Education

Entirely true

Rhodes funded a race-blind scholarship. I am more comfortable with that than with wondering whether I got my position because of diversity quotas. Equally, Victorian and Edwardian patriarchy was in many ways still better than the conditions girls and women currently endure in several African countries. On the virtue-signalling scale, some causes definitely score higher than others.

One of the problems with modern Britain is that this sounds odd coming from the pen of a British academic.

Causation Matey, causation

The value of a GCSE has been revealed for the first time, as an official analysis shows that every higher grade is worth an extra £23,000.

For the first time, researchers at the Department for Education (DfE) have quantified the link between better exam results at age 16 and earning potential.

They calculated that pupils who achieve just one grade higher in a GCSE subject will go on to earn an average of £23,000 more over their lifetime.

And students who secure one grade higher than their peers in each of their nine subjects can expect to earn an extra £207,000 before they retire.

It’s rather more likely that those who have the brains and application – the second possibly being the more important – to do the work to get the higher grades will earn more. The higher grades therefore being a signal of the brains and application, not themselves the cause of the higher earnings.

Straining mightily to plop a higher grade into the latrine of life isn’t causing the higher incomes……

The rich are different

A millionaire businessman bought a boarding school in order to abuse pupils on his country estate, a court heard.

Brian Martin, 71, sexually abused a boy and girl boarder after appointing himself “Provost” of the £37,000-a-year Queen Ethelburgers School, near Harrogate, North Yorks.

Poorer nonces simply have to go work as teachers at such schools.

Just for the avoidance of doubt, no this is not a claim that such teachers are nonces. But it’s obviously true that some nonces have become such teachers.

Err, no

School classroom layouts are “shaped by colonisation”, Britain’s biggest teaching union has claimed in new guidance.

The National Education Union (NEU) suggests that curriculums, the design of school classrooms and the structure of their daily routines have colonial roots.

The 450,000-member union says there is an “urgent” need to “decolonise” every subject and every stage of the school curriculum, especially since last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The standard layout of teacher at the front, pronouncing, with pupils ranged in front of them, is medieval, not colonial times. It comes from the expense of a book. So expensive that there would only be one, for a class, which is then read from with the students taking notes or trying to memorise.

Since the invention of printing there are reasons to ponder on whether this is still the right way to be doing things. But colonialism ain’t one of them.

Cool!

Half of UK university students think degree is poor value for money

This being the point of charging them, to encourage these thoughts. At which point we should double the fees again so as to end up with only 25% of the current lot – so about 12% of the age cohort – thinking they’re reasonable value and thus going. Which is about the right number, 10 to 15% of the age cohort……

So let’s go sort this out

Robert Reich on what ails America:

We overlooked that our educational system left almost 80% of our young people unable to comprehend a news magazine and many others unprepared for work.

OK, so how do we cure that? There’s no shortage of money in the K-12 system*. Must be the way it’s spent therefore.

So, what, kill the teachers’ unions first?

*As an example, Baltimore, which is no one’s poster boy of a fine system, spends more per pupil, on a PPP adjusted basis, than Finland does. And Finland is considered perhaps the best school system in the world by the usual suspects.

If only Alan Coren were here

Rape as a weapon should be taught in schools, says Sophie, Countess of Wessex

His feuilletons often would start with a headline then misunderstood to cause a flight of fancy. Or perhaps we should invoke the Monty Python bit of the sex lessons at school.

We’re going to teach rape at school are we? The use of rape as a weapon? Who gets to be the rapee, who the rapist, in the classroom demonstrations?

Well, actually, you know…..

Prof Lee Elliot Major, who advises the Government on social mobility issues, said: “The incredible academic success of a select few elite schools shines a stark light on the national social mobility challenges we face.

“There is no reason why we shouldn’t have candidates for Oxbridge colleges and other highly selective universities from every one of the thousands of schools across the country.”

There are two possible reasons why we might not.

1) Pupils self-select into those academic style schools that teach or Oxbridge levels. Or parents select, or the system of bursaries does, or the system does.

2) The vast majority of schools in the country are shit.

We can even propose a test to sort through these two possibilities. If those bemoaning the selectivity now start to argue that those good at getting into Oxbridge schools must be abolished then that’s an admission that we must kill good schools because the rest are shit.

Given that is what is usually proposed now we know.

This is wonderful

Prof Wale Adebanwi, another signatory, is the Rhodes Professor of Race Relations. The professorship was created in the early 1950s, following a donation from the then Rhodesian Selection Trust, who requested it be named in memory of Cecil Rhodes.

There’s actually a Rhodes Professor of Race Relations? At Oxford?

That the current holder is demanding the removal of the statue is just icing

Bit of a weak claim really

Universities will be just as crucial to the nation’s economic and social recovery from the pandemic. A new report by the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education (NCEE) is predicting that thousands of jobs, new businesses, and prosperity will be created across the UK through universities collaborating with employers and public services.

Over the next five years, it is forecast that universities will provide more than £11 billion worth of support and services to small enterprises, businesses, and not-for-profit organisations.

How cool.

Except, umm, the universities cost us £4 billion a year. Or £20 billion over the 5.

We’d be £9 billion better off if we didn’t pay the greivance studies folks at all and instead spent the money directly on the services to small enterprises, businesses, and not-for-profit organisations.

That’s the math department screwed then

Students could report their lecturers for “microaggressions” at one in four of Britain’s Russell Group universities, The Telegraph can disclose, with avoiding eye contact a potential offence on one campus.

Six universities in the group of 24 institutions cite microaggressions on their “Report + Support” and inclusivity webpages, where students and staff can report discriminatory behaviour.

On Durham University’s website, examples of such transgressions are “not giving someone eye contact”

Actual and proper mathematicians having a reputation for being somewhere out on that spectrum…..

Fire this man immediately

Simukai Chigudu is associate professor of African politics at the University of Oxford

The reason?

In modern Britain, colonialism has transcended its historical epoch. It exists in the present as a kind of nostalgia for the country’s hegemony on the world stage, while fuelling nationalism, buttressing white supremacy and generating anxieties about immigration and cultural change.

The argument against colonialism is nationalism and anxiety about immigration.

If no one was worried about Them Foreign coming over and running our country then there wouldn’t be an argument against colonialism, would there?

And the thing is a professor at Oxford is supposed to be able to reason through such points……

As educators, I think part of our professional mandate is to constantly improve equality, diversity and inclusion among students and colleagues.

Actually, some of us think that an important part of the job is to think.

If skirts are short enough that knickers can be seen

Then yes, it is likely that at least some boys will either look or mention that they can look and see.

Indeed, the teacher who sparked protests at Lytchett Minster School in Poole, Dorset, on Friday – when she told girls who had complained they had to cover their backsides with books as they walked up the stairs that “having your skirts too short is going to tempt boys to say silly things, isn’t it?” – may as well have said “boys will be boys” given the explosion it prompted.

Part of the education process is, as we all know, an attempt to beat the physical expression of such ideas out of teenage boys. After all, it isn’t that gentlemen don’t look at teenage thighs, nor that they don’t think of them, they just don’t mention doing so. There used to be a part of the associated female education process to warn that this was likely and therefore to limit the occasions – to perhaps where the attention would be truly desired – where it was possible. After all, nowt wrong with generating a bit of lust now and again but there is often a value in being selective over who in.

This current argument is symptomatic of all too much of the progressive project. Teenage boys snigger at female knickers. Some mixture of fear, lust, desire, nervousness and all that. You know, adolescence. The progressives continuing to insist that humans not be humans which really isn’t how it all works, is it?

Fair enough, the claim is that we’re not very good at counting

England’s recent improvement in international tests comparing the educational performance of 15-year-olds across the globe is based on “flawed” data which, if corrected, could result in a sharp drop down the rankings, according to new research.

The government hailed the most recent round of results in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) in 2018, which saw a marked improvement in England’s maths results, as a vindication for policy changes driven by Michael Gove when he was education secretary.

Research by UCL Institute of Education suggests, however, the results and subsequent rankings were distorted because of low levels of participation in the test and a disproportionate underrepresentation of lower achieving students. If the data was adjusted on the basis of a more representative sample, it suggests England could plummet 11 places in the rankings for maths.

An interesting claim

No matter where you come from or what your circumstances are, we will drive up school standards to ensure opportunities abound.

From Keir Starmer.

Presumably they’re going to sell off the state sector to the public schools then. Given that’s where the higher standards are….

Education

So here-s – another – thing I don’t know about.

How much of education is teaching stuff and how much is simply corralling the blighters as they age?

Or, to be more precise.

So, teaching a 5 year old basic numbers is a time consuming task. Lots of repetition and so on.

Teaching a 16 year old would, I imagine, be easier. The concepts are more likely to be grasped, rote learning would be reduced. I think.

I’m also aware that some things rather can’t be taught later. Languages to true fluency tend to have to start with young brains, going back later doesn’t quite cut it.

So, leaving aside that “later doesn’t work” point and to stick with the first.

What ends up being the question is how much of the education system is trying to jam in stuff as soon as possible – stuff that could be learned more easily later – and how much of it is actually necessary to learn right now?

In one sense the point is obvious. Any of us could go do a GCSE in a few weeks couple of months and yet this takes 15 year olds 2 years. Some of that is experience of course but that’s also part of the effect I think. It’s easier to learn stuff with a more developed brain. Umm, maybe.

The implication of this is about the missed year of schooling just now. How much does this actually matter? If education is largely waiting until brains have developed enough to learn the stuff easily then missing a period doesn’t particularly matter. It can be picked up easily enough as an older person.

On the other hand, if everything has to be taught and taught and taught then missing some few months will delay completion by that same few months.

My assumption is that both effects are in play, as with so many other things. We can’t go teach division until addition and subtraction are mastered. But it’s also a heck of a lot easier to explain to a 16 year old than a 10 year old that, in fact, ratios are fractions and fractions are ratios. They’re just different expressions of the same base idea. The concept of something being the same but different is easier to grasp that little later.

So, anyone know?

Given the state of the academy I doubt this is something anyone has ever bothered to study – far more important to detail this year’s woke necessities – formally but still, anyone know?