You Don’t Have To Be a Psychopath To Become A Schoolteacher But It Helps

Parents’ fury after children are banned from going to the toilet during lessons unless they have a sick note from their doctor

‘School chiefs have been blasted by parents after banning pupils from going to the toilet during lessons – even locking the doors during class times.

Parents of pupils at Auswicz and Buchenwald Westlands School and Sittingbourne Community College in Sittingbourne, Kent, were outraged to be told by Stromtroopers schoolteachers that their children could only go to the loo during lessons if they had a note from their doctor.

The two secondary schools, both part of the Swale Academies Trust, have a grand total of 2,700 pupils between them, with 1,600 at Westlands School and 1,100 at SCC.

School authorities say the only children allowed to go to the loo during lesson times are those who hand their teacher a note from their doctor with a ‘relevant medical condition’.’

Read more and support Little Nicky’s campaign to close ALL concentration camps state schools so that children have a chance of getting a decent education.

Continue reading about the schools in Sittingbourne

British University System Facing Collapse

Half of Britain’s 150 universities must close down if the system is to remain viable, according to a senior academic.

Sir Roderick Floud has proposed a plan for mass redundancies and closures to be adopted by the government in which he criticised the “messy, muddled non-system of higher education” as “inefficient” and in need of root-and-branch reform. Floud is the former head of Universities UK, an advocate for universities, and has run several universities.

“I believe that we have too many universities, that they are trying to do too many different things, and that the way we fund their research is fundamentally flawed,” Floud wrote in Times Higher Education. “We don’t need two or more universities in each of our major cities, glowering at each other and competing to attract the attentions of businesses and local authorities. Why does Leeds or Sheffield or Oxford, for example, need two vice-chancellors, registrars or groups of governors?

“In London, the situation is even more bizarre, with some 40 universities within the M25 [the London Orbital Motorway] and more arriving by the day. We have conservatoires and art colleges which could perfectly well be faculties of a larger university,” Floud continued. (Read all)

Yeah, well he has a point. How many PPE, Business Management and Psychology Graduates do we need? Apprenticeships in bricklaying, plastering, plumbing, joinery, car mechanics, engineering, electrical installations and so on would give people the prospect of earning a decent living.

And if we converted all the branches of the University of Usedtobeapoly back to local techs, people could do vocational training for proper jobs instead of taking joke degrees in things like janitorial services.

Busy Day, Here’s A Few Teasers

Education Is Out, Indoctrination Is In
This is about a teacher in america who has quit the profession in disgust at the way left wing indoctrination is replacing neutral education in schools. Many British teachers have said similar things and Daily stirrer occasional contributor Sally Redfern quit the teaching profession for the same reason.

Europe Kicks Monsantos Arse Over GMOs
While the politicians and bureaucrats are mad to push GMOs down our throats (literally) publich opinion hostile to Frankenstein Foods has pushed Monsanto out of Europe … for the present.

Forget Recession, US banks Post Record Profits
Do you feel the value of your savings has been eroded and the buying power of your earnings reduced by higher taxes and austerity measures governments have introduced to ‘save the economy.’Yeah but … we’re all in this together aren’t we and everybody is making sacrifices, you might well reply. Except we’re not all in it together, not everyone is …

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Education Needs Quality Not Quantity

It’s make-or-break time for education

The day is rapidly approaching when we must decide what we want from our schools, bright, self – confident, curious young people, or an elite of highy intelligent, highly focused, semi – autistic nerds and an army of unthinking automatons, the Epsilon semi morons of Aldous Huxley’s brave New World.

I came across a link on Scribd.com a few of days ago. It captures very well the state of education in many countries, where government schools providing free education are inadequate and quality of education is extremely poor.

In India, where the writer is based, the government is going berserk to enroll children in schools, push for ever improving examination pass rates and entry into higher education institutes. This has resulted, the article said, in quality suffering badly. According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2012 published by Pratham, a non-government organization. The university enrollment rate has risen but so has the dropout rate. Over 75.2% of all children enrolled in Standard 5 in government schools could not do simple division problems.

And you thought it was just Britain or the USA (80% of my traffic is from those nations)where dumbing down is at the heart of education policy?

Really the focus is on the wrong end of the education system. People do not need a university degree to be a box schlepper or burger flipper but they do need basic literacy and numeracy skills and a cultural grounding to train for a practical trade, work in an office or shop or get a job in the service industries.

Primary education is vital for the inclusive economic well being of a country, and for the individual. If you haven’t got primary education because there were no schools or you went to a school that was more interested in teaching diversity awareness or civil rights studies you don’t have an initial platform to stand on. Primary education is the chief source of social mobility but it is increasingly inaccessible to astonishingly large proportion of the poor.

Education, one of the basic rights of an individual according to international law, has become a distant dream for many; “quality education” has become a niche product accessible only for an affluent elite. This has resulted in an extremely high skill deficit and the ridiculous stuation of nations like britain, Frane, USA and Canada having to import skilled labour, plumbers, electricians, engineering machine operators and so on, from developing nations, creating social malaise both in the developed nation that must support a growing pool of unemployed social science, media studies and graphic design graduates and the poor country that sees it’s economic future heading for the west.

The OECD projects that India will produce 24 million graduates by the end of this decade, however:

“… an earlier survey by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) found that only 39.5% of all graduates in India were viewed as employable
only 10% of graduates from business schools in India manage to get hired …”
A study by Aspiring Minds showed that India produces more than 500,000 engineering graduates a year, but barely 3% of an assessed 55,000 graduates were viewed as ready to be employed without extra training.

The problem is not just in India or developing countries; Harvard Business Review estimates that by 2020, the worldwide shortage of highly skilled, college-educated workers could reach 40 million.. “Even America is neither producing enough college graduates to sustain a robust workforce, nor fulfilling its national promise of economic opportunity for all,” writes Daniel Greenstein.

There are more young people in the world now than ever before, and most of them are concentrated in developing countries. The world only need so many ‘science’ graduates, the focus in education needs to switch to quality of basic education and skills training for youth that can lead to meaningful employment.

Two major steps are required:

Within the next decade all children in developed and developing nations should complete primary and lower secondary education which enables them to meet measurable learning standards and acquire relevant skills so they may become responsible, productive members of society.
Governments should conduct a skills survey and create a detailed estimate of the skills they require. Based on these needs, they should reconstruct education system to meet the needs of society and not the needs of academic and bureaucratic empire builders.

Public-private partnerships and participation of youth in policy decisions regarding education and skills development, the mantras of the left, are politically correct bollocks and should be forgotten. I totally disagree with education ‘expert’ Pauline Rose who writes that “Education needs its Bill Gates” As my title states “Education is about quality not quantity” and when academic elitists start eulogising people like Gates we should remind them that Microsoft was the corporation that made ‘not Fit For Purpose’ an acceptable level of quality for goods sold. Other lefties plead education needs funds and equality. Well so long as equality means equality of opportunity and not affirmative action to award qualifications on the basis of ethnicity, sexual orientation and home background, fine.

As for funds, I think of the intelligence to be found among people of my parents generation, those born between World War 1 and world War 2. Many of them left school at 14 or 15, having studied in poorly equipped classrooms with few trendy, politically correct teaching aids and often a shortage of text books, few went on to attend university, yet it was their generation that gave us the great advances in health, technology, living standards and workplace conditions. A look at the wold now, with its emphasis on examination statistics, targets and league tables for school results, and it’s output of semi – literate idiots suggests the more we spend on education the less education pupils get.

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Dumbing Down The Unversities

Latest plans put forward by elitist lefties to make university access ‘more equal’ can only lead to higher education being dumbed down as skin colour, sexuality or being from a single parent family will count for more than intelligence.

The only criteria for getting into University should be excellence and for 5o years now being working class has not stopped anyone. Being to intelligent to waste three years of their youth acquiring a shitload of useless book learning only to emerge a pompous idiot might have but that’s a different matter.

The Tories might be elitists but at least they don’t lie about it.

Little Nicky is not against university education but nobody should go into it until they have spent ten years in the workplace. By that time we should all have gained enough life experience to know university professor are modern society’s equivalent of village idiots.

Left elite’s determination to dumb down now bars bright pupils from University

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Tuck Off Control Freak Food Fascists

Hold the front page! Mobilise the army! Demand an emergency debate in parliament! It has just been revealed that children are still able to buy sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks in some schools! Something must be done… Yes, as revealed on last night’s edition of the Channel 4 current-affairs series Dispatches, titled ‘The School Dinner Scandal’, not-very-healthy food is available in the tuck shops of some schools. Now those old enough to remember Billy Bunter will know that in times gone by children lived on unhealthy food and it did us no harm.

Dispatches asked both local-authority schools and …

Read full article at spiked.com
Tuck Shop Control Freaks Should Tuck Off

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Nanny State Menu

British Education Failing British Children

Bit of a cock up here, I should have posted this yesterday but put it in Boggart Blog by mistake.
*******************
As a row brewed over the immigration issue which was the number one priority in the minds of voters at the last election but was kept out of the campaign by the cosy consensus of politically correct wusses who have wormed their way to positions of power in the education establishment read what the Daily Stirrer’s education expert Xavier Connolly has to say on the topic. British School Leavers Can’t Read Or Write Well Enough

Children Are Being Given Chemical Cosh For Shyness

Children are being prescribed mind-altering “chemical cosh” drugs for conditions such as shyness and mild social anxiety, behaviour experts have warned. Young people are routinely being given medication to treat normal childhood conditions, it was claimed, despite fears over their long-term health.

The disclosure came as it emerged that the number of eight- to 13-year-olds on drugs such as Ritalin has soared seven-fold since 1997. In many cases, pupils are being put on medication amid fears from parents, teachers and doctors over a serious deterioration in their behaviour. But Dave Traxson, a senior educational psychologist who works in schools in the West Midlands, warned that normal childhood conditions like shyness…

read full report:Children Given Chemical Cosh For Shyness

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The Daily Stirrer on this story

America Has Little To Be Thankful For.

As Americans were eating breakfast on their great national holiday, Thanksgiving Day, I came across an article by Naomi Cohn in The Guardian. The lines that jumped out at me were these:

A report out Wednesday showed that new jobless claims declined slightly last week, but this is hardly reassuring to the millions of Americans who are spending this Thanksgiving still unemployed.

I am one of those who will lose benefits when they expire next week – 5 days after the holiday. As it happens, I am among the lucky ones – I was laid off just under two years ago, and so I was eligible for 99 weeks of benefits – the maximum amount. Those who were laid off after me will get far less: if Congress does not act, the maximum number of weeks available will be 26.

Thanksgiving, for us, will be fraught with tension. We will sit at tables with family members, some of whom will be proudly announcing their latest success at work. We are the losers, the rejected, the left-out, the forgotten, the silent.

We are ashamed in front of our children, not because we cannot pay for gifts, summer camp, after-school activities. That, I think, they understand. But because we are failures. While we encourage them to excel in school, our own degrees are worthless.

Many people in the UK will be facing a similar prospect this Christmas of course. Our unemployment figures too are kept steady by the numbers of people simply running out of benefit, reaching the time limit for which jobseeker’s allowance is paid and dropping off the unemployment figures as they are forced to rely on income support.

But look at the final sentence in those quoted lines. “While we encourage them to excel in school, our own degrees are worthless.”

The great education Ponzi scheme strikes again. Last week when Little Nicky was defending Nick Cleggs’ U turn on university tuition fees I was challenged by someone who is much too nice a person to mix it with a bruiser who cut his political teeth campaigning as a Liberal in Wigan. He commented that education is not just about preparation for a career which is of course absolutely right. In fact as the above extract proves education even to degree level is little help in finding employment these days.

What we need is proper jobs for people to do. And to create those we need people with a grip on reality not the kind of illusion dwellers who believe university education is a human right.

If everybody has a degree they’re not going to be worth shit in a future job market.

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A Must Read On Education

A must – read from Dick Puddlecoat. As the mumbling and grumbling goes on about the coalitions education reforms and the left’s pathological hatred of Michael Gove (he’s a twat but no more a twat than Lord Mandy) this blog identifies the real reason why education is failing. (Ignore the title – the article is ironic.:

from Dick Puddklecoat blog:
After yesterday’s immensely amusing Tory-ribbing fun, Lord Norton (a Tory, believe it or not) has provided me with further ammunition for future stirring of Tory-voting parents. There are reports that citizenship teaching in schools – it has been part of the national curriculum since 2002 – is under review and may possibly …
Conservatism Should Be Taught In Schools

Liberal Democrats Bourgeois Angst

The Liberal Democrats and their leaders Nick Clegg have been getting a lot of flak over the issue of university tuition fees this past week. It has even been leaked that the party planned to drop their pledges on tuition fees before the election.

The Guardian reported:

The Liberal Democrats were drawing up plans to abandon Nick Clegg’s flagship policy to scrap university tuition fees two months before the general election, secret party documents reveal.

As the Lib Dem leader faces a growing revolt after this week’s violent protest against fee rises, internal documents show the party was drawing up proposals for coalition negotiations which contrasted sharply with …
Lib Dems Planned To Drop Tuition Fees Pledge

The amount of rage being hurled at Nick Clegg and other Liberal Democrat ministers in the coalition government by labour-lefie-loonies and by their own party members is as amusing as it is irrational. The first thing we should note is that none of us at The Daily Stirrer (and we’ve all been round the block a few times) can recall Labour members ever being so vitriolic towards their own party in government when the wishful thinking of campaign promises has to give way to the harsh realities of government.

The left has a long tradition of hypocrisy of course, look how they rant and rave about abolishing private education and yet how many among the Labour elite send their children to private schools or, every bit as bad, to faith schools in expensive suburbs where the catchment area ensures a large majority of pupils will be from affluent middle class homes, the offspring of professional couples.

The angst of Liberal Democrats, while amusing to behold is worrying for people who wish the coalition government well and are hoping they survive long enough to really stop the tide of politically correct lunacy set in spate during thirteen years of Labour’s authoritarian rule. After ninety years of only dreaming of power, the Lib Dems, finally having put a fingertip on the levers of government are finding responsibility not to their taste.

When I was an active member of the Liberal Party one of the greatest frustrations for those of us who believed a common sense, non ideological approach to the everyday problems facing voters could really help achieve “the greatest good of the greatest number” was that faction of the party we referred to as the raffia mafia. These sandal wearing, tree hugging, lentil munching wierdies were far more concerned with being seen to be “nice” and “caring” than with facing up to reality, deciding what needed to be done and setting about doing it. Their utopian dreams marginalised the whole party.

It seems too many Lib Dems are still living in that bubble of unreality, too eager to show how much they care about education and the plight of poor students to face up to the reality that Labour’s rapid expansion of the higher education system was too great a burden for the education budget to bear. The aim was to have 50% of school leavers going to University. This is a totally unrealistic target. The country does not need and cannot find suitable jobs for so many graduates.

We have to get a sense of reality about this. Yes, the state should fund University tuition and provide support for students whose parents cannot subsidise them through three years of higher education. Having said that we must set a limit on the numbers we support through higher education so that the financial burden on the taxpayer does not become unsustainable. Everybody having the right to try for a University place should they get the grsdes does not mean everybody must be accepted.

It might seem harsh to some but let’s remember, Utopia is a fiction.

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Ed Balls Accuses Coalition OfSelection By Stealth

Labour leadership candidate Ed Balls has accused the Coalition of trying to reintroduce selection into the education system by stealth. He said the plan announced by schools minister Michael Gove would allow quasi – independent academies to choose brighter pupils.

The comprehensive education system has become one of the sacred cows of the “progressive left” in spite of its very obvious failure. The old Grammar School system only segregated on grounds of intelligence whereas the system now with its postcode lottery and the growth of private schools for the rich segregates on grounds of parental wealth, social class and geographic location. Intelligence does not enter the equation. So the selective way was more egalitarian, what are the leftie whiners on about. Are they afraid of losing their core vote if working class pupils are given a chance to raise their aspirations?

Read full story on Selection By Stealth

Graduate Unemployment Reaches A New High

News that there are 70 applicants for each graduate vacancy as this years University output start the soul destroying business of seeking jobs cannot have cheered anybody. But what are te reasons for this disastrous state of affairs. Could it be anything to do with governments pushing University for all to mask the true extent of our declime as an industrial nation?
Graduate unemployment reaches new high

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I Am Not A Number I Am A Human Being

The Guardian’s Jenni Russell, a Labour supporter in the past turns on the party and explains how their failure to win the popularity they expected after their claimed increases in public spending can be explained by the obsession with figures, targets, statistics and management babble. On top of that they made the great mistake of treating the public as stupid, thinking we would happily accept their statistics showing improvement in the NHS when people’s experience is of patients being neglected while clinical staff are prioritizing bureaucratic tasks, why so many children are emerging from the education illiterate and inummerate and even university graduates on entering employment need remedial training in basic literacy and numeracy while examination result statistics show year on year improvement..

Read Jenni Russell’s article New Labour’s Mistake Is In Thinking We Are All Automatoms

LITTLE NICKY MACHIAVELLI now spends most of his time at Greenteeth Multi Media. Keep up with his page there at The Daily Stirrer

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Teachers + Government = A Generation Of Losers

Teachers are to be balloted on whether they are going to prepare pupils for the national Key Stage tests next year.
The teachers have proposed boycotting the tests this year in an effort to get them abolished, however they have now come up with this radical new method, whereby instead of spending the greater part of Year 6 priming the kids in their charge to excel at stupid questions for four days in May, they will actually teach, or try to, the children something that might be relevant to their forthcoming secondary education, reading words with more than one syllable or stringing a co-herent sentence together for instance.
Well pardon me, but wasn’t that what they were meant to do in the first place?
When the Key Stage tests were introduced they were meant to show where a child was at, at a certain point in their education.
It was something that was supposed to be a snapshot of a child’s progress, but standardised across the country, so parents and schools could tell where there children were compared to their peers nationally.
Not a lot wrong with that ideal really. I have met many parents who think that an average child is a budding genius because they can tie their shoelaces at five; or recite a list of the world’s highest mountains, with no idea of just how high 27,000 feet might be or what continent or country one might find these mountains; or even read Shakespeare but with no understanding of what he is on about, and let’s face it, there’s plenty of adults who have no idea what Shakespeare is on about.
Likewise there are the parents that worry he might be a little slow as he struggles with long multiplication and he’s seven and a half.
So having a set of skills that a child should be able to achieve is not necessarily a bad thing, perhaps a little sad that we can’t just let the kids develop at their own rate and with whatever interests them most, but if it is what people think they need then fair enough, that is the way the world tends to be at the moment.
Even in sports everything is broken down into minutely incremental acievements, so that the kids can be seen to be progressing.
It used to be that the first award possible to get a swimming certificate for was a width of the pool, a distance of 8 yards at least, but now, they can even get badges when they are babies. The pre-school children I teach get their first badge for getting in the water, moving along holding the rail, wetting their faces and getting out. There are a further 13 badges before the child is deemed able to swim confidently 5 metres on their front and two metres on their back. The scheme rewards all sorts of activities such as blowing bubbles, splashing their feet, floating with armbands on, putting their faces in the water, in fact all the sorts of thing that kids do in the water when left to their own devices. But now it’s all micro-managed.
And it’s the same in schools. Once upon a time you would expect that your child would bring home progressively harder reading books and maths questions. They would start counting beans and then learn to use the abstract concept of numerals and so on and so forth, before you knew it they were talking about percentages and compound interest that probably left their parents flummoxed.
But then people wanted to know what was normal or reasonable for a child to do at a certain age and all the little steps were identified and earmarked with a period when they ought to be achieved.
After that, well you have to check that the kids are actually achieving don’t you?
Hence national testing, designed so the teachers couldn’t set questions they knew their pupils could answer – gosh teachers wouldn’t do that would they? Mmmm yes.
And the teachers didn’t like it, they didn’t like it one little bit.
Because where it is perfectly reasonable to expect that a child at a certain age can write structured sentences using capital letters and full stops and spelling correctly, the great emphasis on not stifling creativity meant that many children couldn’t do these things, because they had never had their work corrected from that point of view and in many cases to anyone not experienced in deciphering the random phonic combinations of letters, with little or no punctuation, the “fantastic story Liam, you realy build up a sense of pace…” was just pure gibberish.

But then things got even worse because the Government decided to use the results to say how good or bad a school was and league tables were drawn up, ranking schools in Education Authorities by how many pupils achieved the desired level in Maths, English and Science.
Of course this system was flawed. If a bright kid arrived in year 3 – 1st year junior school – with a level 3 (above average) in all three subjects and left four years later with a level 4 (average) he hadn’t progressed as well as would be expected.
However if a kid came in at W (working towards level 1, literally below the bottom benchline for 7 year olds) and left with a level 4, he’d obviously made brilliant progress.
But the teachers failed to spot this argument and became intent on teaching to the test. First it was just a week or two, then it became a half term and gradually as they tried to prep their pupils to a state of near perfection it took up hours upon hours of lesson time.
And then the govermnent dealt another blow.
Education, education education!
Targets were set.
By 2002 Tony Blair wanted 78% of children to achieve level 4 in Maths and English and something like 80% of children to acieve level 4 in science.
After initial improvements the government realised that even with making their test simpler their targets would still not be met.
With the wilyness of Baldric they came up with a cunning plan, they would pay schools extra money so they could coach those kids who were just below the expected level in a bid to boost them up to level 4.
The extra classes were supposed to be extra curricular, but some teachers weren’t prepared to put in the extra time and objected to other teachers getting the extra money. Many schools started having booster classes within ordinary lessons, with small groups taken out for extra or intensive coaching.

And so the original idea was lost in the desire of the grown ups, both teachers and government, not to be seen to fail, irrespective of the damage done to the children they were all supposed to be so concerned about helping.

And the poor kids have had to put up with this.

The teaching profession and the educationalists have both had thier own interests at heart and forgotten about what they were there for.
A generation of kids have had their education blighted by the self serving interests of those who were meant to help and inspire them.

The best thing that could happen is for the teachers not to prepare the children for the tests, then perhaps the public could see where all the micro-managing of the National Curriculum has got them, and perhaps make a point of telling whoever leads the next government that it should leave teaching to the likes of Chris Woodhead (perhaps not popular amongst teachers because he was so right) and forget about trying to win votes with phony achievements.

The comments in this thread prompted Little Nicky to take a look at an article in The Times which is referred to several times. Reading that article in turn inspired a Boggart Blog post. Well it is a while (three days at least) since we gave education the Boggart Blog treatment. Take a look at How Shite Are SATS

title-5672356

As prospects for paid employment become even more remote even for those who have invested three years of their lives and run up enormous depts to obtain a University degree it seems Labours education policies have failed. Education, education, education said Tony Blair on assuming power in 1997. Blair promised New Labour’s education reforms would make University education with its attendant advantages more accessible to children of poor homes who were prepared to invest three years of their lives and run up crippling debts by taking on student loans. So why are graduates finding it harder than ever to get paid work?

This article will be completed later…

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The Academic Thugs

I’ve had a few run ins with people I refer to as “boy-scientists” (people whose enthusiasm for all things scientific overwhelms their ability to see things in the correct perspective) here though I do restrain myself because people tend to form the impression that I am anti – science and nothing could be further from the truth.

All we need to remember is that a science is a formal and classified body of knowledge. What I object to is the attitude of people who talk about “scientific methodology” and the “scientific way of thinking” as if parrotting these cliches makes a person’s opinion worth more that that of somebody who says “well that’s how it seems to me, based on my experiences.”

Now OK, I admit I go out of my way to provoke the boy-scientists and get them to reveal that their attitude stems from a deeply held belief that a certain kind of education makes one superior to people who followed a different path. As Oscar Wilde said, “Nothing worth knowing can possibly be taught.”

I am not the only one who feels there is a concerted attempt to create a new academic elite to replace the old aristocracy. In the USA the trend has even been spotted in the election campaign. Here’s an interesting article from Pajamas Media (their spelling) on a particularly warped theory expounded by liberal academics and is gaining currency.

It concerns Barak Obama’s stated intention to change the U.S. Constitution so that rather than all people being equal before the law, the courts are bound to favour “the weak against the strong.”

Yeah, you read that right.

Whining Academics

The Pursuit Of Mediocrity

The Sats results for pupils at KS2 and KS3 were finally published yesterday, amidst continuing grumblings about the marking process.
This follwed hot on the heels of news that secondary schools regularly re-test the children when they enter Y7 as they have found that the grades they receive at KS2 are not compatible with the childs performance generally.
A further concern is that the number of children attaining Level 5, the highest level available to a child sitting a KS2 paper, has dropped.
This has led to concerns that brighter children are being neglected.
Too damn right they are. When Labour came to power in 1997 Tony Blair said his priorities were,”Education, education education.”
The first attempt to get over 75% of pupils achieving level 4 in each of the core subjects was quite simply to lower the pass mark on the papers and make the questions easier.
When SATS were first introduced in 1993 it was impossible to get a Level 4 on the English reading paper without answering what are termed ‘higher order questions’ where to answer correctly a child would have to form an opinion, or read between the lines and give reasons for their answers. All this changed after 1997, it became possible to achieve the pass mark, which was lower anyway, just by answering multiple choice questions, or simple comprehension type questions.
The same applies to Maths and Science where children were expected to be able to explain how they worked out an answer, how they would solve a problem, design an experiment or draw conclusions from a set of data.
However having instigated this change it was still not enough to achieve the target the government had set itself. So then they brought in booster classes. Teachers were asked to identify those children who were at a predicted level 3A or 3B, and these children were given extra tuition, funded by the government, in an effort to boost them up to level 4.
In many cases thase children would be removed from the ordinary class to be taught separately, in small groups, whereas the other kids, now the ones from both ends of the ability range, were left in the classroom.
But the trouble with cramming is that it just doesn’t stick. It’s OK if you’ve got the knowledge there, but if you are trying to get the knowledge in in the first place that is a different kettle of fish, so even though some of the children improved enough to get that coveted level 4 more often than not it wasn’t a genuine improvement, as the secondary teachers soon noted.

Now, 11 years down the line education is once again in turmoil, this year’s SATS ara a fiasco and standards do not seem to improve, only 61% of children who took SATS this year achieved Level 4 in all three subjects. Meanwhile the brighter kids get bored and are turned off education, cruising along without ever being challenged, because despite Mr. Blair’s belief that sleight of hand, smoke and mirrors could convince the public that things were changing it should now be obvious to anyone who cares to look that the only change has been the pursuit of mediocrity at the expense of excellence.

A COUPLE OF MONTHS have passed since fatsally posted this blog and now we read a post in The Guardian that under the title The Truth About Our Schools restates most of what our writer says about education policy imposing mediocrity. As usual it takes a while but mainstream media eventually catches up with Little Nicky Machiavelli and Boggart Blog

Is It Time To Ban Maths From Schools?

Yesterday I was involved in yet another discussion about whether we should be encouraging Faith Schools with Government Grants or banning them completely. Not so long ago another discussion in the same forum was about whether we should be trying to force fed pupils more maths or whether maths as taught in schools is a waste of time? The arguments followed a remarkably similar course which lends credibility to my contention that certain scientists treat science as a religion.

In the maths debate, mathematician Marcus de Sautoy opened for the pro maths side and demolished his own case in his first sentence, saying: “When Wayne Rooney takes a shot at goal he first does a simultaneous equation.”

I think not. Can you imagine Motty raving: “ And the ball goes to Rooney. He does an equation, he shoots, he scores.” The suggestion that Rooney even knows what an equation is stretches our credulity.

The reason I raise this is a new government report on education concludes that primary teachers are not good enough at maths to teach their pupils. I think fatsally might have a few things to say about that so we await her comments with baited breath.

When I had a quick look at a SATS examination paper aimed at eleven year olds it was clear at once that the problem lies not with teachers but with the people who control the curriculum, the maths academics. The tests are being set by the kind of fuckwits who find maths fascinating.

The problem with maths you see is there exists a small minority who think mathematics is the most interesting thing in the world and worth doing just for fun. Then there are the rest of us who are sane. Now the maths for fun brigade, who include most academic mathematicians, cannot understand why sane people do not share their enthusiasm. But these people would rather solve an equation than get laid so there you go.

To illustrate why maths is such a deeply unpopular subject for study here is a question from that maths test.

Steven makes between 30 and 50 biscuits. If he packs them in threes he has two left over and if he packs them in fives he has one left over. How many biscuits did Steven make.

So what does this question tell us about Steven? First, he hasn’t the sense he was born with, anybody with at least one functioning brain cell would just count the effing biscuits. Second, Steven suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. A normal person would just tip the biscuits in a tin or a Tupperware box. The answer to the question then is who cares, Steven should try to get out more.

Only a person with the mindset of Roy Cropper from Coronation Street or Gordon Brown would pack the biscuits in threes or fives. And even they would just eat the spare ones instead of fretting over them. This leads us to think that Steven the biscuit maker is not simply a tad obsessive but might be autistic.

And what kind of message does that send to schoolkids about the desirability of learning maths.

The skill of the Mathematician lies in their ability to turn a very simple everyday situation into a very complex mathematical problem. Count the effing biscuits, fuckwits.

As Aristotle said: What we have to do we learn by doing. And many of us who daydreamed through maths lessons in school found in later life we could solve very complex arithmetic problems because we had a practical need to solve them.

RELATED POSTS

Britain’s maths policy simply doesn’t add up – but neither does overestimating the importance of maths.

I Can’t Do That.

A review group has noted that the English seem to have a ‘can’t do’ mentality where Maths is concerned.
Perhaps they should have looked deeper, we appear to be raising a generation who just “can’t do”, nor can they learn.
Ask a young person to perform a task and the most likely answer is “I can’t do that. I don’t know how.”
Explain or demonstrate and then leave them to it and you will probably come back to find a half arsed effort at best or no attempt at all at worst.
For example, teaching children to divide a decimal number by 10, say. Now I know we are told to use the correct terminology and methods but the easy way to do this is ‘to move the decimal point one place to the left’, yes I know the decimal point never moves but to say ,”move each digit one place to the right”, makes it a whole lot more complicated to the average 11 year old, especially when many of them do not count ‘0’ as a digit. So you demonstrate on the board, then you get children to come and demonstrate on the board, then you check using Q&A around the classroom and then you ask if anyone wants any further help and then you say, “Ok, turn to page 31 in your text book and start working through exercise 1.”
Then you start going round the classroom and you come across the most weird and wonderful answers, some having completely different sets of digits in the answers than are in the question, and you ask what have they done and they say,
“I don’t know. I don’t get it.”
Then you ask if anyone wants to go through it again and half the class put their hand up, so you do and they say they understand, but left to their own devices the results are just the same.
And so the process goes on.
Or take writng. You set a task, you tell the children to think about what they are writing, to remember capital letters and full stops, and to have a go at spelling any words they don’t know, and you highlight strategies for spelling; break the word up into syllables, sound out using phonics or mnemonic methods, (hear has an ear in it, here the place is like there the place, I’ve Got Hairy Toes words light, sight, might etc.) You’ve barely got back to your desk than someone will be there with their spelling book asking, “How do you spell Saturday?”
And you say, “How do you think you spell Saturday?” and they say,
“I’m no good at spelling.”
So you suggest they spell ‘sat’, which they do, then you go onto ‘ur’, which they spell ‘er’ but you suggest they have another go and they come up with ‘ur’, then you prompt them on ‘day’ and hey presto!
“You spelt Saturday, see you can spell,” but two minutes later they will be back with another common word which they should really be able to work out and which, if they looked, they would see appears in a display on the walls, and yet they can’t be bothered, and when you read through their work you will see that the next time they write ‘Saturday’ it will be spelt wrong.
It’s the same with everything. Ask them to load the dishwasher and you’ll find knives in the bottom, cups the wrong way up, plates stacked so they are touching and won’t wash properly.
Peg washing on the line, the washing won’t be straightened out.
Lay the table, there won’t be any condiments.
Cut the grass, the lawn will look like a row of Mohikins and you think, “Surely I don’t have to explain how to do this? Surely they can see how things are done and they will try and do it the same?”
But they don’t, so you explain how it should be done.

“You take the envelope out of the bag, you look at the address and check you have the right road and then you take a note of the number and you find the house with that number on it and you put the envelope through the letterbox, usually situated on the front door.”
But no, not only does the trainee postman walk willy nilly over everybodies’ gardens, he shoves a whole streetful of post through your cat-flap.
When you collar him he say, “Oh I couldn’t see a number.”
“Well look, it’s there, on the front door, number 12. Just above the letterbox.”
“Oh I didn’t see that. And the house next door doesn’t have a number.”
“No, the house next door dosn’t have a number, but the next one does and it’s number 16, so what does that make the house next door?”
“I dunno. Number 9?”

And so it goes on. And we are to blame because we let them get away with it. A university lecturer resigned last year after 13 students whom he and a formal examinations board deemed to have failed a course were allowed a pass by the university authorities. An official felt that students should be able to pass on lecture notes alone and did not need to do the required reading. But that’s the whole point of further education, it’s finding things out for yourself, looking at the sources, analysing the material and forming an opinion, it’s not just reciting what your lecturer chooses to tell you.
But no doubt, if these students had been asked why they hadn’t done the required reading they would have answered, “I didn’t know we had to.I didn’t know what to read. I didn’t know where to find it. I’m not very good at reading.”
And so they’ll whine on, denying responsibility and wallowing in self pity, safe in the knowledge that they will still get their degree, get their A level, or GCSE or Level 5 at KS2, because the government has set targets and has league tables and all our educational institutions have to be seen to be performing to target, despite the fact that in reality they are becoming woefully inadequate and letting down a whole generation of pupils.