Monday, January 12, 2009

Political Understatement of the Last Four Decades

"Ceartainly education has not become the great leveller that many people, including me, believed it would be"

Professional bleeding-heart Martin Narey on the Today programme, responding to the Naughtie suggestion that 'the revamping of education in the Seventies has failed to to what it claimed it would do'. Naughtie can't quite bring himself to say the word 'comprehensive'.


He also suggested that 'we need to make sure that children from deprived backgrounds go to the best schools'. Well, Martin, if all of them go there they won't be the best schools any more. At the extreme, take ASBO Community College, serving the giant Chavbury Estate, and move all the kids to fee-paying St Goody Two-Shoes, while St Goody's get to go to the comp. They'll miss the great sports facilities but they'll still get impressive results, while the teachers wonder if they've died and gone to heaven, bar a few noble souls who miss the challenge.

Back at St Goody's staff turnover will have dramatically accelerated, the Apple Macs will be vanishing from the computer suites, and results will be up - but nowhere near ASBO's, which has suddenly got a waiting list.

A better idea would be to take the brightest and most hardworking kids (not always the same population) into the best schools. How can we find them ? I wouldn't allow the primary heads to nominate the kids - the scope for corruption (by well-off parents) would be immense. Tell you what - how about an exam ?

(A sad little note from the Wikipedia entry on grammar schools :

In July 1958 the Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell formally abandoned the Tripartite system, calling for "grammar-school education for all". The party's fiercest opponent of the Grammar school was Gaitskell's protégé, Anthony Crosland.


Hugh Gaitskell was educated at Winchester and Oxford.
Anthony Crosland was educated at Highgate School and Oxford.

God protect the working class from their upper-class defenders !)

18 comments:

Rob said...

'we need to make sure that children from deprived backgrounds go to the best schools'

Which is how they are going to level standards. At the start, they may have even believed that comprehensive education would raise standards. It soon became apparent that it was doing the complete opposite, however.

All that is left for the establishment now is class hatred, and they don't care how low education standards drop as long as they wreck the private and grammar school systems. In fact, the lower the general standard of education the better - uneducated sheep tend to question their masters less.

Mark said...

'we need to make sure that children from deprived backgrounds go to the best schools'- indeed.
Half a century ago the attainment of this laudable aim didn't appear to be a problem. Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter, for example, wasn't the the only Hackney boy from a 'deprived background' (dad was a tailor)to benefit from his years at Hackney Downs School.
However 'Comprehensivisation' and demographic changes saw this, one of the best schools in inner London until the early sixties, decline so rapidly that it had to be closed in the 90s as a 'failing school'. Naughtie could have rejoindered 'Hackney Downs School' to Narey's despicable whining (I'm pretty sure he and others at the Beeb are aware of this classic case),but he chose not to. The words 'toadying creep' come to mind on hearing about this 'probing' interview.

Ross said...

Grammar schools would be a vast improvement on the comprehensive system but a voucher system would be even better.

Anonymous said...

My mother and father both went to grammar schools and both are of the opinion that the education on offer was very poor. They considered it ill-suited to the modern world it was allegedly preparing them for. The problem was that grammar schools were competing directly with public schools. That meant they taught recital of epic poems and writing verse in Latin. Not very helpful, unless you are competing with public school educated boys for a top job in the civil service.

But that is the real point. It isn't that any secondary school of any kind is of any use to anyone. How much of that secondary education did you still remember three years after you left school? I would wager no more than 10%. So how can anyone really believe it is key to success in later life?

It isn't. Or it shouldn't be. Sadly we don't live in a meritocracy, and public schools still provide the best access to the top jobs in this corrupt state. If you go to a state school you can join the army cadets, but if you go to a public school the officer cadets will invite you to join them. If you go to a state school you can fight for a music scholarship - but if you go to a public school you won't have to fight - they will come to you. If you go to a state school you can fight for a rugby scholarship - but if you go to a public school then elite rugby will come to you.

Public schools still provide the access to the very best careers, the best access to public life. But if you believe that they offer the best education you are wrong. Public schools and grammar schools take the same teachers from the same colleges as comprehensive schools. There is no difference at all. They even use the same government-issue coursework. They don't even try. That is why they don't allow themselves to be compared to state schools. Thehy know they don't offer a better education. How can they? It is all a cover for the system of patronage that keeps the best of the rest from competing from the jobs at the top. It is to the everlasting shame of Labour that they never dismantled the public school patronage system but dismantled the only thing that ever came close to being able to compete with it, and that exposes Labour as nothing more than the corrupt protector of the old boy network. One might excuse them for this, if it were not for the fact that time after time the public school "old boys" have been shown to be corrupt and incompetent.

One more thing - if you think that grammar schools provide a better education than comprehensive schools you would be wrong about that too. Those that go to comprehensive schools that would have passed their 11+ go on to get just the same results as they would have done at grammar school. The points of comprehensive schools in the league tables are merely dragged down by the vast majority of the pupils that would never have passed the 11+. Set an 11+ that aims to select out those that will get 10 GCSE "A" grades and sure enough you will get mostly pupils that will get 10 GCSE "A" grades at exam time 5 years later. What a surprise.

I could have arranged matters so my sons went to public school or grammar school but they go to the local comprehensive and love it there. Why not? The whole education system is corrupt, the whole of the UK is corrupt. If you believe any part of it deserves admiration or respect you are only deluding yourself. The more you play the game the more corrupting its influence on you as an individual. Detach yourself from the lies of both right and left, their false histories. It is all quite simply shit, the nation is run by shits. Rich shits that pull all the strings. If you don't realise that by now you are a fool.

Foxy Brown said...

@ Mark

Hackney is now home to some of the worst schools in the country. Many of the "brightest and most hard-working kids" a la Pinter, from working-class backgrounds went to Hackney Downs. Check out the impressive alumni:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hackney_Downs_School


Also, this morning, for the first time in my mature adult life I decided not to switch on BBC Radio 4. The Today Programme is completely unlistenable. The-soon-to-be-put-out-to-pasture 'Posh Ed' is its one saving grace.

Hugh Oxford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Realist said...

"Many of the "brightest and most hard-working kids" a la Pinter, from working-class backgrounds went to Hackney Downs. Check out the impressive alumni . . ."

Bloom, Berkoff, Pinter, Peston, Domb: at least five of the people in that list of alumni are Jewish.

Ashkenazi Jews have the highest average IQ of any ethnic group.

Anonymous said...

Hackney Downs would have had a large Jewish intake in those days. It would have been the local school of choice.

Going by the name I would say that Pinter's ancestors were Sephardic Jews from Iberia.

Anonymous said...

Idiot taxi driver thinking. Zero hope for humanity if this is the general level - Goodbye, monkeys. I'm off to a much more advanced solar system where stupid racist chimps don't hit each other

Anonymous said...

Idiot taxi driver thinking. Zero hope for humanity if this is the general level - Goodbye, monkeys. I'm off to a much more advanced solar system where stupid racist chimps don't hit each other

Foxy Brown said...

@ Anon 10.59


The name Pinter is an anglicized form of the Portuguese da Pinta. Harold was a mixture. The earlier Sephardic communities were assimilated into the larger waves of Ashkenazi groups who settled in London from central and eastern Europe in the nineteenth century. There is an interesting section on Anglo-Jewry in Claudia Roden's 'Book of Jewish Food,' with the population shift the Mediterranean Jewish food culture became supplanted by the salt-beef, latkes and bagels of central Europe.

Notable Sephardis from East London include the philanthropist Moses Montefiore and the pugilist Daniel Mendoza. Also very interesting is the number of Iberian Jewish names to be found on gravestones in churchyards.

@ Anon at 11.18/19,

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell speculates on the success of on certain groups in North American society, viz the Chinese, the Koreans and the Jews. These groups all have an outstanding work-ethic and a remarkable mental tenacity. Most importantly they reject victimhood.

cramerj said...

Anonymous's parents must have gone to a strange grammar school. I went to a grammar school in Bedford 1947 - bloody awful - and in Cardiff after that - amazingly good. even though the building was badly damaged by bombs in WW2. Nobody recited epic poems. I did latin for a while but the school was starting to be messed up then by politicians.
We on the science side did regard the arts as a waste of time but then science was the big hope back then.

Anonymous said...

Idiot taxi driver thinking. Zero hope for humanity if this is the general level - Goodbye, monkeys. I'm off to a much more advanced solar system where stupid racist chimps don't hit each other

Eh?

Care to explain?

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Anonymous @ 5:20 tells us where his parents went and where his sons go, but not where he himself went (one can tell it's a 'he' from the hysterical tone). From the guilt and cognitive dissonance on display I deduce he was privately educated.

From this it follows with complete consistency that he now longs for the destruction of the UK.

Anonymous said...

"From the guilt and cognitive dissonance on display I deduce he was privately educated."

Sadly your powers of deduction mislead you. I went to a comprehensive. There is no grammar school near my home town anymore and the nearest public school is Marlborough College - rather pricey even for day boys at £20,000 per annum.

Anonymous said...

Do you honestly remember anything remotely USEFUL from your secondary school education? From primary school you no doubt learned to read and write - but secondary school? Most struggle to remember anything at all from those days and yet we are led to believe that these years are key to everything else that happens in the rest of your adult life. Personally I cannot see how that can be - especially as university intervenes for most. Yet this fallacy is used as the basis that those that went to the "right" schools deserve the easiest access to the best careers. If you believe in such an obvious fallacy then you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. My opinions will not lead to the destruction of this once proud nation - it is the opinions of those that lead it today, and they are mostly grammar and public school boys that no little of life at the bottom rungs of the social ladder, and can afford to have dangerous opinions about how best to run modern British society.

Anonymous said...

it is the opinions of those that lead it today, and they are mostly grammar and public school boys that no little of life at the bottom rungs of the social ladder

Hmmm.

Normally I wouldn't worry too much over spelling in blog comments, a bit petty and all that, but in the context of this thread...

Homophobic Horse said...

The schooling years seem to be traumatic for everyone.