Two Stories on Education

Much burbling about "fairness", "equity":

In a key test case, Brighton will become the first city in England this year to employ the system as a tie-breaker at all of its over-subscribed secondaries. It is believed other areas may be encouraged to follow suit in an attempt to bring greater transparency to the admissions system.

The new admissions code bans schools from interviewing children and parents, or asking for extra information designed to weed out pupils from poorer homes who may be more difficult to teach.

Jim Knight, the schools minister, warned it was "unacceptable that children may be missing out on school places" 12 months after the new rules were imposed.

And elsewhere:

Failure to teach children the three Rs at a young age is damaging the British economy, according to a report published by Cambridge University today.

Productivity lags as much as 25 per cent behind economic competitors such as Germany, France and the United States because workers lack basic reading, writing and numeracy skills, it is claimed.

Those productivity numbers I\’m sure are wrong but leave that aside.

I can\’t help thinking that if less effort was expended on the "fairness" side of things rather more might be on the "teaching" side. It isn\’t the most difficult thing in the world, to teach the basics of readin\’, \’ritin\’ and \’rithmetic, given that the ankle biters are there for five years on a compulsory basis.

4 comments on “Two Stories on Education

  1. Interesting that France is 20% more productive on an hourly basis than Germany – almost certainly down to the shorter working week, but I wonder whether it makes people work harder or makes them lie about their hours?

    [also, I’m not saying the original study is a load of arse, but do we have functional literacy rates for the US, France and Germany? I’d be amazed if they were substantially higher than ours…]

  2. A conversation with a good mate earlier this week focused on education and increasing the basic standard at all levels – we both agreed that egalitarianism in the education system was wrong to the point of being destructive but that the rot had spread further and for longer than many people admitted to – both of us volunteer for church youth group leadership to teenagers from a poor part of our city who’s own standard of dong well at school normally involves not being expelled or having full attendance during a normal working week. This is an insane situation, but one caused in part by cruddy parenting and low expectations/care for their children. It has been said so many times before but this can be largely approportioned to paying people to behave like scum rather than take responsibility for their own actions; many of these kids come from career parasite households and are still underfed, under-valued and under-appreciated; this is only dwarfed by the attitudes guardians adopt for those of them in care that we have in our group.

    Very sad.

  3. OK Thom, that’s half the problem.

    The other half of the problem is that families from the other side of the tracks are committed to education and high standards. They tend to group together, geographically and socially. They also tend to refute any notion that their kids only exist to provide an unpaid mentoring service to the local chaverati. They seem to dislike the concept of their offspring as a resource for the local council to use, to civilise someone else’s youngsters with. In the eyes of the LEA, such children are overpriviledged. I suspect there is more of an appetite for class destruction, than constructive help for the young underpriviledged.

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