Dark Ages), good teachers *were* liked. I gather from hearsay evidence that the same is still true to some extent.
    What is different is that now a lot of bad teachers dislike kids who are brighter than them and viciously discriminate against them. This has a side-effect that middling-bright kids choose not to learn as fast as they could as a defensive measure, with further knock-on effects further down the scale. Whereas in the Dark Ages teachers welcomed bright kids including/especially those brighter than him/her.

  10. “…a lot of bad teachers dislike kids who are brighter than them and viciously discriminate against them.”

    Interesting point – in these days of artificial ideological ‘fairness’ I would not be surprised.

  11. Some people are not equal to others. And now they are in Britain- ergo, Britain does less well than the performance of it’s natives would predict.

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