Furnishing Minds

I liked this so decided to post it here. Don’t know who said it originally but anything that urges people to think for themselves deserves to be repated ad infinitum:

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.

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Thought Crime or how eating a do – nut became a criminal offence in Politically Correct New York
Dumbing down

How To Get The Little Darlings Reading

Some big social problems are brewing, quite simply because of the number of kids, mainly boys, who leave school unable to read adequately or in too many cases, unable to read at all.
The first part of a three part documentary was shown on Channel 4 earlier this week, not television stations will make a documentary about anything these days to fill the schedules, but a three part documentary, that’s serious.
Being unable to read in modern society is a mega disadvantage, you can’t get a decent job in a call centre, fill in claim forms to get jobseeker’s allowance or check the programme listings for your 200 channel Sky Plus subscription. Hell, you can’t even put the stuff you’ve nicked on e-bay for auction. People who can’t read are losers, which is why most people in our prisons have reading difficulties.
What are the causes?
Progressive education is a big factor. In the past thirty years the idea that children do not need to be taught to read by phonetics has led to thousands being failed by the education system. The lucky ones like myself and fatsally made sure our children were well on the way to reading by the time they started school, teaching tem as our parents and grandparents had taught us. Many of our readers here will have done the same, reading stories to the kids is not a chore, it is a pleasure. Progressive educationalists resent such enthusiastic parenting though, progressive education is based on the philosophy of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits: “Give me the child to seven and I will give you the person for life.”
One has to wonder if ideas such as “just leave books lying around and children will learn to read from curiosity,” conceals a sinister hidden agenda. Leave books lying around and children who have never been read to will find innovative ways of using them as weapons with which to attack each other. So are progressive methods of teaching reading just a way of furthering dumbing down. After all, an illiterate population is a biddable population.
Another contributing factor of course is Margaret Thatcher’s systematic unravelling of the fabric of society (sorry fatsally, but I’m not letting go of this one until the Conservatives have either disassociated themselves from The Grantham Gorgon or lost their last seat in Parliament – yes, Blair’s Premiership was every bit as bad but Blair himself was a shallow pastiche of The Creature from the Abyss.) Before Thatcher’s “freeing” of the economy – the destruction of employment rights, the casualisation of labour, the export of proper jobs to low labour cost nations – and creation of a debt –slave economy, most per school children learned language skills through interaction with Mums, Grandparents, Aunts. Learning the first level of reading was a game. Kuh – ah – tuh. Cat.
Now mothers only exist for six months before they are remorphed into economic units whose purpose is to create a surplus in the labour market thus holding down wages and keeping the lower class in their place. Don’t argue with me here, my knowledge of this topic goes back to the national adoption of the Speenhamland Poor Relief system. It caused economic chaos then too, ending in hundreds of homeless and destitute people starving to death. There is nothing new about Thatcherism. There is nothing about it that works either.
The third factor in the decline of reading skills is Political Correctness. Why are school reading books all so worthy and effing boring. What six year old cares that Sophie lives with her mummy and a lady who wears dungarees and has cropped hair. In any group of three children you are not bound to find one is black or Asian. Give them Thomas the Tank Engine (better sill Ian Dury’s version, it rhymes. Kids love rhyme.
And then for boys whose problems persist to puberty, put Girl With A One Track Mind on the curriculum. That would get the buggers well into reading.